I think by now I’ve come to accept that I don’t have the dedication to read all the books I optimistically put on a TBR. Shiny new books pop up on my radar and distract me; life gets in the way. But as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t resist a list, and it’s nice to have something to aspire to. If you’ve read and can recommend any of these, let me know!
(Yes, this is back on the TBR again and I’m determined to tackle it before the year is out!)
(Another one back on the TBR, but I am still very interested in giving this a go).
An exciting blend of thriller, literary, memoir, and historical fiction – I feel good about this TBR pile! What’s coming up on your fall/autumn lists?
Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday! I love these creative themes and they always get me remembering books I’ve not thought about in forever. This one is pretty self-explanatory, so here we go…
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Since I recently read and adored The Kite Runner, this has just been bumped up my TBR.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
I so enjoyed this journalistic tour de force, a deep dive into the love and sex lives of three real women. Check out my full review here.
One Day by David Nicholls
I know I’ve found a way to fit this into a top ten tuesday more than once, but I can’t help it. It’s so charming and moving and funny.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Back at the start of the pandemic, I was on a pandemic-book-themed reading sprint, and this was a very good addition to that oeuvre. Full review here.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 – famously the temperature at which books burn (cannot confirm). Not a book that I loved like I’d hoped I would, but a worthwhile read none the less. Full review here.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult’s books were the background to my mid-teen years, and while she doesn’t always get it right, she doesn’t shy away from heavy topics. And boy does that woman know how to write a page turner.
Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup
Is this pushing the boundaries of the theme? Quite possibly. But it’s close enough. I don’t remember all that much about this book, which I read over 10 years ago, but I enjoyed the film (if enjoy is the right word).
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I’ve not read this nor do I really want to watch the TV adaptation, but I know it’s hugely popular and it fits the tag so here we are.
Second Place by Rachel Cusk
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Rachel Cusk, and I think I would enjoy her writing, but I’ve not yet summoned up the strength to give it a go.
This is another Top Ten Tuesday, but since I am at the mercy of these WordPress layouts I’m resigned to just go with 9. Have you read any of these? What books have you bought on the basis of their title alone?
Books I’ve read with brilliant titles
The title was 100% the reason why I picked this otherwise slightly obscure short-story collection off the shelf – and boy am I glad I did. Equal parts tragic and funny, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – perhaps the best short story collection I’ve ever read.
And now on to the ones I’ve not read yet and what the critics have to say about them…
“A symphony of a novel. Sunil Yapa inhabits the skins of characters vastly different to himself: a riot cop in Seattle, a punk activist, a disillusioned world traveler and a high-level diplomat, among others. Through it all Yapa showcases a raw and rare talent. This is a protest novel which finds, at its core, a deep and abiding regard for the music of what happens. Yapa strives forward with a literary molotov cocktail to light up the dark.” — Colum McCann
“In An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro offers readers of the English language an authentic look at postwar Japan, “a floating world” of changing cultural behaviors, shifting societal patterns and troubling questions.” — Amazon
“The best evocation of the all-consuming, self-eroding reality of motherhood, while also being luminous with love.” — Sunday Times
“Ozeki weaves together Nao’s adolescent yearnings with Ruth’s contemplative digressions, adding bits of Zen wisdom, as well as questions about agency, creativity, life, death, and human connections along the way. A Tale for the Time Being is a dreamy, spiritual investigation of how to gracefully meet the waves of time, which, in the end, come for us all.” —The Daily Beast
“Majka brings the reader to startling places. . . . From certain angles, it’s a kind of New England gothic, where the lost children and dead women and doppelgängers serve to add atmosphere and meaning to the narrator’s past peregrinations, her dalliances and uncertainties. It turns out in the end that this is in fact a book about an arty person with a complicated personal life. But it’s a lovely one, written in a moving and uncanny register.”―The New York Times Book Review
“A story about the dogged survival of hope when all else is lost . . . Messina shows us that even in the face of a terrible tragedy, such as an earthquake or a loss of a child, the small things – a cup of tea, a proffered hand – can offer a way ahead. Its meditative minimalism makes it a striking haiku of the human heart.” ― The Times (London)
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Summer TBR? It feels like I just wrote my Spring TBR (and let’s not talk about the fact that I only finished 4 of the 10 and DNF’d 2…) but I can’t resist a list, so here goes…
I can’t even pick what I’m most looking forward to! But I adored Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, and Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage, so those should be solid choices. I don’t usually read contemporary romance but there’s something so irresitstible about Beth O’Leary (reviews for The Flat Shareand The Switch). I’m not sure how some of these got on my radar, like the Alexandra Chang and Megan Nolan, both of whom are new-to-me authors & I’m very excited to read.
What’s coming up on your summer TBR? Have you read any of these?
Descriptions taken from Goodreads. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book tag hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is ten most recent reads, with a one-line review for each. I think writing a one-line review will be more of a challenge for me than writing the usual ~500 word reviews, but here we go!
Psychological drama exploring the torturous nature of writing and elusive pursuit of success, through a failing writer who steals a killer plot from a dead student.
A nuanced portrait of a woman, Martha, whose life is shaped by psychological anguish – and yet her story is told in a caustically funny, smart way.
Compelling sci-fi/thriller where a woman walks through a door and into an alternate reality – an interesting concept with uneven execution.
Told in brutal, sparing prose, this striking piece of literary fiction examines what happens when a country turns against its people, set against the brutal crackdown in 1980’s Gwangju, South Korea.
In equal parts surreal, devastating and hilarious, this short-story collection is brilliant, heart-wrenching and heart-warming.
A validating, refreshing and candid exploration of the period of tumult that hits women at the end of their twenties as they make life-changing decisions about having – or not having – babies.
Astonishing memoir about a troubling childhood that is told with levity and compassion from the woman who lived it.
Beautifully written and totally absorbing, this is a slow-burn piece of literary fiction set at an all-girls boarding school in the 90s.
Engrossing domestic noir with deftly-handled twists and turns that explores the lives of the British upper echelons.
Smart, incisive social commentary on race in contemporary America and how this plays out across the world of publishing.
Finally, a tangible pay-off for colour-coding my bookshelves! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a showcase of yellow/green/purple book covers in celebration of Mardi Gras, a festival I knew nothing about before moving to the US (we call it Shrove Tuesday in the UK, and it just involves eating as many pancakes as possible in one sitting). In normal times, thousands of people flock to New Orleans each year to celebrate the festival, with much merriment, elaborate costumes, and alcohol consumption.
A 2020 Christmas gift and one I’m very much looking forward to.
Out of respect for yesterday’s #BlackoutTuesday, I am posting this a day late. I will be reading, donating, and continuously learning about how I can give my support, and I encourage everyone to do the same: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
On a roll from participating in Top 10 Tuesday last week, I’m back at it again with ‘books with summer vibes.’ Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.
The Girls is set during the restless Californian summer of 1969, when our painfully awkward protagonist, Evie, is drawn into a cult living on the breadline in the Californian hills and led the charismatic egomaniac, Russell.
It’s the hot, languid days of a mid-1980s June on the Italian Riviera – and for Elio, a restless, precocious seventeen-year-old, it’s a summer that he’ll never forget, when Italian-American university professor Oliver comes to stay.
In Lie With Me, an escape to Pyros, Greece soon becomes a claustrophobic nightmare for Paul Morris, a place haunted by the ghosts of the past.
4. Atonement by Ian McEwan
The catalyst for this story happens on a hot summer’s day in 1935, where thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses an exchange between her sister and a young gentleman. The way she acts subsequently changes all their lives forever.
‘Little Dog’ is the son of a Vietnamese refugee, and one summer, when he is fourteen, Little Dog begins working in the tobacco fields. There he meets Trevor, and the two begin an intense relationship. Poetic, elegiac and a window into the immigrant experience.
6. One Day by David Nicholls
St Swithin’s Day, on July 15th, is the anchor in this wildly popular story of Emma and Dexter, who meet at university and who we revisit on July 15th over the course of the years to come. Charming and nostalgic, this is a perfect summer read.
7. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
The sweltering heat of New Orleans is the stage for Tennessee’s William’s phenomenal play that examines madness, sexuality, class, the layers of the past, and – of course – desire.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It’s been a looong time since I took part in this tag, but what better time to start again than during an extended period of isolation! Hyperlinks direct to my reviews where available.
“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I find that this opening line captures the mood of The Bell Jar so well, evoking the fear, malaise and intensity of Esther’s inner and outer worlds.
‘Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way.’ – The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Deliciously dark and subversive, this Korean novel chronicles the breakdown of a marriage with the wife’s decision to stop eating meat, which is seen as a deeply transgressive act.
“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we understood the gravity of our situation.” – The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I love that this novel hinges on the why, not the what, and this opening line pulls the reader in to the mystery headfirst.
“Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoloeague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.” – The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
This beginning firmly routes this stunning novel in its social and historical context, the vice-like grip of the Catholic church and the hypocrisy of its moral superiority.
I am the kind of person who, if I find something I love, will want to read it/watch it/eat it again and again. This might explain why I have devoured the whole first season of HBO’s Girls (for the third time since it came out) within the past few days – (re)experiencing something you know you will enjoy is like slipping into a comfortable warm bath, with the added reassurance that it’ll be a worthy investment of your time.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Matilda by Roald Dahl
(I’m only doing nine so as not to mess up the symmetry I’ve got going on with the circles!)