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
- February 1: Books with Character Names In the Titles
- February 8: Love Freebie
- February 15: Books Too Good To Be Reviewed Properly
- February 22: Dynamic Duos
- March 1: Books I Enjoyed, but Have Never Mentioned On My Blog
- March 8: Books With Your Favourite Trope/Theme
This week I have a little more time to devote to the topic because, dear reader, I have finally finished mock marking… in time for another year group to sit mocks in about, oh, a week! Not to mention that whole completely-reorganising-the-curriculum going on!
So, with that extra time, before we begin the spring TBR, let’s have a look at and review last winter’s TBR post. How many did I manage to read before adding ever more books to that list?
My Winter TBR
Books Read: 5 / 16 = 31%
- The Twyford Code, Janice Hallett
- The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Eva Jurczyk
- The Leviathan, Rosie Andrews
- Elektra, Jennifer Saint
- Exit, Belinda Bauer
Favourite Book Read: Exit, Belinda Bauer
Currently Reading: The Island of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak –
Which is absolutely brilliant by the way!
Book I’m most disappointed at not having read yet: Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney
My Spring TBR
Moving onto this week’s topic and the looking towards the future, this week has made my list ridiculously easy to compose: with the release of the Women’s Prize longlist, those are the books that are now on my TBR! So they comprise – in alphabetical order
- Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
- Careless by Kirsty Capes
- Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé
- Flamingo by Rachel Elliott
- Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
- Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey
- Salt Lick by Lulu Allison
- Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
- The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
- The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini
- The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson
- The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
- The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
- The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
- The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
- This One Sky Day by Leone Ross
1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience.
2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.
The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands.
I love the sound of this title, and of this cover! The Vietnamese culture is not one that I am familair with so I am excited to discover more here. And this seems to be one of many possessions, ghosts and hauntings on this list.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall between the cracks…
At 3.04 p.m. on a hot, sticky day in June, Bess finds out she’s pregnant.
She could tell her social worker Henry, but he’s useless.
She should tell her foster mother, Lisa, but she won’t understand.
She really ought to tell Boy, but she hasn’t spoken to him in weeks.
Bess knows more than anyone that love doesn’t come without conditions.
But this isn’t a love story…
An enigmatic write up on Amazon – I’m not sure that I am any clearer about what to expect here. The cover does beat echoes of Sally Rooney’s covers, somehow.
Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car: a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River.
Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash-reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw-has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the “River Man,” who somehow appears each time he goes there.
The River Man? Charmed conversations? A haunted taxi? Consider me invested in this one already!
First, there were the flamingos. And then there were two families. Sherry and Leslie and their daughters, Rae and Pauline – and Eve and her son Daniel.
Sherry loves her husband, Leslie. She also loves Eve. It couldn’t have been a happier summer. But then Eve left and everything went grey. Now Daniel is all grown-up and broken. And when he turns up at Sherry’s door, it’s almost as if they’ve all come home again. But there’s still one missing. Where is Eve? And what, exactly, is her story?
I’m not sure where the flamingos come into this… but the dynamics between these families sounds complicated and intriguing
From her days as a wild child in prohibition America to the blitz and glitz of wartime London, from the rugged shores of New Zealand to a lonely iceshelf in Antarctica, Marian Graves is driven by a need for freedom and danger.
Determined to live an independent life, she resists the pull of her childhood sweetheart, and burns her way through a suite of glamorous lovers. But it is an obsession with flight that consumes her most.
Over half a century later, troubled film star Hadley Baxter is drawn inexorably to play the enigmatic pilot on screen. It is a role that will lead her to an unexpected discovery, throwing fresh and spellbinding light on the story of the unknowable Marian Graves.
This has been on my radar for a while, since appearing on the Booker longlist too. The blurb sounds great: unconventional women, adventure, glamour… why haven’t I read it yet?
Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind and life in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannführer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camp’s administrator.
When Frau Hahn’s poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naïve ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. A decade earlier, Dr Weber had invented a machine believed that its subtle resonances might cure cancer. But does it really work? One way or another, it might save a life.
Being honest, I struggle with novels set in and around Concentration Camps. Too brutal. Too sensitive. Too raw still. How sympathetic will the Nazi characters be? How accurate the depiction of the camp? Echoes of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas here, which was not without problems.
Britain is awash, the sea creeps into the land, brambles and forest swamp derelict towns. Food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work. The countryside is empty. A chorus, the herd voice of feral cows, wander this newly wild land watching over changing times, speaking with love and exasperation.
Jesse and his puppy Mister Maliks roam the woods until his family are forced to leave for London. Lee runs from the terrible restrictions of the White Town where he grew up. Isolde leaves London on foot, walking the abandoned A12 in search of the truth about her mother.
Is this some form of post-apocalyptic setting? What is a “herd voice of feral cows”? But colour me curious and intrigued, just for that setting!
Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.
So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?
Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.
Got to be honest, this blurb doesn’t excite me. Persuade me that I am wrong, if you have read this one… the only thing that interests me is that “little bomb” comment…
One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house – a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce.
At first Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, he falls in love with a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many. And he meets his very own Book – a talking thing – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
Yes! I loved Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and have high hopes for this one – because who wouldn’t want to meet their own Book? And Ozeki is so good at that listening to others…
Alethea Lopez is about to turn 40. Fashionable, feisty and fiercely independent, she manages a boutique in Port of Spain, but behind closed doors she’s covering up bruises from her abusive partner and seeking solace in an affair with her boss. When she witnesses a woman murdered by a jealous lover, the reality of her own future comes a little too close to home.
Bringing us her truth in an arresting, unsparing Trinidadian voice, Alethea unravels memories repressed since childhood and begins to understand the person she has become.
Her next step is to decide the woman she wants to be.
I feel this one will live or die by the voice of the narrator Alethea Lopez – I may either love the novel because I loved her voice, or… well, not!
Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art – the first in many decades – and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good.
His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father’s biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make . . .
And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.
Got to be honest: the word ‘exhibitionist’ conjured up a rather different image for me than the blurb suggests! Love the cover and interested to know what Lucia’s secrets are.
Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, a Black punk artist before her time. Despite her unconventional looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her one night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially Black women, who dare to speak their truth.
This sounds like an important and timely novel – and the 1970s setting might be a joy to explore, as a child of the ’70s!
On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ – her family’s holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside…
So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and fifty years, as Elle’s shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision – and an ending you won’t be able to stop thinking about.
There a lot of hype in that final phrase – and part of me is resentful that whoever wrote it had the gall to think they knew what I will and won’t be able to stop thinking about… Sorry, but that irked me! The novel itself though sounds like it has promise!
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.
The Sentence begins on All Souls’ Day 2019 and ends on All Souls’ Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
Haunted bookshop? Sign me up!
Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do:
A wedding feast to conjure and cook
An infidelity to investigate
A lost soul to set free
As the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same.
The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again.
Obviously, though, there are even more books than this lurking on my TBR, so seeing as we have already reached 15 we may as well round that up with the following:
When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .
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?
When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.
Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.
These two just look fun and quirky, and are really giving off Rivers of London vibes, albeit in Scotland!
It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Oh Becky Chambers, such a humane writer. A new series? Sentient robots? Yes please!
So, once again, a tbr list that is overflowing and will never be completed… and I make no apologies for that! There are so many great sounding books out there, that I want them all! And your lists definitely aren’t going to add to my list all, are they?!
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title (Submitted by Nicole @ How to Train a Book Dragon)
March 29: 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)
April 5: Freebie (come up with your own topic!)
April 12: Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To (Submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse)
April 19: Bookish Merchandise I’d Love to Own
April 26: Books with [___] On the Cover (Pick a thing (a color, an item, a place, an animal, a scripty font, a sexy person, etc.) and share covers that have that thing on the cover.)