It’s Wednesday. Whatever.
January 29: The Last 10 Books I Added to my TBR
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!