Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Unlike last time, I’m actually posting this on the correct day of the week, so hooray for small victories! (I started writing this a few hours ago, but then had to leave home, so now it’s technically beyond midnight. But it’s still Tuesday in many parts of the world! Just not in mine.)

top ten tuesday

I add a lot of books to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Sometimes I don’t even recognise books I stumble across on the internet or in bookstores until I go to add them to my list and find that they’re already there. This week’s theme actually looks fun enough to do on a monthly basis. The top ten books I’ve added to be TBR list in March are:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS


bigfoot is missingBigfoot is Missing! by J. Patrick Lewis

What it’s about:

The book offers a smart, stealthy tour of the creatures of shadowy myth and fearsome legend—the enticing, the humorous, and the strange. Bigfoot, the Mongolian Death Worm, and the Loch Ness Monster number among the many creatures lurking within these pages. Readers may have to look twice—the poems in this book are disguised as street signs, newspaper headlines, graffiti, milk cartons, and more!

Why I added it to my list:

Children’s books and mythical creatures are two of my favourite things. So a picture book with poems about cryptids is definitely something I need to get my hands on.

the storyspinnerThe Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

What it’s about: 

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure. The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Why I added it to my list: 

After finishing the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I remembered how much I missed being lost in a compelling, unputdownable fantasy series. While I don’t expect this book – promisingly, the start of a series – to put me in the same addictive zone as George R. R. Martin did, the author here does promise age-old secrets, magical mayhem, fist fights, knife fights, gypsy caravans, political maneuvering and heroic quests.

splendors and gloomsSplendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

What it’s about: 

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

Why I added it to my list: 

I can rarely resist mystery and magic, and this one has both in generous doses. According to the publisher, this Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling. I’m a sucker for a crackerjack blurb.

ADULT FICTION


the camel bookmobileThe Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

What it’s about:

Fiona Sweeney wants to do something that matters, and she chooses to make her mark in the arid bush of northeastern Kenya. By helping to start a traveling library, she hopes to bring the words of Homer, Hemingway, and Dr. Seuss to far-flung tiny communities where people live daily with drought, hunger, and disease.

Why I added it to my list:

I found it in a bookstore during my birthday trip to Bangalore. I had never heard of the book before, but the title and blurb appealed to me instantly. I’m hugely interested in unconventional community libraries all over the world, and this one sounded too good to pass up.

the libraryThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

What it’s about: 

Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. After all, she was a normal American herself, once. That was a long time ago, of course–before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father. Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library–and with it, power over all of creation.

Why I added it to my list: 

God (capital G) is, essentially, a master librarian! “Astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy”! (Told you I’m a sucker for blurbs). A battle to become the next God! This book sounds SO promising.

our endless numbered daysOur Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

What it’s about: 

Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods.

Why I added it to the list: 

Because a father basically kidnaps his daughter, runs away to the woods, and tells her the rest of the world has been destroyed. Why wouldn’t anyone add this to their list?!

ADULT NON-FICTION


all who go do not returnAll Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen

What it’s about:

Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world—only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow. Deen’s first transgression—turning on the radio—is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library, and later the Internet. Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely.

Why I added it to my list: 

I’ve read a few long-form articles about people who were brought up in deeply orthodox religions/communities and have now chosen to live away from that world. This book deals with an unfamiliar (to me) religious sect and the implications of losing not only one’s faith but also one’s way of life. I find such stories fascinating!

all over but the shoutinAll Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

What it’s about:

This is the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. It is the story of Bragg’s father, a hard-drinking man with a murderous temper and the habit of running out on the people who needed him most. But at the center of this soaring memoir is Bragg’s mother, who went eighteen years without a new dress so that her sons could have school clothes and picked other people’s cotton so that her children wouldn’t have to live on welfare alone. Evoking these lives–and the country that shaped and nourished them–with artistry, honesty, and compassion, Rick Bragg brings home the love and suffering that lie at the heart of every family. The result is unforgettable.

Why I added it to my list: 

Even though I enjoy memoirs by people I know nothing about, this book is so far out of my usual reading comfort zone. If I would have spotted this book in a store or on someone’s shelf, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance. Okay, I probably would have read the blurb, but I would have definitely kept it back. But the author’s delightfully wry article about how the world is divided into two types of people – mustard people and mayo people (Team Mayo FTW) – completely sold me on the his writing. Now I’m itching to read something he’s published.

selfishSelfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers On Their Decisions Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum (Editor)

What it’s about:

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed “fertility crisis,” and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all–a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children–before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it’s necessary to have it all or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

Why I added it to my list:

I am not thinking seriously about having kids. I am not thinking seriously  about not having kids. I am not thinking seriously about kids at all (except in a strictly how-to-get-more-of-them-to-pick-up-a-book-and-READ-dammit way). But I would love to read this anthology about what people have to say about it. Because as the always-powerful blurb tells me, the book “makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.”

stuffocation

Stuffocation: How We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Why You Need Experience More Than Ever by James Wallman

What it’s about:

The book explains and analyses why Stuffocation is the most pressing problem of our time – and then goes in search of its solution. On the way, it goes down the halls of the Elysée Palace with Nicolas Sarkozy, up in a helicopter above Barbra Streisand’s house on the California coast, and into the world of the original Mad Men. Through fascinating characters and brilliantly told stories, the author introduces the innovators whose lifestyles provide clues to how we will all be living tomorrow, and he makes some of the world’s most counterintuitive, radical, and worldchanging ideas feel inspiring – and possible for us all.

Why I added it to my list: 

Ever since I saw The Story of Stuff a few years ago, I started to realise that I really don’t need all the things I surround myself with. It’s been a slow process of choosing to buy less, and my willpower has crumbled on several occasions. But the knowledge of what consumerism does and how useless it is has made me more conscious about my buying habits. I would love to read more stories that celebrate the lack of unnecessary stuff in our lives. I also picked up The Secret Life of Stuff from the same store I bought The Camel Bookmobile from, and this book seems like an interesting addition to the list. You can watch The Story of Stuff below:

Advertisements

Top Ten Bookish Problems I Have

This is the second time I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

top ten tuesday

Now I don’t need to relearn the days of the week to realise that it is definitely not Tuesday. I thought this week’s theme sounded fun, but I had no time to write a post on the actual day the meme encouraged. Then I thought I’d post it on Thursday, which would still maintain the pleasant alliterative ring. But I sort of forgot, so here we are, writing a Top Ten Tuesday post on a Sunday. (I’m usually such a rule-follower that I felt I needed to offer a long explanation about this deliberate flouting of rules)

Without further ado, the top ten book-related problems I have are:

1) I’m incapable of having any sort of serious, focused conversation in a bookstore. Or a library. Or even a cafe with a decent bookshelf. I just tend to nod and mutter vaguely and make a sudden grab for any interesting-looking book I spot, completely alarming the person who thought I was listening to them.  A concentration of books renders me hopelessly distracted, instantly transforming me into a terrible conversational companion.

2) When I travel to a new place (or even an old one, really), I research the bookstores I can visit, and drop by all of them. While I love doing this and don’t intend to stop, this habit is fraught with dangers for my wallet and backpack-carrying shoulders. Every time I enter a bookstore on a vacation, I feel like I can’t leave it empty-handed. What better souvenir than a book, right?

3) I actually love lending books to people. I always want to thrust my favourites (or books I think they’ll like) in their hands and demand they enjoy it as much as I did. But I feel terribly awkward asking for the books to be returned. So now I’m constantly caught between the desire to pass my books around and the paranoia of ever letting them out of my sight. Maybe I should channel my inner librarian and make a list of the books I’ve lent, the people they’re with, and the approximate date  I should expect them back.

4) I want to read EVERYTHING. While I know this is technically impossible, it doesn’t stop me from trying. Thanks to which I get immensely stressed out by the amount of things I have yet to read and the ones I’m never going to be able to.

5) Thanks to my inability to comprehend the simple fact that it is impossible to read everything, I read voraciously in order to finish everything I can. But sometimes I start to feel that I’m reading too much, too fast. This habit coupled with my notoriously poor memory means that I don’t know how much I’ve actually retained from all that I’ve read.

6) Since I’m known as a reader among friends, people always ask me for recommendations or for a list of my favourites. I love matching books with people, but thanks to my aforementioned terrible memory, I can only remember a minuscule list of authors and books I want to talk about, even though I’ve loved many more. Fortunately, Goodreads comes to my rescue. I never kept a track of my books and reading habits before that, so I have no idea how I managed.

7) Mealtimes at home are always accompanied by a book in hand. This means that food crumbs and stains always make their way to the pages, no matter how much I try to save the book. I’ve learned that I’m a messy eater and that I’m not allowed to bring borrowed books anywhere near food.

8) In recent weeks, I’ve begun feeling uncomfortable about my ignorance and (previous) lack of interest in the Indian book scene. I’m caught up on the American book culture thanks to all the newsletters I’ve subscribed to, but my mind’s a complete blank when it comes to books coming out of India. I’m trying my best to remedy this and seek information, but the absence of access to an organised Indian book scene makes it incredibly frustrating.

9) I love my self-proclaimed bookworm cred and would love to wear it (literally wear it) with pride. But hunt as I might, it’s difficult to get bookish merchandise like tees, tote bags and mugs celebrating books and reading in India. Of course, I can order from websites based outside the country, but they’re expensive and I’m poor.

10) Because I’m largely steeped in fictional worlds, their characters have given me unrealistic expectations about interactions and relationships with real people. Does that ever go away?