Category Archives: Top of the TBR

Top of the TBR 6.10.19

Top of the TBR is a new series I’m starting with the intent of it eventually replacing my book hauls. Since my TBR goal for this year is tied to the new books I’m buying throughout the year, I will (probably) still be mentioning new titles I’ve acquired each month for a while yet. But by the end of the year, Top of the TBR should have completely replaced those book hauls. (See my first Top of the TBR post for more info on why I’m making this switch.)

But what is Top of the TBR? Good question. It’s a weekly post that will showcase any new books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR recently, with a short explanation of why each title caught my interest. I’ll aim for 5-10 books per post; in weeks that I’ve added more than that, I’ll hold some back, and in weeks that I don’t have enough, I’ll include titles I haven’t discussed yet. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further, as I’m not a fan of copy/pasting synopses. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re reading! 🙂

Here are some of the new books I’ve added on Goodreads over the last week:

38463If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (Pub: 1974)

How I found it: I’ve been hearing quite a bit about this book surrounding its recent film release, but I finally ended up adding it after Grab the Lapels recommended it based on my thoughts about An American Marriage.

Why I added it: It sounds like this one focuses more on injustice and social commentary than a dramatic love triangle; in essence, it sounds like everything I wanted from An American Marriage but didn’t quite find there.

Priority: Low. I don’t have a copy on hand and I just reread An American Marriage. I’m not sure yet when I’ll pick this one up, but I do know I’ll probably want to watch the film at the same time.

7756979Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (Pub: Jan 2010)

How I found it: Also recommended to me by Grab the Lapels, same situation.

Why I added it: Basically all of my prison knowledge comes from a few scattered pieces of fiction, and the TV series Orange is the New Black; this looks like it’ll be a nice overview from the inside, from a nonfiction perspective. I’ve been so interested in true crime lately that this seems like a good adjacent read.

Priority: Middling. I am planning to read more nonfiction this summer, and even though my list is overly full already it’s possible that I might decide to pick this one up as well.

32073130Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash (Pub: July 2017)

How I found it: I read Callum’s highly intriguing review!

Why I added it: It’s hard to say just what exactly is appealing to me here, but there’s a specific brand of “weirdness” that just works so well for me that I think I’ll find in this one. A “three-way relationship,” an identity crisis, obsession, pain vs. pleasure… the synopsis is full of what seems like perfect ingredients.

Priority: High. My TBR is way too full to keep spontaneously letting new-to-me titles skip ahead of the line, but I’ve been struggling lately to find 5-star reads that really excite me so I want to make sure I’m reaching for more of the surprising and odd books that I think have a chance at breaking the cycle.

34019105Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (Pub: Feb 2017)

How I found it: Rachel mentioned this title briefly in her recent ARCs post; her focus was mainly on the author’s newest (upcoming) release, but Dead Letters had been on my radar since it was included as a BOTM selection in 2017 and that small mention was just enough to finally convince me to give this one a chance.

Why I added it: A set of twins, an uncertain death, family secrets? Sign me up. Better late than never. I’ve not had a great relationship with mystery/thrillers lately, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up completely.

Priority: Middling. Summer and fall are my best times of year for this sort of story, and since I don’t have many lined up yet. I can see myself getting to this before the end of the year, but you know what they say about good intentions.

40718354The Fire Starters by Jan Carson (Pub: Apr 2019)

How I found it: I read Rachel’s lovely review!

Why I added it: Rachel has great taste and I agree with her more often than not. Also, this just sounds really good! Two fathers who can’t trust their children, mysterious fires, Irish setting, community strife, magical element? I’m there. (If you’re not there yet, definitely check out Rachel’s review!)

Priority: High. This sounds like such a unique and compelling read, and might help me cross back into 5-star territory!

42201100Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I read Elle’s wonderful review! (Clearly this has been a good week for recommendations, even if they weren’t specifically aimed at me…)

Why I added it: This is a feminist nonfiction book about three women in particular, with desire as a common theme. The synopsis calls the book: “a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power.” Hell yes.

Priority: High. This one’s on my summer nonfiction list for sure. I’ve already got a hold on this title through my library.

38359002The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (Pub: June  2018)

How I found it: I don’t remember. This one’s been on my list for months, and just got bumped up because I entered a Goodreads giveaway for it this week. (Still ongoing!) There’s always one.

Why I added it: I have not yet read anything from Tremblay, but I do like horror and suspense and have been meaning to give some of his work a go. I don’t remember any specifics about the synopsis, but the title succeeds at catching my attention every single time I come across it.

Priority: Middling. Hopefully I’ll get to this one in October, when I like to focus on spooky reads.

20702408A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Pub: Sept 2014)

How I found it: This one’s been on my radar for a while, as a previous Women’s Prize Winner, though I hadn’t looked into it very thoroughly until this week.

Why I added it: I’ve been meaning to read some of McBride’s work, and I have her The Lesser Bohemians on my TBR already; I usually stick to one book per author on my TBR at a time, then add another after finishing the first if I’m still interested at that point. But I’ve been chatting about a potential buddy read of this one with some Women’s Prize friends so I want to keep it in mind.

Priority: High. I believe this will be happening in July, so I’m planning to pick up my library’s copy then.

408888A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (Pub: Jan 1995)

How I found it: I had to give this one a second look during my recent scroll through previous Women’s Prize winners.

Why I added it: This was the first ever Women’s Prize winner, in 1996 (back when it was the Orange Prize). This looks like historical (Gothic) fiction, featuring an intense sibling relationship complicated by family secrets and the woman’s “dark present and haunting past.” The synopsis on Goodreads doesn’t give much away, but I do enjoy dark and mysterious and odd family dynamics, so this sounds right up my alley.

Priority: Low. I would love to read more Women’s Prize winners, but having just reread this year’s winner and with plans to read A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing already in the works, this one’s on the back burner.

53101Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (Pub: 1936)

How I found it: I just read Barnes’s inclusion in the Faber Stories collection, The Lydia Steptoe Stories, and went looking through more of Barnes’s oeuvre.

Why I added it: It was hard to tell from Lydia Steptoe whether this was going to be an author that I would appreciate more broadly (the stories in that volume were so short!), but the synopsis of this one sounds like it’ll tick some of the same boxes for me that Lydia Steptoe did, so I think it’s worth a try. Goodreads says this novel “unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe’s great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna- a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous,” which sounds wonderful.

Prioirity: Low. I’m really curious about this, but I’m not in a hurry. I think that’s getting to be the common catchphrase for me in these posts, but with 600+ books on my Goodreads TBR I just can’t get to everything immediately.

 

With exactly ten titles added over the last week, that’s a wrap. I’m really excited about basically all of these, so don’t be surprised to see reviews for some of the titles mentioned start popping up!

Have you read any of these books, or recognize them from your own TBR?

 

The Literary Elephant

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Top of the TBR 6.3.19

Top of the TBR is a new series I’m starting with the intent of it eventually replacing my book hauls. Since my TBR goal for this year is tied to the new books I’m buying throughout the year, I will (probably) still be mentioning new titles I’ve acquired each month for a while yet. But by the end of the year, Top of the TBR should have completely replaced those book hauls. (See my first Top of the TBR post for more info on why I’m making this switch.)

But what is Top of the TBR? Good question. It’s a weekly post that will showcase any new books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR recently, with a short explanation of why each title caught my interest. I’ll aim for 5-10 books per post- in weeks that I’ve added more than that, I’ll hold some back, and in weeks that I don’t have enough, I’ll include titles I haven’t discussed yet. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further, as I’m not a fan of copy/pasting synopses. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re reading! 🙂

Here are some of the new books I’ve added on Goodreads over the last week:

25463201Noah’s Wife by Lindsay Starck (Pub: Jan 2016)

How I found it: This was recommended to me by the blogger behind Grab the Lapels after I mentioned Sarah Blake’s Naamah in last week’s Top of the TBR post!

Why I added it: I still have mixed thoughts about wanting to read Naamah, based on several reviews I’ve seen for it. The concept of a Noah’s Ark retelling from the wife’s perspective is intriguing, and this sounds similar, although perhaps a modernization as well; I’m hoping two titles with similar premises will mean that at least one of them will hit the mark for me!

Priority: Low. I’m intrigued, but my summer reading list is pretty full already.

45183786Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Pub: Aug 2018)

How I found it: I don’t exactly remember. This one’s been on my radar since its release.

Why I added it: Foundryside been on my TBR for a while but got bumped up this week when I entered a giveaway for it. (Still ongoing!) Apparently there’s always at least one case of this in every week’s post. This one’s adult fantasy with a high rating!

Priority: Low. I want to read more adult fantasy this year, but before I plan what to start next from that genre I have to finish the Song of Ice and Fire series (hoping to pick up book 4 any day now) and Kingdom of Copper, which I read half of and had to set aside because it just wasn’t the right time for me to enjoy it.

22571552So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Pub: Mar 2015)

How I found it: This has gotten tons of reviews across all sorts of bookish social media.

Why I added it: I’m putting together a list of nonfiction I want to read this summer (I’ll probably be posting a TBR later this week), and while sorting through a master list of all the nonfiction I want to read ever (so far), I realized this one was missing. It’s about people who have received a huge amount of backlash for comments/posts they’ve made on the internet, which sounds intriguing.

Priority: Middling. This would add some great variety to my summer nonfiction reading, but real estate on that list is more valuable than I thought it would be and I’m just not sure whether there’s room for this late addition!

709734Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee (Pub: Jan 2007)

How I found it: Searching for more Min Jin Lee books after reading (and loving) Pachinko.

Why I added it: Pachinko has really stuck with me as a favorite since I read it a few months ago and I would like to experience that again, if possible. Other than the author, I don’t know anything about this book.

Priority: Middling. For some reason, even though I read Pachinko back in February and didn’t get around to adding Free Food For Millionaires to my TBR then, it’s really caught my attention lately. I don’t have a copy on hand but I’m tempted to pick one up!

43192297Norco ’80 by Peter Houlahan (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: This title is now being offered as an add-on by BOTM.

Why I added it: I did not add this title to my box, because much to my surprise a copy is on order through my library. I’ll pick it up there. I’ve been interested in true crime lately, and I thought a book about a bank robbery would be a nice break from all the serial killer books on my list.

Priority: High. I wanted to add a couple of new release non-fiction titles to my summer reading, and this one caught my attention. Easy availability through my library cinched that decision.

40653138City of Omens by Dan Werb (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: Another BOTM add-on option in the nonfiction category.

Why I added it: I actually did add this one to my June box, and so should be receiving my copy in the coming weeks. It’s not going to be available through my library, but “A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands” sounded exactly like something I wanted to read- especially in the wake of my appreciation for Lost Children Archive.

Priority: High. I’m going to own a copy of this very shortly, and buying it in June means it will show up on my July TBR.

40796190Eyes in the Sky by Arthur Holland Michel (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: What can I say, BOTM has just been killing it with their add-ons lately, especially in nonfiction.

Why I added it: This is a science nonfiction book that sounds perfect for conspiracy theory nuts- which I’m not, though I do find such theories interesting. This is a brand new book about US military-owned technology with the power to surveil a whole lot of people on a creepy level- and is currently in use. Who doesn’t want to know more about that?

Priority: Middling. This one doesn’t look like it’ll be available through my library either, and I didn’t allow myself two nonfiction add-ons this month, so even though I’m interested I don’t think I’ll be able to read it soon.

43124139What Red Was by Rosie Price (Pub: Aug 2019)

How I found it: I saw this review on Goodreads!

Why I added it: The review definitely piqued my interest. Once I’d followed the review to the book’s Goodreads page I saw a few other readers I follow had also marked it as to-read, and I found this excellent passage from its synopsis: “What Red Was is an incisive and mesmerizing novel about power, privilege, and consent–one that fearlessly explores the effects of trauma on the mind and body of a young woman, the tyrannies of memory, the sacrifices involved in staying silent, and the courage in speaking out.” What’s not to like?

Priority: High. I have no idea how I’ll fit more of anything into my summer TBR, but this looks like a new release I won’t want to miss!

13623848The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Pub: Sept 2011)

How I found it: No idea, this has been on my radar for years.

Why I added it: I thought this had been on my TBR before I’d ever heard any anticipation or early reviews for Circe, and usually when I finish a book by an author I want to read more from I add another of their books to my TBR immediately after finishing the first. So I’m not sure how this has escaped my “official” TBR, but I really think I will enjoy this more than Circe and I feel like the only person on the planet who hasn’t already read this one! (In case you’re like me and haven’t read it yet, it’s a retelling of Homer’s The Iliad.)

Priority: Middling. I really want to get to this one, but I don’t have a copy nor a set plan for when it will fit into my schedule yet.

 

I’ll wrap it up there! I actually have added a few more titles to my Goodreads TBR earlier today, but I’ll hold them back until next week because I’ve already covered 9 books here. I think it’s very apparent from this series that I have TBR issues- If I add around 10 books per week, every week, and only read 1-3 books per week, I’m never going to balance everything that I want to read. But I’m okay with that- I like having options. Current TBR tally: 663, and going strong.

But what about you? Have you read any of these, or recognize them from your own TBR? What’s a book you’re most excited to read in the future?

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR (5.27.19)

Top of the TBR is a new series I’m starting with the intent of it eventually replacing my book hauls. Since my TBR goal for this year is tied to the new books I’m buying throughout the year, I will (probably) still be mentioning new titles I’ve acquired each month for a while yet. But by the end of the year, Top of the TBR should have completely replaced those book hauls. (See my first Top of the TBR post for more info on why I’m making this switch.)

But what is Top of the TBR? Good question. It’s a weekly post that will showcase any new books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR recently, with a short explanation of why each title caught my interest. I’ll aim for 5-10 books per post- in weeks that I’ve added more than that, I’ll hold some back, and in weeks that I don’t have enough, I’ll include titles I haven’t discussed yet. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further, as I’m not a fan of copy/pasting synopses. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re reading! 🙂

Here are some of the new books I’ve added on Goodreads over the last week:

50246The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. (Pub: 1969)

How I found It: I recently saw Cathy’s wonderful review of this one, and realized that I forgot to add the book to my TBR after deciding to based on Callum’s review a while back!

Why I added it: I’ve only read du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’d very much like to branch out with some of her other brilliant novels. I’ve also got My Cousin Rachel on my TBR, so I’ll aim to read these two before adding more du Maurier books to my TBR- I like to add only one or two books by any given author rather than bogging down my list with an entire series or oeuvre.

Priority: Middling. I expect that du Maurier will be an author I love beyond Rebecca, so it makes sense to prioritize what I know I’ll enjoy, but I don’t have a copy of this one yet and it sounds like a good book for fall.

25904473So Sad Today by Melissa Broder. (Pub: March 2016)

How I found it: I read Broder’s The Pisces (and loved it!) almost a year ago. Upon completion, I looked up other works by the author, and this was the only non-poetry title I came up with.

Why I added it: I wasn’t sure at first whether enjoying Broder’s fiction meant I wanted to read her essay collection, but after seeing Rachel’s review last week I was ready to give it a chance.

Priority: Middling. I might make this a part of my summer nonfiction list, as I don’t have any other essay collections in mind yet and I do want to read a variety of types/subjects for that.

41150487Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. (Pub: May 2019)

How I found it: I’ve seen ARCs of this one floating around the blogosphere and Bookstagram, etc. It’s been on my radar for weeks.

Why I added it: I’m not sure that I’ve ever read an LGBTQ+ rom com. I just don’t read romances very often, but I’ve heard too many good things about this one to skip over it for something more lackluster, which tbh is my usual .

Priority: Middling. I read usually 2-3 romances a year, and I already have Hoang’s The Bride Test coming up soon in my reading queue, so it’ll probably be a few months before I’m ready for another. But this will be the next in line.

40917488Naamah by Sarah Blake. (Pub: Apr 2019)

How I found it: I saw this short but intriguing review, which was the first time I realized that this book is about the biblical Ark story, from Noah’s wife’s perspective.

Why I added it: To keep it on my radar, primarily. I do look through my Goodreads TBR shelf quite often, taking off anything that I’ve decided against reading and checking in on titles I’ve been on the fence about, so I’ve mainly added this one in the interest of further consideration. It seems like there are quite a few lukewarm and negative reviews, so even though the premise intrigues me I’ll have to look into this one further before I go looking for a copy.

Priority: Low. Not even sure I will read. (If you’ve read this, please share your thoughts!)

42202089An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim. (Pub: June 2018)

How I found it: I don’t remember. This has been on my TBR for a while but got shifted in the order of my list this week when I entered a Goodreads giveaway for it (still ongoing if you’re interested!)

Why I added it: This is a sci-fi dystopian in which a flu pandemic rages through America and a woman decides to try time travel to save her boyfriend. If I remember correctly, the themes running under the surface plot have more to do with uprooting one’s life and then finding oneself in a strange place not entirely like what was expected, similar to an immigrant’s experience. I was getting a bit of an Exit West vibe from the synopsis, which is a favorable comparison for me.

Priority: Low. If I won a free copy I would get around to this one faster, but as I don’t yet have a copy and I do have a list of more pressing summer reads (probably the reason most of this list is turning out to seem low priority, tbh), I’m not in a hurry to get to this one.

41961994The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith. (Pub: Oct 2019)

How I found it: Mentioned on Bookstagram.

Why I added it: The Library of the Unwritten is a place in the afterlife full of unwritten books, as far as I understand. The librarian has to hunt down a missing book, with “a handful of Hell’s most unlikely escorts.” If that’s not intriguing, I don’t know what is.

Priority: Middling. I’m looking forward to catching some early reviews of this one, which could either prompt me to drop this book entirely, or bump it up to the top of my list, depending on whether the promise of the premise seems to hold up in execution.

39653535Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, trans. Marilyn Booth. (Pub: 2010/2018)

How I found it: I did a thorough look through the Man Booker International longlist earlier this year, and actually thought I’d put this one on my TBR at that point. Now that it’s won, I went back to its Goodreads page to read more about it and realized it wasn’t on my list yet, for some reason.

Why I added it: I’ve become much more interested in winners and nominees of literary prizes in the last couple of years, and I do want to be a more worldly reader. I added quite a few of the longlisted titles for this prize of translations into English, and of course I want to read the winner.

Priority: Middling. Maybe high. I don’t have a copy yet, but I’d love to get to this one before shifting focus to the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in July.

44140764Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. (Pub: Oct 2019)

How I found it: I went searching for this one on Goodreads last week. I vaguely remembered Bardugo had another book coming out this year and wanted to look it up.

Why I added it: This is Bardugo’s first adult book. I liked her Grisha trilogy and loved Six of Crows, but have opted out of King of Scars (so far) because I’m not much in the mood for YA spin-off fantasy this year, apparently. An adult possibly-fantasy book sounds much more my current speed, and the mention of Yale secret societies dabbling in the occult sounds like something I must explore further.

Priority: High. This sounds like a great October read, I’d really like to read it upon release.

 

Have you read any of these books, or recognize them from your own TBR? Spot something new that you like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

 

The Literary Elephant

 

Top of the TBR (5.20.19)

Top of the TBR is a new series I’m starting with the intent of it eventually replacing my book hauls. Since my TBR goal for this year is tied to the new books I’m buying throughout the year, I will (probably) still be mentioning new titles I’ve acquired each month for a while yet. But by the end of the year, Top of the TBR should have completely replaced those book hauls. (See my first Top of the TBR post for more info on why I’m making this switch.)

But what is Top of the TBR? Good question. It’s a weekly (or bi-weekly; it might take me a couple of weeks to determine how to schedule this content) post that will showcase any new books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR recently, with a short explanation of why each title caught my interest. I’ll aim for 5-10 books per post- in weeks that I’ve added more than that, I’ll hold some back, and in weeks that I don’t have enough, I’ll include titles I haven’t discussed yet. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further, as I’m not a fan of copy/pasting synopses. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re reading! 🙂

Here are some of the new books I’ve added on Goodreads over the last week:

27003The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. (Pub: July 2001)

How I found it: Kristin posts a similar series about new books added to her TBR, and mentioned this one!

Why I added it: Time travel and Jane Eyre. That’s all I know about this one, but it was enough to pique my interest, especially after reading Fforde’s Early Riser last month and deciding I needed to try another of his books before forming a solid opinion on whether his writing is for me or not.

Priority: Low. Which is only to say I don’t have a copy on hand and am not sure when I’ll get around to picking one up, rather than a reflection of my interest level.

43231095American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan. (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I’ve seen ARCs and anticipation posts for this title floating around Bookstagram lately.

Why I added it: I’m looking forward to binging on some nonfiction this summer, and this sounds like a perfect fit for my recent true crime / serial killer fascination. I just finished watching Mindhunter and The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix and have had my eye on several similar books. I think the trend must be wearing itself out a bit though now that we’re down to the “most meticulous” killer and the more familiar names have already been well-covered.

Priority: Middling. I haven’t set my summer nonfiction TBR yet for sure, so this might indeed make an appearance, but I definitely plan to read The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker first, so we’ll see where my interest level in serial killers stands after that.

Blank 133x176If It Bleeds by Stephen King. (Pub: 2020)

How I found it: Browsing Goodreads. Browsing Stephen King’s oeuvre on Goodreads, specifically, because that’s something I do occasionally.

Why I added it: I’m on a long-term quest to read all of Stephen King’s books. So far I’ve gotten through 24 of (about) 74, which means I have a ways to go, but I’m not in any hurry. It’ll be a sad day when there are no more King books left to read. I think this one might also be connected to King’s Mr. Mercedes series.

Priority: Low. It’s not out for another year, and I have plenty of other King books to read in the meantime. I even have other Mr. Mercedes books I will need to finish beforehand. So this is on my radar, but I can wait for it.

The Great BelieversThe Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. (Pub: June 2018)

How I found it: This has been on my TBR for around a year already, so I really can’t recall. I remember it getting a lot of buzz right away when it was published, and then when it was shortlisted for the National Book Award I made a firm decision to read it at some point. I’m not sure when it was originally added to my TBR.

Why I added it: It just got bumped up my Goodreads list because I entered a giveaway for it recently (still ongoing if you’re interested!). I started reading more award nominees last year and this one looked really good. Now that it’s also been announced as a Pulitzer Prize finalist, I really need to get around to picking it up.

Priority: Middling. I would say my interest level is high, but I don’t have a copy at the moment so I won’t be starting in tomorrow or anything.

42550681How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee. (Pub: May 2019)

How I found it: I saw a wonderful review Jenna posted for this book!

Why I added it: I don’t like historical fiction as much as I used to, and I am especially uninterested in WWII fiction lately, but something about this one is calling to me. I haven’t read much about Singapore, so the settling is appealing, and I think reading something unique and wonderful about this time period might help guide me back into historical fiction, which I don’t want to abandon entirely. It sounds a bit like Pachinko, which I loved, but not too similar, which I also appreciate.

Priority: Middling. I don’t have a copy but am definitely intrigued.

57891

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, trans. by Yuji Oniki. (Pub: 1999)

How I found it: This title was mentioned in Laura‘s very interesting post about graphic violence in fiction!

Why I added it: Deciding to read a book that I’ve just been warned is graphically violent might seem an odd choice. In reality, I’ve had this book on my radar for years and just never known enough of what it’s about to want to read it. Now that I know it’s a sort of Japanese classic in the style of Lord of the Flies / The Hunger Games, categorized as horror and thriller and dystopian, I’m much more interested in checking it out. Also, it’s blurbed by Stephen King.

Priority: Middling. I want to read this over the summer, and am working on getting a copy, but as I haven’t gotten it yet I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be reading.

41880604Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. (Pub: May 2019)

How I found it: I’ll admit the colors of the cover caught my eye first, but then I saw Emily May had just posted a glowing review of this one on Goodreads and I had to look into it further.

Why I added it: The synopsis calls this “a multifaceted story of the intimate lives of women – their vulnerabilities and perils, their desires and dreams,” which sounds appealing. Also, it’s a mystery of missing girls set in Russia, which sounds really appealing. I’ve never read anything set in Russia that I didn’t like.

Priority: High. This one both fits my current reading mood and will soon be available at my library, so I expect I’ll be picking it up in the near future.

43208989The Glass Woman by Caoline Lea. (Pub: Sep. 2019)

How I found it: I honestly don’t remember. This has been on my TBR since last fall, but it got re-added to my TBR when I entered the giveaway for it (still ongoing, if you’re interested!).

Why I added it: It’s set in Iceland. (I love reading books set in countries that I haven’t read much about yet!) This looks like another mystery, this time about a wife who marries quickly and moves to an unfamiliar village, where she is isolated and left to wonder about her husband’s secrets. Also, it has very favorable blurbs from Sophie Mackintosh and and Sarah Moss, authors whose writing I’ve adored over the past year.

Priority: Low. This one’s low on my radar at the moment because it’s not out for several months yet in the US, and because I’ve seen interest for it but no actual reviews yet. I could definitely be swayed either way by reviews at this point.

28789711SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. (Pub: Oct. 2015)

How I found it: I just read Beard’s Women & Power over the weekend (review coming soon) and was interested enough in her writing to go looking for another of her books to add to my list.

Why I added it: I chose this particular title of Beard’s because it sounded the most beginner-friendly, and it was the only one of her books that I was remotely familiar with. I did study some Roman history in college, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever felt like I have a firm grasp on all the vaguely familiar names and events, so this book sounds like the perfect opportunity to brush up my knowledge.

Priority: Middling. I have an Egyptian history book already on my nonfiction summer TBR (The Buried by Peter Hessler) which I’m prioritizing because it was a BOTM selection for me, so I’m going to wait and see whether that fulfills or whets my appetite for historical nonfiction before I make definite plans with this one.

 

This week’s TBR additions seem like an odd bunch altogether, but my reading taste is pretty varied so I expect that’ll turn out to be a trend in my Top of the TBR posts. I’m still a bit bogged down with other books I want to finish this month, so I don’t know that I’ll be picking any of these up immediately, though I am excited about them all at this point! Sharing the bookish excitement is definitely one of my top reasons for creating these posts. Do you see anything here that you’ve read or already have on your TBR? Anything new that’s caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR (5.13.19)

Top of the TBR is a new series I’m starting with the intent of eventually replacing my book hauls. Since my TBR goal for this year is tied to the new books I’m buying throughout the year, I will still be mentioning new titles I’ve acquired each month for a while yet. But by the end of the year, Top of the TBR should have completely replaced those book hauls.

I’m making this switch for a number of reasons; book hauls have come to seem either very materialistic to me (regarding readers who are fortunate enough to afford buying many new books) or boastful/obligatory (regarding readers who are sent many free copies). This is a personal opinion, not an accusation against anyone who still enjoys book hauls, but the long and short of it is simply that they don’t appeal to me anymore. One thing I have always appreciated about book hauls though is that they’re a great way to spread some excitement for new books that you haven’t necessarily read yet. They can also help convey a reader’s current taste in books. Top of the TBR should keep both of these benefits, without necessitating a reader to acquire frequent heaps of physical books. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re reading! 🙂

But what is Top of the TBR? Good question. It’s a weekly (or bi-weekly; it might take me a couple of weeks to determine how to schedule this content) post that will showcase any new books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR recently, with a short explanation of why each title caught my interest. I’ll aim for 5-10 books per post- in weeks that I’ve added more than that, I’ll hold some back, and in weeks that I don’t have enough, I’ll include titles I haven’t discussed yet. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further, as I’m not a fan of copy/pasting synopses.

Without further ado, here are the top additions to my Goodreads TBR:

44776662Florida by Lauren Groff.

How I found it: This was one of the National Book Award finalists in 2018. It’s been on my TBR for months actually, but I recently entered a Goodreads giveaway for it (still ongoing!) so it got bumped up to the top of my list again.

Why I added it: This is a collection of short stories, which I’ve been wanting to read more of in 2019. I’ve also not read much set in Florida, so that setting appealed to me. It’s described as a place “at once domestic and wild– a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature” in the synopsis. That was all I needed to know.

Priority: Middling. Hopefully I’ll get around to this one before the 2019 National Book Award nominees are announced in September.

40242878The Affairs of the FalcĂłns by Melissa Rivero.

How I found it: This one’s been getting a lot of buzz on bookstagram.

Why I added it: This is a novel about a woman who is an undocumented immigrant in the US, originally from Peru. I like reading about social issues, and I’ve heard that this one’s pretty depressing/tragic, which I’m morbidly attracted to. Tear my heart out, please.

Priority: Middling.

36454970White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo.

How I found it: Bookstagram. I was going to link or at least mention the great review I saw, but now I can’t find the post I remember. I’ll get better about drafting my Top of the TBR posts throughout the week so I can make sure to remember and mention specific sources.

Why I added it: Social issues again. Also I want to go on a little nonfiction binge this summer because I feel like I’ve been missing out on some great titles in the last couple of years. I really don’t know anything about this one beyond the title and that one strong endorsement that I can no longer find, but that was enough for me.

Priority: High. This is one of the nonfiction titles I definitely want to pick up this summer.

2524702Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan.

How I found it: I recently read Keegan’s short story The Forester’s Daughter and loved it enough that I wanted to try more of her work.

Why I added it: Something about Keegan’s writing seems to work very well for me. This is another collection of short stories, which again, I’m trying to read more of this year. The collection is set in Ireland, which I’m discovering is a setting that I particularly enjoy reading about.

Priority: Low. Which doesn’t mean I’m not excited/interested in picking this book up, just that I don’t have any specific deadline in mind for when I’ll get around to it.

36891684, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

How I found it: Clicking around through some nonfiction on Goodreads. This one’s been on my radar for a long time but I’ve never really looked into it before last week.

Why I added it: Nonfiction is calling to me, I don’t know why. I’m such a fiction person at heart, but I’ve got an itch to learn more about the world and I like to learn by reading. This one’s not a social issues book though, as far as I can tell. It’s considered a “classic” (though it was first published in 1970…) about a friendship based on a love of books. Possibly an epistolary account? Also it looks like it’s under 100 pages, which is always appealing.

Priority: Low. This isn’t exactly the sort of nonfiction I’m craving for this summer, so I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up. It is short and different from other books I’m planning to read though, so I might pick it up soon anyway if the whim strikes.

28119468The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough.

How I found it: Browsing Book Outlet. It was snatched up before I placed an order though, so it’s gone from there now, unfortunately.

Why I added it: I read and loved Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes a couple of years ago, though I didn’t enjoy Cross Her Heart nearly as much. It was the otherworldly element that I most liked in Behind Her Eyes, and this novel is categorized as fantasy and horror, which sounds more like what I’m looking for than the straightforward thriller that I found with Cross Her Heart.

Priority: Middling. I think about Behind Her Eyes often, and suspect I’ll like this one even more. No specific timeline in mind, but I’m v intrigued.

38591165The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal.

How I found it: Advertised as a new release on Goodreads, and a few reviewers I follow have been adding this to their TBRs as well.

Why I added it: Partially just for the sake of keeping it on my radar, to be honest. This is historical fiction, which isn’t always my cup of tea, but Paula Hawkins’ blurb sounds perfect. (Yes, The Girl on the Train is old news, but it was one of the first thrillers I read back when it was new and I still respect Hawkins’ talent and opinion.) She calls this book “A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession.” If I see some good reviews, I’m interested enough to give it a try.

Priority: Low at the moment, but I could easily be swayed one way or the other with this one.

6130967An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah.

How I found it: I recently read Gappah’s short story from the Faber Stories collection, which is an excerpt from this larger work.

Why I added it: I didn’t love the short story (of the same name), but felt that the small piece I’d read wasn’t enough to judge by, as it seemed like a small sampling of a larger whole. I liked the writing and the subject enough to want to give Gappah a better chance at winning me over. Also the Goodreads synopsis calls Gappah “the voice of Zimbabwe,” which seems worth looking into.

Priority: Middling. This is another story collection, which fits my 2019 goals, and I would like to get around to this before my thoughts on the short story I’ve already read completely fade from my mind. But I don’t have my own copy and it’s not at my library, so I’m not sure when or where I’ll manage to pick this one up, which could hold me back.

960450Transformation by Mary Shelley.

How I found it: Callum posted this lovely review for this collection of three Mary Shelley stories.

Why I added it: Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my all-time favorite books, and it seems a shame to have loved that novel so very much and not look into more of her work. It sounds like these stories are all supernatural and/or Gothic, which appeals to me, and short works are always so easy to pick up.

Priority: Middling. Again, I want to pick up more short stories this year, but again, I’m not sure when and where I’ll get a copy of this one, so it’s a bit up in the air right now.

41806986Little Darlings by Melanie Golding.

How I found it: Browsing Goodreads. Emily May’s review was very convincing for me. (There’s also an ongoing giveaway for this title!)

Why I added it: This is a thriller about a mother of twins who believes her babies have been replaced by changelings, said to be great “for fans of Neil Gaiman and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.” I love horrifying situations set in the modern world with a fantastical element. (You’d think I would reach for magical realism more often, but magical realism doesn’t always work for me, strangely enough.)

Priority: High. I like reading thrillers in summer, and I also tend to be most drawn to thrillers when they’re brand new. I’ll probably check this out from my library soon.

 

That’s ten, so I’ll end here. Congrats to anyone who’s managed to read this far! I won’t always post this many, but these are all titles (though not all of the titles) I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR earlier this month. If you have any feedback for me about additional info you’d like to see in Top of the TBR posts, let me know; I’m still working on finetuning this series. But anyone who wants to use this idea (or is doing something similar) should feel free to join!

Have you read any of these books, or recognize them from your own TBR? I’d love to chat in the comments!

 

The Literary Elephant