Top Ten Tuesday: neglected darlings

Top Ten Tuesday bannerTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we all talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. This week it’s books we love, but haven’t talked about in a while.

We’ve all got friends we love dearly, but don’t see nearly enough. The ones who we see after years apart and are right back in the thick of things, sharing confidences and laughing at the same jokes. It’s the same with books we love. I’ve been focused on new reads, so I have a lot of neglected darlings on my shelves. I’ve made time to catch up with some old friends (in Middle-Earth and Camorr) already this year, but this Top Ten is dedicated to the ones I need to call.


Palace – Katharine Kerr

Book cover: PalaceI’ve worked my way through most of Kit Kerr’s back catalogue, and it’s past time I refreshed my fond memories of this SF thriller. I recall an excellent potboiler involving an heiress in hiding, a master hacker, awakening AI and political intrigue; also loose ends, but I prefer to pretend the sequel doesn’t exist because it was awful.

Sailing to Sarantium – Guy Gavriel Kay 

Book cover: Sailing to SarantiumI am fascinated by the power struggles and plagues of the 6th century (and by Byzantium in general). This alt history reign of Justinian is awash with emotion, lyrical nostalgia, and pagan gods. Also chariot racing. Yes, definitely need to revisit this one.


Book cover: What You Make ItWhat You Make It – Michael Marshall Smith

I love Michael Marshall Smith’s short stories. He has a knack for the bittersweet and the horrific; More Tomorrow remains one of the most chilling short stories I’ve ever read. Err, I’m not really selling this, am I?


Book cover: The Secret HistoryThe Secret History – Donna Tartt

This saga of Classics, obsession, murder and remorse may still be my favourite book. Ironically, my Latin teacher recommended it; but we never indulged in Bacchanalian rites in the dunes (well, I would say that) and I think we’re all accounted for.


Book cover: VellumVellum – Hal Duncan

I have hazy memories of Vellum and I’m slightly intimidated by its sheer size (I have the hardback), but I recall it as an intoxicating ride of fallen angels, sexual appetites and a reality many times overwritten. I might have to invest in an electronic copy though.


Book cover: The Earthsea trilogyEarthsea – Ursula Le Guin

This was a childhood favourite. Yes, it’s short on women, but the archipelago is fascinating and the recurring theme of confronting our worst selves is challenging. Also, it has dragons. Or a dragon, but such a dragon.

The Kraken Wakes – John Wyndham

Book cover: The Kraken WakesWhen it’s all too hard, I read Wyndham. The Kraken Wakes is climate change apocalypse – unexpected given its age – although caused by invading aliens rather than human intervention. Alternately chilling and nostalgic, the scenes of flooded London raise the hairs on the back of my neck.


daughter-empireDaughter of the Empire – Janny Wurts (and Raymond Feist)

Here’s a secret: I never much liked Magician. But Daughter had me at hello. An orphaned woman in a man’s world, thrust into responsibility and forced to live by quick wits and sheer determination to try and save her house from extinction.


Book cover: The Kings PeaceThe King’s Peace – Jo Walton

I mentioned this in passing recently as an example of Arthurian retellings. It’s notable for putting an asexual woman warrior at the heart of the action, and for embracing an earthily authentic Dark Age setting over French romance. Microlit recap here.


Gorky Park – Martin Cruz Smith

Book cover: Gorky ParkI’ve not read through the Arkady Renko books in forever, and I think it’s time I fixed that. I’m 2 volumes behind in the saga of the depressed Russian investigator with the fine sense of ethics and the desire to solve the case regardless of the political consequences, and it’s time I caught up.


What books do you need to get round to revisiting?