Top Ten Tuesday: must-buy books

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’d buy right now if we had a fully-loaded gift card.

Because I have a lot of friends and family who live overseas, this is a dilemma I face at least once a year (Christmas or birthday), and it’s a delightful tussle. What do I want most? How far can I stretch that gift card? What do I just want to get my hands on right now?

I’m deliberately not including pre-purchasing any of the books coming out this year that I’m really excited about. I’d be tempted, but I know I’ll buy them anyway – I tend to spend gift cards on things that I haven’t quite got to yet or new authors that I want to try out.

Well, first up I’d spoil myself and splash out on some non-fiction books:

Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey – Rachel Hewitt

What did we do before Google? We used maps. I still do. I have a particular attachment to the Ordnance Survey, in all its varying levels of detail – the fact I can figure out where I am in the countryside because my map shows field boundaries just blows my mind. I’d love to learn more about how we took on such a mad, detailed endeavour.

1177BC The Year Civilization Collapsed – Eric H Cline 

In 1177BC, the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt. Within a few decades, most if not all of the great civilisations of the (Mediterranean) Bronze Age collapsed. This is a fascinating time that I know nothing about, and that sort of upheaval intrigues me. What happened?

The Map That Changed the World – Simon Winchester

Yes, it’s maps again – this time, with added geology! A canal digger called William Smith (let’s call him Bill) connected fossils to rock strata, and decided to try and map the rocks of Britain – and then the world. It ended badly for poor Bill, and changed the way we understand our world. Intellectual pursuits, personal ruin and insane endeavours? Tell me more.

Then I’d stock up on some backlist books I’d really like to catch up on so I can join in the flailing:

The Serpent Sea – Martha Wells

I plan to revisit the Raksura this autumn (hopefully with an @SFFreadalong if you fancy joining us), so this one is both a need and a want. Second world fantasy with non-human shape-shifting protagonists: yay!

Planetfall – Emma Newman

I hear great things about Emma Newman’s foray into science fiction, and with the sequel (After Atlas) due out this autumn, it’s a good time to be catching up. Colonists, scientists and secrets – I do love a mystery set in space with high personal stakes.

The Copper Promise – Jen Williams

Good old-fashioned dungeon-crawling epic fantasy with a kick-ass heroine, a noble sidekick (well his name has a Sir at the start, at least) and a dragon on the cover. I’m not sure how I haven’t read this already.

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

This has been on my Wishlist since it came out, and never quite made it onto my shelf. A spy steps into a city that once used the power of its gods to enslave the world. She thinks she’s there to catch a murderer, but there are deeper secrets to uncover. Ooooooh.

Traitor’s Blade – Sebastian de Castell

I know I’ve got another season of Tremontaine coming soon, but my bookshelf needs more swashbuckling. Look at that cover. It’s a swordsman with a crazy big billowing blood-red cloak. This is totally Musketeers territory, and that can’t be anything but awesome.

The Stars Seem So Far Away – Margret Helgadóttir

Post-apocalypse, you say? The far, far north, you say? Interlinked short stories with a mythic quality, too? Yes, this sounds to be all my favourite things, and I really want to get my hands on it.

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir – Marie Brennan

Speaking of favourite things, DRAGONS. Yes, I’ve got 6 more Temeraire books to satisfy my dragon fetish and the Raksura are like reptiles, but seriously, MOAR DRAGONS. Alt history scientific study of dragons no less, which ticks so many boxes. Marvellous.

On the Edge of Gone – Corinne Duyvis

Oh, my. This is disaster-apocalypse set in Holland (hooray!) with a teenage girl trying to save her family from the impending disaster – and a reflection on usefulness and the value of human life. I’m going to cry buckets, aren’t I?


Why yes, that’s more than ten. I must have had a very generous gift card!

What’s burning a hole in your wishlist?