Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Additions

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.

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics:

January 7: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020
January 14: Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019 (these could be books, authors, blogs, websites, apps, products, etc.)
January 21: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf
January 28: Book Cover Freebie (choose what kind(s) of covers you want to talk about: prettiest, most unique, most misleading, weirdest, most memorable, creepiest, ugliest, etc.)

Oh my poor over-burdened overworked bookcases! I have hefted boxes of books from house to house more times than I really want to count, from the North East to the South West, keeping the numerous bookshelves in my house populated with books I’ve had since the tender age of sixteen. My school copies – especially of Wuthering Heights – have been with me throughout.

Fortunately for those shelves, and for my back, a few years ago I made to move into electronic books – but that just seemed to increase the numbers of purchases and the (virtual) size of the TBR list. But it does make it easier to order by date of acquisition!

The List

Highfire, Eoin Colfer

Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him . . .

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation.

Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp . . .

I received this as an ARC from the publishers Quercus / Jo Fletcher last week: grumpy dragons in Louisiana swamps! Therefore, it has moved up to the top of my TBR pile in order to get a review out before the release date. So far, great fun!


Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

Having enjoyed Normal People, I picked up this as a previous Rooney book and looking forward to having time to sink my teeth into it.


Akin, Emma Donoghue

Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when a social worker calls looking for a temporary home for Michael, his eleven-year-old great-nephew. Though he has never met the boy, he gets talked into taking him along to France.

This odd couple, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, argue about everything from steak haché to screen time, and the trip is looking like a disaster. But as Michael’s sharp eye and ease with tech help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past, both come to grasp the risks that loved ones take for one another, and find they are more akin than they knew.

This one, again, was picked up on the back of enjoying Room – I’ve heard interviews with Donoghue but don’t feel that I have read enough of her…


The End of the Ocean, Maja Lunde

In 2019, seventy-year-old Signe sets out on a hazardous voyage to cross an entire ocean in only a sailboat. She is haunted by the loss of the love of her life, and is driven by a singular and all-consuming mission to make it back to him.

In 2041, David flees with his young daughter, Lou, from a war-torn Southern Europe plagued by drought. They have been separated from their rest of their family and are on a desperate search to reunite with them once again, when they find Signe’s abandoned sailboat in a parched French garden, miles away from the nearest shore.

I do love a book set at sea! I’m not sure I could really explain why satisfactorily! But something appealed to me about this one, even though I have never read The History of Bees.


Fen: Stories, Daisy Johnson

The Fen is a liminal land. Real people live their lives here. They wrestle with sex and desire, with everyday routine. But the wild is always close at hand, ready to erupt.

This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a, well, what?

Again, like Conversations with Friends, I picked this one for the author: having enjoyed Everything Under, I wanted to see what had preceded it. And the words “liminal” and “myth” will always draw me in!


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi Waxman

Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, an excellent trivia team and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

So when the father she never knew existed dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers.

And if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny and interested in getting to know her…

It’s time for Nina to turn her own fresh page, and find out if real life can ever live up to fiction. . .

This one just looked sweet, reminding me of The Reader on the 6:27 and who wouldn’t love a book about bookish lives?!


The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

As dusk shifts to twilight, tiny lights begin to flicker all over the tents, as though the whole circus is covered in fireflies. When the tents are aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign lights up:

Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams

The gates shudder and unlock, seemingly by their own volition.
They swing outward, inviting the crowd inside.

I was tempted to cheat and to not include this as it was a replacement purchase: I adored The Night Circus when I first read it – but for the life of me I cannot find it! So, having read and loved The Starless Sea, I plumped to replace it – electronically this time so I cannot lose it. And if the paper copy turns up, so much the better.


Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo

Alex Stern has been tasked with monitoring the mysterious activities of Yale’s secret societies – societies that have yielded some of the most famous and influential people in the world. Now there’s a dead girl on campus and Alex seems to be the only person who won’t accept the neat answer the police and campus administration have come up with for her murder.

Because Alex knows the secret societies are far more sinister and extraordinary than anyone ever imagined.

They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living . . .

This is my current audiobook, listening to it on the way to and from work. I’d heard a lot of hype about the novel and it is a damn good listen so far – fabulous narration by Lauren Fortgang and Michael David Axtell.


The Wolf and the Watchman, Niklas Natt och Dag

The year is 1793, Stockholm. King Gustav of Sweden has been assassinated, years of foreign wars have emptied the treasuries, and the realm is governed by a self-interested elite, leaving its citizens to suffer. On the streets, malcontent and paranoia abound.

A body is found in the city’s swamp by a watchman, Mickel Cardell, and the case is handed over to investigator Cecil Winge, who is dying of consumption. Together, Winge and Cardell become embroiled in a brutal world of guttersnipes and thieves, mercenaries and madams, and one death will expose a city rotten with corruption beneath its powdered and painted veneer.

Wolves. History. Crime. It sounded right up my proverbial alley!


My Seditious Heart, Arundhati Roy

My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights and freedoms in an increasingly hostile environment. Taken together, these essays trace her twenty year journey from the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things to the extraordinary The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: a journey marked by compassion, clarity and courage. Radical and readable, they speak always in defence of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites.

Sounds fantastic and powerful – and a chance for me to come out of the fantastical and into the real world for a little while.


So, there we go – my last ten books: eight digital, one paper, one audio. I look forward to hearing your views and opinions – and reading your lists so I can steal the books for the ever-growing TBR pile!

Michael

9 comments

  1. Great list! Looking forward to seeing what you think of Conversations with Friends. I read that before Normal People and it was so far from being my jam that I didn’t think I’d read another book by Rooney! So glad I did though because Normal People is one of my favorites 🙂 Happy reading and hope you enjoy all these books!

    Liked by 1 person

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