Top Ten Tuesday belongs to The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s prompt asks what books are on our fall to-be-read (TBR) lists. Here’s mine, with bonus stats at the end.
- This is Where You Belong, by Melody Warnick
My book club with coworkers voted on reading this book, a memoir of sorts along the lines of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project or Happier at Home that focuses on loving the community you live in, beyond the four walls that make up your house. I will be hosting our discussion in October, so it’s nearly guaranteed that I’ll finish this one!
- Dream Cities, by Wade Graham
The book club that I co-run as part of a professional organization is reading this September through December. Yes, it’s a short book that probably doesn’t require the span of four months to get through, but we go chapter by chapter and host discussions online. Dream Cities traces the history of urban planning through theoretical and actual visions of the future, from skyscraper cities to suburban malls.
- Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, by Lisa Randall
This is my third and final nonfiction pick, which I received for Christmas in 2015. And before anyone says it’s an unusual present, I’d like to point out that the theme is interconnectedness between the large and small, between our lives and the cosmos – a perfect theme for the holidays, I think. I was recently reminded of this book when the author appeared in Discover magazine discussing the periodic nature of mass extinctions on Earth. Fun!
- The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson (reread)
Earlier in 2016, I read the three books of Brandon Sanderson’s original Mistborn series in preparation for reading the newest books set in that world. If you haven’t heard of this series and you’re a fantasy fan, start on it as soon as you can. It’s a very traditional fantasy set-up, but Sanderson does amazing things with it. The Alloy of Law, set a few hundred years after the original trilogy, is followed by two books that I haven’t read yet: Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning and I’m excited to see what comes next.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Written in 1938, Hurston’s book is the oldest on the list and the only one old enough to be considered a classic. I’m looking forward to it because (from what I understand) it focuses on telling the story of Janie’s life instead of having a driving plot, a quality that many of my favorite classic books have.
- A Fatal Grace, by Louise Penny
From here on out, all the books will be eligible for Readers Imbibing Peril (RIP) XI, an event focused on reading “dark and stormy” books (mysteries, gothic novels, paranormal tales, etc.) in the months of September and October. This is the second book in Penny’s Inspector Gamache series that I began last year. Though it’s set in Canada, the first book (Still Life) reminded me of nothing so much as a classic English countryside mystery with deeper characterization. I’m in need of a new mystery series, so let’s hope the rest of the books are just as good as I’ve heard.
- Half-Resurrection Blues, by Daniel José Older
I’m a couple chapters into Half-Resurrection Blues, a book I was reluctant to get start: it’s an urban fantasy with a contemporary setting, which I rarely read, preferring either historical fantasy or invented settings. Dealing with the undead in New York isn’t usually my jam. And … it’s got a bad cover. So far, though, I’m liking it – strangely, it reminds me a lot of So You Want to Be a Wizard, the first book of a favorite series from my youth.
- Zone One, by Colson Whitehead
Speaking of the undead in New York actually – here we are again. Zone One is a different take on the zombie apocalypse, narrated by a first responder who’s helping to secure Manhattan in the aftermath. Colson Whitehead has been in the press a lot recently for his latest book, The Underground Railroad, which has been nominated for a National Book Award and selected for Oprah’s Book Club. If your library’s all out of his latest though, check out Whitehead’s backlist and give Zone One a try with me.
- Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal
I read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey in 2014 because it described as a fantasy novel written by Jane Austen. Even with that promising recommendation, it fell flat for me. But Kowal intrigues me and I’m glad to have a new book of hers to try. She’s sticking with historical fantasy for this story, but in this case, it’s set during the Great War (World War I) in England, where our protagonist is a medium for the Spirit Corps aiding the war effort by collecting intel from those killed in action. I have high hopes for this one, especially considering that it’s been recommended by Brandon Sanderson (see above!) on Goodreads.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
To close out the list is another historical fantasy: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is set in an alternate England, where magic is possible, during the Napoleonic Wars. I say possible because magic has been purely theoretical for a long time … until, that is, the titular protagonists appear on the scene. Though this may not seem to fit the theme of Readers Imbibing Peril (RIP) XI, as I said earlier, I’ve seen this book on many lists of modern Gothic novels (conveniently, my other passion after historical fantasy).
- 7 fiction / 3 nonfiction
- 10 English language authors
- 5 works of speculative fiction
- Shortest: Their Eyes Were Watching God (227 pages) / Longest: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (782 pages)
- Oldest: Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) / Newest: Ghost Talkers (August 2016)
- 9 living authors / 1 deceased
- 8 U.S. authors / 1 Canadian / 1 English
- 7 white authors / 2 black authors / 1 Latino author
- 6 women / 4 men