Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Autumn 2020 TBR List

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 the thing, I am very much a mood reader: I don’t really have a to-be-read list as such. More a mountainous slope of books from which I will dip in and out as the mood suits me. But at the present the ten books closest to the top of that mountain of books – for a variety of reasons but mainly because they are recently purchased – are listed below.

The Searcher, Tana French

I was so excited to see that French has a new book out – although I do need to read The Witch Elm too! – and even though it is not a Dublin Murder Squad, any book from French is always a treat!

“Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.”

Released 6th October 2020 – but I have tonight been approved on NetGalley to receive it!

Piranesi, Susanna Clarke

It’s by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, guys! Susanna Clarke is back!

What’s it been? Fifteen years?

And I read an excerpt from NetGalley and it was strange and mysterious and lyrical…

Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has.

In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone.

Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?

Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous.

The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi is an exceptional writer and challenges our sense of identity and of culture in both Freshwater and Pet – and they explore a fantastic liminal space between realism and psychology and mythologies…

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.

The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue

Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

Transcription, Kate Atkinson

I adore everything that Atkinson has written from Life After Life to the Jackson Brodie novels – but her novels are intense and take time to digest before tackling another.

In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.

Noemí’s chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin.

Tough and smart, she possesses an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell

Mitchell can be a little hit-and-miss for me, but when he has a “hit” – like The Bone Clocks or Black Swan Green – they are wonderful!

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.

Here Is The Beehive, Sarah Crossan

I mean, just the cover here is breathtaking! How would you not want to read it? And bearing in mind that I have loved some of Crossan’s Young Adult novels, this is quite an exciting autumn read!

Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it.

But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret.

How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.

The House in the Cerulean Sea, T J Klune

This has been all over my social media and Bookstagram recently! And what a wonderful quirky cover!

Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place–and realizing that family is yours.

1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.


Of course, the danger with our TTT lists this weeks is that I’ll be reading your posts with Goodreads open on the next tab, tapping away at the Want To Read button and ordering from Amazon, swamping my already existing TBRs with a thousand new ones!

Please do comment with your thoughts on these, and any other book you think should be on my list!

FORTHCOMING TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:

September 29: Favorite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)
October 6: Book Covers with Fall Colors/Vibes (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere)
October 13: Super Long Book Titles
October 20: Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me (tell us who recommended them, if you want!)
October 27: Halloween Freebie

23 comments

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea is one of my favourite reads this year and it’s just so so beautiful. It’s such a heartwarming read and I really hope you enjoy it 🙂 Quiet a few others on this list are also on my TBR and I’m looking forward to reading them too. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent list! I have the Sarah Crossan out from my library atm to read and I’ve heard some pretty good things about the Britt Bennet book and also Mexican Gothic. I’ve never read Susanna Clarke but I’m quite curious. Also I’m behind on Tana French books but I really loved her first few, so I need to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

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