This was supposed to be a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I haven’t had the time recently to post on the correct day! So I thought I’d share this on a random day instead. I tried and failed to actually rank these in some kind of order (they all look amazing) so they have ended up in a general list instead. But, hey it’s still a list! Bloggers love lists.
After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – I’m very much looking forward to reading a third novel by the amazing Maggie O’Farrell. Her entire back list has been re-released with gorgeous new covers, and this makes it even more exciting to read After You’d Gone, a novel that her fans always praise. It tells the story of Alice Raikes and her family. She had just arrived in Scotland when something happened that caused her to return to London almost immediately – and then she slips into a coma. Alice’s family gather around her and their histories are slowly revealed and concealed. I love O’Farrell’s writing and have high expectations for this one.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – This is one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2014 (it is published in August) and I was very, very happy to receive an early copy from Virago. I’ve read all of Sarah Waters’ books except Tipping the Velvet (which is also on my TBR) and have loved all of them. The Paying Guests tells the story of a young woman and her mother whose lives are completely changed when a young married couple move in with them as lodgers. I’ve read the first couple of pages of this and I can’t wait to dive in!
The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland – this is also published in August 2014, and my copy has been sitting on my shelf for a little longer than planned – but it is going to be my next-but-one read. Set during the “troubled” reign of Richard II, the novel depicts the Peasants’ Revolt and the difficulties faced by the family of wool merchant Robert when a widow and her daughter charm their way into his home and disrupt his entire family. As the title suggests there is also a bit of witchcraft (or at least suspicions of it) as well, and after reading The Crimson Ribbon earlier this year I’m looking forward to what this novel may hold. And I love the cover!
The Awakening by Kate Chopin – Originally published in 1899, this is being reissued in August 2014 by Canongate and they very kindly sent me an early copy. It’s a book I’ve been aware of for some time but have not got around to reading, but it is firmly in my sights for this year. I haven’t read any ‘old’ literature for a while and I’m looking forward to getting lost in the world of 19th century feminism.
The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers by Virginia Spencer Carr – I consider Carson McCullers to be one of my favourite writers, but really I’ve read relatively little of her work. When I first discovered her I read two of her novels and left a third unfinished when I had to relinquish recreational reading for required reading – but I loved them all. I’ve also read a few short stories and poems, and several of her books are on my TBR. She was not only a great writer but also a fascinating person and she lead a very eventful and interesting life, which I can’t wait to read about. It’s been a while since I read a biography, and I’m looking forward to spending time with this one.
Tracks by Robyn Davidson – I have to admit I only heard of this when the recent film adaptation was advertised, but I instantly wanted to read the book as well as see the film. After having enjoyed Wild and Travels with Myself and Another so much, I want to read more travel writing, and I liked the independence and bravery of Robyn’s trek across Australia. I also don’t think I’ve read much set in Australia, so that appealed to me as well. I plan to read this before I see the film (which looks excellent) and hopefully it will live up to expectations.
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan – This has been on TBR since it came out, but I’ve ramped it up the list now that it’s out in paperback. Amy Tan is one of those writers I’ve always heard of but never read anything by, and her latest book sounds like something I would enjoy. It also appeals to me because it is historical and because I have not read anything (I think) that is set in China. This novel has a family saga, China, America, and a story spanning fifty years – I can’t wait to read it.
Hellboy in Hell, vol. 1: The Descent by Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart – This may seem like a very different choice for my TBR, but I’ve read a fair amount of Hellboy and absolutely love it. I also loved the films – no one else seemed to, which I just didn’t get! I essentially want to read every single Hellboy book ever, but there are so many that I had to pick one. And this is a new one, published in May this year. Hellboy in Hell is a bit different as this time around Hellboy is dead, and so his whole story arc has changed. This is also the first book illustrated by Mike Mignola (his wonderful creator) for some time, which is very exciting as I adore Mignola’s artwork. I could literally spend a whole day reading Hellboy – and a whole lotta money buying the books. I’ve never reviewed any on here, but I think I will from now on.
The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis – I want to read this because it is a retelling of Welsh myths, and I’m a bit Welsh, and it also just sounds really interesting. The myth in question is the Blodeuwedd Mabinogion, and the Seren Books website describes the book as: “An elderly investigator and his female apprentice hope to extract the fate of the ship’s crew from its antiquated virtual reality game system, but their empirical approach falters as the story tangles with their own imagination. By imposing a distance of another 200 years and millions of light years between the reader and the medieval myth, Gwyneth Lewis brings this tale of a woman made of flowers closer than ever before, perhaps uncomfortably so. After all, what man can imagine how sap burns in the veins of a woman?”
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth – Sticking with the fairytale/myth theme, this is described as a retelling of the story of Rapunzel (the actual fairytale, not the Disney version (Tangled) – which I have to say is also amazing). Set during the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, Kate Forsyth weaves together the stories of three women – Charlotte, a storyteller exiled from court; Selena, an artists’ muse terrified of time; and Margherita, trapped in a tower with her unruly hair… It sounds like an intriguing and original book, and I think (hope!) I’ll enjoy it a lot.
So that’s the best of my TBR… what about yours??
13 thoughts on “Top Ten Books On My TBR”
Some brilliant-sounding books there! I keep meaning to read The Awakening too and can’t wait for The Paying Guests. Oh, and I also love the Hellboy films and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t more popular. I mean, he likes kittens, ffs…
Haha that’s very true! It’s a tricky one though as the books are so much darker (though with the same sense of humour) and rely a lot more on folklore and myth.
I can’t wait to read The Paying Guests and read other people’s reviews too – I really want it to be amazing!
This looks like a great list! I love Kate Chopin’s The Awakening; I found it interesting reading an early feminist work and a novella that explores motherhood, identity, and society. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. The cover of that new edition is beautiful!
Thanks Gemma. I’m glad I’m finally getting around to it. It is a lovely edition, but it’s quite small and the writing is huge! But I do love that cover.
An interesting looking tbr list! The Vanishing Witch sounds excellent, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on that! I’ve only recent bought Adichie’s ‘Americanah’ so looking forward to reading that. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Liam, I think The Vanishing Witch looks really interesting too – I’ve not really read anything like it before.
I loved The Awakening in my late teens – it was one of the main books in my feminist canon, together with The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique.
I almost wish I had read it when I was a bit younger – but never too late! I have a copy of The Second Sex but I’ve been so intimidated by its sheer heft that I haven’t read it yet – maybe this is the year.
At least Vol. 2, the ‘lived experience’ rather than the theoretical wrangling she gets into in Vol. 1.
I will remember that when I come to read it – thanks Marina.
I’m so glad to hear you say that Carson McCullers is one of your favourite writers. I haven’t read anything by her, but I recently bought Clock Without Hands in a bookshop sale, just on a whim really. Have you read that one? I do hope you enjoy the biography!
The Paying Guests sounds very good, too, and I’ve enjoyed Sarah Waters’ other books (although I haven’t read Tipping the Velvet, either).
I have a copy of Clock Without Hands but have not read it yet. She’s so brilliant and quite unusual I think, which I like. Very much looking forward to reading more of/about her.
The Paying Guests is my next read and very excited about it – and I’m seeing Sarah Waters at an event in Oxford in September, which is even more exciting!
Excellent! And I hope you enjoy the event with Sarah Waters, too.