Category Archives: Top of the TBR

Top of the TBR 8.12.19

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any books 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:

29501521The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn, trans. by Rosie Hedger (Pub: Sept. 2013)

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

Why I added it: “Modern day Scandinavian Rebecca” was the real clincher, but honestly everything Rachel had to say about this book sounded pretty much perfect. I love suspenseful books that aren’t quite thrillers, and interesting character dynamics. Plus, bonus points for brevity at 185 pages.

Priority: Middling. This is going to be another week of repeatedly announcing I have too many books already on my plate this month to be picking up anything new, sadly. But I do want to incorporate more translations into my regular reading, which should help bump this one up the endless TBR list!

10329563And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips (Pub: May 2011)

How I found it: I read my first Helen Phillips book, The Need, last week. After, I went looking for more of her work.

Why I added it: I really liked The Need, though I found I had an unexpected bias toward it in that I had already read a book with a very similar topic. I want to try again with Phillips’s writing, and this story collection looked as good a place to start as any.

Priority: Low. My library does not have any Phillips books other than The Need, so I will have to acquire a copy. I also have a ton of other story collections on my radar already.

41035725The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (Pub: Feb 2019)

How I found it: Naty mentioned some time travel book recs that look really appealing in her Recursion review post!

Why I added it: I used to really love time travel stories, but haven’t been reading them much in recent years. I did read H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine earlier this year, which fascinated me, and the synopsis of this one sounds just like something the old time travel reader in me would have loved.

Priority: Low. This one is available at my library, but I want to let Recursion fade a bit in my mind before I jump into anything remotely similar, especially after struggling a bit with Recursion because of its similarities to Crouch’s previous release.

264. sy475 The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (Pub: 1881)

How I found it: I recently read James’s The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller, both of which I enjoyed immensely. I looked into reading more from the author.

Why I added it: I actually don’t know much about this one (it might be about a lady seeking a marriage?), but I really didn’t know much about the other two either and had a good time with both. This is, I think, one of James’s biggest classics, so I chose it mainly for that reason.

Priority: Low. I’ll probably want to buy my own copy because this looks like a hefty book, and I’d like to work through a few more classics I already own before I purchase another. (We’ll see how long this plan lasts.)

44423086Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford (Pub: May 2018)

How I found it: Callum is apparently a wizard at finding the most beautiful book covers (I think this one is shiny irl) to match stories that also sound like brilliant reads.

Why I added it: Every sentence of this synopsis makes this book sound even better. Here’s just the start: “In house in a wood, Ada and her father live peacefully, tending to their garden and the wildlife in it. They are not human though.” You should go check out the rest now. It’s an Irish magical realism tale, with possibly some horror and feminism mixed in.

Priority: Middling. If my schedule wasn’t already so packed, I’d probably want to pick this up right away. As it is, I’ll probably wait to get my hands on a copy with this stunning cover, which I don’t think is quite out yet. (I’m noting the original pub date for each title in this post, not necessarily for the specific edition I want to read.)

22318501The Bad Seed by William March (Pub: 1954)

How I found it: Melanie mentioned this one as a favorite when we got to talking about nannies that are afraid of the children they watch (in literature). The Turn of the Screw kicked off this discussion, though that story doesn’t quite seem to go in this direction. In any case, I was intrigued.

Why I added it: I can’t really think of any books I’ve previously read that fit this trope, but I do like a good psychological exploration and just horror in general, so it sounds like something that would interest me. Melanie also notes there’s a nice classic black-and-white film version that I’m intrigued to look into!

Priority: Middling. Though not available at my library and I (still) have a ton of other classics already on my radar, it would be fun to try and get to this while I still remember The Turn of the Screw clearly.

43521668The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, trans. by Sondra Silverston (Pub: Oct. 2017)

How I found it: I read Callum’s enticing review!

Why I added it: There’s nothing like WIT month to remind me that I really should read more translated books! I still have a few I intend to get to this month, but I am happy to stock up my TBR with more recs for the future. This one sounds so appealing, as it follows a wrongful sexual assault accusation and looks to explore the ways in which the blame game can backfire- without invalidating a system which works well for others.

Priority: Middling. Like The Bird Tribunal, I really want to get to this one soon, I just know it won’t happen this month. And again, this edition isn’t quite out yet in the US.

26114444Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (Pub: Aug. 2015)

How I found it: I just finished reading Porter’s 2019 Booker Prize nominated Lanny, and while the magical realism element didn’t entirely work for me, I adored the writing and was completely hooked by the themes (Review coming up this week). This previous title had already been on my radar; it was an oversight for it not to have already been on my TBR, and this seemed an appropriate time to correct that.

Why I added it: This looks like a short and impactful exploration of grief (and magic). I finished Lanny with an urgent need to pick this up.

Priority: High. It’s only 128 pages, and available through my library. It would be great to pick this up in September, largely because I have a couple of very large books I expect to read that month and could use a bit of balance.

 

That’s all for this week! It looks mainly like an extension of what I’ve been reading lately (or meaning to read in the case of the WIT books…).

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 8.5.19

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any books 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 two weeks:

22552026. sy475 Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Pub: Oct 2017)

How I found it: I’ve seen this around quite a bit in the last couple of years, especially in the YA book community. I’ve been on the fence about it for a long time, but then saw this positive review from Elysa that finally convinced me!

Why I added it: I really hate to miss out on a book with so many awards on its cover, and that so many people have loved. Also, it’s written in verse, which is one element my reading life is lacking at the moment.

Priority: Low. I can pick this up at my library any time, but my August TBR is twice as long as I’ll have time for so I’m just not planning to reach for anything extra in the immediate future.

44063239. sy475 The Island Child by Molly Aitken (Pub: March 2020)

How I found it: Callum pointed this one out!

Why I added it: First of all, the cover completely drew me in. Blue is my forever favorite, and the art is just gorgeous! Secondly, from the synopsis, “Rich, haunting and rooted in Irish folklore, The Island Child is spellbinding debut novel about identity and motherhood, freedom and fate and the healing power of stories.” I mean, completely sold.

Priority: High. The publication date is far enough out that it feels easy to commit to right now. I have no idea what my reading plans will actually look like next March, but I can’t imagine this looking any less appealing at that time.

Blank 133x176Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride (Pub: Feb. 2020)

How I found it: I recently did a buddy read of McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (my review should be up tomorrow!) and loved it enough that I went searching for her other publications, which brought me to this upcoming release.

Why I added it: I’m highly intrigued by McBride’s prose style, which worked so well in A Girl… Also, it’s themes sound so appealing; “It is an immensely moving and ultimately revelatory exploration of one woman’s attempts to negotiate her own memories and impulses, and what it might mean to return home.”

Priority: High. Again, February seems like a long way out but I’m sure I’ll want to grab this as soon as possible!

36242816. sy475 The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, trans. by Stephen Snyder (Pub: Aug 2019)

How I found it: August is WIT (Women in Translation) month, and this is one upcoming release I’ve been seeing on so many appealing lists lately.

Why I added it: I’ve not yet ready anything from Ogawa, but I’d like to; this seems like as good a place to start as any. It seems to be a sci-fi story in which the Memory Police can “disappear” things to control what people remember or forget. Except there seems to be one case in which it’s not working? I’m intrigued.

Priority: Middling. I’d love to pick this up if I can work it into WIT month, but I just don’t think I’ll be able to manage it. Hopefully later this fall- I do want to make an effort to read more translations regularly.

41880044The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: I don’t really have a concrete answer for where I first saw this, I’ve just been seeing it around and decided to look into it this past week.

Why I added it: I haven’t been reading much contemporary fiction lately, but this one sounds potentially fun. It’s a multi-generational story set in Chicago that follows four siblings (sisters) trying to find their way in life, wondering whether they’ll ever find relationships as strong as their parents’. It just sounds like a drama-filled good time.

Priority: Low. This seems like a nice fall read, but it looks like there are a ton of holds on it already through my library, so I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it.

42185853The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch (Pub: 1978)

How I found it: I saw that Vintage Classics was introducing a new Iris Murdoch series to their set, and had to check it out.

Why I added it: I’ve not read anything from Murdoch yet, but this one’s been on my radar for years. I love the covers (and especially the spines) of these editions, which will probably motivate me to pick up at least one of them sooner rather than later. This is the one I want to start with.

Priority: Low. Before I order another Vintage Classics book, I need to read the last one I acquired, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. Which I’m hoping to get to before the end of the year, but don’t have definite plans for yet.

30200112. sy475 Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich, trans. by Bela Shayevich (Pub: Aug. 2013)

How I found it: In Ren’s excellent WIT month post of recommendations for nonfiction women in translation!

Why I added it: I really like reading about Russia, though I don’t do that as often as perhaps I should, knowing I enjoy it. And as much as I enjoy Russian settings in fiction, it really is about time I learned a bit more of the country’s actual history.

Priority: Middling. Again, I’d love to fit this into WIT month but I don’t see it happening. It is available at my library though, so I’ll make sure to pick it up at some point!

35407619The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail, trans. by Max Weiss (Pub: March 2018)

How I found it: Also from Ren’s nonfiction women in translation post!

Why I added it: I don’t think I’ve read anything about Iraq, and I love that the focus of this one seems to be on women who have endured too much and yet persevered. I’m also intrigued about how a beekeeper might have become a savior.

Priority: Middling. Same reasoning, although this one is not available through my library so might be harder for me to come by.

15811545. sy475 A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Pub: March 2013)

How I found it: I’ve known about this one for a long time, probably prior to 2015/2016 when I started using Goodreads primarily for my TBR, and somehow it just slipped through the cracks. But I recently saw it mentioned in Laura’s lit fic tag post, which led me to add it this week!

Why I added it: I’ve just heard such good things about it.  The synopsis calls it: “a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.” I believe it’s set in Japan, which will be a nice change from the overabundance of US material I tend to reach for.

Priority: Low. This is another title easily available through my library, so I’ll pick it up when I find the time.

43744294The Swallows by Lisa Lutz (Pub: Aug 2019)

How I found it: This is another new release I’ve just seen everywhere lately, making the rounds.

Why I added it: My appetite for mystery/thrillers has apparently (finally!) increased again; I’ve been having much better luck with the titles I’ve picked up this year than I did last year. But aside from its genre, this looks like an interesting examination of gender roles, particularly in teenagers- it’s set in a school. I love creepy reads that are also thematically rich.

Priority: Middling. I’m in the mood to pick this up right away, but I just don’t think I’ll have time this month. It might make the cut for spooky October though! I’ll definitely keep this one in mind.

 

And that’s that for this week! It’s so sad that the second half of the year always leaves me feeling like I don’t have time to read all the things I want to read; I’m excited about this list, but I just don’t think I’ll manage to pick anything up that isn’t already on my massive August TBR. But, who knows. Despite all my good TBR intentions, I don’t really plan what I’m going to read next beyond the very next book, so anything could happen!

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

 

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR 7.22.19

I skipped this post last week because I was off Goodreads during the Amazon protest, and didn’t have many new books to talk about either. Now that I have two weeks to catch up on, I have plenty of newly added books to choose from!

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any books 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 two weeks:

41555931. sy475 Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I’ve been seeing this one around all month and can’t remember where it first popped up for me, but one of the recent reviews I’ve seen that helped convince me was this one from Jenna!

Why I added it: Office politics in fiction don’t often catch my interest, but this one sounds promisingly feminist. I’m also intrigued by the little flood of negative reviews I’ve been seeing for it, on the grounds that the characters seem unlikable; I often enjoy stories with unlikable characters and suspect that it might succeed for me in the precise way is seems to have failed for others.

Priority: Low. There is a possibility I could end up hating these characters right along with the masses, but though I’m willing to take that chance I’m just too swamped with reading commitments to pick anything up on a whim right now. In fact, I’ve got such a packed reading schedule that I’ll warn you right now most of this list is going to present as low priority mainly for that reason.

39127647His Hideous Heart ed. by Dahlia Adler (Pub: Sept 2019)

How I found it: I saw this post from Lala on Instagram!

Why I added it: This is a collection of retellings of popular Edgar Allen Poe stories from thirteen prominent YA authors. I love retellings of classics, I love horror and Poe, I’m attracted to these being short stories, and I’m looking forward to sampling authors who might write novels in this genre. I haven’t heard of all of these authors, so it’ll be fun to check out their work in these shorter pieces! I still like some YA but have fallen a bit out of touch this year, and a book like this looks like an easy path back into the age range. Everything about this just seems like a perfect fit for me.

Priority: Middling. I would love to pick this up in October, but fall is a difficult time of year for me to get my hands on new releases and I’m not filling my Oct. TBR this far in advance yet.

42245770. sy475 The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I don’t remember exactly, I’ve been seeing this around for a while. Sarah Dessen was one of my favorite authors in middle school and I still tend to notice when she has a new book coming out.

Why I added it: In 2017 I reread my favorite Dessen novel, The Truth About Forever, and loved it all over again. Though I wasn’t at all interested in Dessen’s last release, Once and For All, my 2017 reread convinced me that I might still enjoy some of Dessen’s work, so I’m willing to give this one a chance.

Priority: Low. I was planning to reread Dessen’s Just Listen in November, and even though this one looks very summery (it takes place at a lake!) I just don’t think I’ll get around to it before November at the earliest, after my reread.

The Iliac CrestThe Iliac Crest by Christina Rivera Garza, Trans. by Sarah Booker (Pub: Oct 2017)

How I found it: In one of Callum’s exciting posts about books to read for Women in Translation month (August)!

Why I added it: I really want to incorporate more translations into my regular reading, and especially translations of women writers. I am working on a small list that I’ll try to tackle in August, mainly of books already on my shelves, but I’m also gathering some other titles that look fantastic for future reading. Callum’s description of this one sounded 100% appealing, as did the rest of his translation recs, of course! This one’s a short Gothic piece that appears full of commentary on gender identity.

Priority: Middling. This sounds like another title I’d like to rush out and read either for WIT month or as a spooky read for October, but I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to fit it in, and I’ll have to track down a copy first!

967251In & Oz by Steve Tomasula (Pub: Sept 2005)

How I found it: Melanie mentioned this one to me! Her recommendations always seem spot-on to what I’m looking for.

Why I added it: The synopsis sounds wonderfully bizarre, and I expect it’s also thematically rich. It is: “a novel of art, love, auto mechanics, and two places: the actualities of the here and now and the desire for somewhere better. Five men and women- an auto designer, photographer, musical composter, poet/sculptor and mechanic- find themselves drawn together when they begin to suspect that the thing lacking in their lives might be discovered in the other place.” Consider me intrigued.

Priority: Low. This looks super interesting, but I’m not sure yet where I’ll find a copy.

42790782. sy475 Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher (Pub: May 2019)

How I found it: I actually stumbled across this title in a used book store last week, which was a sad way to discover I’d missed one of the Stranger Things companion novels completely. It was nearly full price and my last Stranger Things companion read was only a 3-star, so I didn’t end up buying it.

Why I added it: Though I don’t think I want to own this, I am interested in the companion novels connected to Stranger Things. This one looks like a history of Hopper’s life, which especially has my attention after the direction season 3 took.

Priority: Middling. I’m already feeling the wait between seasons 3 and 4, and would love to pick this up in the fall if I can get it through my library at that time.

153480Medea: A Modern Retelling by Christa Wolf (Pub: 1996)

How I found it: In Hannah’s fantastic post about unlikable but compelling female characters!

Why I added it: I’ve already loved or previously added to my TBR all of the other books Hannah included in her excellent list, so it seems like a safe bet that I’ll enjoy this one as well. I do like picking up the occasional Greek retelling.

Priority: Middling. I’ve barely read anything Greek all year, which feels a bit odd after reading two retellings last year, plus some original Homer. I don’t know when I’ll have time and will be able to find a copy, but I’d like to pick this up before the end of the year if possible.

44287149The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan (Pub: Nov 2019)

How I found it: In Ren’s post of great upcoming nonfiction releases!

Why I added it: I’ve been trying to increase my nonfiction reading this summer, and have been enjoying it enough that I want to continue making nonfiction a more permanent part of my reading regimen. This one is about a group of people who go undercover into an asylum in the 1970s, only to emerge when they can convince the doctors they’re sane. It sounds like a fascinating inside look at diagnoses and treatments, and a historical (if you can call 40 years ago historic) look at mental illness practices. I’m unversed in the topic, but so on board to learn.

Priority: Middling. Maybe by November my schedule will have mellowed out a bit and I’ll have time to pick this up as a new release!

36478784. sy475 The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Pub: April 2019)

How I found it: I’m not sure anymore where I first saw this title; it’s been on my radar since its release, if not before.

Why I added it: This looks like a romance that leans a bit more toward traditional contemporary than some from the genre tend to. I wasn’t sure at first if this sounded to my taste, but I keep wanting to like the romance genre and then struggling with it a bit, so it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to try another type of romance novel to see if it helps me decide where I fit in that genre.

Priority: Low. I don’t read romance often, and I do already have a couple of titles queued up for further romance genre experiments. Unsure of when I’ll get to this one.

43789029. sy475 Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy (July 2019)

How I found it: This one was just brought to my attention today by Rachel, who finds the best books. (Seriously, if you’re not following her blog, you’re missing out!)

Why I added it: “Reminiscent of the suspense of Shirley Jackson and soaked in the folk horror of the British landscape, Water Shall Refuse Them is an atmospheric coming-of-age novel and a thrilling debut.” Everything about this appeals to me. Also historical heat wave. Accidental drowing. Rural seclusion. Family unraveling. It sounds so promising it almost can’t be real, haha.

Priority: Middling. I really wish I could pick this one up right away, especially since the heat wave setting sounds perfect for summer reading, but I’ll have to find a copy and try to squish it into my overflowing reading schedule.

 

My reading taste is so varied that my Top of the TBR lists never look very cohesive, but this one really is quite a mix! A couple of literary fictions, but otherwise all different genres and even a couple of different age ranges. Maybe someday I’ll find a niche, but I’m not in any hurry.

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

 

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR 7.8.19

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any new books 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:

37570548. sy475

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Pub: April 2019)

How I found it: This one caught my eye from Ren’s post of her favorite new nonfiction of the year so far!

Why I added it: I’ve been interested in true crime lately (and nonfiction more generally), and this one stood out to me for the Jack the Ripper connection but primarily for the fact that “it delves into the Victorian experience of poverty, homelessness, and alcoholism, but also motherhood, childbirth, sexuality, child-rearing, work, and marriage, all against the fascinating, dark, and quickly changing backdrop of nineteenth century London.”

Priority: Low. This sounds great, but I’ve got a lot of other nonfiction already on the docket for this summer (and beyond) so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it.

42359582

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I’d heard of this one a while ago without looking into it, but then saw it again on Bookstagram last week, compared to Sally Rooney’s work.

Why I added it: I mean, Sally Rooney. Not having read it yet, I’m not sure how well the comparison holds up, but I was sold on unlikable characters. I love to see what a book can do beyond making characters “likable.”

Priority: Low. I’ve got some recent and upcoming new releases I’m already more focused on, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to this.

22822858. sy475 A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Pub: March 2015)

How I found it: I live in the world.

Why I added it: I feel like I’m pretty late to this one, but I don’t want to miss it completely. I hear it’s depressing and fantastic and I always meant to read it eventually but realized last week it wasn’t actually on my TBR, so I’m remedying that.

Priority: Low. This sounds like a good winter read, so I’ll put more effort into adding it to my reading schedule then.

3413831Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman (Pub: April 1992)

How I found it: I’ve been thinking and chatting about Netflix’s Mindhunter series lately. Ressler is one of the main characters in that series, so I went looking through his titles, for a little more background.

Why I added it: I just read a book by John Douglas last month- Douglas was Ressler’s partner in the FBI. It seems like a good idea  to check out Ressler’s perspective as well! I decided to start off with the very first published book this time, since I ended up regretting not doing that with Douglas’s work.

Priority: Low. I’m planning to watch the new season of Mindhunter in August. At some point afterward I’ll read Douglas’s Mindhunter book. And after that, eventually I’ll read this.

39854434Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (June 2019)

How I found it: In Hannah’s recent romance mini-reviews post!

Why I added it: I’m still fairly new to the romance genre and struggling a bit with finding titles that I’m going to like; I think the best way to learn how to find what I’m looking for is just to keep trying different things. I know Tessa Bailey is a big name in romance, so I’ll give this new release a chance.

Priority: Low. I’m currently reading only about 2-3 romances a year, and I’ve already chosen my next contender: Kasey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue. I’ll probably pick this up after that.

36508441. sy475 Constellations by Sinead Gleeson (Pub: April 2019 – UK)

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

Why I added it: This is a collection of nonfiction essays about the author’s life and body, which might not have caught my attention on its own, but the way Rachel describes it makes it sound absolutely brilliant. Heavy but resonant, each essay a valuable contribution to the set.

Priority: Middling. There aren’t many essay collections in my TBR, and this one sounds great so I’d like to bump it up my list if I can find the time. The catch: this one’s only out in the UK right now, which is not where I live, so I’ll have to acquire a copy before I can seriously commit to a time frame.

41940306. sx318 Lanny by Max Porter (Pub: March 2019)

How I found it: I’ve seen a few highly intriguing reviews of this one over the last few weeks, including Callum’s and Kristin’s!

Why I added it: I’m particular about magical realism, but when it works for me I really love it. I also like some experimental writing, and have seen a few readers predict that this one will appear on the Man Booker longlist later this month.

Priority: Middling. This looks fairly short and engrossing, which would be easier to fit into my reading schedule. I don’t really think I’ll get to it before the Man Booker longlist announcement, and its presence or absence there will definitely affect my timing with this one.

42046111The Body in Question by Jill Ciment (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: Mentioned on bookstagram.

Why I added it: This looks like a nice fictional piece to read in conjunction with my true crime fascination. It’s a short work about a sequestered jury on a big murder trial, in which an affair between two jury members will have deep consequences.

Priority: Middling. I’m really curious about this one, and it is available through my library (though currently checked out and not due back until August).

36332136. sy475 The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (Pub: July 2018)

How I found it: I read Hannah’s enthusiastic review!

Why I added it: So much of what Hannah says about this book in her review sounds appealing to me, and I’m almost always interested in classics retellings. I haven’t even read Beowulf yet, but I know that I will want to read a retelling of it.

Priority: Low, because I’ve not yet decided whether to go ahead and read this before Beowulf or after; if after, it’ll take me longer to get around to because that’s not an urgent title on my TBR.

 

For once, there are no “high priority” books in this list. Priority for me is determined by a mix of excitement and ability to fit the title into my reading schedule, and with the Man Booker longlist looming ahead (finally!), I’m trying to be realistic about my scheduling expectations for once. It’s possible that when I see the list I’ll decide not to read it in its entirety and will find myself with more time for new-to-me books like these, but in the meantime I’m trying not to plan anything else for myself in August, reading-wise. I’m mentioning this mainly because I don’t want the handful of “low priority” books on this list to make it seem like I’m not excited about what I’m adding to my TBR; if it’s here, I’m excited!

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

 

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR 7.1.19

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any new books 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:

40163119. sy475 Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (Pub: Feb. 2019)

How I found it: This nonfiction account of the Troubles in Northern Ireland caught my eye when Rachel first reviewed it, but I hadn’t caught the nonfiction fever yet then. When it showed up again as one of her favorite books of the year so far in this excellent mid-year post, I was ready to add it immediately.

Why I added it: Other than loving Milkman, I don’t know a lot about the Troubles. I don’t know where my sudden interest in nonfiction came from (and I warn you, it’s going to be a prevalent part of this post), but suddenly everything I don’t know much about seems like a great opportunity to read a book. I think I’m finally far enough out of college that learning is fun again.

Priority: Middling. My nonfiction queue is really getting to be quite full, but it’s available through my library so I’m hoping to check it out as soon as all of my current holds have come through.

25852784Evicted by Matthew Desmond (Pub: March 2016)

How I found it: I’ve seen this one around, but again didn’t realize I was interested in nonfiction until recently. Sarah’s enlightening review was all I needed to be convinced!

Why I added it: It feels like essential reading. Landlords are everywhere, and though I’ve never had trouble with them I do want to be informed about common-but-overlooked problems with living in the US.

Priority: Middling. This seems like something that I should read, but as it’s already a couple of years old it doesn’t feel quite as urgent. It is available through my library, which helps.

42188604. sy475 In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Pub: Nov. 2019)

How I found it: I came across this title in another fun mid-year post, this one from Hannah, and thought it sounded absolutely stunning. (The cover doesn’t hurt.)

Why I added it: I already have Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties on my TBR, and rarely add multiple books by the same author, but sometimes an exception is necessary. This memoir sounds different enough from the short story collection that even if I dislike one (which seems unlikely), I’ll probably remain interested in the other.

Priority: Low. Just because I think I might still read Her Body and Other Parties first, and don’t have a set schedule.

94337Mindunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (Pub: 1995)

How I found it: I watched Netflix’s Mindhunter series last month or so, which led me to pick up this author duo’s most recent release. I wish I would have read this book before watching/reading the others, but the way Ren @ What’s Nonfiction? described this one to me convinced me to give this one a chance, even if I am getting to it in the wrong order.

Why I added it: I wasn’t sure after The Killer Across the Table whether I wanted to read any more of these authors’ books, but sometimes it’s difficult to gauge interest based on one book. I’m intrigued enough about FBI/serial killer interviews to want to give them another (better) chance.

Priority: Low at the moment, as I was planning to take a break from this subject matter after The Killer Across the Table, but I’ll probably watch Mindhunter season 2 when it’s released in August, and may subsequently want to pick this up more urgently.

29916641. sy475 Dust Bath Revival by Marianne Kirby (Pub: Nov 2016)

How I found it: Melanie recommended this one to me as a good example of YA horror. Her review is certainly compelling!

Why I added it: At first I was uncertain because zombies are my least favorite monster, but it sounds like zombies are more background material here while community unrest and the challenge of surviving in a strange and hostile place may take precedence. And that does sound appealing!

Priority: Low. This sounds like it would be a great spooky October read, but I don’t yet have a copy and I do already have a ton of spooky October reads. But it’s only a novella, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit it in somewhere!

36739320. sy475 Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: On the BOTM site, as a nonfiction add-on for July.

Why I added it: I did not add this book to my July BOTM box, but was intrigued enough to add it to my TBR anyway. I studied linguistics a little in college (a very little), and thought I’d like to read about the ways that the Internet has changed how we write and speak. BOTM assures it is not a dull read.

Priority: Low. I didn’t purchase a copy through BOTM this month and my library doesn’t seem to be expecting to get this one either. I’m not excited enough to rush out and buy it, and I don’t know how else I’ll get my hands on it, so this one’s pretty up in the air right now.

36510722Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I’ve seen this one around, but somehow never really ended up looking into it until it showed up as one of BOTM’s July selections.

Why I added it: It’s been a while since I’ve read historical fantasy, and jazz-age Myan mythology fantasy sounds absolutely divine.

Priority: Middling. I’ve got a couple of other fantasy reads to finish up before I’m ready to start another one, but I’ve gotten very excited for this one very quickly! I’ll pick it up as soon as I get to a fantasy lull.

42201421The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: Another add-on option through BOTM. Actually, I think BOTM is launching a separate-but-connected YA box, and this is one of the choices.

Why I added it: Amy Reed is another author that I already have on my TBR for another book- The Nowhere Girls. I made the exception again, basically just to keep this one on my radar for now. The BOTM description won me over even though the Goodreads description doesn’t wow me, but it looks just weird enough to fit my taste. It focuses on two “loner” teens, with some magical elements thrown in.

Priority: Low. Not sure if this will be up my alley or not. I’ll probably still want to read Nowhere Girls first, even if I do decide to read this one.

33786693. sy475 No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (Pub: May 2019)

How I found it: I read Melanie’s fantastic review!

Why I added it: Like Evicted, this sounds like necessary reading about the often-overlooked challenges some face every day. It’s a true crime nonfiction about a topic much more prevalent than serial killers, so I’m interested in checking out another side to that genre.

Priority: Middling. This is a newer release that I’m more immediately interested in, but as I’ve mentioned, my nonfiction queue (and my library holds list) is quite full. I’ll pick this up as soon as I can.

42201850The Need by Helen Phillips (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I saw this title in Hannah’s fun anticipated releases post.

Why I added it: This is a horror novel about a mother who’s home alone with her children, faced with an intruder “who knows far too much about her and her family.” After recently enjoying Melanie Golding’s Little Darlings (review coming soon!) I’m in the mood for another story about the potential horrors of motherhood. It sounds deliciously dark.

Priority: High. I’m in the mood for some spooks that don’t need to wait until October, and this sounds summer friendly.

 

After last week, when I realized I had only added four titles to my want-to-read shelf, this week has been a killer for my TBR! And I don’t mind it. It’s so odd for me to see that I’ve added 6 nonfiction titles in a single week, though. More than half of this list! My reading tastes are certainly changing. Fiction still has my heart, but I really need to make nonfiction a more permanent part of my reading life, as I seem to be much more interested in it than ever before.

Have you read any of these titles, or see any you recognize from your own TBR?

 

The Literary Elephant

Top of the TBR 6.25.19

(I’m a day late with this post, and I’ve basically fallen out of touch with everything and everyone over the last week or so, partially due to a mild family emergency. Fortunately that seems to be turning around for the better, and catching up on Top of the TBR seemed like the easiest way to start getting back into the swing of things. I should also have a few reviews and tags coming up this week, and I’ll be catching up on blog posts I’ve missed over the last few days as well. Probably no one noticed my absence, but if you did, know that I missed being here and talking about books! Here’s to hoping for a better week ahead.)

Top of the TBR is a weekly post I created that will showcase any new books 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:

43821991. sy475 The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff (Pub: Sept 2019)

How I found it: I came across this lovely post by Ren at What’s Nonfiction, full of some great upcoming nonfiction titles, and I couldn’t resist this one.

Why I added it: 9/11 is one of the “historic” events I’m most interested in reading about, probably because I was actually alive to remember this one, and also because I find plane crashes of all kinds morbidly fascinating.

Priority: Middling. I would love to read this as soon as it’s released, but Sept/Oct are my busiest times of the year, when it’s harder for me to get my hands on new books. I am making an effort to incorporate more nonfiction into my reading this summer, and I’m really hoping that will continue as a general reading practice forever, so hopefully I’ll get to this in a reasonable amount of time.

44901909. sy475 Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler (Pub: Oct 2019)

How I found it: In a Netflix ad on Instagram, if I remember correctly.

Why I added it: Mostly to keep it on my radar. This is slated to be released as a Netflix series in 2020, which I’ll probably want to check out at that time. I’ve seen it described as a gender-bent King Arthur retelling, focusing on the Lady of the Lake, whom I’ve found very intriguing since reading Meg Cabot’s Avalon High way back in middle school.

Priority: Low. I haven’t looked at reviews yet, so I’m not sure how interested I’ll actually be in picking this one up. I might save it for closer to the adaptation release in any case.

36863721. sy475 A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (Pub: 1934)

How I found it: I bought a book for my friend’s birthday coming up in July, and last week found out she’d just gone out and bought the same book for herself. I started looking through the Penguin English Library set for a replacement gift, and in the meantime managed to find a couple of titles I’m interested in myself.

Why I added it: Gothic mansion; a combination of comedy, tragedy, and irony; high class affairs. Everything from the synopsis appeals to me, and I haven’t yet read anything by Waugh, though I want to.

Priority: Middling. I haven’t been reading many classics this year, and I miss them. I’m hoping I can find a copy and squeeze this in to the second half of 2019 somehow.

14743257The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Pub: June 1905)

How I found it: Same as above.

Why I added it: I really liked Wharton’s Ethan Frome last year and have been meaning to read more of her work. I saw this passage in the synopsis and was immediately sold: “The House of Mirth shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles, portraying the moral, social and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the responsibilities.”

Priority: Middling. Same reasons as above.

38589871Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller (Pub: July 2018)

How I found it: I follow Fuller on Goodreads because I love her reviews, and similarly think I would love her novels… except I have never tried any them because I’m terrible at prioritizing.

Why I added it: Every Claire Fuller synopsis sounds perfect for me, and I’ve had a copy of Swimming Lessons on my shelf for years because I’m just so sure she’ll be a match for me. But as with other authors that I’ve been meaning to read multiple titles from, sometimes starting with the most recent helps me finally get going, so I’m thinking of trying that here.

Priority: High, except I want to read this in the fall and (again) that’s the hardest time of year for me to get my hands on new books. But I need to read at least one Fuller novel this year, someone please hold me to this!

32600212. sy475 Madame Zero: 9 Stories by Sarah Hall (Pub: July 2017)

How I found it: I read Hall’s Mrs Fox earlier this year, and loved the story enough that I went searching for more of Hall’s work, and found this collection that includes that short story.

Why I added it: After hunting for it on Goodreads, someone specifically recommended this to me, which further cemented my decision to read it.

Priority: Middling. Now that I’m at an impasse with the Faber Stories collection (the last two I need to buy have become too expensive for me to condone buying them) I’m looking to pick up more full collections of short stories to keep up with my short story goal for this year. But I don’t have a copy of this one yet, which always complicates things.

42505366Wilder Girls by Rory Power (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I honestly don’t remember, but so many readers are anticipating this one that it’s been all over upcoming releases posts.

Why I added it: YA horror is a genre I haven’t spent much time with, but if this is what it’s like, I want to. A quarantined school, a missing girl, LGBTQ+ rep, and THAT COVER.

Priority: High. This a new release I’m really hoping to pick up a copy of right away in July.

7871256The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller by Henry James (Pub: 1878)

How I found it: I actually found this cool vintage copy from the 60’s in my grandparent’s house when they moved out, in a box of books they were going to THROW AWAY.

Why I added it: I’ve been meaning to read this for years, ever since I found it, but I’m looking to read it more urgently now; The Turn of the Screw is a story I want to read before the second season of The Haunting of Hill House (a 2020 release, I believe) and also Ruth Ware’s imminent novel, The Turn of the Key. I also need to read Daisy Miller before I pick up The Maze at Windermere, which has been on my TBR for months.

Priority: high. These are short stories that I already own and have a lot of excitement for. If I don’t get to them this summer for whatever reason, I’ll certainly pick this up in the fall.

 

And that’s that. I had a really slow book-adding week on Goodreads what with my hiatus from most social media and the internet in general, so in addition to the four books new to my want-to-read shelf, I’ve also included four older titles that for one reason or another caught my attention today. There’s definitely a classics-and-horror trend here; I’m loving the summer weather but really looking forward to fall reading.

Have you read any of these titles, or recognize them from your own TBR? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

The Literary Elephant

 

Top of the TBR 6.17.19

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:

146772Altmann’s Tongue by Brian Evenson (Pub: 1994)

How I found it: Grab the Lapels recommended this one to me when I mentioned wanting to read some horror in last week’s Top of the TBR!

Why I added it: I like horror, I have a goal to read more short stories this year (this is a story collection), and it comes recommended. Also this part of the Goodreads synopsis really piqued my curiosity: “Brian Evenson has added an O. Henry Award–winning short story, “Two Brothers,” to this controversial book and a new afterword, in which he describes the troubling aftermath of the book’s publication in 1994.

Priority: Middling. I haven’t set my spooky reading plans for October yet, but this looks like exactly the sort of book that will appeal to me in the fall.

41880609On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: Initially, I saw this on bookstagram. It’s been on my radar for awhile and I just finally got around to doing the thing and actually adding it to Goodreads.

Why I added it: This looks like a book about identity, which I always enjoy. There’s a family history here, it’s said to be written in an epistolary form, and it seems like it could be a bit of a sob fest. The title is beautiful, reviewers I trust have loved this, and I can’t see any reason why this won’t be a win for me as well.

Priority: Middling, only because I don’t have a copy and they’re all checked out at my library. It sounds like it might be a good fall book, before all the spooky reads.

Blank 133x176The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (Pub: 2020)

How I found it: I just read The Bride Test this month, and upon marking that as read on Goodreads I discovered this sequel, book 3 in the Kiss Quotient series.

Why I added it: There’s something about the plots of Hoang’s romance novels that has never quite worked for me, but I love the autism rep and am not ready to give up on this series yet. This third book will feature Quan, my favorite character from the series so far, so hopes are high.

Priority: High. These are such quick reads for me, and because I am caught up in the series already and don’t queue up many romances I’ll probably be ready to pick this up as soon as it comes out.

42815544Bunny by Mona Awad (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: Bookstagram.

Why I added it: This seems like one of those controversial books that a lot of readers end up hating because of unlikable characters, but I don’t mind unlikable characters and I feel like I might enjoy this more than some seem to. I think this one’s about a group of writing students (women) and has some Secret History vibes, which sounds extremely up my alley, and the synopsis suggests a blurring of fiction/reality, which I’m always down for.

Priority: High. Maybe. This sounds like a great summer read. I want to pick it up right away, but I’m so swamped, and my library doesn’t have a copy.

44427431Stranger Things: Runaway Max by Brenna Yovanoff (Pub: June 2019)

How I found it: Bookstagram

Why I added it: I read another Stranger Things novel earlier this year, and though I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it enough to be willing to pick up more novelizations set in this world. This is a YA backstory of Max’s character, which I think will be a better fit than the young-reader-friendly book about adults signing up for sketchy experiments in the 70s like the last ST novel was.

Priority: Low. I wish I could pick this up before season 3 arrives in about 2 weeks, but it’s not at my library and I’m not rushing out to buy it. So I suppose I’ll save it for the drought between seasons 3 and 4.

Blank 133x176Milk Fed by Melissa Broder (Pub: unknown, tbd)

How I found it: Rachel brought this to my attention, which seemed only fitting as her review of The Pisces was a big part of why I picked up Broder’s first novel.

Why I added it: The Pisces was exactly my brand of weird. It was another one of those controversial books with unlikeable characters, but I loved its Greek element and its commentary about modern dating and sexuality. I’m hoping to pick up Broder’s essay collection (So Sad Today) this summer, but this upcoming novel is what I really want. It sounds just as delightfully bizarre and compelling as The Pisces. The entire synopsis at this point describes, “a spiritually ambivalent young Jewish woman with an eating disorder who, while taking an emotional detox from her mother, has an affair with the zaftig Orthodox woman working at her local Los Angeles frozen yogurt shop.”

Priority: High. I’m absolutely reading this as soon as it’s released.

12468The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer (Pub: 1979)

How I found it: This was mentioned in my current read, The Killer Across the Table (review coming up this week).

Why I added it: I’ve not yet read anything by Mailer, and I want to. This was a Pulitzer Prize winner (nonfiction), about a topic that’s been intriguing me lately: true crime. I appreciated Capote’s In Cold Blood, and would be interested in reading another OG crime story- this one specifically interests me because the convicted killer, sentenced to death, apparently has quite an arduous struggle convincing the state to actually kill him for his crime.

Priority: Low. I’m interested in the topic, so maybe I’ll pick this up sooner rather than later, but it’s a 1000+ page account, and as I’m also currently in the middle of Stephen King’s 1400+ page The Stand, you’ll understand why I’m not rushing to add this to my immediate TBR.

38612739Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Pub: Sept 2019)

How I found it: Emezi wrote one of my favorite books of 2018, Freshwater, so I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for their future publications.

Why I added it: With as much as I loved Freshwater, and as captivating and unique a voice as Emezi proved to be with that novel, I can’t imagine disliking this one. I’m curious about it being YA, as their first novel seemed very adult, but I imagine this will be great as well, albeit a bit different.

Priority: High. I’ll probably want to read this one as soon as it’s published as well.

42368604Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I loved Sager’s first thriller, Final Girls, and have been keeping an eye out for his future publications.

Why I added it: Sager’s 2018 release, The Last Time I Lied, did not live up to expectations for me, but it wasn’t outright bad so I’m still hoping for another Final Girls-type read on the horizon. Hopefully this will be the one.

Priority: High? This comes out early in July and I’m tempted to pick it up right away- summer is a great time of year for thrillers, and I haven’t seen any disappointing reviews yet. But I’m not sure whether I’ll buy this one, which might make it take longer to get my hands on a copy. My library does not seem to have ordered a copy yet.

 

42118856Cari Mora by Thomas Harris (Pub June 2019)

How I found it: two years ago I started reading a Thomas Harris novel every October, as part of my annual spooky TBR. I’ve been aware of this book for months because I’ve been enjoying the Hannibal Lecter series and keeping an eye out for upcoming releases.

Why I added it: The Silence of the Lambs and its accompanying volumes are becoming a bit dated (though I still highly recommend this classic to anyone who enjoys psychological horror) and so far that series is the only part of Harris’s oeuvre I’ve read. When I finish that by picking up Hannibal this October (I’ll probably let the series stand as a trilogy), I thought it would be interesting to pick up Harris’s most recent work for a bit of compare/contrast. I have heard this one’s quite different, though.

Priority: Low. I’m very content with my one-Harris-novel-per-year habit at the moment, and on that schedule, even if I pick this up immediately following Hannibal, I’ll get to Cari Mora in October 2020 at the earliest. I haven’t actually seen any glowing reviews for this yet, which makes the wait easier.

 

And that’s a wrap. Last week was a slower week for adding to my TBR, so I’ve supplemented this list with a few titles that I’ve had saved on Goodreads longer, recent or upcoming releases that I’ve been paying attention to lately. There are a surprising number of high priority reads this week, and this list also clearly reveals some of my summer and fall reading trends- thrills and chills and unlikable characters for the win!

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

 

The Literary Elephant