Top Ten Tuesday: Books About New Year’s

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Todays prompt is:

January 10: Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

But since I’m trying to read what I have and NOT to make a million more TBRs, I decided to do my own thing. Since we’re starting a new year, and looking ahead, I’ll share some books set on/near New Year’s, or that have significant New Year’s scenes.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore – New Year’s Eve 1982. The title character is set to turn 19 at the stroke of midnight. She faces some big decisions in the year ahead. But as the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints. When she wakes up, it’s 32 years in the future, and Oona is 51 years old physically (mentally she’s still 19). She is greeted by a stranger who tells her that for the rest of her life, she will leap to another age at random. So from 19 she leaped to 51. From 51 she might leap to 25… Oona tries to build a life given her “condition.” There are perks and drawbacks and we watch Oona grow up (and down, and up again) on the outside, while developing normally on the inside.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding – This book opens on a New Year, when the title character decides to make some resolutions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • develop a functional, adult relationship
  • go to the gym 3x a week
  • learn to program the VCR
  • keep a diary all year

Some of these resolutions are more successful than others naturally!

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby – Four people meet one New Year’s Eve at a popular London spot for suicides. They all have the same plan for midnight. In four alternating first person perspectives, we get to know who these people are, and why they got to this point. Once they all meet, they end up sharing their stories and agreeing to postpone mortality (at least temporarily) to help each other.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith – This starts on New Year’s Day in 1975 and circles around to another New Year’s later on in the book. At the beginning, Archie, who’d planned to start the New Year with his suicide, ends up at a New Year’s party instead. At this party, he meets his future wife. The book itself is actually more about his friendship with fellow WWII vet, Samad Iqubal, but New Year’s party, and the resulting marriage, definitely set Archie’s life on a different path.

Middlemarch by George Eliot – This novel begins on New Year’s Eve, at a party given by the Vincys. It seems cheerful but there are a lot of tensions under the surface. Rosamund’s husband bores her. Mr. Lydgate has money problems. Mr. Farebrother is flirting with Mary, which makes Fred jealous. We get to know these people and their various problems big and small over the course of the novel.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – While the knights of Camelot are having a New Year’s feast, a gigantic green knight shows up. Gawain wins a fight with him, but the knight tells Gawain that he will return next New Year’s to take his revenge. Not the most promising start to a year…

Mixed Doubles by Jill Mansell – One New Year’s Eve, three friends are sharing their resolutions. Liza wants to get married this year. Pru wants to stay married, and Dulcie wants a divorce. Over the course of the next year, best laid plans will naturally go awry. Things get even crazier when the characters try to help each other.

Baby-Sitters Little Sister: Karen’s New Year by Ann M. Martin – When I was about seven years old, I thought that Karen Brewer was a kindred spirit. Case in point: on New Year’s Eve, Karen encourages her friends and family to make resolutions. Karen joins in, making a number of resolutions herself. To help make sure people are doing what they should, Karen takes up spying on them. Surprisingly, Karen’s nearest and dearest don’t appreciate this! They spy on her in return…

Fear Street Superchillers: The New Year’s Party by RL Stine – Another nostalgic New Year’s book, this one that actually begins at a Christmas party. A prank turns fatal when it turns out that the intended target had a heart problem. Naturally, the pranksters decide to hide the body and swear secrecy (because is there another way to handle it?). But then the body they’ve hidden disappears. In the lead up to the New Year, the pranksters start to die, one by one.

Happy reading in 2023 everyone!

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Top Ten Tuesday: New Authors Read in 2021

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

January 25: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

These are authors who I read for the first time in 2021 and who I want to continue to read in the future

Lucy Foley – I read The Guest List and The Hunting Party in 2021. Neither were brilliant but both were entertaining Locked Room mysteries that kept me involved and guessing, That was what I needed mentally when I read them, and it’s good to know there’s an author I can go to for that.

Alix E. Harrow – I’d been meaning to read The Ten Thousand Doors of January since it was released in late 2019. I finally got to it this year. Often when I finally get to a book I’d been meaning to read for a long time, it doesn’t live up to expectations. In this case, it did.

Jenny Offill– I sort of stumbled across Weather at the exact right time to read it: one of those days when you feel like humanity, and the world itself, is headed straight downhill. It didn’t confirm or deny those feelings but it definitely acknowledged them. That inspired me to check out Dept of Speculation as well. I definitely want to look for her work more in the future.

Kelly Link – I read her story collection Get In Trouble, which totally appealed to my desire for weirdness in my fiction. Most of these stories are set in places we recognize enough so that they seem familiar, but Link introduces elements that set it askew, and eventually turn it upside down. I definitely want to check out more of her work soon.

Margarita Montimore – Someone in my book club recommended Oona Out of Order this year, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about a women who ages out of order starting from her 19th birthday onward. So she wakes up and it’s 32 years in the future, she’s 51 (externally; internally she’s still 19) and has to live her 51 year old life for a year. From 51 she might leap forwards to 70 or back to 20. It sounds confusing, but it was done well enough for me to want to check out more from the author.

Julia Quinn – I’m not usually a huge reader of the romance genre (which I’m classifying as different from books that have romance in them) but I’m starting to become more of one, since romance novels have happy endings, and the craziness of the last 2 years has definitely made me see the appeal in a story I know will make me happy! I started reading her Bridgerton series, because I liked the Netflix series of the same name. I’m still trying to decide if I’ll read the book before the TV version airs (what I did in preparation for the upcoming second season/The Viscount Who Loved Me) or if I’ll just binge a bunch of them when I’m in the mood for a HEA

Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I read Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic in 2021. I enjoyed them both, but they were both very different books. I suppose the only things you could say they had in common was the speculative fiction genre and a strong Mexican setting. It looks like her other books are just as varied, so I look forward to them.

Philippa Pearce Tom’s Midnight Garden is a book I missed a child. I’d seen so many people cite it as a favorite, so I decided to read it in 2021 when I discovered a copy in a used bookshop. I’m very glad I did! I want to check out some of her other work soon. It looks pretty varied.

Maud Hart LovelaceThe Betsy-Tacy series was another series that I didn’t read as a kid. But again, I’d seen it cited as influential by many people. I finally read the first four books in the series, and found them charming and comforting. I look forward to continuing with the series in 2022.