Top Ten Tuesday: Even Darker Academia

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

I got confused with my TTTs last week and did this week’s topic:

September 13: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc. For a great list, click here!) (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)

So for this week I decided to go my own way and do another school focused list, because I do love a school setting. I particularly love it when there are secrets beneath the surface…. I did a list like this a while ago, but I figure there’s always room for more:

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay – I’ve long since admired the film adaptation of this book, but I only read the novel last year. Set in Australia in 1900, a group of students and several teachers at a girl’s boarding school go on a picnic at the nearby Hanging Rock. After lunch three girls took a short walk and never returned. Obviously the primary mystery is what happened to the girls, but we soon realize that there is a lot happening beneath the surface at this school. One thing I found interesting is that we tend to associate Gothic with windy, rainy English moors. Here a lot of the tropes and themes that we associate Gothic literature (atmosphere of dread, isolated setting, secrets) take place in a warm, sun soaked setting that soon becomes as ominous as any creepy English mansion.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson – Natalie can’t wait to go to college and get away from her abusive father and alcoholic mother. But when she gets there college life isn’t what she expected. As her sense of reality begins to fracture, Natalie makes a new friend… That’s the best way I can think of to summarize this book, because not much really happens here. I’m a fan of Jackson, and I admire some of what she did here, but it’s not what I’d call her best work. I didn’t know this at the time I read it, but Jackson loosely based this on the disappearance of a real life student at Bennington in 1946.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – As a teen, Alex Stern was the only survivor of a multiple homicide involving her and her druggie friends. In the hospital she’s offered a new start: a free ride to Yale in exchange for a job monitoring the university’s secret societies. These societies practice some dangerous magic, and if their activities aren’t kept under control, innocent people may suffer the consequences. Everyone said this was a “love it or hate it,” but I liked it. I was intrigued enough so that I’ll read the sequel, but I’m not totally hooked yet.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides – When Mariana Andros’ niece’s friend is found murdered, Mariana heads to Cambridge to help Zoe through the aftermath. She learns that Zoe’s friend was a Maiden, a student of Edward Fosca, a charismatic professor of Greek tragedy. She’s sure that Fosca killed Zoe, but she can’t prove it. Her obsession with trying brings her deeper into Fosca’s dark world. I read this one in about two days and I really enjoyed it as I was reading it. I didn’t predict the ending, but I was left rather underwhelmed by it nevertheless.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas – When students are accepted to Catherine House they are given an education for free. In return, they need to pledge three years (summers included) to the institution. During that time they are completely cut off from the outside world, including friends and family. After the death of her roommate, student Ines begins to suspect that the school has been hiding something dangerous that is preying on its students. I was dragging myself through much of the early parts, but as things were revealed I was more intrigued. However I felt like the reveal was rushed and glossed over.

Bunny by Mona Awad – Samantha is an outsider at her creative writing program. The others in her cohort are twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny.” Samantha wants nothing to do with them. But when they accept her into their group, Samantha’s world, and her sense of reality, begin to fall apart. Sometimes you read a book that just makes you shake your head and go “WTF?” This was such a book.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl – A year ago, Beatrice’s boyfriend died and she left her boarding school and friends in the shadow of that tragedy. When they reunite a year later, Beatrice and her friends get into a car accident. Fortunately no one is hurt. Or so they think. When they get home, a stranger arrives at the door and tells them they died in the crash. Only one survived. Now they’re in Neverworld Wake, sort of a halfway station, where they have to decide who the survivor of the crash was. Until there is a unanimous decision, they will be trapped, reliving the day of the accident again and again. The friend group soon realizes that their possible redemption lies with the truth about what happened to Beatrice’s boyfriend a year earlier. I really liked this one.

The Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark (AKA Carol Goodman) – Callie McFay is a professor of folklore. She takes a job at Fairwick College where she has dreams of a handsome stranger. She comes to realize it’s the demon lover, her area of folkloric interest. She also discovers that it’s the only supernatural being at Fairwick, which, as the name suggests is a community of fairies and witches, who must help her cast out the demon. These were enjoyable but I don’t know if a trilogy was necessary. By the third book some elements felt a bit repetitive.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – This is a bit like The Breakfast Club gone horribly wrong! Six teen stereotypes have detention one afternoon. Bronwyn is the brain, Addy is the beauty, Nate is the criminal, Cooper is the jock. Simon is the campus gossip columnist, whose app, About This, is notorious on campus. By the end of the afternoon, Simon is dead. The police suspect it might not be an accident, and when damaging information about the other kids in detention is revealed on About This soon after, it looks like everyone might have a motive. This was sort of the literary equivalent of candy. It was an enjoyable guilty pleasure, but no nutritional value.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – It’s 1991. Charlie is devastated after the murder of her best friend and roommate at the hands of a serial killer know, rather uncreatively, as the Campus Killer. Charlie wants to get away from campus. She finds a ride back to her Ohio home via a ride share board. Josh is also headed to Ohio to care for his sick father. But as they drive down secluded roads late into the night, Charlie begins to suspect that Josh might be the Campus Killer. This was a fast, diverting read. Nothing brilliant, but it’s not really trying to be.

Top Ten Tuesday: Geographical Titles

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

I just realized I did next week’s topic for this week! I’ll do something different next week (maybe this week’s topic!)

September 13: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc. For a great list, click here!) (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)

I’m also counting fictional place names here. I just used my recent reads and I noticed a lot of bodies of water:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

Top Ten Tuesday: School Freebie: Teacher Characters

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

August 30: School Freebie (In honor of school starting up soon, come up with a topic that somehow ties to school/education. The book could be set at school/college, characters could be teachers, books with school supplies on the cover, nonfiction titles, books that taught you something or how to do something, your favorite required reading in school, books you think should be required reading, your favorite banned books, etc.)

I decided to go with teacher characters here. I tried to stay away from children’s books (because there are a lot of teacher characters there!) but I had to include a couple.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte – Yes, I know Jane Eyre is a teacher too, but since this book focuses more on school life, I went with it. Though now it strikes me that The Professor was also a possibility…

11/22/63 by Stephen King – In this one the main character is a teacher and a time traveler. He has to stop Kennedy’s assassination, but he gets to the 60’s early so he spends two years teaching high school. To say that isn’t the most exciting part of the book is sort of an understatement.

Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman – I have a feeling that trying to teach in a classroom that’s falling apart, while buried under paperwork, with no supplies, is, sadly, timeless. This book is funny just as often as it’s sad though.

Matilda by Roald Dahl – Obviously Miss Honey is an example of teaching at it’s best, and the Trunchbull is teaching at it’s worst. As a adult though I do wonder: Miss Honey is so sweet, how does she handle kids when they’re disrespectful? It seems like they’d walk all over her…

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery – Miss Stacy breathes new life into school in Avonlea. She opens up the world for her students. Later in the series Anne becomes a teacher herself.

The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole – Ms. Frizzle is, well, let’s call her a truly unique educator. Though, as an adult, I do have to wonder: who approves and funds those field trips!? What kind of an administrator does that school have?

The Magus by John Fowles – Nicholas Urfe is an Englishman who accepts a teaching position on a remote Greek island. He doesn’t spend much time teaching though. He spends far more time playing bizarre mind games with a local reclusive millionaire.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman – Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left her girls private school after a tragedy involving her friend. So of course she accepts a teaching position at that school many years later. What could go wrong?

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – Three sisters raised by an English professor who speaks almost entirely in verse. Of course they’re weird!

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson – Beatrice Nash is the attractive new Latin teacher in Rye in 1914. She’s also a struggling writer and a forward thinker, which means she may bring some change to the small town..

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’m Glad Are Completed

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

August 23: Completed Series I Wish Had More Books

I changed this one up a little bit. These are series I’m glad are over. That’s not necessarily a bad thing! Some of them I really liked, and thought that they ended in just the right places. Others I felt went on a bit too long…

Tarien Soul by CL Wilson – I really liked the first two or three books in this series. But it was a five book series. If it had been a trilogy I would have really loved it. It just went on way too long.

Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden – A rare series that was just the right number of books. It developed everything without dragging anything out too much. Actually it was also rare in that I liked the second two books more than I did the first.

Wilderness series by Sara Donati – Depending on my mood I sometimes think this series (six books) outstayed its welcome a bit. But I did really enjoy a few of the later books. Either way, it ended in a pretty good place.

Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier – Initially this was a trilogy. Then Marillier revisited it with a second trilogy. I loved the first trilogy and liked the second. But I’m happy where she left things, and I don’t think she needs to revisit it.

Anne series by LM Montgomery – This one is eight books, but I actually consider the last two books to be sort of spin-offs because they’re about Anne’s children more than Anne, herself. I actually considered going with Emily for this one, but I do sometimes wish there were more of her books. I think Anne got the right number, even not counting the last two.

Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray– This is also a rare fantasy series that didn’t really have a weak entry. Even more rare, I felt like Bray really stuck the landing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han– I read these for a book club. I enjoyed the first one a lot, liked the second, and was kind of “meh” on the third. Basically, I felt like the material was enough for one to one and a half novels, but not three.

Earth’s Children by Jean M. Auel – Another example of a series that went slowly downhill with each book. I usually finish series for the sake of closure, but I skipped the final one here.

Night and Nothing trilogy by Katherine Harbour – Again I think a trilogy here was the sweet spot. Not too long, not too short.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love That Are 10+ Years Old

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

August 16: Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago

Since many/most of the books I love are 10+ years old, I decided to do the last ten five star readers from ten years ago or more. Since I only give five stars to the best of the best, this was harder than I thought (there were other five star books but not written in the past 10 years). I ended up going back quite a while!

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (1998)

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (1958)

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier (1938)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1921)

Mariana by Monica Dickens (1940)

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim(1922)

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton(1905)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski (1949)

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (1998)

Top Ten Tuesday: Hilarious Books

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Posting a bit late today, but it’s still Tuesday!

Today’s topic was:

August 9: Hilarious Book Titles

But I decided to just skip the titles and go with some funny books all around. I know I’ve done lists like this before, but laughs are always needed!

Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees -This was a recent read that I enjoyed more than I expected to (fair warning, the first two chapters aren’t promising, but stick with it!) It’s sort of a fantasy/sociopolitical satire/courtroom dramedy.

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke – This novel is written all in Slack messages. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about a guy working from home who accidentally uploads his consciousness into Slack. I didn’t love the book overall, but it did have some amusing parts that made me chuckle.

Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker – I think that “sardonic” would be the best word to describe Parker’s wit. But there’s a bit of real sadness beneath it too. I think that’s what makes her poetry effective. It marries cynicism with genuine feeling

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – This had been on my TBR for years and I finally got to it this year. It was worth they wait, not only for the SFF plot but also as romantic romp. It’s sort of a comedy of errors involving timeline disruption, a cat, and (of course) a dog.

Crazy Salad by Nora Ephron – Some of these essays do occasionally come off as rather dated. But they were written in the 1970’s so that’s somewhat expected (and humor aside, it’s interesting to get her impressions of the era’s feminism). Steve Martin’s intro is also good for a laugh!

Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson – Before reading this, I mostly knew Jackson as a horror writer (though I’d argue there’s certainly dark humor in something like We Have Always Live in the Castle) but when I read some of this I was surprised to laugh out loud at times. Her writing about her family life and her small town are really funny.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – Yes it’s another series of essays by someone in Hollywood, but I felt like this wasn’t trying as hard to be funny as others in genre, and that made them funnier. I especially liked her childhood stories, but then I like childhood stories generally. I think I just like to get a sense of people’s beginnings.

Top Ten Tuesday: All the Single Ladies

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

July 19: Freebie (Come up with your own topic!)

As I enter into my own spinsterhood, I’m more aware of the representation of unmarried women of a certain age in media. Some literary spinster are great. Others are…less so. One book that I would recommend on the subject is Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making A Life of One’s Own, a book I read several years ago. But in this list I’m primarily looking at novels

Rules for this list:

  1. A romantic history doesn’t automatically keep a woman off this list, but if her happy ending involves a romantic relationship, it does. Nothing against romance! But it’s not the only plotline a woman can have.
  2. No Miss Havisham-like lunatics on here. Don’t get me wrong, Miss Havisham is a great character, but hardly anything for single ladies to aspire to!

Mildred Lanthbury in Excellent Women by Barbara Pym – Actually a lot of Pym’s work applies but when I think of Pym this is the first book that comes to mind. In it Mildred (who’s only 30, so I suppose by today’s standards she wouldn’t be considered a spinster at all) gets overly involved in her neighbors lives, with comic results.

Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie – I love her. Yes, she doesn’t have much in the way of family, so she solves crimes instead! I love that she’s not very judgmental though. She uncovers a lot of secrets in these books, but unless they involve murder, she’s pretty accepting of peoples vices and foibles.

Mrs. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney– I loved this children’s book about the title character whose mission in life is to add a bit of beauty to the world. No more, no less.

Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery– She didn’t look for or ask for motherhood, but she becomes a mother to a 13 year old orphan nonetheless. Despite her stern demeanor she’s kind and loving.

 The ladies of Cranford in Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell –  Miss Matty and Miss Deborah are spinsters living in rather modest circumstances in a small Victorian English town, full of many single women. They face the upheaval in spite of their resistance to it. “In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses above a certain rent are women … For keeping the trim gardens full of choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully at the said flowers through the railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture in to the gardens if the gates are left open … for kindness (somewhat dictatorial) to the poor, and real tender good offices to each other whenever they are in distress, the ladies of Cranford are quite sufficient. ‘A man,’ as one of them observed to me once, ‘is so in the way in the house!’”

Circe by Madeline Miller- Yes the character showed up in Homer’s Odyssey before Miller got her hands on her, but Miller made her better (IMO) She spends a lot of the book isolated on the island of Aiaia but she turns her solitude into empowerment.

Miss Honey in Matilda by Roald Dahl– Yes, she’s fairly young when the book ends, so there’s no way to know if spinsterhood is her ultimate fate, but she gets a happy ending that doesn’t involve a romantic relationship in any way shape or form. We have the sense that if that never comes, she’ll be just fine.

Aunt Ada Doom in Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons- Forever traumatized by “something nasty in the woodshed” she nonetheless rules the Starkadder family with an iron fist. Her happy ending involves a trip to Paris rather than a trip down the aisle.

Edith Hope in Hotel de Lac by Anita Brookner– I went back and forth with this one since the main character, Edith, does have some romantic drama going on in her life and her ending is sort of ambiguous. But some of the choices she makes support my perception of her as a single lady.

Benny Hogan in Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – In the film adaptation of this book, a pretty major change is made to the ending that makes it ineligible for this list. I actually like the film and think the ending works in that context. But in the novel, based on the way the characters are portrayed, I definitely think Benny makes the right choice.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Associate With Summer

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

July 12: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer (Submitted by Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm)

For this one I decided to go with books that I associate with summer rather than just covers. For many of them, they were books that I read in the summer and with which I have strong seasonal memory associations.

Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal- In this case the setting, sunny California, feels very summery. I read these books throughout my childhood (Kids first, then Twins, then High.) I was about ten when I read the Sweet Valley High books and they, along with other things (looking at you, Saved By the Bell) set up some very unrealistic expectations about what high school would be like!

Chain Letter 2 by Christopher Pike – I read this on a camp trip to a baseball game when I was about eleven. I was never much of a sports fan, but I think I actually found a copy of this on the bus on the way to the game. I never read the first one. I read this on the bus ride, through the game, and on the way back. It was dark by then, but I only had a few pages left so I squinted. I remember being scandalized by some of the content!

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Did anyone else live for summer reading at the library? I did, and I remember one summer they were doing some remodeling/reorganizing at the library and these were being kept in what was essentially a large closet. I was really into these books at the time though, so whenever I went to the library I’d have to ask special permission to go to the closet and get these!

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati – I worked in a library the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I think I may have read more than I worked! This is a standout from that summer. I remember feeling resentful when I had to stop reading to help patrons.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – I was working at a Barnes and Noble the summer this was released, and it was all hands on deck! I remember it was July 21, 2007 (yes, fifteen years later I remember the exact date) and we had a midnight release party at the store. It was packed with people (probably a fire hazard) and at one point I had to dress up as a witch for some kind of a potions skit. I may have blocked that part out!

The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer – One summer when I was in college, I got some kind of insect bite. It was itchy and annoying at first, but no big deal until it got infected. They put me on a medicine for it that didn’t work, so it started to spread. That lead to me being put in the hospital for three days so they could give me meds through an IV. I was reading this at the time, and will always associate it with summer in the ER: lots of waiting and lots of injuries!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My book club picked this as our latest read because we got beachy, summery vibes from the cover. It was a fun book that would make a good beach read, but a bit of a let down for me personally after I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I didn’t feel like this quite reached that quality.


Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel – I read this one the summer before I started high school. And by “read” I mean devoured in about two days. It lead to a fascination with anthropology, ancient societies and human evolution ( all of which I still find very interesting.) I read the rest of the series that summer – well all except the last which hadn’t been released yet – and found the quality to vary, but this was definitely the best of them.

The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon – When I was about 12 or 13, my cousins and I went to Florida to spend a some time with our Grandma one summer. I picked this book up in her apartment, and I don’t think I put it back down for the rest of the trip! In retrospect, it was probably pretty rude of me to have my face buried in a book the whole time…

Beautiful by Fran Laniado – I went back and forth about putting this on the list, but I finally decided to do it! Beautiful was released on July 4, 2018. It was supposed to have a book sibling by now, but the best laid plans… But I will always associate the fourth of July with a dream come true for me.

Top Ten Tuesday: Royal-list

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Today’s topic was

June 28: Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List

But that’s sort of what I did last week. So I decided to go with this idea I stole from Orangutan Librarian. My attitude toward real life royalty in general is a “who needs it?” But I do enjoy a good palace soap opera on occasion!

American Royals by Kristin McGee – I can’t leave this one off the list! If George Washington had been made America’s first king instead of the first president, life in the US would probably look very different in some ways, and remarkably similar in others. At least that’s the case for the latest generation of the American royal family. I read the first two in the series and really enjoyed them. The third is out now but I haven’t read it yet.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I’d heard a lot about this one, but I didn’t love it as much as some people seemed to. I did like it, it was very enjoyable and sweet! But as I was reading, the practical problems that a romance between the son of the president and the British prince would have, kept intruding. I kept thinking “how come they both have such terrible security that they can sneak around so easily?” just as one example. Eventually that interfered with my enjoyment. I think I could have bought it, if it stayed in the realm of fantasy, but when it tried to bring in reality (to some extent at least), it didn’t work as well.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool Will Somers by Margaret George – OK Henry is a pretty tough guy to make sympathetic! This author comes surprisingly close at times. But that’s not to say it excuses any of his actions. It presents a compelling case for how he may have seen them though. I recommend the authors other work too in this area. She’s tackled other monarchs including Helen of Troy, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Cleopatra.

The Plantagent and Tutor series by Philippa Gregory – Because I can’t stick to just one! These overlap quite a bit. They start with the story of Jacquetta Woodville, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV. It continues though several generations of a twisted family tree, that holds the fate of a nation in it’s branches…

Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie- This is one of my favorite Camelot stories. I found myself sympathizing with all of the characters, even when they were at odds. I thought that Guinevere and Arthur actually came off as likeable here, and therefore worthy of the loyalty they inspired! As a disclaimer though, I will say it’s been about fifteen years since I read it, so who knows how accurate my memory is?

Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen – Yes, the main character is only a cousin to the actual royals, but she hangs around with them enough for me to count this. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie) is 34th in line for the English throne in 1932. That means she’s far enough away from the action to be flat broke, but the queen often calls on her for favors. And these favors tend to accumulate a bit of a body count…

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman – When Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales marries King John (of England) daughter, Joanna as an attempt to make peace, no one expects it to be a great romance. But love grows in unexpected places, and Joanna finds herself caught between her husband and her father. This had some bits that I remember reading and thinking “yeah, right!” only to find out in the author’s note that these were actual historical fact. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction! Penman is another author who has covered a lot of royals. This book launches her Welsh Princes trilogy, but her Plantagenet novels are also worth a look (well, based on the two I’ve read so far…)

Katherine by Anya Seton – Katherine Sywnford wasn’t a royal, but her children were. When John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (son of Edward III, uncle of Richard II, father of Henry IV, grandfather of Henry V), falls for the already married Katherine in the 14th century, their scandalous romance lasts for decades and produces several children who are the direct ancestors of the last 700+ years worth of royals.

Queen Margot by Alexandra Dumas – When I was about seventeen or eighteen I went through brief obsession with this book, the film adaptation, and the characters in general, as a result of “discovering” them while doing a school project. In 1572, French Catholics and Protestant Huguenots had been in a decade long struggle for the country. Charles IX is technically king, but his mother, Catherine de Medici, is the one who pulls the strings. She arranges a marriage between her daughter, Margot, and the Huguenot king of Navarre, Henri de Bourbon. But when Protestants gather in Paris to celebrate the wedding, Catherine has something else planned for them. Meanwhile, poor Margot has been married against her will, and starts a torrid affair with a Protestant solider. Things get bloody.

Top Ten Tuesday: What To Read Next Wishes

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This week’s topic was:

June 21: Bookish Wishes (List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you.)

But I’m on a book buying ban until I read some of what’s on my shelves (I’m not, however, on a book borrowing ban, so the library is fair game…) and I don’t really feel comfortable with this. So I decided to tweak it a little and make it the 10 books I hope to read next (time, life and work permitting) A lot of these are books I have, I just have to get to…

  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – I read this years ago, but my book club is doing it next month, so I’m going to try to give it a reread at some point soon.
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I’ve had this on my TBR for years. When I was trying to think of things for my Future Classics list I did a bit of googling to get ideas, and I saw a number of lists with this on it, so I think it’s time for me to tackle it.
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now. I’ve heard it’s best when you’re in the mood for something very atmospheric though, which I haven’t bee lately but hope to be soon.
  • A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash – I’ve been meaning to read more by indie authors, but as usual, so many books, so little time! I do hope to get to this soon though, because I’ve heard good things.
  • The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier– This was a long ago gift from my Aussie book buddy. Actually she got it for me last year, and got the sequel for me this year, but I still haven’t read this one (*hangs head in shame*) I love Marillier but I keep getting sidetracked!
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – This is one of a few long (700+ pages) books that are taking up shelf space. I used to dive right into hefty tomes, but in my old age I’ve gotten more hesitant. I’ll reach for one and then think: “I’ll get to that later, this other book looks like something I’ll finish in a day or two…”