Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter 2022 TBR

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.

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It is clearly winter now here in the UK: sub-zero temperatures, no working heating in the house; the smell of mince pies I’ve been baking in the kitchen; struggling through the last days at work – definitely not on a countdown – under the effect of a nasty cold and cough; daughter flying high on the adrenaline of her school Christmas play… Yup, definitely winter time!

The sort of time of year where curling up with a good book – and a pot of tea and, yes, one of those mince pies – is a real pleasure. So this week’s theme, a quick recap of the books I am looking forward to in these months, is a delight. I will preface these lists, though, as I always do with the caveat that I am very much a mood reader and will, over the winter, pay probably no heed whatsoever to this rather nominal list.

But, before we look to the future, lets recap how successful I was with my equally nominal Autumn / Fall tbr list!

Of these, I have read… three: The Bullet that Missed, Small Things Like These, and The Ink Black Heart. I’ve begun The Trees and got perhaps 60% through it before work and family got in the way. I will probably finish it over the holidays. To be honest, considering how many books I have read and not yet reviewed, I am impressed that I have reviewed all three of those that I have read!

And having looked at the past, let’s review the present and look at the books I am currently reading.

And finally, turning to the future, let’s see what books I am hoping I have the chance to read over the next three months between snowdrop season and daffodil season…

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka 

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest.

But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.

Ten years after his prizewinning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Karunatilaka is back with a rip-roaring epic, full of mordant wit and disturbing truths.

Yes I know that I was also on my Autumn list – is that cheating? – but it won the Booker Prize between then and now, so I think it is legitimate to push it back up.

The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells

As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

I’ve heard a lot of love for these books and I did pick up All Systems Red a couple of weeks ago and devoured it in a weekend – and it was a great fun read, if fun is the right word for something more visceral and violent than I am used to…

The Cloisters, Katy Hays

Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, hoping to spend her summer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she is assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval and Renaissance collections.

There she is drawn into a small circle of charismatic but enigmatic researchers, each with their own secrets and desires, including the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling.

Relieved to have left her troubled past behind and eager for the approval of her new colleagues, Ann is only too happy to indulge some of Patrick’s more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a mysterious, once-thought lost deck of 15th-century Italian tarot cards she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a dangerous game of power, toxic friendship and ambition.

And as the game being played within the Cloisters spirals out of control, Ann must decide whether she is truly able to defy the cards and shape her own future . . .

A Day of Fallen Nights, Samantha Shannon

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

This was gifted to me by NetGalley so I really have to be reading it by the publication date of 28th February – good job its only 880 pages then!

Stone Blind, Natalie Haynes

Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.

Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .

I love Natalie Haynes’ Stand Up for the Classics on Radio 4, and her Ovid not Covid broadcasts on Instagram during lockdown. The erudition of a genuine classicist, the wit of a stand-up comic. I didn’t quite get into A Thousand Ships as much as I had hoped – perhaps because there was so much Greek myth retelling at that time – so would love to be gripped by this.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, Janice Hallett

Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over..

Another NetGalley offering, and I did enjoy Hallett’s The Appeal and after reading The Twyford Code as well (slightly less successful for me), this is an author from whom you cannot take anything at face value!

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.

Love Banville but his novels are very rich and need time to savour and to enjoy… and this one sounds a little intimidating!!

Babel, R. F. Kuang

Oxford, 1836.

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?

So much good vibes about this one: language, colonialism, empire, Oxford University…

A Prayer for the Crown Shy, Becky Chambers

After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home. They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe. Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?

Having finally read A Psalm for the Wild Born – gorgeous, beautiful, peaceful, uplifting, gentle… – I am definitely looking forward to the continuing (adventures seems the wrong word for a novel revolving around making a decent cuppa tea…) lives of Dex and Mosscap.

Glory, NoViolet Bulawayo

A long time ago, in a bountiful land not so far away, the animal denizens lived quite happily . . .
And then the colonisers arrived, followed by a bloody War of Liberation. New hope came in the form of a charismatic horse who ruled and ruled and kept on ruling. For forty years he ruled, with the help of his elite band of Chosen Ones. Until one day, as he sat down to his Earl Grey tea and favourite radio programme, in came a new leader, a new regime. And once again the animals were full of hope.

Glory tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. At the centre of the tumult is Destiny, a young goat who has returned to her homeland to bear witness to revolution. Her arrival sets off a chain of events that reminds the denizens, and us, that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it. And that history can be stopped in a moment.

Animal Farm repurposed to depict the atrocities and betrayals of Mugabe’s Zibabwe, in the hands of an exceptional writer… yes please!


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.

And as an honourable mention, a bonus level if you like, and continuing the theme of some non fiction, I would like to read this. I remember reading T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the age of 18 and sort of being aware that it was huge but understanding almost none of it… definitely worth revisiting during its centenary year!


So, please do let me know any thoughts you have on these or any other books you feel I might want to add to this TBR pile….


Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes


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?)

January 3: Favorite Books of 2022
January 10: Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023
January 17: Bookish Goals for 2023
January 24: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022 (If you didn’t read books by 10 new authors, share new-to-you authors whose books you added to your TBR in 2022. Get creative, if needed!)
January 31: Freebie

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter 2022 TBR”

  1. Lots of great books to read. I’d say Stone Blind is a much more straightforward story compared to A Thousand Ships, I always listen to her narrate her own books on audio and I really enjoyed it. I need to get back into Murderbot, I’ve forgotten where I got to but I enjoyed what I’d read so far. A Day of Fallen Night is one my list too this week.

    Liked by 1 person

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