Top Ten Tuesday: Titles or Covers That Made Me Want to Read/Buy the Book

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


What is it that leads to me to buy a book?

Oftentimes, it is not the cover or the title – which poses some problems for this specific task. There are certain authors whose books I will buy because of the author – when authors like Patrick Ness, China Miéville, Kate Atkinson, Akwaeke Emezi, Susan Hill, Tana French, Frances Hardinge release a book, it feels like an event – or because of the quality of their previous books. Occasionally because it is an entry in a series although I have found myself increasingly moving away from reading series recently – but the sequel to Ninth House will be picked up rapidly, or Sanderson’s Cytonic series and of course his Stormlight Archive. So maybe I am still reading series.

Book prize nominations and longlists are also great sources to find new authors: I do try to follow the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Booker Prize (this year’s longlist announced a few days ago) and the Carnegie Medal for Young Adult Fiction.

These TTTs – and recommendations from friends generally are also a great way to find new reads too: I often have my journal to hand and Goodreads open on another tab to swell my tbr – hence Casey McQuiston, Jasper Fforde, Becky Chambers, T J Klune and Kalynn Bayron have crept onto my radar.

But covers and titles in the abstract, not so much…. but there have been the occasional one that caught my eye whilst browsing through the local bookshops and have ended up on my TBR list. These are the ten most recent evenly divided between titles and covers.

Titles

Nightbitch, Rachel Yoder

One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else…

At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined – what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.

Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice…

What caught my attention?

This time is was the word bitch – a word I still find more shocking than I would expect! – and the blurb when I did look into it a little more also sounded… well… brilliant!

How To Kill Your Family, Bella Mackie

· Kill my family
· Make a claim on their fortune
· Get away with the above
· Adopt a dog

Meet Grace Bernard.
Daughter, sister, colleague, friend, serial killer…
Grace has lost everything. And now she wants revenge.

What caught my attention?

Ah, the temptation to revel in fantasies of family murder…. perfectly natural, yes? Also I has heard Bella Mackie and her husband Greg James on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read and they sounded such a lovely warm bookish couple!

Mrs Death Misses Death, Salena Godden

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.

Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .

What caught my attention?

The silly silly pun! I love a good pun, and a bad one for that matter!

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, Richard Flanagan

In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna’s aged mother is dying―if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight.

When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful novel about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.

What caught my attention?

This title is just a thing of beauty! Poetic, lyrical, rich… it gives nothing away!

At Night All Blood Is Black, David Diop

Alfa and Mademba are two of the many Senegalese soldiers fighting in the Great War. Together they climb dutifully out of their trenches to attack France’s German enemies whenever the whistle blows, until Mademba is wounded, and dies in a shell hole with his belly torn open.

Without his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone and lost amidst the savagery of the conflict. He devotes himself to the war, to violence and death, but soon begins to frighten even his own comrades in arms. How far will Alfa go to make amends to his dead friend?

What caught my attention?

Again, it is the beauty of this title – the iambic beat to it

Covers

The Chosen and the Beautiful, Nghi Vo

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society–she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

What caught my attention?

Just look at the cover here, it is absolutely gorgeous! The white and black, the way it captures the period… and again once looked it up and saw that it was a queer Asian retelling of The Great Gatsby….

Ariadne, Jennifer Saint

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

What caught my attention?

The gold and blue colour scheme is just gorgeous here! And the gold was sparkly! Alas, it did not transfer quite so beautifully to my electronic version….

The Library of the Dead, T. L. Huchu

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

What caught my attention?

The cityscape / street plan background to the title was really eye catching. And also libraries in books!

The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected – Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.

When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully, she transforms into a woman again. Yet as their love grows, they discover that the world around them is changing – and they cannot escape the curse for ever . . .

What caught my attention?

The vibrancy of the colours here: the red and yellow heat of the sun contrasting with the cool blue of the mermaid herself…. and also, of course, the word “mermaid” in the title is always a draw!

Whirligig, Andrew James Grieg

Just outside a sleepy Highland town, a gamekeeper is found hanging lifeless from a tree. The local police investigate an apparent suicide, only to find he’s been snared as efficiently as the rabbit suspended beside him. As the body count rises, the desperate hunt is on to find the murderer before any more people die.

But the town doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and who makes the intricate clockwork mechanisms carved from bone and wood found at each crime? Whirligig is a tartan noir like no other; an expose of the corruption pervading a small Highland community and the damage this inflicts on society’s most vulnerable. What happens when those placed in positions of trust look the other way; when those charged with our protection are inadequate to the challenge; when the only justice is that served by those who have been sinned against?

What caught my attention?

Those wonderful cog shapes in the tree – sparkly and metallised and gorgeous.


And there we are, once more amongst my random ramblings and thoughts, five books that I bought because of the title and five I bought because of the covers. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and look forward to reading your posts – and adding to this TBR list!

Happy TTT!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

  • August 10: Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve More Love
  • August 17: Favourite Places to Read
  • August 24: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time
  • August 31: Fictional Crushes

26 comments

  1. Nightbitch definitely grabs me with that title- but the blurb too! And Ariadne- that title caught my eye because of the mythology element, but what a gorgeous cover!

    Liked by 1 person

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