Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Progress Update

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This was this week’s topic:

June 15: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)

But since I’m trying to read through old TBRs before making new ones (I doubt I’ll be able to stick to this resolution for long!) I decided to revisit some old TBRs and do a progress update. If you’re interested, I did one of these in the past, and I’m trying not to repeat books:

  • Majesty: American Royals by Kristin McGree (on my Fall 2020 TBR) This was silly and soap opera-ish but enjoyable for those times when that’s exactly what you need. I made a mental note (that I’m just now remembering) to check out more of McGee’s work for that purpose.

  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (2018 TBR) This was a disappointment. It had a really compelling premise, that I really wanted to like, but it was turned into a just OK book. It wasn’t bad, but it was good enough for me to wish it were better.

  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan (2018 TBR) I remember liking a lot about this one, but I don’t remember much about it! I think it had sort of an “old Hollywood” feel that I liked. It felt like a mashup of elements of Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock.

  • The 7 and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (2018 TBR, Apparently I read a lot from this list!) This was another one that I was really excited for based on the premise, but the execution fell flat for me. I think the Groundhog Day-eque premise needs to be really done well, in order for the book to work. If it’s not, it just feels repetitive. In this case I’d start to get interested in where it was going and then I was frustrated to be sent back to the beginning again! Again, I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

  • Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence (Backlist TBR) This lived on my shelf for many years. I wasn’t in the mood for it, really, for one reason or another. During lockdown, I finally read it, and didn’t much like it. Once again, not bad, but I liked it less than I liked some of the other books on this list that disappointed me! Here, the problem was that I didn’t like the characters or care about the plot. I really need one out of two!

  • The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Backlist TBR) I liked this one, but I didn’t love it. So I’m sort of torn about continuing with the series. There are four more Cazalet books out there, and I’m on the fence about whether or not they’re worth reading. I did enjoy the first book, but a five book series just feels like quite an investment!

  • An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear (TBR Procrastination) This was my fifth, and I think, final (for now, at least) book in the Maisie Dobbs series. Jacqueline Winspear is a talented author, and It’s not that I don’t like them, but I feel that each one covers mostly the same ground. If the tone were slightly different that might work. For example if these were cozy mysteries I might find the same thing charming, over and over. But these are really depressing. Like they take place in during the Great Depression, with characters traumatized by WWI. And of course they’re working with crimes all the time, so it gets pretty bleak. None of the characters have grown on developed enough to make me feel like it’s worthwhile.

  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (Upcoming Releases for the 2nd Half of 2019) This was an enjoyable dual timeline thriller. I do wish that Simone St. James would return to the historical, gothic, romantic mysteries where she started out. Her last two books have had more contemporary settings, at least in part, (though they’ve had dual timelines as well) and while they’re good, my personal tastes tend toward to historical. I’ll keep reading her books though, because they’re still fun.

  • Milkman by Anna Burns (Winter 2018-2019 TBR) I read this after it won the Man Booker Prize. I was a bit nervous going into it, because I’d heard mixed things, but I ended up liking it more than I realized at the time. It’s not an easy read in terms of understanding what’s going on, so it required some mental effort to read. But looking back on it, I appreciate it in a way I didn’t quite “get” while I was reading it. So this one is a bit better in retrospect.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Long Titles

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

October 13: Super Long Book Titles

1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg – A childhood fave. Mrs. Basil E. has a long name in and of herself, but when you add those mixed up files, you get a really long title.

2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente– Most of the time I just refer to this one as “Fairyland” or “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland” if I’m feeling particularly long winded. I never go for the full title!

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon- This one is meant to sound like the title of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and I suppose it does.

4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows– For some reason always use the full title when talking about this book.

5. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino- This one I shorten to “If On A Winter’s Night.” We don’t need the traveler.

6. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – I usually just call this one “Eleanor Oliphant” and leave her status out of it.

7. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardscastle by Stuart Turton– This is another one where I just call it by the name of the character (in this case “Evelyn Hardcastle”) and leave out all the rest.

8. The Pirate Captain: Chronicles of A Legend: Nor Silver Kerry Lynne– The author of the book cleared up via twitter that this is the full tile of her first book. It’s a fun read, but I don’t think we need the double subtitle. Just one is fine!

9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg– This one I usually just call by the film adaptations’ title, Fried Green Tomatoes.

10. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon– The author called this one MOBY on social media. The logic was it’s big, it’s white. And when you say the initials “MOHB” it sounds like “MOBY.” As a result the fandom tends to call this one MOBY,

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018

For the Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday:

December 26: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018 (These could be new releases, or books you resolve to read, ten debuts we are looking forward to, etc.)

51jc1v9sval-_ac_us218_1. Florida by Lauren Groff– I’ve been reading as much Groff as possible. Her writing is intelligent, poetic, and has flashes of humor or cruelty or love. I still haven’t read her other volume of short stories, but this is going on the TBR anyway!

 

 

51-351d21al-_ac_us218_2. Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean- We all have opinions, regardless of our gender. The women featured in this book (including Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, and Joan Didion) are notable, not for having an opinion, but for sharing it publicly in an effective way.

 

 

51ad2nbcml-_ac_us218_3. The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg-  I liked Ortberg’s other book, Texts From Jane Eyre a lot. This seems very different, but still right up my alley. It’s a collection of stories based on classic fairy tales and folklore, with a feminist spin.

 

 

51owewnzcgl-_ac_us218_4. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman- In keeping with my obsession with fairy tales reimagined in interesting ways, we have a twisted take on Sleeping Beauty, about a woman who can revive herself after death.

 

 

 

51lqakfrg1l-_ac_us218_5. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig– This also seems just right for me. It’s about a man who ages really slowly and thus, has been alive for centuries. It seems like it’s in the line of Forever by Pete Hamill, Replay by Ken Grimwood,  or Time and Again by Jack Finney, all of which I enjoyed.

 

 

51kz1al5qfl-_ac_us218_6. The Lost Girls of Camp Foverevermore by Kim Fu- A kayaking trip leaves a group of camp kids stranded on an island without adults. Sounds a bit Lord of the Flies. But I recall that when we read Lord of the Flies in high school we read an interview with Golding where he said that he could have never written it about girls, because girls wouldn’t revert to savagery like boys. I’m interested to see if that’s what happens in this novel. Interestingly it also traces the lives of each of these girls after that experience to show how it shapes the people they become.

51af7lrf3gl-_ac_us218_7. Tangerine by Christine Mangan– This novel, set in Tangier, is the story of a friendship between to women that becomes obsessive. Early blurbs have compared it to everything from The Talented Mr. Ripley, to Donna Tartt and Gillian Flynn. There are also some Hitchcock references in reviews. Sign me up please!

 

 

51nxbeiodvl-_ac_us218_8. Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakour- This is a memoir of the author’s experience with chronic illness. It looks at the US’s problematic healthcare system and how untreated or improperly treated illness can have an effect on society as well as the individual. As someone with a chronic illness, I have my own experience of this, and I’m curious about how it compares to the author’s.

51lycviytl-_ac_us160_9. The 7 and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton- A man must live the day of socialite Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder over and over again until he can solve the murder. But each day he relieves it from the body of a different guest at the event where she died. It sounds like Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap, which, to me anyway, is a good thing!

51q2yi-diil-_ac_us218_10. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin- Four children are told the day of their death by a psychic. Do they believe her? Do they share the information? How does this information impact their future decisions?  The book follows each of the children as they grow up and come to terms with their knowledge.