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
- November 23: Characters I’d Love an Update On
- November 30: Bookish Memories
- December 7: Diversity in 2021
- December 14: Books on my Winter 2021 To-Read List
- December 21: Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes
- December 28: Best Books I Read In 2021
It is 2022, everyone!
A new year. New Reading Log written over the last couple of evenings. New bullet journals (moving from Leuchtturm 1917 to Scribbles That Matter as a notebook of choice) arriving tomorrow.
And I am currently in denial about the return to work tomorrow.
So this is a good time to look forward to 2022, whereas last week’s topic asked us to look back to 2021’s best reads. And I do love these Most Anticipated lists: bringing together all the browsing I have done over the last few weeks and being able to re-view it as “research”!
6th January, Hare House, Sally Hinchcliffe
Hare House is not its real name, of course. I have, if you will forgive me, kept names to a minimum here, for reasons that will become understandable . . .
In the first brisk days of autumn, a woman arrives in Scotland having left her job at an all-girls school in London in mysterious circumstances. Moving into a cottage on the remote estate of Hare House, she begins to explore her new home – a patchwork of hills, moorland and forest. But among the tiny roads, dykes and scattered houses, something more sinister lurks: local tales of witchcraft, clay figures and young men sent mad.
Striking up a friendship with her landlord, Grant, and his younger sister, Cass, she begins to suspect that all might not be quite as it seems at Hare House. And as autumn turns to winter, and a heavy snowfall traps the inhabitants of the estate within its walls, tensions rise to fever pitch.
I am really in the mood for a great Gothic novel, and this sounds like a classic – I am also in love with the imagery of the hare in mythology, folklore and, of course, the wonderfully Gothic Starve Acre.
11th January, To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara
In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.
I must confess that I have not read A Little Life yet – its length is a little intimidating – and To Paradise is no lightweight at a hefty 720 pages either! But that summary sounds, well, stunning!
20th January, Free Love, Tessa Hadley
1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their children are Colette, a bookish teenager, and Hugh, the golden boy.
But when the twenty-something son of an old friend pays the Fischers a visit one hot summer evening, and kisses Phyllis in the dark garden after dinner, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations of her as a wife and a mother. Nothing in these ordinary lives is so ordinary after all, it turns out, as the family’s upheaval mirrors the dramatic transformation of the society around them.
20th January, The Anomaly, Hervé le Tellier – translated by Adriana Hunter
When flight Air France 006 enters a terrifying storm, the plane – inexplicably – duplicates. For every passenger on board that day, there are now two – a double with the same mind, body and memories.
Just one thing sets them apart. One plane leaves the storm in March. The other doesn’t land until June. For world leaders, the emergence of the June flight raises serious alarms. No science, faith, or protocol can explain this unprecedented event.
And as the doubles prepare to meet, they have an extraordinary decision to make.
If there are two of them, and just one life . . . who gets to live it?
This novel just sounds wonderful: on one hand, impossibly wonderfully bonkers; on the other hand deeply thoughtful and thought provoking.
20th January, The Sentence, Louise Erdrich
A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading ‘with murderous attention,’ must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation and furious reckoning.
Haunted bookshop? You had me from that point on, Erdrich!
2nd March, Chivalry, Neil Gaiman
An elderly widow buys what turns out to be the Holy Grail from a second-hand shop, setting her off on an epic adventure with a knight who brings her gifts of ancient relics in hope of winning the cup.
I think this is a graphic novelisation of a radio broadcast, which was released on audible as a dramatisation….
But it sounds great fun!
3rd March, Our Wives Under the Sea, Julia Armfield
Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah may have come back wrong. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home.
To have the woman she loves back should mean a return to normal life, but Miri can feel Leah slipping from her grasp. Memories of what they had before – the jokes they shared, the films they watched, all the small things that made Leah hers – only remind Miri of what she stands to lose. Living in the same space but suddenly separate, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had might be gone.
Oh my! I adore this cover – and the write up sounds fantastical. I am a sucker for yarns about mysterious things from the sea!
31st March, Wild and Wicked Things, Francesca May
On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface. But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.
When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.
Set in the aftermath of World War One, this looks like a wonderful romp!
14th April, Young Mungo, Douglas Stuart
Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in a hyper-masculine world. They are caught between two of Glasgow’s housing estates where young working-class men divide themselves along sectarian lines, and fight territorial battles for the sake of reputation. They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the doocot that James has built for his prize racing pigeons. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold.
But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, with two strange men behind whose drunken banter lie murky pasts, he needs to summon all his inner strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.
After Shuggie Bain, I am more than willing to trust Douglas Stuart to serve up tender working class lyricism – again.
7th April Companion Piece, Ali Smith
A celebration of companionship in all its timeless and contemporary, legendary and unpindownable, spellbinding and shapeshifting forms . . .
It follows the unique achievement of her Seasonal cycle of novels – Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer – written and published in as close as possible to real time, between 2016 and 2020, absorbing and refracting the times we are living through: the ‘state-of-the-nation novels which understand that the nation is you, is me, is all of us’
The Amazon write up doesn’t exactly tell us much, does it? But, this is Ali Smith – so for me it is a must buy!
28th April, People Person, Candice Carty-Williams
Dimple Pennington knew of her half siblings, but she didn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about. She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.
Wonderful cover. Wonderful name – I mean, Dimple Pennington! Love it! – and of course with the author of Queenie at the helm this is likely to be wonderful, tender and caustically funny and brutally honest.
10th May, Siren Queen, Nghi Vo
It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.
No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers. Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill–but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.
But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes–even if that means becoming the monster herself.
This looks just… wonderful!
12th May, Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions-much good it did me.”
So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.
I love a mythic retelling – but that market seems saturated at the moment with Greek mythology. And that’s great. But let’s not forget the wonderful range of diverse mythologies outside the Greco-Roman world: this one re-imagines the life of a Queen from the Ramayana.
26th May, You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime:
Feyi is about to be given the chance to escape the City’s blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. And as the sun goes down on her old life our heroine also might just be ready to open her heart to someone new.
The only problem is, she’s falling for the one man she absolutely can’t have.
The write-up here makes it sound like a holiday romance romp… but knowing Emezi’s other work, they’re an author who challenges and redefines genres. And they’re an author whom I adore, and a good prompt to read The Death of Vivek Oji first.
23rd June, Lapvona, Otessa Moshfegh
Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, never knew his mother; his father told him she died in childbirth. One of life’s few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him when he was a baby, as she did for many of the village’s children. Ina’s gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. Her gift often brings her the transmission of sacred knowledge on levels far beyond those available to other villagers, however religious they might be. For some people, Ina’s home in the woods outside the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place.
This sounds like an intriguing and potentially unsettling read: The Guardian cites “Murder, cannibalism, occult forces: a pitch-black take on fairytales”. Sounds great for the heat of June.
And I know that this is more than ten! There are, however, two more names that I want to drop in here, even though they are released later in the year: a new novel by Francis Hardinge or Silvia Moreno-Garcia is always an exciting event, and there has been so much love for Psalm for the Wild Built that its sequel will be eagerly anticipated.
- A Prayer for the Crown Shy, Becky Chambers, 12th July
- The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 19th July 2022
- Unraveller, Francis Hardinge, 1st September
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
- January 4: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the First Half of 2022
- January 11: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection
- January 18: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To
- January 25: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021