Top of the TBR is a biweekly post that showcases any books recently added to my Goodreads TBR, 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 recently:
Girl by Edna O’Brien (Pub: Sept 2019)
How I found it: While browsing new releases on Goodreads.
Why I added it: I very much enjoyed O’Brien’s short story, Paradise, from the Faber Stories collection when I read it earlier this year. I’ve been meaning to look into more of O’Brien’s work, but hadn’t decided on what to pick up next when I came across this one, which looks excellent! Set in a Nigerian forest, this is a story of abducted women.
Priority: Middling. I’ve pretty much already decided what I’m going to be reading for the rest of the year and this one wasn’t on the list, but it’s very tempting!
Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities by Flora Rheta Schreiber (Pub: 1973)
How I found it: I remember discussing this book (and watching some of the film) in my high school psychology class. I always meant to pick it up at some point, and was reminded of it when Sybil came up in Norman’s Ask Me About My Uterus.
Why I added it: I tend to enjoy reading about mental health and/or how the human brain works, and this nonfiction account is a classic. I’ve also had my perception of multiple personalities altered by reading Freshwater last year, which showed me how deeply culture can affect our perception of neurodiversity; I’ll be interested to pick this up with that in mind.
Priority: Low. This is available through my library, so it’s ready when I am!
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Pub: April 2009)
How I found it: I was only been vaguely aware of this one, but as it took the #1 spot on Guardian’s list of the 100 best books of the 21st century it recently caught my attention.
Why I added it: Any such list is, of course, subjective, so I’m not rushing out to read all of the books featured that I haven’t read yet, but I am intrigued enough to check out what is *supposedly* the best book of this century! It’s historical fiction, which isn’t always my favorite, but I would like to find something new (to me, at least) to appreciate from that genre. Maybe this is it.
Priority: Low. Also readily available through my library.
Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli (Pub: 2016)
How I found it: This one might also have been on the Guardian list of best books, if I remember correctly, but I didn’t know what it was until I suddenly started seeing it quite often on Bookstagram over the last couple of weeks!
Why I added it: I really liked Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, a fictional story about the US border crisis. This is a nonfiction piece about Luiselli’s real experience speaking with children at the border.
Priority: High. This is really short and just came in at my library. I’ll pause my October spooky reads to fit this one in soon.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (Pub: Oct 2019)
How I found it: I’ve seen this one in lists of upcoming releases, but neither the cover nor the title really caught my eye. Then I saw two positive reviews for it on Goodreads that convinced me to look closer! I’ll link the reviews here and here in case anyone’s curious.
Why I added it: This is a YA dystopian in which girls are banished from their homes for a year in their teens when they are supposedly emitting a magical womanly power that’s considered dangerous to both men and women around them. The story focuses on the dangers these 16 year-olds face in the woods, from the elements, other people, and most of all each other.
Priority: Middling. This sounds like it could be hit or miss for me, but it’s already been optioned for filming so I’d like to get to it before it’s overhyped if possible.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Pub: Sept 2019)
How I found it: This is everywhere lately, since Oprah just picked it up for her book club and the publisher has seemingly been sending free copies to every big bookish social media account
Why I added it: I actually think I’m more interested in Coates’s non-fiction, which I still haven’t read, but after skipping my BOTM box twice in a row I was just in the mood to order this time, and this was the best contender.
Priority: High. I’ve fallen behind on my BOTM selections again, so I’m going to try my best to read this one either in October or November to avoid falling farther behind!
Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
How I found it: This book was previously published under the title A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America, which I had heard of but hadn’t really looked into. This story was recently adapted into a Netflix series however, and I’m very in the mood to watch it, so I finally looked closer.
Why I added it: A real story of a girl who reported being raped and was not believed by anyone sounds infuriating but also right up my alley. The fact that it kept happening to more and more women makes it feel like essential reading. I also saw that Rachel started reading it and said it was good so far!
Priority: High. I’ve put a hold on it at my library, but it’s currently checked out. I remain undecided on whether I’ll go ahead and watch the series in the meantime or hold out to read the book first. I find myself caring less which order I consume different formats in lately, so I’ll definitely get to both either way.
The Keeper Jessica Moor (Pub: March 2020)
How I found it: Penguin just had an “influencer event” to introduce some of their upcoming titles, and this is one that I’ve seen Bookstagramers picking up and promoting!
Why I added it: This looks like a literary thriller featuring a murdered woman who worked at a domestic violence shelter; the crime is supposed to be shocking/thrilling but also speak more deeply about “violence against women and the structures that allow it to continue.” I definitely want to keep that on my radar.
Priority: Middling. I’ll keep an eye out for early reviews prior to release, and if it still sounds good I might want to pick this one up right away!
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Pub: May 2017)
How I found it: This novella has been winning awards and making a splash in the sci-fi community, and I just saw an announcement that this series is getting a full novel next year. It just felt like time to get around to it.
Why I added it: I like sci-fi. I like novellas. This one’s about a security android that calls itself Murderbot. “Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.” It sounds hilarious but also insightful.
Priority: Middling. The length makes this really tempting to pick up immediately, and it looks like it’s in my library’s database. But I might want to try timing it so I can read all of the novellas just before the novel’s release. Tbd.
The Vagina Bible by Jennifer Gunter (Pub: August 2019)
How I found it: I read Ren’s stellar review!
Why I added it: One of the things I was hoping to find in Norman’s Ask Me About My Uterus was some general info about endometriosis and how it’s treated; though I ended up enjoying that the book was a personal story rather than a medical overview, this informational book about female health and debunking vagina myths came at just the right time. It looks like it covers everything I didn’t know I was interested in learning, and just seems generally very useful for any living person with a uterus.
Priority: High. I’ve already ordered a copy, and am planning to start reading as soon as it arrives. Ren says it’s not exactly binge material, so I can’t say for sure when I’ll finish and review, but I’m really looking forward to it!
Have you read any of these or recognize them from your own TBR?
The Literary Elephant