Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

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.


So this is a great list: most – although not all – of my reading has been reviewed here, so a lot of these books will be books read prior to the start of the blog. And perhaps this should be by way of a promise – that these books deserve a review and maybe over the coming year I should review them.

Girl Meets Boy, Ali Smith

One sentence review: Beautiful, transformative gender-defying prose, beautifully tender.

I adore Ali Smith, as you can probably tell from my reviews of How To Be Both and Summer – and I was tempted to include the rest of the seasonal quartet on this list, but Girl meets Boy was my first Ali Smith read and hooked me with the beauty and lyricism of the language and the fluidity of identity and gender in it. Just stunning

Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters

One sentence review: Out-Dickens Dickens with utterly convincing and tenderly created characters and wonderful plots.

Do I need to mention the plethora of lesbian representation here? If you like your historical fiction fast paced, steamy and in an utterly convincing world ranging from the Victorian era to post-war Britain, these are the books for you!

I do love the fact that Sarah Waters was struggling to find a book she wanted to read one day, so she wrote one for herself! That joy and investment really shows in the muscularity of her language.

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

One sentence review: Outstanding historical intrigue and drama with complex, compelling, morally grey and engaging characters.

Need I say more? It is Wolf Hall! It kicked off the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, followed by Bring Up The Bodies, for me perhaps the most successful of the three, and The Mirror and the Light.

Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One sentence review: utterly compelling and moving coming-of-age story.

I read this when I was teacher training as a potential class read and loved it. Kambili is a character who stays with you with her simple quiet strength. Gorgeous and sensual language too.

Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

One sentence review: extraordinary and vivid imagination brings the city of New Crobuzon to noise, smelly, colourful life – plus slake moths!

New Crobuzon is a wonderful creation, teeming with fantastical creatures drawn from myths around the world and Mieville’s fertile and fecund imagination: humanity rubs shoulders with catacae, garuda, kephri, vodyanoi in a chaotic messy melting pot of a city. It is wonderful. And – oh Lin! – I will never get over what happens to some of his characters.

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

One sentence review: A compelling account of a man bound by and identified by tradition struggling in the face of modern colonial Nigeria.

His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman

One sentence review: Exhilarating adventure across the multiverse seeking the truth of Dust and of growing up.

These have become iconic novels now and they remain wonderful creations. I remember reading them completely out of order when I was a barrister which may not have helped my understanding! But the imagination, the epic and classical allusions and echoes – and Lyra! I am enjoying The Book of Dust sequel trilogy (La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth so far) but they do not quite compare to the original….

Neverwhere, American Gods, Coraline, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

One sentence review: Whether writing for adults or children, Gaiman is a delight with gods hiding in plain sight, doors that should not be opened and

Neil Gaiman is an institution and a wonderful writer and I love that my daughter is loving his The Wolves in the Walls (which is very much a proto-Coraline if you ask me) and Unfortunately the Milk already! Neverwhere was my first Gaiman and hooked me with its hidden world of London Below and mad charming and chilling characters – the Marquis de Carabas!

So, there we have it – a few more than ten individual novels, but ten authors whose novels I have loved but which I read prior to commencing this blog. Perhaps over the next year I shall try to re-read and remedy that so that we have more than one sentence reviews for them all!

Forthcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics

  • August 18: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies (submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl)
  • August 25: Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors (Living or dead. You can post 10 questions for one author, one question each for 10 different authors, or anything else!)
  • September 1: Books that Make Me Hungry (They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.)
  • September 8: Books for My Younger Self (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.)
  • September 15: Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art)
  • September 22: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere)
  • September 29: Favorite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)

37 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed”

  1. I really want to read Sarah Waters! I have heard so many good things and I’ve loved some of the TV adaptations of her work.

    I am definitely with you on Philip Pullman and Neil Gaiman! Both extraordinary and both brilliant! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great idea. I’m a new blogger but before setting up the blog I had read 200+ books.. never had a reason to review them. Maybe now, I can go back and talk about some of my favourite ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also.. I love Purple Hibiscus. It’s my go-to book whenever I want to gift it or partake in a book exchange. Not so popular as Half of a Yellow Sun, but still packs in Adichie’s punch!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One day I will finally finish The Mortal Instruments! I stopped at The Subtle Knife because I found it confusing, but I’m hoping the TV show makes the story clearer.


      1. Let me know if you get around to it. It’s a bit more mature for young children …. but middle grade to YA would work. I have a vague memory of genitalia being described in one story.


  4. Fantastic list. I love Neil Gaiman and The Golden Compass is a favorite. I’ve only read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters but I definitely want to read more. And I’ve read a few by Idichie but not Purple Hibiscus. Thanks for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I own the Golden Compass trilogy, though I’ve not read it yet. I also enjoyed Neil Gaiman growing up. I believe the Graveyard book was the first I picked up by him, and it had me hooked. I didn’t read Coraline until much later, and I don’t think I’ve read any of his adult books (though I want to eventually!) I’ve not heard of any of the others here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really, really need to read American Gods because I only know Good Omens and I’ve reread that in two languages more than once. (I picked it up because if Terry Pratchett though who I still mourn).

    But you really had me at “gender-defying prose”, so Girl Meets Boy is now on my tbr.

    Liked by 1 person

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