It is Tuesday again and that can mean only one thing: TOP TEN TUESDAY (a weekly meme created by the beauties over at “The Broke and The Bookish”) This week’s topic is all about the always growing TBR pile, alias Books I have recently added to my TBR. Well this one is going to be interesting.
I just got back from the library, always a mistake. There has not been a single time that I would return from the library with an empty bag. So honestly most of the books mentioned here today will be random picks from the library.
- Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka – Honestly this was a beauty pick, and what I mean by that is that I judged a book by its cover. I know we are not supposed to do this, but we all do, and if someone says that they do not, than they are simply lying. The cover is just so old school beautiful, and the synopsis sounded intriguing enough.
|The bestselling author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is back with an “effervescent comedy” (The New Yorker)
The follow up to her hugely popular first novel presents aCanterbury Tales inspired picaresque that is also a biting satire of economic exploitation. When a ragtag international crew of migrant workers is forced to flee the strawberry fields they have been working in, they set off across England looking for employment. Displaying the same sense of compassion, social outrage, and gift for hilarity that she showed in A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka chronicles their bumpy road trip with a tender affection for her downtrodden characters and their search for a taste of the good life.
- One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – The name of Jojo Moyes suddenly seems to be popping up behind every single corner, so I thought I would explore what the whole thing is about, and my pick fell on One Plus One.
|One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages… maybe ever.
- The Humans by Matt Haig – I have not heard a single bad thing about this book. Everyone keeps quoting it, and saying what an amazing read it is. I saw it at the library and knew I had to have it. Besides it is James Bay’s favorite book, I am sold.
|Body-snatching has never been so heartwarming . . .
The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics, and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves. Combine Douglas Adams’s irreverent take on life, the universe, and everything with a genuinely moving love story, and you have some idea of the humor, originality, and poignancy of Matt Haig’s latest novel.
Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who have no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.
- Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – This was quite a quick pick. This past winter break I went to New Orleans with my folks and I fell in love, so when I heard that there is a Ruta Sepetys’ book about New Orleans, or the Big Easy, I knew I had to read it.
|It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
- Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – There is a book about a bookstore that is all I need to know to be certain that I need it in my life.
|The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.|
- Man at the Helm by Nina Stibble – This one is one of the random picks at the library. Honestly I do not know how these things keep happening. I go there to return books and I get back with several new ones.
|Not long after her parents’ separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraph and a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister and little brother and their now divorcée mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only thirty-one years of age, with three young children and a Labrador. It is no wonder, when you put it like that, that she becomes a menace and a drunk. And a playwright.
Worried about the bad playwriting – though more about becoming wards of court and being sent to the infamous Crescent Home for Children – Lizzie and her sister decide to contact, by letter, suitable men in the area. In order to stave off the local social worker they urgently need to find a new Man at the Helm.
- Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead – I have been obsessed with ballet lately, and I do not mean that I will become a dancer; I mean I love watching other people dance. And now I want to try reading about people from the ballet world.
|“Astonish Me” is the irresistible story of Joan, a ballerina whose life has been shaped by her relationship with the world-famous dancer Arslan Ruskov, whom she helps defect from the Soviet Union to the United States. While Arslan’s career takes off in New York, Joan’s slowly declines, ending when she becomes pregnant and decides to marry her longtime admirer, a PhD student named Jacob. As the years pass, Joan settles into her new life in California, teaching dance and watching her son, Harry, become a ballet prodigy himself. But when Harry’s success brings him into close contact with Arslan, explosive secrets are revealed that shatter the delicate balance Joan has struck between her past and present.
In graceful, inimitable prose, Shipstead draws us into an extraordinary world, and the lives of her vivid and tempestuous characters. Filled with intrigue, brilliant satire, and emotional nuance, “Astonish Me” is a superlative follow-up to Shipstead’s superb debut.
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova – I think that we have all heard about this one. I saw it at the library and saw no reason not to borrow, and that is how it got on my TBR pile.
|Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Judith Guest’s Ordinary People.
- Us by David Nicholls – I loved the idea of One Day and tried reading it but I am not emotional ready for that one, so I thought I would try a different book by David Nicholls, and here we are with Us.
|Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie; then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway. Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage and might even help him bond with Albie.
Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.
- The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon – There are Jews involved in this story, and I have not read about a Jewish character in quite a while so I thought I would give this a try.
|On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, an Eastern European Jewish immigrant, was shot to death on the doorstep of the Chicago chief of police and cast as a would-be anarchist assassin.
A century later, a young Eastern European writer in Chicago named Brik becomes obsessed with Lazarus’s story. Brik enlists his friend Rora — a war photographer from Sarajevo — to join him in retracing Averbuch’s path.
Through a history of pogroms and poverty, and a prism of a present-day landscape of cheap mafiosi and even cheaper prostitutes, the stories of Averbuch and Brik become inextricably intertwined, creating a truly original, provocative, and entertaining novel that confirms Aleksandar Hemon as one of the most dynamic and essential literary voices of our time.
All of the anotations were downloaded from Goodreads.
And that is all folks for this week’s TOP TEN TUESDAY. See you next time.