top 10 tuesday: The Last Books I Added to my TBR

It’s Wednesday.  Whatever.

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish which is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s topic:

January 29: The Last 10 Books I Added to my TBR

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1. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

I feel like I frequently mention how much I love Jennifer @ Insert Literary Pun Here’s booktube channel, but for those of you who missed it the first thirty times, I absolutely love Jennifer’s channel.  (Should I make a post about my favorite booktubers?)  Anyway, in the video I just linked to she talked about Cleopatra: A Life and it sounded absolutely delightful.  I need to read more biographies and I’ve always been decently interested in Ancient Egypt (though it wasn’t quite as developed of an obsession as my Ancient Greece thing), so this definitely interests me.

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2. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
pub. date: February 26, 2019

I was on the fence about this one for a good while, because 900 page fantasy is… obviously not my favorite thing in the world, but then Elle’s review convinced me.  And the other thing that excites me about this is that it’s a standalone!  I am not a big series fan and would read so much more fantasy if standalones were more common for the genre.  I didn’t read Shannon’s first series… Bone something?  I have a couple of friends who hate those books so that makes me a little nervous, but it’s been a while since they were published so here’s hoping this book is more polished than those seemed to have been.

3. Faber short stories

Specifically: Dante and the Lobster by Samuel Beckett, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath, Terrific Mother by Lorrie Moore, The Country Funeral by John McGahern, The Shielding of Mrs Forbes by Alan Bennett, The Victim by PD James, The Forester’s Daughter by Claire Keegan.

I think this is self-explanatory.  I ordered 4 of these, read and reviewed 2, and the other day I went through the list and added most of the ones that piqued my interest.

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4. Amongst Women by John McGahern

Again, probably self-explanatory: while I was looking up those short stories I was looking up the authors as well, and though I hadn’t heard of John McGahern before this one jumped out at me.  Apparently this was nominated for the Booker in 1990.  The summary, according to Goodreads: Moran is an old Republican whose life was forever transformed by his days of glory as a guerilla leader in the War of Independence. Now, in old age, living out in the country, Moran is still fighting – with his family, his friends, even himself – in a poignant struggle to come to terms with the past.

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5. No Country for Young Men by Julia O’Faolain

I cannot find a good quality image of this cover, so hopefully that doesn’t speak to how difficult it will be to find this book, but anyway, I just read a short story by Julia O’Faolain that I liked but didn’t love, and it made me want to read more from her.  This sounds very Irish which obviously works for me.  Sister Judith Clancy is told that she must leave the protection of her convent and return to her family. So begins the unravelling of community ties which form this brilliant and devastating story of human and political relations in twentieth-century Ireland.

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6. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
pub. date: September 10, 2019

I know, I know, this does not seem like my kind of book in the slightest.  But, I was talking to a friend/former roommate recently who reads almost exclusively SFF and has an idea of the kind of SFF I like, and she thinks I would like this book.  So I’m going to just put my reservations aside and trust her judgement on this one.

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7. Cala by Laura Legge
pub. date: March 7, 2019

I saw this on Netgalley and the cover caught my eye for whatever reason (alas, it’s wish only in the U.S. right now), but I looked up the summary and it sounds like it could be incredible.

Cala, a stone farmhouse on the edge of Pullhair in the Outer Hebrides, is home to four women – witches the locals say – who scratch out a living on its land. But after ten years of relative harmony, fractures are beginning to appear among them.

Eighteen-year-old Euna is tired of Cala’s rigid hierarchy and arbitrary rules – the women may only speak in Gaelic, must wear plain dress, attend strict rituals and consume only what they grow or gather with their hands. Sick of scavenged seaweed and thin soup, Euna decides to go in search of a different way of living.

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8. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
pub. date: May 2, 2019

I mean.  In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective.  I MEAN…?!  This is kind of the book I secretly wanted to write but I suppose I’ll just content myself with reading it.  I haven’t read anything else by Haynes but this quickly became my most anticipated book of the year and if it is anything short of brilliant I will cry.

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9. Edinburgh by Alexander Chee

Someone I follow on bookstagram was talking about this book (I can’t remember who), and it sounds incredibly painful and hard-hitting and I am all about that.  I haven’t actually read anything else by Chee, though a couple of his other books are on my TBR already, but for whatever reason I hadn’t heard of this one until the other day.

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10. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
pub. date: February 26, 2019

This is a true crime book about a mother murdered in Belfast by the IRA in the 70s, so that sounds very relevant to my interests.  I’ve been trying to read more Northern Irish fiction recently (largely thanks to Milkman – before that I hadn’t realized how much of the Irish lit I’ve read is from the ROI), so I figured I should also throw some nonfiction into the mix.

Have you guys read any of these books, or are you looking forward to any of them?  I thought it would be fun to post this list since it’s a rather eclectic mix, we’ve got everything from fantasy to biographies to short stories to literary fiction to true crime.  Please let me know which of these I should reach for first!

39 thoughts on “top 10 tuesday: The Last Books I Added to my TBR

    • I keep hearing such wonderful things, but your review did help in part because I know you don’t read a ton of SFF either. I don’t think I’ll have any luck getting an ARC at this stage but I’ll definitely pick it up when it’s out!

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  1. I’ve been curious about that Cleopatra biography (and I love the cover!!) so I’ll be looking forward to your review! Cleopatra was actually Greek, wasn’t she? So it lines up with your interests pretty well 🙂

    I’m also wondering about Say Nothing, but I hesitated on reading it because I know so little about Northern Ireland and I wasn’t sure if that was the right place to dive in.

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    • Was she?! See this is why I need to read the biography, I clearly don’t know anything 😂 Did you read Stacy Schiff’s book about the Salem witch trials? I’m pretty sure I own a copy of that but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      I’m really hoping it’s one of those true crime books that paints a thorough picture of the cultural context. I’ll keep you posted!

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      • I’m pretty sure she was Greek! Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about ancient Egypt stuff 😂 but I remember that she’s at least not Egyptian and it blew my mind since even people totally clueless about that era / history know her and associate her with it and she was foreign! You have to update me after you read the book 😆 I haven’t read her Salem witch trials one, I got really excited when it came out and then read some bad reviews so didn’t try to get a copy. I’m curious how her writing and approach to history is, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

        And I agree, true crime with a cultural context and not just lurid and sensationalized is the best! That one seems very literary.

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      • Someone who is reading the book confirmed in another comment that she is in fact Greek! WELL DONE. That is so wild to me, how did I go this long without ever learning that Cleopatra was foreign?! She seems like THE icon of Ancient Egypt. Anyway, now I’m even more excited to read the book, because clearly I have much to learn. I think I’ll start with this one and if I like it I’ll try the Salem one.

        It may be too late to get an ARC of the Irish book since it’s out in less than a month but I may try anyway. It just sounds SO brilliant.

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      • I know, she’s the icon and yet she wasn’t even a native. History is so bizarre. I can’t even remember where I picked that info up because I’ve read very little about Egypt and her, but I’m glad I was actually right in telling you that…as soon as I wrote it I was like, am I imagining that? I’m excited to hear your thoughts on it!

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      • I was talked into starting the Cleopatra book yesterday, so I guess I’m going for it now! This is probably the smallest amount of time that’s elapsed between me adding a book to my TBR and starting it 😂

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  2. Great list, as always.
    I just requested Cala – as it’s published by Head of Zeus my chances should be good, they usually like me. I cannot believe I did not hear about this book before you told me about it because, wow, that is so ridiculously my kind of book.
    Cleopatra is absolutely stunning so far – and yes, she is in fact Greek, something I did not know before starting this book. I really really should read more biographies because there is so much to learn!

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    • Ooh I hope you get Cala! I don’t think it even has a US publisher yet so it’ll probably be a while before I get my hands on it, but I really hope it is as brilliant as it sounds.

      I don’t consider myself totally ignorant about Ancient Egypt, or at least not as ignorant as I am about most periods of history, so I cannot BELIEVE I didn’t know Cleopatra was Greek. I clearly have so much to learn. I think I need to buy this book or get it from the library ASAP.

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      • I cannot believe I knew the whole spiel about Cleopatra being smuggled into her city in a bag to meet Caesar but not that she was Greek. Sometimes I have holes in my knowledge that are rather scary.

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      • God, same. Don’t even get me started about how terrible I am at American history. Every time I watch Jeopardy I learn about another president we had whose name I have never heard before in my life.

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      • This is what I’m saying!!! Like, I just found out we had a president named Tyler. Who knew! Not me! (My friend then tried to take advantage of my utter stupidity about American history and tried to convince me that he was called Steven Tyler, like the Aerosmith guy, and I am very ashamed to admit I believed her for a solid two minutes.)

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      • I mean, he could have been called that. How should you know?!
        I could not name all the German chancellors since WWII, so I really cannot judge (I would, however, recognize the names on a list) (and yes, I am aware that between them Kohl and Merkel cover over 30 years of those 70 years and wow, I made myself sad now).

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      • Only 2 cover a 30 year span?! That’s insane. I am so ignorant about politics in other countries. And my own country, apparently. Actually, no, my current-day politics are ok, it’s the history that I’m abysmal at.

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      • Merkel has been Chancellor since 2005 and might still be until 2021. Sometimes I wish we had this whole only one reelection thing. On the other hand – I don’t mind Merkel as much as I might have minded somebody else.

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  3. Great list, Rachel! I really want to check out some of the Faber short stories too, especially the Plath. A Thousand Ships sounds phenomenal; fingers crossed it lives up to our expectations!

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    • Of the two I’ve read so far, I would highly recommend Paradise by Edna O’Brien! I cannot wait to read the Plath though. Crossing all of my fingers for A Thousand Ships, it almost sounds too good to be true!

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  4. I debated about adding Cleopatra to my TBR but then I was like….I should probably know *something* about Ancient Egypt, all things considered.

    Yay, you added The Priory of the Orange Tree!! I’m looking forward to that book so much,. It’ll be interesting to see what you think of it! I actually had no idea it’s a standalone, but that’s genuinely a relief, lmao. And Gideon the Ninth as well!! Yay! That one’s been getting a ton of buzz as well.

    also YES please make a post about your favorite booktubers.

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    • Hannah talked me into reading Cleopatra right now SOOO I got the ebook from the library and just started it. I’ll keep you posted!

      The Priory of the Orange Tree being a standalone was definitely the deciding factor, I can handle 900 pages in a single book but if that were the start of a series I just don’t think I could deal. I’ve been hearing so many good things though and I’m really excited for it! Gideon I am… wary about BUT everyone seems to be loving that as well.

      Ok I am on it 👌

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  5. This is one of the most eclectic TBR I’ve seen, so of course I want to read half these books now!
    Cala sounds incredibly fascinating, so does No Country for Young Men and Gideon the Ninth. I’ve been on the fence about The Priory of the Orange Tree since it was announced and still am. I do read a lot of fantasy, but I’ve been disappointed by so many hyped fantasy releases I’ve almost lost interest in them. It does sound really good though and that cover is simply delicious.

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    • Right?! I wasn’t going to do this prompt at first but then I had a look at my TBR for fun and could not resist posting this incredibly weird mix of books.

      I totally know what you mean about being wary of the hype, and I feel like The Priory is probably THE hyped fantasy book of the season (other than the Marlon James, maybe), so it’s definitely got a lot to live up to. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and try to keep my expectations in check, but I feel like it could be a really good one!

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  6. Cleopatra: A Life sounds so interesting! I spent yesterday watching and researching Egypt for some reason (I’m in the middle of a school semester and can’t travel any time soon, so I’m not sure why 😅) so reading more about Egyptian history sounds like the perfect read. I would love to read your review to see whether you like the biography in the future! 😊

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    • A friend convinced me to pick up Cleopatra: A Life yesterday after this post, so I am going for it!!! I’ve only read the prologue so far but I think it’s going to be a fantastic book, as Schiff seems interested in deconstructing a lot of the mythos that surrounds Cleopatra’s character.

      Sometimes you’ve just gotta watch documentaries about a warm climate in the middle of winter, I understand 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] with The Water Cure and Everything Under, you all knew I was gonna be a sucker for this. Also, Rachel from Pace, Amore, Libri gave me the nudge needed to request it. I didn’t even know about till she mentioned it in one […]

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