Top Ten Tuesday: impulse buys

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 we’re looking at books we picked up on a whim (and whether that turned out to be wise).

I’ve spent the last year or so trying very hard not to acquire books. Most have been vetted like presidential candidates, subjected to recommendations and background checks. But Kindle deals are my downfall, and that’s before we get to second hand bookshops. It doesn’t matter what I go in for – it’s anyone’s guess what I’ll go home with. So here’s my top ten of books bought on a whim – where I didn’t know the author and hadn’t received a recommendation.

Windswept – Adam Rakunas’s Philip K Dick-nominated debut caught my eye because RUM in SPACE. Honestly, that was enough. It’s also about mega-corporate dystopias, blowing stuff up and the difficulties of keeping socialist movements on track. And it’s awesome. With RUM.

The Greenhouse – unusually for me, this is Proper Literature about reflection and personal growth, written by a well-loved Icelandic author (I have an open door policy for Icelandic literature). It’s all very introspective and awkward, but I rather enjoyed it.

The Quick – I picked this up thinking it was a modern Gothic potboiler about Victorian magicians. Instead, it’s about repressed desires; sibling loyalty; a secretive gentleman’s club of vampires; blood-sucking East End urchins and vampirism for social transformation. Unexpected!

The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie’s debut captured my interest because it’s pitch is near-future PIRATES VS KAIJU with bonus girls kissing. It didn’t quite live up to its promise, but I’m dying to read the sequel.

Sedition – this is pitched as Sarah Waters meets Dangerous Liaisons, which are two of my favourite things. It does involve double-crossing, seduction and a lot of people out to ruin a lot of others, but it suffers a little from having caricatured secondary characters.

The Explorer – the cover kept catching my eye, but that’s not what attracted me, honestly. Okay, it was, but then the back promised DISASTER IN SPACE and I love those. It’s also about the future of spacefaring (the sponsorship snark had me in stitches) and the perils of the bootstrap paradox. Great stuff. The sequel is even better.

The Mermaid’s Sister – I couldn’t resist a modern fairytale that worries that your true form might reflect the way you arrived into the world (in a clam shell, delivered by a stork). This tickles tropes and heart strings and made me as melty as sorbet in summer.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society – mysterious literary societies in Finland? Sign me up! That said, I alternated between quirky Finnish delight and occasional disillusion with the author’s obsession with our heroine’s physical attributes and her unlikely romantic choices.

Annihilation – why not judge a book by its cover when it’s this gorgeous? The hardbacks are things of beauty and I love them. BONUS – the story is great too (phew): edge of apocalypse environmental weirdness with an intriguing, detached narrator.

Damocles – first contact where we’re the aliens? HALLO. I loved this, not least because lead alien Loul Pell is an adorable geek who accidentally becomes the lead interpreter. I really really really hope there are sequels in the works.

…but it doesn’t always work out: The Woodcutter, The Left Hand of God, Rustication, and Elephant Moon were all whimsical purchases that I read to my regret. And ranting on LibraryThing. Generally, though, the wins outnumber the fails, so I shall continue to succumb to impulse. Regularly.


What impulse purchases have you loved best – and which were a terrible mistake?