Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:
Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR
This is perfect for a Wishes for My TBR Pile post, which is a monthly post where I list and sometimes discuss the books I’ve discovered and would like to get.
I couldn’t minimize them to 10 so here are the top 14 books I would like to get soon and read (in no particular order).
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (March 3, 2015)
A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality — the black Chinese restaurant.
Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens — on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles — the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, but when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident — the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins — he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court. (Goodreads)
I forgot where I learned about this book but the synopsis made me think of Black No More by George Schuyler and that made me want to get and read this book. I’m so curious about it.
Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley (September 20, 2007)
Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world’s remaining creatures. Until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has given birth — and one of the babies is still alive. (Goodreads)
I enjoy reading books about dragons and I enjoy books written by Robin McKinley so when I saw this on Book Outlet a couple weeks ago, I added it to my Goodreads TBR to prevent myself from immediately adding it to my cart and breaking my new book-buying code of conduct.
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (August 24, 1953)
When the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect. But, although the Overlords kept themselves hidden from man, they had come to unite a warring world and to offer an end to poverty and crime. When they finally showed themselves it was a shock, but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began.
But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and begin to evolve into something incomprehensible to their parents, and soon they will be ready to join the Overmind … and, in a grand and thrilling metaphysical climax, leave the Earth behind. (Goodreads)
SyFy is responsible for this one. They recently released a miniseries with the same name that’s based on this book and I was so into it that now I want to get and read the book. I liked the show but the ending wasn’t what I expected and I’d like to know if the book is the same. I don’t read many sci-fi novels but I’m willing to take a plunge with this one. Here’s the trailer for the show:
Shadows by Robin McKinley (September 26, 2013)
A compelling and inventive novel set in a world where science and magic are at odds … Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But — more importantly — what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.
Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too — and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know … until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.
In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive. (Goodreads)
So on that same day when I was on Book Outlet looking at books I shouldn’t buy, I discovered this one. I did the same thing as I did with Dragonhaven: simply add it to my Goodreads TBR list. I’ll probably borrow these from the library first and if I really like them, then I’ll buy them. I’m trying to save money.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (June 4, 2012)
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot — searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.
What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion — along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.
Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams. (Goodreads)
The reason why I want to get and read this book is because of this quote:
“It was as if I was a character in a movie and the real action was about to start at any minute. But I think some people wait forever, and only at the end of their lives do they realise that their life has happened while they were waiting for it to start.”
And also its cover.
Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu, illus. by Sana Takeda (November 4, 2015)
Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. (Goodreads)
I saw this featured in Kaitlin’s Top 15 Books of 2015 video and immediately wanted to get it. I just love the artwork in it. I like that it’s dark and gory. See video below.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (March 21, 1985)
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession. (Goodreads)
As I’ve often mentioned in previous posts, I discovered podcasts and I’m hooked. I’m currently working my way through the many BBC book club podcasts and a few days ago, I stumbled upon an interview with Jeanette Winterson on a BBC World Book Club podcast. I liked her sense of humor and I was curious about her book so I placed it on my TBR list.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (October 28, 2014)
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings — his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.
Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos. (Goodreads)
I think I found out about this one on booktube. I’m pretty sure. Anyways, I’m curious about it. It makes me think of colonization.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (January 5, 2016)
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble — as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her — but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. (Goodreads)
This one is pretty popular right now. Everyone is excited for it and wants to get it. At first I was interested because I like the cover but I heard that the author is a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender and that the show influences the book a little so now I really want to get and read it.
Simone: A Novel by Eduardo Lalo, trans. By David Frye
A tale of alienation, love, suspense, imagination, and literature set on the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Simone tells the story of a self-educated Chinese immigrant student courting (and stalking) a disillusioned, unnamed writer who is struggling to make a name for himself in a place that is not exactly a hotbed of literary fame. By turns solipsistic and political, romantic and dark, Simone begins with the writer’s frustrated, satiric observations on his native city and the banal life of the university where he teaches — forces utterly at odds with the sensuality of his writing. But, as mysterious messages and literary clues begin to appear — scrawled on sidewalks and walls, inside volumes set out in bookstores, left on his answering machine and under his windshield wiper — Simone progresses into a cat-and-mouse game between the writer and his mystery stalker. When the eponymous Simone’s identity is at last revealed, the writer finds in the life of this Chinese immigrant a plight not unlike his own. Traumatized and lonely, the pair moves towards bittersweet collaborations in passion, grief, and art. (Goodreads)
I learned about this novel on Repeating Islands and when I read the review posted there, I kept thinking of You by Caroline Kepnes. That made me want to get and read it. Actually, it’s possible that from now on any novel that mentions a stalker will make me think of You.
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary (January 5, 2016)
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked … and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth — or say good-bye to the world of the living forever. (Goodreads)
It’s the cover. That’s what caught my interest. Then it was that it’s set in Japan and involves magic. Just sounds like fun.
Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (January 5, 2016)
A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning.
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who — or what — has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?
In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, Mr. Splitfoot will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa. (Goodreads)
Black’Mor Chronicles: The Cursed — Welcome to the Park of the Chimera by Élian Black’mor, co-illus. by Carine-M (November 3, 2015)
When world traveler and paranormal journalist Élian Black’Mor arrives in London, he discovers a hidden world — the Park of Illusions, a hidden refuge for werewolves, fauns, hydras, and other mystical creatures. In this stunning collection of his observations, Élian describes his encounters with fascinating supernatural beings of all kinds, from the Master Eel of the Thames to the Plant Sarcophagus of Kew Gardens. (Goodreads)
Umm…I forgot how I learned about this one but I enjoyed Black’mor’s In Search of Lost Dragons so much that I’d like to get this book as well. It seems to be similar to In Search of Lost Dragons in that it’s a lost diary or something like that. I just know the illustrations will be great. I hope to get it.
Visit Élian Black’mor’s website to see select illustrations from the book.
The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis (1796)
Set in the sinister monastery of the Capuchins in Madrid, The Monk is a violent tale of ambition, murder, and incest. The great struggle between maintaining monastic vows and fulfilling personal ambitions leads its main character, the monk Ambrosio, to temptation and the breaking of his vows, then to sexual obsession and rape, and finally to murder in order to conceal his guilt. (Goodreads)
I think I first heard about this book in Michael Dirda’s Classics for Pleasure. I’m pretty sure. It just sounds interesting to me and it seems perfect for my Horror Reads Challenge.
Have you read any of these books? Share your thoughts below.
Check out what other bloggers placed on their TBR lists
- Ten Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR Lately (perpetualpageturner.com)
- Top Ten Tuesdays (eclectictales.com)
- Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Decided I NEED to Read (thelocalmuse.blogspot.com)
- Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR (never-anyone-else.blogspot.com)
- Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added on My TBR (jaynevsbooks.wordpress.com)