Top Ten Tuesday: overlooked 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 the books that have been sat on our TBR piles since before we started blogging.

Oh dear. The books that leap off the shelves because of the beautiful covers and intriguing blurbs. The sale bargains we just can’t resist. The ARCs that someone keep slipping down the pile. The gifts that sound awesome but never quite get read. There are a thousand reasons a bookworm hasn’t read a book yet, but the real reason is that we just can’t say no.

My TBR was at least 100 deep before I started posting reviews on LibraryThing back in mid-2013 and a lot of those books continue to languish on my shelves unread. So let’s take a look at what lies heaviest on my conscience…


The Little Friend – Donna Tartt

I loved The Secret History and admired endured The Goldfinch, but I’ve never made it through The Little Friend. A precocious girl in the deep South is determined to solve her brother’s murder, which should tick all the boxes, but I stalled out and have never had the guts to go back. One day. Honestly.

Le Morte d’Arthur – Thomas de Malory

I love stories of King Arthur, and I’m curious to explore early versions. I’ve read Gildas and Nennius, but Malory and Geoffrey of Monmouth both sit on the shelf increasingly feeling like things I ought to read rather than things I want to. Maybe I’ll set myself a challenge next year (a bit like my alternate Star Wars challenge earlier this year).

The Bastard of Istanbul – Elif Shafak

Honestly, I might have to fix not having read this award nominee soon because just rereading the precis gets me excited: a story of headstrong women in Istanbul, friendship and family secrets.

Strandloper – Alan Garner

I’m slowly, slowly working my way through Garner’s dense adult fiction – slender volumes that require a lot of chewing. This is based on the true story of an English villager transported to Australia for heresy, who became an iconic figure for an Australian Aboriginal tribe.

The Gift of Rain – Tan Twan Eng

I have twice bounced off this well-regarded novel of the wartime entanglements of a rich young Malay man, and am determined to give a third and final go (and hopefully clear my conscience by finishing it).


And just to prove it’s not that I’ve been neglecting my literature in favour of genre, I’ve got just as much of a guilty conscience on that front too:


Dreamsongs – George R R Martin

The collected short stories of GRRM will be a blast, but I was given the original hardback publication as a gorgeous gift. It’s stunning – and heavy enough to knock out a burglar (hey, multi-purpose reading materials!) so I either have to read it at home or buy a Kindle edition I can take on the train…

The Twyning – Terence Blacker

Rat kingdoms, rodent heroes and human waifs and strays? Sounds intriguing, and it was enough for me to pick up this middle-grade fantasy at the time. I’m still intrigued, but I’ve not been in the mood for middle-grade fiction, so it lurks on the shelf casting mournful expressions at me.

Reamde – Neal Stephenson

I was a big fan of Stephenson at university, but – I know, I know, judge me for it – fell off the bandwagon with The Baroque Cycle. Reamde appealed to me, being back in the duplicitous heartland of cyberpunk with it story of pro gamers in a fantasy MMORPG. But, err, I’ve not got round to it yet.

Company of Liars – Karen Maitland

I bought this on a whim Kindle deal because it’s set at the the height of a plague outbreak (um, I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned my fascination with the Black Death and its impact? Err, yeah. Anyway) and features storytelling by – I’m guessing – unreliable narrators. It just keeps getting bumped as shiny ARCs and read-alongs throw themselves in front of it.

The River of Shadows – Robert V S Redick

I bought The Red Wolf Conspiracy because I wanted a new epic fantasy to get into and oh my word the gorgeous cover art. It was good enough that I picked up the sequels as they came out, but The River of Shadows coincided with a very busy period at work and has lurked on the shelf ever since. As all three are trade editions, I’m adept at talking myself out of lugging them on commute, which has repeatedly dented the chances of me reading it.



What is staring reproachfully at you from your bookshelf?