Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why I Haven’t Read Them Yet

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.

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This is a strange topic for me because generally I absolutely do know why every book on my TBR pile is there: they are books that I bought from recommendations or for a book club, because they were on a prize shortlist, because they were by an author I love or in a genre I love, or maybe just had a great title or cover or blurb that made them sound like fun!

So I am tweaking the topic a little to be Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why… I Haven’t Read Them Yet so a list of those books which would normally have piqued my interest, grabbed me by the shoulders saying “Read me! Read me!” but which for some reason I haven’t got round to yet. Life. Family. Work. Lockdown. Whatever the reasons, the books that have languished on my TBR for far too long and deserve to be dusted off…

Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bull****. Tamsyn Muir s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy. Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won t set her free without a service. The emperor has called his necromancers to action, and Harrowhark is set on Gideon attending her as bodyguard. If Gideon survives, she’ll be a hero, and a free woman. If not, she can look forward to eternity as a shambling bone-servant.

Lesbian Necromancers, Gothic Palace, Space… it sounds like a blast, trying to hit every marketable niche – and “gothic” usually is a definite draw for me, yet somehow it is still there in the TBR pile despite the fact that I bought it in February.

The Corset, Laura Purcell

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she finds herself drawn to Ruth, a teenage seamstress – and self-confessed murderess – who nurses a dark and uncanny secret. A secret that is leading her straight to the gallows. As Ruth reveals her disturbing past to Dorothea, the fates of these two women entwine, and with every revelation, a new layer of doubt is cast…

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Another Gothic tale, this one was recommended to me by a colleague whose tastes are similar enough to mine to generally be reliable, but which is languishing… I think I got this one alongside a number of similar titles over a short period of time and just needed a breather…

Alex, Pierre LeMaitre

SHE’S RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Alex Prévost – kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage – is in no position to bargain. Her abductor’s only desire is to watch her die.

HE WANTS ONLY ONE THING

Apart from a shaky police report, Commandant Camille Verhœven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads. If he is to find Alex, he will have to get inside her head.

ESCAPE IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Resourceful, tough, beautiful, always two steps ahead – Alex will keep Verhœven guessing till the bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.

I bought this on the back of reading Blood Wedding by the same author and just haven’t got round to it yet… it looks like one that I might need to steel my nerves for too!

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.

The Wolf and the Watchman depicts the capacity for cruelty in the name of survival or greed – but also the capacity for love, friendship, and the desire for a better world.

Historical. Crime. Scandinavian… a great blurb. So why have I not read it yet? There are just so many other great books out there. Where is the time?

The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

I adored Hargrave’s The Mercies and The Girl of Ink and Stars, and Dracula is so iconic, so why have I not read this despite having it sat on my bookshelf?

Devil’s Day, Andrew Michael Hurley

After the blizzard of a century ago, it was weeks before anyone got in or out. By that time, what had happened there, what the Devil had done, was already fable.

Devil’s Day is a day for children now, of course. A tradition it’s easy to mock, from the outside. But it’s important to remember why we do what we do. It’s important to know what our grandfathers have passed down to us.

Because it’s hard to understand, if you’re not from the valley, how this place is in your blood.

That’s why I came back, with Kat; it wasn’t just because the Gaffer was dead.

Though that year we may have let the Devil in after all . . .

Just like so many others on this list, I enjoyed other books by this author: The Loney was promising, Starve Acre was wonderful! And yet this one is sitting and waiting, unread on the bookshelf…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow

ACCORDING TO JANUARY SCALLER, THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO RUN AWAY FROM YOUR OWN STORY, AND THAT’S TO SNEAK INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S . . .

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr Locke, she feels little different from the artefacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

This sounds so inviting and has such a gorgeous cover, that how could I not have bought it, bringing the colour and vibrancy of that cover into a dull day in November 2019… and yet there it still is on my shelf looking at me wistfully…

The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Who Take an Eye for an Eye, Who Lived Twice, David Lagercrantz

Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story – and it is a terrifying one.

More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker.

It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters – and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.

I did adore the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, and the character of Lisbeth Salander carried the series, defining that Scandi-Noir genre. So perhaps that is the hesitation for reaching out to this posthumous continuation… but I hear recommendations that it is actually rather good…

The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.

Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich – they’re the only ones worth stealing from – but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.

Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it’s a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.

So many people absolutely rave about this book and it is there on the shelf challenging me…. and when there is time, I will reach for you, you and your Gentleman Bastards.

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho

In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the eminent Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, but a malicious faction seeks to remove him by fair means or foul. Meanwhile, the Society is failing its vital duty – to keep stable the levels of magic within His Majesty’s lands. The Fairy Court is blocking its supply, straining England’s dangerously declining magical stores. And now the government is demanding to use this scarce resource in its war with France.

Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life, and a visit by the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.

At his wits’ end, the last thing Zachariah needs is a female magical prodigy! But together, they might just change the nature of sorcery, in Britain and beyond.

Regency England. Magic. Fairy Court. There are obvious echoes here of the sublime Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke … so why am I not devouring it?


So, this is my list of books on my TBR which have languished there unloved and unread for too long, as that TBR pile has grown around them and swamped them… come and persuade me that they are worth the investment of time to read!


FORTHCOMING TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:

  • June 16: Books on My Summer 2020 TBR (or winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere)
  • June 23: Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10! Option 1: pick a past TTT topic you’ve done and re-do/update it (Perhaps you’d remove certain books you put on the list back when you first wrote it, or perhaps you have 10 MORE books you’d add to that list now. You could also re-visit TBR posts, whether seasonal or series you need to finish, etc., and tell us if you’ve read them yet or not. Any variation of this idea works. Feel free to be creative.) Option 2: pick a past TTT topic you wish you’d done, but didn’t get a chance to do (the list of topics is below).
  • June 30: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

23 comments

  1. Great list! I LOVE The Ten Thousand Doors of January and The Lies of Locke Lamora, but Sorcerer to the Crown is one I still need to cross off my TBR, too. I started listening to the audiobook of Gideon the Ninth and I’m really enjoying it so far, even if it is bonkers.

    Liked by 1 person

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