Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog, and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s topic is: Recent Additions to My TBR
These ten books are not necessarily the ten most recent additions to my TBR, but rather a diverse sampling of some of the many books I’ve added to my Goodreads TBR this month. I’ve included upcoming releases as well as backlist; nonfiction and fiction.
All synopses taken from Goodreads
The White Book by Han Kang
Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize
From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white
While on a writer’s residency, a nameless narrator wanders the twin white worlds of the blank page and snowy Warsaw. THE WHITE BOOK becomes a meditation on the color white, as well as a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died in her mother’s arms, a few hours old. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family, an event she colors in stark white–breast milk, swaddling bands, the baby’s rice cake-colored skin–and, from here, visits all that glows in her memory: from a white dog to sugar cubes.
As the writer reckons with the enormity of her sister’s death, Han Kang’s trademark frank and chilling prose is softened by retrospection, introspection, and a deep sense of resilience and love. THE WHITE BOOK–ultimately a letter from Kang to her sister–offers powerful philosophy and personal psychology on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Han Kang’s The White Book sounds equally beautiful, experimental, and heartbreaking. The idea of addressing grief through short musings on white objects has definitely piqued my interest.
Notes to Self by Emilie Pine (Expected publication: June 11th)
The international sensation that illuminates the experiences women are supposed to hide–from addiction, anger, sexual assault, and infertility to joy, sensuality, and love.
“Unsparing . . . equally raw and harrowing . . . the kind of book you want to give to everyone.”–The Irish Times
In this dazzling debut, Emilie Pine speaks to the events that have marked her life–those emotional disruptions for which our society has no adequate language, at once bittersweet, clandestine, and ordinary. She writes with radical honesty on the unspeakable grief of infertility, on caring for an alcoholic parent, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. This is the story of one woman, and of all women.
Devastating, poignant, and wise–and joyful against the odds–Notes to Self is an unforgettable exploration of what it feels like to be alive, and a daring act of rebellion against a society that is more comfortable with women’s silence.
I need this essay collection in my hands ASAP pleaseandthankyou. I’ve been on a bit of a memoir/essay collection kick lately, and Notes to Self looks like it will be an incredibly memorable addition to the group. Fingers crossed it will be a little bit reminiscent of Maggie O’Farrell’s writing in I Am, I Am, I Am.
Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.
Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as “far and away, this country’s best selling poet” by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years.
Carefully curated, these 200 plus poems feature Oliver’s work from her very first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 at the age of 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This timeless volume, arranged by Oliver herself, showcases the beloved poet at her edifying best. Within these pages, she provides us with an extraordinary and invaluable collection of her passionate, perceptive, and much-treasured observations of the natural world.
The recent death of Mary Oliver brought into focus the fact that I am not as familiar with her work as I’d like to be. I’ve adored the few poems of hers that I have read, and look forward to reading many more. Devotions seems like a good place to start, but if you have other recommendations, please let me know!
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling–and timely–history of voter suppression in America, with a foreword by Senator Dick Durbin.
In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.
Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans as the nation gears up for the 2018 midterm elections.
This sounds like a timely, important, and also enraging read. Ideally, I’d like to read this soon, but to be honest I don’t think I can stomach it at the moment.
The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter #1) by Sigrid Undset
Originally published in Norwegian in 1920 and set in fourteenth-century Norway, The Wreath chronicles the courtship of a headstrong and passionate young woman and a dangerously charming and impetuous man. Undset re-creates the historical backdrop in vivid detail, immersing readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political undercurrents of the period. Her prose combines the sounds and style of Nordic ballads, European courtly poetry, and religious literature.
But the story Undset tells is a modern one; it mirrors post-World War I political and religious anxieties, and introduces a heroine who has long captivated contemporary readers. Defying her parents and stubbornly pursuing her own happiness, Kristin emerges as a woman who not only loves with power and passion but intrepidly confronts her sexuality.
The Kristin Lavrandatter series seems to be popping up all over the place lately. I’m very interested in this Norwegian modern classic with its strong female protagonist, but am a little hesitant over the seemingly strong religious themes. It also sounds like there’s a big difference between the various translations. If you’ve read this: which translation would you recommend?
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar
When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by anenigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.
At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.
Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.
I think I stumbled upon The Ash Family while browsing the Goodreads’ giveaways section. Perhaps this will be the cult novel I was expecting The Girls to be.
All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva
A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives
Anjali Sachdeva’s debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character’s epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills is irrevocably changed by the brutal power of the furnaces; a fisherman sets sail into overfished waters and finds a secret obsession from which he can’t return; an online date ends with a frightening, inexplicable disappearance. Her story “Pleiades” was called “a masterpiece” by Dave Eggers. Sachdeva has a talent for creating moving and poignant scenes, following her highly imaginative plots to their logical ends, and depicting how one small miracle can affect everyone in its wake.
All the Names They Used for God sounds like a phenomenal short story collection that’s not to be missed.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.
In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.
In this extraordinary debut – part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter’s compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.
I’ve heard excellent things about Grief is the Thing with Feathers over the past few years (especially on Booktube), but for some reason had never added it to my TBR. The imminent release of Max Porter’s new novel reminded me to finally do so. For those of you who’ve read this: do I need to read Ted Hughes’ Crow first?
No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol
If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then?
This question plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her 40th birthday. Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. She knew she was supposed to feel bad about this. After all, single women and those without children are often seen as objects of pity, relegated to the sidelines, or indulgent spoiled creatures who think only of themselves.
Glynnis refused to be cast into either of those roles and yet the question remained: What now? There was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world. She concluded it was time to create one.
Over the course of her fortieth year, which this memoir chronicles, Glynnis embarks on a revealing journey of self-discovery that continually contradicts everything she’d been led to expect. Through the trials of family illness and turmoil, and the thrills of far-flung travel and adventures with men, young and old (and sometimes wearing cowboy hats), she is forced to wrestle with her biggest hopes and fears about love, death, sex, friendship, and loneliness. In doing so, she discovers that holding the power to determine her own fate requires a resilience and courage that no one talks about, and is more rewarding than anyone imagines.
Intimate and timely, No One Tells You This is a fearless reckoning with modern womanhood and an exhilarating adventure that will resonate with anyone determined to live by their own rules.
I first came across No One Tells You This in this Bustle article. While looking into it further, I learned that it also came highly recommended by the duo over at the Call Your Girlfriend podcast.
The Cassandra by Sharma Shields (Expected Publication: February 12th)
The Cassandra follows a woman who goes to work in a top secret research facility during WWII, only to be tormented by visions of what the mission will mean for humankind.
Mildred Groves is an unusual young woman. Gifted and cursed with the ability to see the future, Mildred runs away from home to take a secretary position at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. Hanford, a massive construction camp on the banks of the Columbia River in remote South Central Washington, exists to test and manufacture a mysterious product that will aid the war effort. Only the top generals and scientists know that this product is processed plutonium, for use in the first atomic bombs.
Mildred is delighted, at first, to be part of something larger than herself after a lifetime spent as an outsider. But her new life takes a dark turn when she starts to have prophetic dreams about what will become of humankind if the project is successful. As the men she works for come closer to achieving their goals, her visions intensify to a nightmarish pitch, and she eventually risks everything to question those in power, putting her own physical and mental health in jeopardy. Inspired by the classic Greek myth, this 20th century reimagining of Cassandra’s story is based on a real WWII compound that the author researched meticulously. A timely novel about patriarchy and militancy, The Cassandra uses both legend and history to look deep into man’s capacity for destruction, and the resolve and compassion it takes to challenge the powerful.
This is one of the many books I’ve added to my TBR after perusing The Million’s Most Anticipated: The Great First Half 2019 Book Preview list. I adore books about women doing interesting war work during WWII, and am very intrigued by this reinterpretation of the myth of Cassandra. It sounds like this historical novel will be incredibly relevant to our current political climate as well.
Are any of these books on your TBR list?