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
- 4th October: Favourite Bookshops and Bookstores I’d love to visit
- 11th October: Books I Read on Vacation
- 18th October: Favourite Words
- 25th October: Black History Month
- 1st November: Unlikeable Characters You Cannot Help But Love
- 8th November: Series I’d Like to Start/Catch up on/Finish
- 15th November: Favorite “Aww” Moments In Books
Freebies can be a challenge – especially as I tend to write these posts after a full day at work, a busy evening with my autistic daughter, cooking and washing up, an hour working out – that I sometimes feel as if I need a simple straightforward direction! Sometimes I look back on past ideas for inspiration and see some gorgeous ideas:
- Things in my life that I am grateful for – family, friends, freedom, the bookish community
- Characters I’m grateful to have met
- Characters I’m grateful not to be
- New authors I am grateful to have discovered
- New series I’m grateful for starting
All of these are great ideas, and I love them all, especially the bookish community online – a fantastic and supportive group of people.
But this week I thought I’d offer you the last ten books I have bought and for which I would be grateful for the time to actually read!
Super-Infinite, The Transformations of John Donne, Katherine Rundell
John Donne lived myriad lives.
Sometime religious outsider and social disaster, sometime celebrity preacher and establishment darling, John Donne was incapable of being just one thing. He was a scholar of law, a sea adventurer, an MP, a priest, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral – and perhaps the greatest love poet in the history of the English language. He converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, was imprisoned for marrying a high-born girl without her father’s consent, struggled to feed a family of ten children and was often ill and in pain. He was a man who suffered from black surges of sadness, yet expressed in his verse electric joy and love.
I rarely read non-fiction, even though there are two on this list, but I have always been fascinated by John Donne – and my daughter is loving that fact that she and I are reading books by the same author at the same time – The Wolf Wilder is her bedtime story! – and Rundell is winning so many plaudits for this that I am genuinely excited for it!
We Spread, Ian Reid
Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many “incidents.”
Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny – with a growing sense of unrest and distrust – starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling?
Shrines of Gaiety, Kate Atkinson
1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.
At the heart of this glittering world is notorious Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.
Anything by Kate Atkinson is, for me, an automatic buy and the glittering of the 1920s… lush!
Ghosts in the Gloaming, Denzil Meyrick
It’s December 1968. Having cheated Sandy Hoynes out of a rowing race and navigation certificate when they were young, Dreich MacCallum makes an unexpected return to Kinloch.
With the Girl Maggie up on the slip awaiting urgent repairs, Hoynes takes to his bed, the memory of it all too much. When first mate Hamish persuades his skipper to get up and put the fishing boat back into the water, there are unexpected consequences that put Hoynes’ liberty and reputation at risk.
Has Dreich won the day again?
But the spirits of the past have yet to have their say. Upon whom will the winter sun set?
The Singularities, John Banville
A man with a borrowed name steps from a flashy red sports car―also borrowed―onto the estate of his youth. But all is not as it seems. There is a new family living in the drafty old house: the Godleys, descendants of the late, world-famous scientist Adam Godley, whose theory of existence threw the universe into chaos. And this mystery man, who has just completed a prison sentence, feels as if time has stopped, or was torn, or was opened in new and strange ways. He must now vie with the idiosyncratic Godley family, with their harried housekeeper who becomes his landlady, with the recently commissioned biographer of Godley Sr., and with a wealthy and beautiful woman from his past who comes bearing an unusual request.
Babel, R. F. Kuang
The city of dreaming spires.
It is the centre of all knowledge and progress in the world.
And at its centre is Babel, the Royal Institute of Translation. The tower from which all the power of the Empire flows.
Orphaned in Canton and brought to England by a mysterious guardian, Babel seemed like paradise to Robin Swift.
Until it became a prison…
But can a student stand against an empire?
A Heart Full of Headstones, Ian Rankin
John Rebus had been in court plenty of times, but this was his first time in the dock…
John Rebus stands accused: on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Although it’s not the first time the legendary detective has taken the law into his own hands, it might be the last.
What drove a good man to cross the line? Or have times changed, and the rules with them?
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke faces Edinburgh’s most explosive case in years, as a corrupt cop goes missing after claiming to harbour secrets that could sink the city’s police force.
But in this investigation, it seems all roads lead to Rebus – and Clarke’s twin loyalties to the public and the police will be tested to their limit.
A reckoning is coming – and John Rebus may be hearing the call for last orders…
It has been a long time since I spent any time in John Rebus’ Edinburgh… looking forward to catching up with him.
Leech, Hiron Ennes
In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends out a replacement. But when the new physician investigates the cause of death, which appears to be suicide, there’s a mystery to solve. It seems the good doctor was hosting a parasite. Yet this should have been impossible, as the physician was already possessed – by the Institute.
The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the horrors their ancestors unleashed. For hundreds of years, it has taken root in young minds and shaped them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. But now there’s competition. For in the baron’s icebound castle, already a pit of secrets and lies, the parasite is spreading . . .
These two enemies will make war within the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, will humanity lose again?
Final Girl Support Group, Grady Hendrix
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
Lynnette Tarkington survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized―someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
The Waste Land, A Biography of a Poem, Matthew Hollis
The Waste Land has been called the ‘World’s Greatest Poem’. It is said to describe the moral decay of a world after war, to find meaning in a meaningless era. It has been labelled the most truthful poem of its time; it has been branded a masterful fake. A century after its publication in 1922, T. S. Eliot’s enigmatic masterpiece remains one of the most influential works ever written, and yet one of the most mysterious.
In a remarkable feat of biography, Matthew Hollis reconstructs the intellectual creation of the poem and brings the material reality of its charged times vividly to life. Presenting a mosaic of historical fragments, diaries, dynamic literary criticism and illuminating new research, he reveals the cultural and personal trauma that forged The Waste Land through the lives of its protagonists – of Ezra Pound, who edited it; of Vivien Eliot, who sustained it; and of T. S. Eliot himself, whose private torment is woven into the seams of the work. The result is an unforgettable story of lives passing in opposing directions and the astounding literary legacy they would leave behind.
The Twist of a Knife, Anthony Horowitz
‘Our deal is over.’
That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.
His new play, Mindgame, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.
On opening night, Sunday Times critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.
Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated.
Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.
But will Hawthorne take his call?
The second book in this list where our hero appears to have been framed for a crime… I’ve enjoyed Horowitz playfulness with the other novels in this series, so looking forward to finding time for this one.
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
November 29: Cozy Reads (Share books that give off a cozy vibe, whether through atmosphere, setting, or some other factor. Please tell us why they’re cozy for you, too!)
December 6: Freebie
December 13: Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List
December 20: Books I Hope Santa Brings This Year
December 27: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection (What books did you get as presents this holiday season? Or what did you buy with gift cards?)