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:
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.
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.
Strange 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!
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.
The 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.
The 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.
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!
The 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.
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.
The 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