If Books Were Wishes: 10 Recent Adds to the TBR

For today’s Top Ten (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), we’ve all been asked to list the top ten recent additions to our TBR queue. Now I don’t know about you, but I have two TBR queues, really: one for books I want to read, and one for books I own, but because I don’t automatically read books as I buy them (because that would just make sense), today I’m going with a sample of books I recently added to my wishlist over the last couple of months. Some of those books were in my Top Ten post last week (2015 books I missed), so I’m not going to repeat those here. Instead, you get a fresh, shiny new list! I’ve compiled these from my Goodreads To-Read list and my Amazon Wishlist. (I’m slowly trying to move my wishlist over to Goodreads, but there are over 400 books on that list, so…yeah.)

Girl Waits with GunGirl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart. I’ve heard so many great things about this book, and I find the description really charming. “Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.”

DocDoc, Mary Doria Russell. Because you all know I am a sucker for Westerns. I can’t believe I didn’t know anything about this book (or its follow-up, Epitaph) until a week ago. “Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins–before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.”

The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson. Got to have a great thriller on the list! It amazes me that ten years ago, I never would have even looked at some of the books that have become favorites of mine, just because they weren’t “literary fiction.” “On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, ‘I’d like to help.'”

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner. I own Angle of Repose and read about a third of it many years ago. I don’t know why I put it down, but I’d love to read both of these books this year. “Called a ‘magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom’ by Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World, Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.”

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I read The Cuckoo’s Calling in December and enjoyed it so much that I added this and Career of Evil to the TBR instantly. Fun fact: that was my first Rowling. Does it count? “When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.”

 

The Tsar of Love and TechnoThe Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra. This could have easily gone on last week’s list, too. I haven’t heard a bad word about it, and I’ve also had his novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, on my TBR since it was published. Oy. ” A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts.”

Days of AweDays of Awe, Lauren Fox. Honestly, from the description, this doesn’t sound like a book I would pick, because it seems justthisside of chick lit. I’ve read so many compelling reviews, though, I thought I should give it a chance. “Only a year ago Isabel Moore was married, the object of adoration of her ten-year-old daughter, and thought she knew everything about her wild, extravagant, beloved best friend, Josie. But in that one short year: her husband moved out and rented his own apartment; her daughter grew into a moody insomniac; and Josie — impulsive, funny, secretive Josie — was killed behind the wheel in a single-car accident. As Isabel tries to make sense of this shattering loss and unravel the months leading up to Josie’s death, she comes to understand the shifts, large and small, that can upend a friendship and an entire life.”

OreoOreo, Fran Ross. I had never heard of this re-issued novel (originally published in the early 1970s) until I saw it on the Tournament of Books list. I’m interested because it was written so close to both the Civil Rights and the Women’s Rights movements, but then is also written to recall Greek mythology. “Oreo is raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note that triggers her quest to find him. What ensues is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb. Oreo, our young hero, navigates the labyrinth of sound studios and brothels and subway tunnels in Manhattan, seeking to claim her birthright while unwittingly experiencing and triggering a mythic journey of self-discovery like no other.”

Watch Me GoWatch Me Go, Mark Wisniewski. Some modern noir for the list. “Douglas “Deesh” Sharp has managed to stay out of trouble living in the Bronx, paying his rent by hauling junk for cash. But on the morning Deesh and two pals head upstate to dispose of a sealed oil drum whose contents smell and weigh enough to contain a human corpse, he becomes mixed up in a serious crime. When his plans for escape spiral terribly out of control, Deesh quickly finds himself a victim of betrayal—and the prime suspect in the murders of three white men. When Jan, a young jockey from the gritty underworld of the Finger Lakes racetrack breaks her silence about gambling and organized crime, Deesh learns how the story of her past might, against all odds, free him from a life behind bars.”

The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell. Yes, another book from Russell, but this one completely different. I have heard so many people sing this book’s praises that I decided I have to find out what it’s all about. Of everything on this list, this is the one I am most likely to request at the library in April, after my three-month exile. “In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet that will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question what it means to be human.”

Your turn! Have you read any of these books? Do you have any of them on your TBR—or will you be adding them now? Happy reading!

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10 comments

  1. I have read three books on your new list. The Sparrow happens to be one of my all time favorite books. I read it nonstop, no sleep, and just could not put it down. My doctor loved it too…so there ya go.
    I loved Crossing to Safety, which I read many years ago. The author is a favorite of mine. Read Doc, liked it very much, although it wasn’t as good as The Sparrow. Two of these books I own…Doc and Crossing to Safety. Let me know if you would like me to send them to you.

  2. The Kind Worth Killing is SO good! Really twisty and smart. I wish it had gotten the press that The Girl on the Train did (I thought that one was just okay.) Great list!

  3. Of course, you’ve already seen my Oreo review. It’s such a fun book! And The Sparrow is an all-time favorite. I have Doc on my list to read this year. I got a copy when Russell came to DC on her book tour for it, and I had to go meet her and get my copy of The Sparrow signed. It sounds great, and I believe there’s a sequel as well.

  4. The Sparrow, I have read. I remember finding it really devastating and good, but I haven’t revisited it since 2010. I got it at last year’s enormous book fair for a few bucks, so it’s now on my shelves all ready to be reread one of these days!

  5. Mom, good to know! I am reading my own stuff for now and already have plenty of your books in my TBR stacks! I’ll try the library this time. 🙂

  6. Laila, I am so glad to hear that! I had never even heard of it, but I saw Greg’s review at The New Dork Review and it sounded terrific. Happy to hear it get a second endorsement!

  7. Teresa, I am very interested in Oreo, although I think I’m going to have to brush up on my Greek mythology. You have to be the fifth or sixth person (including my mother, Pat, who just said the same thing here in the comments) who’s told me The Sparrow is an all-time favorite. Clearly I’ve been missing out. I found Russell’s blog and she seems like a great person to see/meet at a reading. The sequel to Doc is Epitaph.

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