My 2021 TBR for the Rest of the Year

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I recently read an article on Kay’s Book Nook outlining the remaining books on her TBR for the rest of the year.

And after checking out her list, it seemed like a good excuse to get my own TBR organised for the rest of the year!

Without further ado – here is my remaining TBR for 2021.

Click or tap the book cover for more information!

T is for Time Travel, Stanlei Bellan

I don’t know too much about this one, except that it’s a collection of short stories about time travel. The author and his representatives reached out to me a couple of months ago asking if I was interested in reading & reviewing it.

Needless to say, the blurb sold me!

“In this collection of ten stories, author Stanlei Bellan takes you on a rollicking journey through the timestream.

  • Discover a lamp on the beach holding a genie that can grant you three…trips?
  • Meet a veteran soldier assisting a mad scientist who is convinced he’s created the first time machine; a harmless delusion – until it works.
  • Watch a 19th century lighthouse keeper find out what she’s willing to fight for, and then find a whole new world of trouble.
  • Explore the dangers of time looping aboard a spaceship with an ensign who is stuck between duty and his conscience. Would you make the same choices?

T Is for Time Travel is a fun and fast-paced collection of timely short stories that will introduce you to characters you’ll love, thrilling adventures, and thought-provoking scenarios – with plenty of laughs along the way.

Are you ready to jump in – whenever it may take you?”

Winter in Tabriz, Sheila Llewellyn

I adore what I’ve read so far. It’s a fascinating narrative, framed by globetrotting Irishman Damian, reflecting upon his time in Tabriz, Iran with friends Anna, Reza, and Arash.

Through Damian’s recounting of the past, through memory and through journal entries, the reader begins to piece together the events of the past few years. 

The prose is absolutely stunning, binding together a storm of passion, emotion, ennui, tragedy, nostalgia, and empathy. Based on what I’ve read so far, this will definitely be up there with my top books of 2021.

“Gripping and atmospheric, Winter in Tabriz tells the story of four young people living in Iran in the 1970s during the months immediately prior to the revolution, and the choices they have to make as a result of the ensuing upheaval.

The lives of Damian and Anna, both from Oxford University, become enmeshed with two Iranians, Arash, a poet, and his older brother Reza, a student sympathetic to the problems of the dissident writers in Iran, who is also a would-be photojournalist, interested in capturing the rebellion on the streets.

The novel draws on Sheila Llewellyn’s own experience of living in Tabriz through the winter of 1978, during the last chaotic months before the revolution took hold in January 1979.

It is a powerful portrayal of the fight for artistic freedom, young love and the legacies of conflict.”

Life is Strange, Emma Vieceli & Claudia Leonardi

Life is Strange is one of my favourite video games of all time. It’s an episodic graphic adventure game reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye (the main character is even called Max Caulfield!), but with more modern social mores.

So, I was thrilled to see that the series of graphic novels, which look altogether fantastic, are set following the end of the events of the first game.

I’ve had this on my TBR for a while now (since last Christmas, in fact!) so I am absolutely determined to get started on this volume. My partner kindly bought me the hardback of Volume 1 for Christmas last year – it’s a beautiful looking graphic novel [ADD PICS]

“The story fans never thought they’d see, continuing the acclaimed story of Life is Strange, one of the hit game’s two shocking endings.

One year after the storm destroyed Arcadia Bay, fan-favourite characters Max and Chloe have a new life together… but timelines are starting to tangle.”

The Handsworth Times, Sharon Duggal

I was drawn to Sharon Duggal’s writing after attending one of the #BluemooseWomen2020 online events in which Sharon was a speaker.

Set in Handsworth, Birmingham, The Handsworth Times explores the day-to-day life of an Asian family in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.

I’m a big fan of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane – both novels that tell of immigrant families in inner city urban environments, adapting to their surroundings – they give me a perspective I’m typically not privy to.

You may have seen her latest novel, Should We Fall Behind, on BBC2’s Between the Covers book show with Sara Cox. I’ve heard great things about that one too.

“Mukesh Agarwal sits alone in the Black Eagle pub, unaware that a riot is brewing or that Billy, his youngest son, is still out on his bike …A mile away in the family home in Church Street, Anila, one of the three Agarwal girls, is reading Smash Hits and listening to Radio One as she sprawls across the bottom bunk, oblivious to the monumental tragedy that is about to hit her family …

It is 1981 and Handsworth is teetering on the brink of collapse. Factories are closing, unemployment is high, the National Front are marching and the neglected inner cities are ablaze as riots breakout across Thatcher’s fractured Britain. The Agarwals are facing their own nightmares but family, pop music, protest, unexpected friendships and a community that refuses to disappear all contribute to easing their personal pain, and that of Handsworth itself.

THE HANDSWORTH TIMES is a story of loss and transition, and pulling together because ultimately, there is such a thing as society.”

Captain Jesus, Colette Snowden

Another of Bluemoose’s talented authors, Captain Jesus is a book I’m dead excited to read. I actually bought this on release day to support the author, Colette Snowden, but I’m yet to read it.

Here’s a flavour of it:

When three brothers find a dead magpie and peg it to the washing line, the resurrection re-enactment becomes a portent of tragedy to come, and a reminder of past guilt and trauma. 

In Captain Jesus we see a family struggle to cope as loss rips through their lives; through the teenage eyes of their mother, twenty years earlier, we glimpse the events that shape her response. 

The icons, influences and family histories that define faith connect the two narratives as the family gradually heals, thanks to the quietness of love and the natural world.

Red Pill, Hari Kunzru

I bought this book by author Hari Kunzru after attending the wonderful Desi Blitz book festival in 2020. Kunzru spoke about his research of alt-right conspiracy groups on the internet.

Red Pill is about a regular guy, Brooklyn-based, who gets roped into a Q Anon-esque conspiracy ring. It’s a novel about how easily someone, if given the wrong information, can be radicalised.

“After receiving a prestigious writing fellowship in Germany, the narrator of Red Pill arrives in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee and struggles to accomplish anything at all. Instead of working on the book he has proposed to write, he takes long walks and binge-watches Blue Lives–a violent cop show that becomes weirdly compelling in its bleak, Darwinian view of life–and soon begins to wonder if his writing has any value at all.

Wannsee is a place full of ghosts: Across the lake, the narrator can see the villa where the Nazis planned the Final Solution, and in his walks he passes the grave of the Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist, who killed himself after deciding that no happiness was possible here on earth.

When some friends drag him to a party where he meets Anton, the creator of Blue Lives, the narrator begins to believe that the two of them are involved in a cosmic battle, and that Anton is red-pilling his viewers–turning them toward an ugly, alt-rightish worldview–ultimately forcing the narrator to wonder if he is losing his mind.”

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time Book 1), Robert Jordan

I’ve been wanting to read Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series for years, trying and currently failing, to find some fantasy that can hold a candle to Tolkien.

With Amazon set to release a Wheel of Time TV adaption in November 2021, I’d like to try and read at least the first novel in the series before it comes out. After all – I find it preferable to read the book before watching the TV show.

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.”

Winterset Hollow, Jonathan Edward Durham

I think it’s fair to say that Winterset Hollow is by far and away the most interesting proposition on my TBR list.

The author reached out to me a short while ago with an epic pitch so, despite my submissions being closed, I simply had to take him up on it.

It’s a difficult book to summarise, with some fascinating meta elements and anthropomorphism implied by what I’ve read so far. 

Here’s the blurb – it’s a good’un!

“Everyone has wanted their favorite book to be real, if only for a moment. Everyone has wished to meet their favorite characters, if only for a day. But be careful in that wish, for even a history laid in ink can be repaid in flesh and blood, and reality is far deadlier than fiction . . . especially on Addington Isle.

Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends to the place that inspired their favorite book-a timeless tale about a tribe of animals preparing for their yearly end-of-summer festival. But after a series of shocking discoveries, they find that much of what the world believes to be fiction is actually fact, and that the truth behind their beloved story is darker and more dangerous than they ever imagined.

It’s Barley Day… and you’re invited to the hunt.”

Step Forward Harry Salt, Rose Lowe

The final book on my 2021 TBR is Step Forward, Harry Salt by the delightfully pleasant Ross Lowe.

I found out about Lowe’s debut novel through his publisher Bearded Badger Publishing & Books – a local outfit based not too far from me.

Being a novel with a local angle – and the opportunity to support a local press – this is one I’m super excited about.

“Something strange is afoot in the Derbyshire hills. But what does that mean for Harry Salt? He’s a young man with a big secret. So big, that the Prime Minister wants a piece of him.

Trouble is, it’s such a deeply buried secret that Harry doesn’t even know about it.But when he starts his new job at the Ministry of People and the anxious UK prepares for The Change, things get steadily more strange and frightening.

Dreams filled with painful memories and snarling black dogs. Endless ham baguettes. A 900-year-old Starsky & Hutch addict. Murderous lollipop ladies and milkmen that bite.

Yes. Something is definitely up.

It’s time to Step Forward, Harry Salt.”

Any of these on your TBR? Read them already? Let me know your thoughts on them in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “My 2021 TBR for the Rest of the Year”

  1. excellent list! life is strange is one of my favourite video game series ever too – i definitely need to check out these graphic novels. ohh good luck with the wheel of time, i didn’t realise how huge the first book was, it’s gonna be on my 2022 tbr! good luck with our end of year tbr 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      I’ll let you know how I get on with the LiS graphic novels 🙂

      Yeah… I highly doubt I’ll finish Eye of the World (if I in fact start it before the year is out!) but I definitely want to read it before I watch the TV show.

      Reply

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