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 was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This is my first Top Ten Tuesday, but here I am trying to find another reason to post more often and more regularly. So here goes!
This week, the challenge or topic is a list of ten books on your TBR List that you are avoiding reading. Perhaps the length or the hype or the content is a bit intimidating… Let’s see how we go.
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
For me, perhaps a sequel too far. Afraid of the impact it may have on my memory of the original The Handmaid’s Tale – which is the same reason why I have been avoiding the TV adaptation. I am also a little disappointed for the other Booker Prize shortlisted authors: how is this book ever not going to win, unless it is a massive let-down!
2. Frankissstein, Jeanette Winterson
I have started this and it is gorgeous and exciting and wonderful so far, but for me I want to do it justice and give it the time I feel it deserves: September, new term, new school admin…. I cannot at this point give it that time. But it is waiting and half term holidays are coming….
3. Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho
It sounds delightful!
“The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers maintains the magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman as their Sorcerer Royal and allowing England’s stores of magic to bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…
“At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up, an adventure that brings him in contact with Prunella Gentlewoman, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, and sets him on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large… “
Aspects of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell or The Night Circus somehow, but again, do I have the time to devote to another fantasy trip?
4. Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Heard positive reviews and negative ones. I hear that there is a great start which becomes disappointing. I’ll get round to it at some point.
5. Grand Union, Zadie Smith
Short stories. I rarely do well with short stories. If they’re great, the brevity irritates me. Often I feel they try too hard… I don’t know. It’s me, not them, probably. So I try to avoid them but this is Zadie Smith – I mean, come on! – and I have got it as an ARC from NetGalley so I have limited time to get on with this one.
6. The October Man, Ben Aaronovitch
I loved the Rivers of London series…. but a novella moving the action out of London…?
7. Proven Guilty, Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher. Le sigh. What to say, they’re ok. When in a reading slump last, an undead T-Rex was always going to liven (unliven) things up! But they’re rather formulaic and – bluntly – sexist. Butcher seems unable to describe female characters without the phrase “curves in all the right places.”
8. The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
I fear this may forever languish on my TBR pile: I’ve heard great things about it, but there just always seems to be another book more appealing.
9. Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli
As with many others on the list, it sounds magnificent: ” As the family drives–through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas–we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure–both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations. ” Again, waiting to have the time and space to do it justice.
10. Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellmann
1040 pages. 1040! According to Amazon.
And it sounds dense!
Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport offers a radical literary form and voice. Dense to look at, challengingly epic, the novel is built around one Ohio housewife’s monologue, flowing with dazzling lightness and speed. The detritus and maddening complexity of domesticity unfold in one breath, over a thousand pages. Shards of film plot and song collide with climate change anxiety; the terrors of parenting, healthcare and shopping lists wrestle with fake news and gun culture. The narrator reverberates with humour, wordplay and political rage. The writing resonates like a dissonant yet recognisable American symphony for massive forces, with riffs and themes folding back, proliferating, and gradually cohering. Its one long sentence occasionally breaks to simply describe a mountain lioness and her cubs: a meditation on nurture that will be wrapped into the violence of the ending. Lucy Ellmann has written a genre-defying novel, a torrent on modern life, as well as a hymn to loss and grief. Her creativity and sheer obduracy make demands on the reader. But Ellmann’s daring is exhilarating ― as are the wit, humanity and survival of her unforgettable narrator.”―Booker Prize Judge, Joanna MacGregor
Length and dense and resonance and dissonance are all wonderful things. But at this point in the year, just a bit too much! A bit too intimidating.
So, my first Top Ten Tuesday and a quick visual summary. Persuade me what to kick into the long grass and what to bring back to the top of the eternal TBR list!