This meme was originally created by Lia at Lost in a Story as a way to tackle the gargantuan To-Read shelves a lot of us have on Goodreads.
The rules are simple:
- Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Repeat until the entire list has been filtered
It’s time for me to attempt a bit more pruning of my To-Read shelf on Goodreads which now contains 488 books, unfortunately up by three from last time despite me reading quite a few books from my TBR pile. Oh well, let’s have another try…
Dr. Jekyll and Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill (added 30th September 2017)
Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.
This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature’s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements the original work. And where the original was concerned with the duality of man, this sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Can it really be that this man who looks and acts so precisely like Dr Henry Jekyll is an imposter?
Verdict: Keep – I’m still intrigued by the premise of this and I love the cover, although that’s pretty irrelevant as I only have a digital copy.
The King’s Concubine by Anne O’Brien (added 3rd October 2017)
A child born in the plague year of 1348, abandoned and raised within the oppressive walls of a convent, Alice Perrers refused to take the veil, convinced that a greater destiny awaited her. Ambitious and quick witted, she rose above her obscure beginnings to become the infamous mistress of Edward III. But always, essentially, she was alone…
Early in Alice’s life, a chance meeting with royalty changes everything: Kindly Queen Philippa, deeply in love with her husband but gravely ill, chooses Alice as a lady-in-waiting. Under the queen’s watchful eye, Alice dares to speak her mind. She demands to be taken seriously. She even flirts with the dynamic, much older king. But she is torn when her vibrant spirit captures his interest…and leads her to a betrayal she never intended.
In Edward’s private chambers, Alice discovers the pleasures and paradoxes of her position. She is the queen’s confidante and the king’s lover, yet she can rely only on herself. It is a divided role she was destined to play, and she vows to play it until the bitter end. Even as she is swept up in Edward’s lavish and magnificent court, amassing wealth and influence for herself, becoming an enemy of his power-hungry son John of Gaunt, and a sparring partner to resourceful diplomat William de Windsor, she anticipates the day when the political winds will turn against her.
For when her detractors voice their hatred,and accusations of treason swirl around her,threatening to destroy everything she has achieved, who will stand by Alice then?
Verdict: Dump – Ever since I saw her at Henley Literary Festival a few years ago I’ve been meaning to read one of Anne’s books. However, I don’t think it’s going to be this one. I have one of her (slightly) more recent books, Tapestry of Treason, that I received via NetGalley so I think that’s where I’ll start.
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott (added 7th October 2017)
Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets…
1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…
Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?
How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.
Verdict: Keep – I have mixed experiences with dual-time novels, often finding the past timeline way ore interesting than the present day one, but this was one of the books on my 20 Books of Summer list that I didn’t get round to reading so I’ll give it a chance.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (added 7th October 2017)
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, ‘Hidden Figures’ interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.
Verdict: Dump – I bought this after seeing the (very good) film in order to see how it differed, if at all. Although I think it would be interesting, I can’t see myself getting around to reading it.
District VIII by Adam LeBor (added 13th October 2017)
Balthazar Kovacs, a detective on Budapest’s murder squad, is on the trail of a dead man.
Minutes ago, Kovacs received an anonymous SMS showing a body and an address: 26 Republic Square – the former Communist Party headquarters and once the most feared building in the country. But now, amid the ruins of the demolished building, Kovacs finds no dead body, just six members of the Gendarmerie – an elite police force reporting directly to the prime minister – and an invitation to hand over his phone and cease his investigation.
Kovacs has taken his first step on a journey deep into Budapest’s dark heart, towards a deadly intersection of the criminal underworld, the corridors of power and the ghosts of history. A journey that will force him to choose between the law and family loyalty.
Verdict: Keep – This is billed as the first in a series, although there only seems to have been one further book since. I’m attracted to the setting though.
In the Dark by Andreas Pflüger (added 13th October 2017)
Jenny Aaron was a government assassin, part of an elite unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was one of the best, until a disastrous mission ended with her abandoning a wounded colleague and then going blind from her injuries.
Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world, but is haunted by betraying her colleague. When she is called back to the force to trace a ruthless serial killer, she seizes the opportunity to solve the case and restore her honour.
Strong-willed and fearless – but vulnerable too – Jenny Aaron is a character to stand side by side with Clarice Starling and Lisbeth Salander.
Verdict: Dump – This has an interesting premise but I’m put off by some reviews that say the pace is slow.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (added 23rd October 2017)
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She’s worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It’s just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway…
But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.
Verdict: Keep – Although at 560 pages this is a bit of a chunky read, Anthony Horowitz never lets me down. It’s also one of the books on my 20 Books of Summer list that I didn’t get around to reading.
The Assassin of Verona by Benet Brandreth (added 4th November 2017)
All is not well in Venice.
Threatened daily by Papal assassins, William Shakespeare and his close friends Oldcastle and Hemminges are increasingly isolated – the lies that have protected them so far beginning to wear thin.
His companions want desperately to leave, but Will is tied to the city – his lover, the beautiful Isabella, is growing ever more sick. As tensions reach breaking point, their company is forced to split…
Verdict: Keep – This is the second in the series and I’m a little worried about not having read the first. It also seems to have divided opinions among reviewers. On the other hand it’s set in Venice which is always an attraction and I have a very attractive hardback copy. I think this is one where I’ll read the first few chapters and then decide whether to continue.
Treason by James Jackson (added 4th November 2017)
‘Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November…’
Behind the famous rhyme lies a murderous conspiracy that goes far beyond Guy Fawkes and his ill-fated Gunpowder Plot . . .
In a desperate race against time, spy Christian Hardy must uncover a web of deceit that runs from the cock-fighting pits of Shoe Lane, to the tunnels beneath a bear-baiting arena in Southwark, and from the bad lands of Clerkenwell to a brutal firefight in The Globe theatre.
But of the forces ranged against Hardy, all pale beside the renegade Spanish agent codenamed Realm.
Verdict: Keep – This is another book that was on my 20 Books of Summer list that I didn’t get to. It’s also the third in a series and I haven’t read the previous two. However, it sounds entertaining so it stays for now.
Lion by Saroo Brierley (added 19th November 2017)
Aged just five, Saroo Brierley was separated from his family in India when he boarded a train that took him 1500km from his hometown. After weeks surviving alone on the streets of Calcutta, he was eventually adopted by an Australian couple.
As an adult, Saroo couldn’t help but think about the family he’d lost. Years later, he swapped the map of India on his wall for Google Earth, scouring it for landmarks he knew from his childhood. One day, he saw something he recognised, and he set off on a journey to find his mother…
Verdict: Dump – Like Hidden Figures earlier, this is a book I bought after seeing the film adaptation. It’s a great story but I can’t see myself reading the book. I’m more likely to watch the film again.
The Result – 6 kept, 4 dumped. Would you have made different choices? Next time we might be close to reaching books added to my To-Read shelf less than five years ago…