Top Ten Tuesday – Dystopias

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week is a freebie so I was able to choose my own topic. I decided on one of my favourite genres – the dystopia. It’s hard to say which one would be my favourite which is why they are in alphabetical order.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  2. Oryx and Crake series – Margaret Atwood
  3. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  4. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  5. A Scanner Darkly – Phillip K. Dick
  6. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  7. The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin
  8. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  9. 1984 – George Orwell
  10. Day of the Triffids – John Wyndam

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Spring 2022 TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks Top Ten is the books on your spring TBR. I do like to try and plan what I am going to read but I am also terrible at keeping to it. Anyway, here is what I intend to read.

  1. Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker (1984)
  2. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (1847)
  3. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
  4. House of Glass – Hadley Freeman (2020)
  5. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman (2005)
  6. Live By Night – Dennis Lehane (2012)
  7. Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie (2007)
  8. Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart (2020)
  9. The Kitchen God’s Wife – Amy Tan (1991)
  10. The Underground Railway – Colson Whitehead (2016)

Neil Gaiman, Dennis Lehane and Amy Tan are all being read for the TBR challenge run by Adam at Roof Beam Reader so if nothing else, those three will be read.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Enjoyed But Haven’t Mentioned On My Blog

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today’s top ten is quite hard as I have mentioned an awful lot of books on my bog over the years. Here are some which I may have missed. I’m not sure why I haven’t written about them. They are all brilliant books.

  1. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  2. Exquisite Corpse – Poppy Z. Brite
  3. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  4. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier
  5. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  6. How Late it was How Late – James Kelman
  7. It – Stephen King
  8. Spider – Patrick McGrath
  9. The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
  10. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 New to me Authors I Discovered in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I did quite well last year for reading new authors so I’ve picked the best ones to share.

  1. Jews Don’t Count – David Baddiel – An exploration of anti-Semitism and why it doesn’t seem to be taken seriously enough. 4/5
  2. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr – An interesting spin on a war novel involving a blind girl and a model of Paris 4/5
  3. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng – Shaker Heights seems perfectly peaceful but the arrival of Mia, artist and single mother, turns things completely on their head. 3/5
  4. Mysterious Skin – Scott Heim – A dark and disturbing look at the effect of sexual abuse on the lives of two young boys. 5/5
  5. The Buddha of Suburbia – Hanif Kureishi – A bildungsroman that chronicles the sexual awakening and social difficulties of Karim Amir. 4/5
  6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carre – Classic spy story with plenty of twists and turns. 4/5
  7. How Not To Be Wrong – James O’Brien – O’Brien charts his personal journey of learning how to change your mind. 5/5
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque – The heartbreaking classic of German schoolboys who sign up and fight in the first world war. 5/5
  9. The Plot Against America – Philip Roth – What would have happened if the US hadn’t joined the second world war? A disturbing look at the possible outcome. 5/5
  10. The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead – A hellish look at the reform schools of the 1960s. 5/5

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I didn’t get to

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To. However, as I don’t read many current books, I’m going to change it slightly to books I didn’t get to last year. I had aimed to read 45 books last year but I only got through 37 so there were a few I missed.

  1. Emma – Jane Austen. I faced down Middlemarch and Far From the Madding Crowd last year and I just couldn’t face another classic.
  2. The Thief of Time – John Boyne. Not sure why I didn’t read this one. I’ve enjoyed the other novels by Boyle I’ve read.
  3. The Long Call – Anne Cleeves. I watched this on the TV and it was okay but not great so I put off reading it.
  4. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens. Another classic I couldn’t face.
  5. Girl, Woman Other – Bernadine Evaristo. I read The Testaments last year and had intentions of reading this as it was joint booker winner with the Atwood.
  6. Just Like You – Nick Hornby. This was a new release but I’m not sure why I bought it as I seem to like Hornby less with each book.
  7. The Institute – Stephen King. I must admit the length of this is putting me off. I’m sure that once I pick it up, I’ll get through it quite quickly but it’s just making myself pick it up.
  8. Live by Night – Dennis Lehane. This has been on my TBR for far too long. I’m not sure why I haven’t got round to it yet because I enjoyed the other books I have read by him.
  9. Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie. I didn’t read much non fiction last year and this is one that I intended to read but didn’t get to.
  10. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel. I put this on last year’s reading list because a lot of people have recommended it but I’m not sure I actually fancy it.

Top Ten Tuesday – Most Recent Additions

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks top ten – Most recent additions to my book collection.

I’m trying not to buy books as I have so many books that I haven’t read. However, people often give me Amazon vouchers or book tokens for my birthday / Christmas so I have bought some lately. Also, I do tend to buy books on my kindle as they don’t take up physical space.

  1. Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker (1984) I’ve been meaning to read this since university – which is thirty years ago now. Not quite sure why it had taken so long to purchase a copy.
  2. The Origins of Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt (1951) Another one that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. It has never felt more relevant to be reading about this subject.
  3. Ridley Road – Jo Bloom (2014) I bought this after the TV series which was very good but also after reading Jews Don’t Count and The Plot Against America and deciding I needed to read more Jewish fiction / non fiction.
  4. The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke (1956) I’m trying to read through some classic science fiction and Clarke seems about as classic as you can get.
  5. House of Glass: The Stories and Secrets of a Twentieth Century Jewish Family – Hadley Freeman (2020) I read Freeman’s column in the Guardian and am curious to know more about her life and about life in a Jewish family.
  6. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein (1966) More classic science fiction.
  7. The Lost Language of Cranes – David Leavitt (1986) I’ve read Leavitt’s biography of Alan Turing and enjoyed it so I thought I’d give his fiction a go.
  8. A Perfect Spy – John Le Carre (1986) I’m not a massive fan of spy fiction but I enjoyed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last year so I’m giving Le Carre another go.
  9. Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart (2020) I’ve been trying to read Booker Prize winners and this sounded particularly good.
  10. The Midwich Cuckoos – John Wyndham (1957) I love Wyndham.

Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween Special

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today the top ten was a Halloween freebie so I have written a straightforward list of my favourite horror / supernatural novels.

  1. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris (1988) The relationship between Clarice and Hannibal Lector is what makes this novel.
  2. The Fog – James Herbert (1975) A mysterious fog seeps from a crack in the earth and drives people mad. A superb read.
  3. The Stand – Stephen King (1978) This contains one of my favourite pieces of writing ever where King describes the spread of a virus from the first sneeze onwards. Like The Road, a post-apocalyptic scenario.
  4. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin (1967) Even better than the film (which follows the novel really closely.)
  5. I am Legend – Richard Matheson (1954) A last man standing tale with Robert Neville fighting the vampires for his humanity and the future of the world.
  6. The Road – Cormac McCarthy (2006). Perhaps not an obvious horror choice but the bleakness of the landscape and the dark violence earn it its place.
  7. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (1818) I love this book and its commentary on the way society treats outsiders. It does what all good horror should do and make you think
  8. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) A great story about hypocrisy and sin. I’ve taught this any number of times and it hasn’t lost its freshness.
  9. Some of Your Blood – Theodore Sturgeon (1961) A strange vampiric tale, told through letters and diaries. The pay off is definitely worth it.
  10. The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells (1897) Much better than the film, this is a dark parable about not being accepted by society and the repercussions of that.

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

  1. An obvious romance – I’m not a big fan of romance in general but it works best, I think, when there is some genuine peril (if that is the correct word). I find it annoying when the end relationship is never in doubt. Example: How to fall in love – Celia Ahern – the female lead, Christine is trying to help Adam win his ex-girlfriend back but, of course, this isn’t what ends up happening. Tedious.
  2. A disappointing end to a series – It is annoying when you invest the time to follow a series of books and then it turns out to be a rubbish ending. It’s exciting when you know that you are coming to the end of a series and the letdown of a bad ending is magnified by the number of books you have read up to that point. Example: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The main problem is how much of the action takes place away from Katniss but it also the lack of a hunger games and the tedious love triangle.
  3. A movie cover – I understand why publishers feel the need to do this but it really is annoying. I much prefer a nice art print or something more abstract. The problem with a movie cover is that it gives you an idea of what the characters look like and it is hard to move past. (Incidental peeve – On my kindle, often the covers update when there has been a movie version which is very irritating.)
  4. The problems of posh people – I really don’t want to read about people with money who often have to make problems for themselves because otherwise their moneyed lives would be just fine. They are generally obnoxious and unpleasant. Example: The Secret History – Donna Tartt. The obnoxious, snobby students are so full of themselves and their professor is even worse. They end up murdering because they are beyond normal morality. Just unpleasant. (See also Amsterdam by Ian McEwan,)
  5. When you buy the next book by an author or in a series and the cover design has completely changed. When you buy a lot of books by an author – be it all in a series or not – it’s nice if the books all look similar to each other and sit nicely together on the shelf. However, publishers and fashions change and so do covers. I’ve not got the money to rebuy books just so they all look the same although I know some people who have. Example: Rebus Series – Ian Rankin.
  6. Pretentious prose – I do find it annoying when the prose style gets in the way of reading smoothly. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a clever phrase as much as the next person but it should be fluid. It shouldn’t be the author showing off their vocabulary. Example: Any recent novel by Ian McEwan.
  7. When someone is killed or dies in order for another character to learn some life lesson. It is usually women that have to go through things or be killed and men who learn something about themselves or live an improved life because of what they learned. Example: Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher. Hannah’s suicide, and all the things that lead up to it, are ultimately character development for Clay who realises what he needs to do to improve his own life.
  8. Teenage first person blues – I am quite far removed from my teenage years now but I do find myself reading fiction from the point of view of teenagers fairly regularly. I find it harder and harder to relate to a teenage narrator and their self centred worlds. Examples: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, Turtles All The Way Down – John Green and the entire Divergent series.
  9. When they totally mess up the film / TV version – I’m not sure that this is really a book peeve but it is related. When you have really loved a book, you get excited to see what someone has done with it. While I know that everyone’s imagination is different but sometimes, directors seem to go out of their way to mess things up. Examples: The Book Thief, The Golden Compass, The Other Boleyn Girl to name but three.
  10. When it is impossible to suspend my disbelief – I think I am quite good at suspending my disbelief but sometimes things just get too ridiculous. Sometimes it depends on how good the prose is or how good the characters are and you would just about accept anything but if these are not so good then you are less able to disbelieve. Examples: Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books on my Autumn To Read List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

I assign each Tuesday a topic and then post my top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! 

A nice straightforward list this week – what I intend to read next. I can’t promise I will keep to it. I’m always getting distracted by new books but this is the intention. Any thoughts about any of them gratefully received.

  1. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while. It sounds interesting and I really enjoyed Half A Yellow Sun.
  2. Jews Don’t Count – David Baddiel. I’ve just downloaded this onto my Kindle as it is an area I’m interested in knowing more about.
  3. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte. I read this at school and enjoyed it but I can’t remember it very well so time for a reread.
  4. The Long Call – Anne Cleeves. I really enjoyed the Shetland books but this is the first Cleeves book outside that series that I’ve bought.
  5. The Collector – John Fowles. I’ve been intending to read this since I was at university (which is a long time ago). I finally bought a copy last year.
  6. No One Writes to the Colonel – Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s a long time since I last read any Marquez. I’m not sure why as I enjoyed the others that I have read.
  7. Mysterious Skin – Scott Heim. Another book that has been on the reading list for a long time but I only just purchased.
  8. Bleeding Hearts – Ian Rankin. I love the Rebus books but the only other non-Rebus that I read, I wasn’t that impressed with. We’ll see.
  9. On Beauty – Zadie Smith. I’ve read a few of Smith’s books in the past although I wasn’t that impressed with the last one (Swing Time). Time to give her another chance, I think.
  10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain. I read Tom Sawyer a few years ago and thought it was about time I read this one.

Top Ten Books with a Number in the Title.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

I assign each Tuesday a topic and then post my top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Here is my list. There is a surprising number of dystopias and science fiction in here, perhaps because of the use of years in titles. In numerical order:

  1. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman (2001) Excellent dystopia with a focus on race and prejudice. Better than the TV show.
  2. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (1969) One of the best anti-war novels. A look at the effect of war on the mind.
  3. Starter For Ten – David Nicholls (2003) Romance based around a team taking part in University Challenge. The film was better.
  4. 11/22/63 – Stephen King (2011) Interesting science fiction / alternate history focusing on the question of what would have happened if Kennedy had not been shot.
  5. 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher (2007) Girl dies so boy can learn to live a better life pretty much sums this one up
  6. Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith (2008) A thriller set in communist Russia. Okay thriller with some interesting political points to make.
  7. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (1953) One of my favourite dystopias. The idea of books being burned is so disturbing.
  8. 1984 – George Orwell (1949) Another brilliant dystopia. Particularly fitting reading in the current political climate.
  9. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke (1968) This did not help my paranoia about technology. Also interesting ideas about the nature of the universe.
  10. 20000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne (1869). Not a bad adventure but I did get fed up with the long lists of fish.