Tag Archives: TBR

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! ūüôā

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

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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.

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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

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Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag 3.0

It’s time for the mid-year check-in! I’ve been unsure about whether to do this post this year because my reading hasn’t been feeling very inspired, but who am I to break tradition? Hopefully this bit of bookish excitement will help put my 2019 reading back on track.

I’m sure you know the drill by now, so without further ado…

1. Best Book You’ve Read in 2019 SO FAR

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Pachinko¬†by Min Jin Lee. Most of my favorites so far this year have been books that I love with caveats (some of the caveats being only that the book was short- I’ve read a handful of fantastic novellas this year!), but¬†Pachinko I adored full stop. I wish I had gotten to this one the year it was released, but it was 100% worth picking up late.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read in 2019 SO FAR

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I haven’t read many sequels this year to give it much competition, but George R. R. Martin’s¬†Storm of Swords likely would have won no matter what it was up against. Westeros continues to captivate and impress. I’m so hoping to finish books 4 and 5 this year!

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Really Want To

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Three Women¬†by Lisa Taddeo actually comes out next week, but I’ve already selected a copy from BOTM and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I haven’t known about this one for very long, but I’m so excited about checking out more nonfiction titles in the second half of the year and this one is at the very top of that list. And of course there are about a million other new releases on my list, but the most uplifting course of action seemed to be choosing one that I¬†knew I would be reading soon! (I still haven’t read last year’s answer for this question.)

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favorite writers , and the ending of¬†The Handmaid’s Tale has been haunting me (in a good way) for years.¬†The Testaments¬†is its sequel, slated for September release. That’s a busy time of year for me, so… I pre-ordered.

5. Biggest Disappointment

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Last year my biggest disappointment and my worst read of the year (so far) did not line up, but this year they do. I’m not a romance genre pro, but I found¬†The Hating Game highly entertaining last year and thus was pretty excited for Sally Thorne’s 2019 release,¬†99 Percent Mine. Unfortunately, not only did it not live up to its predecessor for me, but I really thought it was quite a mess.

6. Biggest Surprise

the dirt

I’ve never been much of a nonfiction reader, and I had barely even heard of M√∂tley Cr√ľe before their memoir-based Netflix film released this spring, so I was shocked both to find myself reading their book,¬†The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, and to consider it a fairly valuable read. Though I still don’t have much respect for the members of this band,¬†The Dirt was so psychologically fascinating and it opened my eyes to a perspective I’d never considered. Of course, I wouldn’t have even considered picking this book up if not for¬†Daisy Jones

7. Favorite New Author

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I read Sarah Moss‘s¬†Ghost Wall early this year and fell absolutely in love with it. It says more about my prioritizing and time management skills than my interest level that I haven’t read any more of her work yet; I’ve added quite a bit of it to my TBR and am very much looking forward to checking it out.

8. Newest Fictional Crush

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My answers for this prompt are always strange because I don’t crush on fictional characters in the way that I think is meant. I’ll give an honorable mention to Quan, who I don’t wish to date but did appreciate in Helen Hoang’s¬†The Bride Test (and also briefly in¬†The Kiss Quotient); though Hoang’s romances never seem to work as well for me as I hope, I’m looking forward to Hoang’s (untitled) 2020 release in which Quan’s story will take center stage.

9. Newest Favorite Character

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I so enjoyed following Korede through Oyinkan Braithwaite’s¬†My Sister, the Serial Killer! The dynamic between these sisters is so wonderfully rendered, but it was absolutely Korede that I found most sympathetic and fascinating from this duo. She’s understandably frustrated with Ayoola’s habit of murdering boyfriends, but never lets her sister down in a moment of need. 10/10 would want a sister like that.

10. Book That Made You Cry

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I don’t think I’ve cried over a book all year- it’s rare for me, though it does occasionally happen. But even without actual tears, Haruki Murakami’s¬†Norwegian Wood absolutely made me saddest. Major trigger warnings for suicide.

11. Book That Made You Happy

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid covers a lot of sad moments and heavy topics, but it also puts a delightfully modern spin on a favorite pop cultural moment and it put me in such a rock ‘n roll mood that I haven’t been able to shake, months later. I will remember this book so fondly for such a long time.

12. Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptation

dumplin

I don’t read a lot of YA these days, and I certainly don’t read much¬†cute¬†YA. It’s just not my type anymore. But I picked up Julie Murphey’s¬†Dumplin’¬†earlier this year while I was ill and simply couldn’t put it down. I loved the Netflix film adaptation even more; it’s very loyal to the original story, with a few streamlining changes that I thought benefitted the plot. I did not like Dolly Parton until watching this movie.

13. Favorite Post This Year

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Probably my Women’s Prize content, especially the longlist wrap-up and shortlist wrap-up. Not because I think my posts stand out among the plethora of related posts from other bloggers, but because I had such a fun time following along with the prize, reading everything, chatting with other readers, and making predictions. I’ve never read a prize longlist “on time” before, so it was a great experience all around.

14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought (or Read) This Year

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I just bought this edition of¬†The Phantom of the Opera and Other Gothic Tales which is shiny and detailed and wonderful. It’s been on my want-to-own list for a while and I finally went for it. But I haven’t read it yet, so…

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I want to also mention the Faber Stories collection, which is technically 20 books rather than one, but I absolutely adore these editions! I’ve read 17 of them so far (reviewed in mini batches one, two, three, four, and five) and can’t get enough of these covers, especially coupled with the tiny size. They’re perfection.

15. A Book You Need to Read By the End of the Year

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My answer to the Favorite New Author prompt last year was Daphne du Maurier; I read her novel¬†Rebecca for the first time in 2018 and knew I needed to explore more of du Maurier’s work. Other than¬†The Breakthrough, a small Penguin Modern volume, I’ve not managed to do so yet. I really must get back to her oeuvre this year, and¬†The House on the Strand is at the top of my du Maurier list.

Tagging: anyone who hasn’t done this post yet, because this is one of my favorite tags and it’s so fun to compare and contrast answers!

I’m glad I decided to do the post after all. If you’re interested in my answers from previous years, here are the links to my 2018 and 2017 posts (wow, my reading taste has changed). Whether you’re a seasoned pro with this one or trying it for the first time, I hope you have fun with it! And as always, happy reading. ūüôā

 

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! ūüôā

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

TBR 7.19

I set myself a goal for 2019 in which I aim to read all of the new books I acquire by the end of the following month. Recently, I’ve considered abandoning this goal, because my TBR for each month includes more than just the previous month’s purchases and it’s been disheartening to never reach the goal. But upon reflection, keeping track of which new books I read or don’t read right away is helping in the two areas I most intended it to: I’m more likely to resist buying books that I want to read¬†eventually¬†instead of¬†immediately, and I am reading a higher percentage of unread books from my shelves, rather than ignoring my own books to borrow more from the library. Of course, I still buy books that I don’t end up reading immediately, and I still use the library, but I’ve decided to at least keep tracking this goal through the rest of the year even if I’m not sticking to it as closely as I’d hoped, because I do want to see my end stats and be able to set more realistic goals for next year.

So I’ll continue to post my book haul / TBR list for each month, but at the end I’ll include a list of what I think my reading for the month might actually include.

These are the new books added to my shelf throughout June:

  1. Daughters of Passion by Julia O’Faolain. This is a short story from the Faber Stories collection. It’s about an Irish woman on a hunger strike who loses track of what’s real and what’s not (as far as I recall). This is one of only 3 Faber Stories I still needed to complete my collection, but the other two are still too expensive.
  2. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, trans. by Marilyn Booth. This is the winner of this year’s Man Booker International prize, for literature translated into English. I believe this is a story about three sisters from Oman. I’ve heard mixed things, but I want to start making more of an effort to read current and past prize winners so I’m going to give it a try.
  3. Flight or Fright ed. by Stephen King and Bev Vincent.¬†This is a short story collection about the horrors of planes and flight, which is a topic one of my friends is very interested in and I’ve also become a bit attracted to by extension. I originally bought this for her birthday, and then found out she had unknowingly bought it for herself¬† right after so I’ll keep this copy and find a replacement gift. I’ll probably save this for a spooky fall read, if I get around to it this year at all.
  4. The Phantom of the Opera and Other Gothic Tales¬†by Gaston Leroux and others.¬†I bought this leather-bound classics edition on sale from Barnes and Noble. It’s 800 pages of relatively short Gothic stories from a variety of authors, some I know of and some that will be new to me. I’ve been wanting to buy this since it was added to the B&N classics collection last year, and ended up buying it this month just because I could get it at a good price. I’ll probably also save this one for fall.
  5. Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach.¬†I bought this from the same Barnes and Noble sale, a clean hardcover copy for only about $5. This book features a set of twins, one of whom is missing, and may be playing a game that only her sister can solve. This one’s been on my radar for a long time, and I finally decided to give it a go.
  6. Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash.¬†This book features a woman who enters a “three-way relationship” with another woman and his girlfriend, but essentially I believe it’s about a crisis of identity. It sounds really weird and highly intriguing, but my library doesn’t have a copy so I bought my own. I’m really excited to pick this one up!
  7. Recursion by Blake Crouch.¬†Here is my BOTM selection from June, which I’ve also been eyeing impatiently ever since it arrived, though I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with my June library books and my buddy read of Stephen King’s 1400+ page¬†The Stand that I haven’t had time to dive into yet. This is the new sci-fi thriller from the author of¬†Dark Matter, and it deals with memory. That’s all I know and all I want to know- I’m also really looking forward to this one!
  8. City of Omens by Dan Werb.¬†I chose this nonfiction about the deaths of women in Tijuana as a BOTM add-on in June. I’m trying to incorporate more nonfiction into my reading this summer (and beyond), so I picked this up just because it was a new release that caught my attention, and I’m looking forward to learning more.

bookhaul6.19

Those are all of the new books I’ve acquired this month. I haven’t read a single one yet, and I’m not even going to pretend to expect that I’ll read them all in July. From this list, I’m most expecting to read¬†Daughters of Passion, Animals Eat Each Other,¬†and¬†Recursion.¬†I’m less certain about but still HOPING to also read¬†City of Omens, Celestial Bodies, and/or Dead Letters.

In addition, I’ll also have these library books for sure:¬†The Farm¬†by Joanne Ramos,¬†Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman,¬†Again, But Better by Christine Riccio,¬†A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing¬†by Eimear McBride, and¬†Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.

I should be finishing my buddy read of¬†The Stand within the first two weeks of the month also, which will feel like SUCH an accomplishment and will also free up a lot more reading time for me, though of course until it’s done it will still occupy a good portion of my reading time.

Last but not least, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction longlist will be announced on July 24, which I hope to be reading again this year (though in a more timely manner than I managed last year). I have no idea what the nominated titles will be or how available they will be to me, so I’m not sure I’ll get to any of these at the end of July, but it’s certainly a possibility.

And so, even though I’m tentatively planning to read more than 8 books this month, I’m sure they won’t be the 8 new books I picked up in June. Which is okay.

My June wrap-up will be up next week, featuring everything I read this month, and a look at how closely it followed my May book haul / June TBR.

Happy reading, all!

 

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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā

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‚Äďwinning 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

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! ūüôā

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