Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

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.


Hooray! The Christmas Holidays have begun – at least for us teachers in the UK! And the lack of clarity, communication or planning for what happens when we go back in January is (currently) only a quiet dull concern at the back of the head.

For now, time for family, for baking and of course reading. And last night I finally finished Rhythm of War, the fourth entry in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. It was a tome! And pacing was an issue. But the finale did just about make the wait worthwhile. Full review to come later but it is nice to see some ace characters and mental health issues represented.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long ago that I blogged about the top five books on my wishlist and I am a ittle concerned that this may be a little repetitive – although looking back at that list I have now bought four of the five I cited! However, having read Rhythm of War electronically (in a form which the 1200 pages felt less intimidating) the inclusion of illustrations and diagrams did not transfer well!

Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson

It’s always nice to see what the author envisages the non-human characters like in a fantasy book and here, we have a number of illustrations of singers and spren. Which will make more sense if you have read the series!

So, I thought a little twist on the topic might be books that I already have electronically but which I would love to have physically too for various reasons.

Because they include illustrations / visuals / quirky formats

Lanny, Max Porter

I’ve mentioned more than once how wonderful this novel is – heartbreaking and lyrical and mythical. And it also does something wonderful with the typeface as Dead Papa Toothwort listens into the village voices.

House of Leaves, Mark Danielewski

Footnotes within footnotes within footnotes…. yeah this is a book that does not work electronically! Normally footnotes in, for example, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, or the Discworld series are manageable, but not with this one!

H(A)PPY, Nicola Barker

My Kindle simply refused to open this because of the fonts when I downloaded it when the novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

H(A)PPY is a post-post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland, a story which tells itself and then consumes itself. It’s a place where language glows, where words buzz and sparkle and finally implode. It’s a novel which twists and writhes with all the terrifying precision of a tiny fish in an Escher lithograph – a book where the mere telling of a story is the end of certainty.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent, Lawrence Stern

The iconic black page.

The iconic cock and bull story. And one of the best of its kind.

Layered, satirical, meta and literary, this was a dense pleasure to read at University but I seem to have mislaid my copy in the thirty or so years since then and my e-version is just not quite the same…

Emotionally Weird, Kate Atkinson

For similar reasons to Tristram Shandy, Kate Atkinson’s Emotionally Weird is a book I want to pick up in its intended form because it too seems to play with fonts and typography.

I honestly don’t know much more about it than that! But I adore everything by Atkinson and am more than willing to take it on faith!

Because the physical design is just so gorgeous / quirky

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

I mean just look at the deluxe version of this one!

Need I say more? Mind you, there is a £300 price tag!

Because the book was so wonderful I just want a real copy:

Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

Just a beautiful, lyrical, wonderful read.

Shakespeare is unnamed and often absent. This is not his story, nor even truly Hamnet’s story, despite his name being on the cover: for me this was Agnes’ story, wife, mother, woods woman… Our first meeting with her runs “At the edge of the forest, a girl…”

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

Equally wonderful, this is the tale of Cyril Avery whom we meet every seven years from birth to old age – his adoptive family, his birth mother, his loves and lovers and marriage and children, and the evolution of Ireland from extreme homophobia to acceptance and legalisation of same sex marriage.

Hilarious, tragic, poignant and warm, this is a novel we should all read and Cyril will be a companion for a long time after closing the final page.

Because they complete a set:

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

Being very precise, I’d love the hardback edition – this hardback edition – to match my copies of Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light. My copy of Wolf Hall is a paperback version and it just doesn’t look right on my shelf!

The Dublin Murder Squad, Tana French

A sublime nuanced and ultimately gorgeously gothic detective series: I have The Secret Place and The Likeness in physical form and the others in electonic forms and they loo lonely on the shelf, being neither the start or end of the series.

Autumn / Winter, Ali Smith

I have Spring and Summer in this edition as ARCs from the publisher and the books are so beautiful with that Hockney wrap around image. Completing the series with the matching set would be wonderful!

Because the physical book might prompt me to finally read it!

Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I have heard so much good about this novel and everything about it seems to chime with things I like to read, so I am not sure why I have not read it yet! Except that other novels and work and family keep intruding….

Maybe if I had it physically…

So, there we have it: I’d be more than happy with any of these filling my stocking on Christmas Day! May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has viewed, commented on, disagreed with or stumbled across this little blog in 2020 and for those of you who have migrated from occasional commentators to real friends! Thank you all so much in a challenging year and may your Christmases bring you everything you need – especially some great books!

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!


December 29: Favorite Books of 2020

January 5: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021
January 12: Resolutions/Hopes for 2021 (bookish or not!)
January 19: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To (You could take this opportunity to tell us what’s left on your seasonal TBRs from last year. Or books you were super excited about and then you didn’t get to them.)
January 26: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020 (If you didn’t read 10 new authors, that’s fine! Just do what you can.)

12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings”

  1. Awesome list. I have a few collector or special edition books in my shelves that I treasure.

    The Starless Sea looks wonderful. I haven’t read Mexican Gothic yet either. Here’s hoping you get some items on your list.

    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

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