I’m kinda loving the laziness of this Top Ten Tuesday topic! What I’m not loving is how small my bookcase is. I live in a tiny flat and don’t have room for a full-size bookcase, let alone a big library with rolling ladders like I totally deserve.
Nonetheless, I closed my eyes and grabbed ten books at random, and here is what I came away with…
(Please note, this post may contain spoilers.)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I love my gorgeous, illustrated copy of Neverwhere. It’s not my favourite Gaiman novel (that would be Good Omens, which is also my favourite Terry Pratchett novel and my favourite book about the apocalypse) but the world-building is glorious and it makes an ideal introduction to urban fantasy for those who are new to the genre.
Wool by Hugh Howey
I haven’t read this one yet, but I should really get a move on because the TV adaptation is airing on the 5th May. I know the book is always better than the movie, but I feel like there’s no clear consensus on whether this is true for TV series.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I’ve read Little Women twice – once as a teen and once as an adult – and both times I was completely sucked in by it. Alcott’s characters are so vividly drawn, and the joys and griefs of growing up are captured so powerfully.
The only thing I don’t like about this book is the ending. I understand that Alcott was under a lot of pressure from both readers and publishers to get Jo married off, but did it have to be that guy? A boring older man who calls her stories trash? For a more interesting (and queer, and Laurie-centric) ending, read So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow.
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
This was the first Ken Follett I read, and while I found the plot consistently engaging I’m not sold on Ken Follett’s style. There’s a bit too much “showing off the research”, which is a bugbear of mine. However, he does write in genres other than historical fiction so maybe I should give one of those a try.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith
This excellent short story collection covers just about everything – desire, friendship, cancel culture, futuristic videogames, a trans woman’s attempt to buy a decent corset – with Smith’s incredible skill and generous humour.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
I bought this book after seeing the film but still haven’t read it. The whole time I was watching the film I kept thinking ‘I bet the book goes into this in more detail’, so buying it was an obvious choice. But having seen the film also means there are some scenes I’m dreading because they’re just so grim.
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
Despite its beautiful prose, this one disappointed me in the same way that most fantasy romances disappoint me – not enough fantasy! I wanted to find out more about the mermaid’s world and instead she just goes to live in a guy’s bathtub and loses her tail.
The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley
I’m interested to read a love story with an older protagonist – Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday – but apparently not interested enough because this has been sat on my bookshelf for ages.
Common Bonds by various authors (including me!)
I swear I picked this at random and not to promote my own work (though, err, if you fancy a copy you can buy it here). It’s an anthology of short stories with protagonists who are aromantic – they don’t experience romantic attraction – and with a strong focus on platonic relationships.
My personal favourite is Cinders – a fairytale retelling so crammed with jokes that it makes Shrek look humourless. There’s also father-daughter bonding in space, and a cursed seamstress who becomes friends with a witch. My own story, Spacegirl and the Martian, features a superhero getting drunk and wandering around London with her nemesis.
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
The author of the Anne of Green Gables series seems to have a reputation for writing cosy, feel-good books. This book, about Anne’s daughter Rilla and her coming-of-age adventures, certainly has its fair share of warmth and sweetness. But it’s also set during WWI, and Rilla has brothers and a love interest being sent away to fight. I may have cried a bit.
Thanks for taking this haphazard tour of my bookshelves with me. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?