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.
PREVIOUS TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:
- May 5: Things I’d Have at My Bookish Party
- May 12: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned
- May 19: Ten Reasons Why I Love… Shakespeare
- May 26: Top Ten Opening Lines
- June 2: Books That Have A Summery Vibe
- June 9: Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why …
- June 16: Books on my Summer TBR
- June 23: Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10: Books I Wish I Had Read As A Child
So many many to choose from. 2020 has been a good reading year so far and it looks like it is getting better still!
These are among my favourite topics too, reminding myself of some of the delights coming up and finding even more new ones to be excited about… and a real chance to champion new and favourite authors. After all, what else is a blog like this for?
And how did I not know that The Stormlight Archive was getting a new installment before the end of the year??
Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell, released July 14th
Utopia Avenue might be the most curious British band you’ve never heard of.
Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, folksinger Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss, guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet and jazz drummer Griff Griffin together created a unique sound, with lyrics that captured their turbulent times. The band produced only two albums in two years, yet their musical legacy lives on.
This is the story of Utopia Avenue’s brief, blazing journey from Soho clubs and draughty ballrooms to the promised land of America, just when the Summer of Love was receding into something much darker – a multi-faceted tale of dreams, drugs, love, sexuality, madness and grief; of stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact; and of the collision between youthful idealism and jaded reality as the Sixties drew to a close.
Above all, this bewitching novel celebrates the power of music to connect across divides, define an era and thrill the soul.
The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones, released July 21st
Ten years ago, four young men shot some elk then went on with their lives. It happens every year; it’s been happening forever; it’s the way it’s always been. But this time it’s different.
Ten years after that fateful hunt, these men are being stalked themselves. Soaked with a powerful gothic atmosphere, the endless expanses of the landscape press down on these men – and their children – as the ferocious spirit comes for them one at a time.
The Only Good Indians, charts Nature’s revenge on a lost generation that maybe never had a chance. Cleaved to their heritage, these parents, husbands, sons and Indians, men live on the fringes of a society that has rejected them, refusing to challenge their exile to limbo.
Summer, Ali Smith, released August 6th
The unmissable finale to Ali Smith’s dazzling literary tour de force: the Seasonal quartet concludes in 2020 with Summer
In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time.
This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common?
Sisters, Daisy Johnson, released August 13th
Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September.
Desperate for a fresh start, their mother Sheela moves them across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless.
In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she’s always had with September – forged with a blood promise when they were children – is beginning to change in ways she cannot understand.
Taut, transfixing and profoundly moving, Sisters explodes with the fury and joy of adolescence. It is a story of sibling love and sibling envy to rival Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. With Sisters, Daisy Johnson confirms her standing among the most inventive and exciting young writers at work today.
The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi, released August 20th
They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.
One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.
Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek’s gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth will touch all those who embrace it.
Vesper Flights, Helen MacDonald, released 27th August
From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world.
Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches.
Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of this century’s greatest nature writers.
The Lying Life of Adults, Elena Ferrante, released September 1st
Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself? She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.
Elena Ferrante is unsurpassed in her ability to draw readers into her books from the very first page and she proves this again with The Lying Life of Adults, pulling us into what the Italian trade magazine Il libraio described as ‘not a mere story but an entire world.’ The millions of readers who found themselves addicted to My Brilliant Friend and the Neapolitan quartet will find that this new novel has the same addictive, do-not-disturb-I’m-reading qualities.
Piranesi, Susanna Clarke, released September 15th
The long-awaited return from the author of the multi-million copy bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell transported over four million readers into its mysterious world. It became an instant classic and has been hailed as one of the finest works of fiction of the twenty-first century.
Fifteen years later, it is finally time to enter the House and meet Piranesi.
May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.
Hush, Dylan Farrow, released October 6th
Seventeen-year-old Shae has lived her entire life in awe of the Bards–and afraid of the Blot, a deadly disease spread by ink, which took the life of her younger brother five years ago. Ever since, Shae fears she’s cursed. But when tragedy strikes again, and her mother is found murdered with a golden dagger–a weapon used only by the Bards–Shae is forced to act.
With a heart set on justice, Shae journeys to High House in search of answers. But when the kind, fatherly Cathal, the High Lord of Montane, makes Shae an undeniable offer to stay and train as a Bard, Shae can’t refuse.
Through this twisty tale, Shae endures backbreaking training by a ruthless female Bard, tentative and highly-forbidden feelings for a male Bard with a dark past, and a castle filled with dangerous illusions bent on keeping its secrets buried.
But sometimes, the truth is closer than we think. We just have to learn to listen.
Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson, released November 17th
After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage.
Now, as new technological discoveries begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength.
Please do let me know your anticipated releases for the next couple of months!
Again, a David Mitchell book is an event, and a thing of beauty! But the music industry is not my natural setting and again I was caught between this and another book – Daisy Jones and the Six in this case – and Daisy Jones was read first. This time, because it was nominated on a book club I was part of.
Bonus: 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.
This one has been on my TBR for years. Literally years. I have heard nothing but praise for it, but so far have never quite got around to reading it! Go figure!
So, there we go: a range of books that I got in 2020 – save for the Scott Lynch – and do regret not reading during the year. Is regret the right word? Probably not to be honest: I do not regret the reading that I did do last year at all. But these are books that I would like to find time to catch up with this year – before prize season hits us again!
Pop in the comments below your thoughts on these – maybe let me know which I should read first!
Forthcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics
- July 7: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By
- July 14: Books That Make Me Smile (For any reason! Maybe tell us why? Submitted by Julia @ pagesforthoughts)
- July 21: Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday (Real or Fictional. Submitted by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books)
- July 28: Freebie (This week you get to come up with your own TTT topic!)