Top Five Saturday: Books You’d Give a Second Chance To

The Top 5 series is back! Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously on the blog I have focused on witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more. I am going to try and bring this series back for every Saturday.


23rd May 2020: Books About Plants and Flowers

30th May 2020: Books from a Male Point of View

6th June 2020: Books Set on the Sea

13th June 2020: Books with One Word (Eponymous) Titles

Welcome back to a slightly new look Book Lovers’ Sanctuary. You did notice the menu up there, didn’t you? You didn’t, did you? I was just fiddling and trying to make it easier to maneuver around the blog. Please do let me know if any of the links don’t work: it is still a work in progress.

Okay, and turning to this week’s topic, we need books you’d give a second chance to… so books and series (… do series count? I am counting them) begun but not finished that you think would be worth returning to. Perhaps my mind is in a different place now than it was then… Perhaps these are books that didn’t work as an audiobook but which might work more as a print book…

Macbeth, Jo Nesbø

One of the Hogarth Shakespeare Series, which are usually worth a look, and written by Jo Nesbø of Harry Hole fame (although I prefer his Blood on Snow), this should be a great book – at the time though I just didn’t gel with it…

He’s the best cop they’ve got.

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.

He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.

He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.

But a man like him won’t get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.

Unless he kills for it.

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, Andrew Miller

I really like Pure, but the opening pages of this one failed to grab my attention – lots of description and weather if I remember rightly, which is strange because I usually like me a good description.

One rainswept winter’s night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain’s disastrous campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Spain.

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not – cannot – talk about the war or face the memory of what took place on the retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he lights out instead for the Hebrides, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer with secret orders are on his trail.

The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma

This was a novel I started reading and I truly don’t remember why I did not finish it.

Why would I give it a second chance? There are several words in the blurb below that generally will grab me: madman, Nigeria, mythic…

In a small town in western Nigeria, four young brothers take advantage of their strict father’s absence from home to go fishing at a forbidden local river. They encounter a dangerous local madman who predicts that the oldest boy will be killed by one of his brothers. This prophecy unleashes a tragic chain of events of almost mythic proportions.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

The reason I did not finish this one was twofold: the length of it – a solid 880 pages – was intimidating, but I had picked it up as an audiobook and the narrator’s voice grated with me. Not their fault. Just a personal subjective response.

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara

The comments I might make about A Little Life will be very similar to those above for The Goldfinch. I have heard so much good about both books that they both should be worth another go in print form.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome but that will define his life forever.


27th June 2020:  Books with Morally Grey Characters

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