Top Ten Tuesday: the colour of my heart

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, I’m riffing off a future topic as I’m planning to go rogue in May (sorry not sorry).

Next week’s topic is all about the words that appear most often on our covers, which got me wondering what colour appears most often (I don’t really have a firm favourite colours, but I have clear preferences… and it turns out that extends to my book titles too!)

And it turns out there is a clear winner in terms of colours in book titles: apparently I’m a sucker for books with the word RED in the title (even more so if you allow synonyms). In fact, there are enough that I can make a top ten and have to actually choose which ones I want in it.


Recent reds (sorry, not sorry)

Book cover: The Red Threads of Fortune - J Y YangThe Red Threads of Fortune – J Y Yang
This novella stole my heart: the epic set-up is window dressing for a painfully emotional story of coming to terms with grief and of recognising and accepting your nature. It’s poignant, and gorgeous and has magic and naga and twins and queerness to make my heart sing.


Book Cover: Red Seas Under Red SkiesRed Seas under Red Skies – Scott Lynch

The second part of the brilliant Gentleman Bastards sends Locke Lamora to sea to become a pirate. He’s soon captured by the fearsome Zamira Drakasha and honestly I got so many of my heart’s desires – fierce women, lady captains, bookworms and kittens – that I almost forgive it for breaking my heart at the end.


Book cover: All Systems Red - Martha Wells (a battle droid)All Systems Red – Martha Wells

A well-deserved Hugo nominee, this novella is sheer delight. A snarky, misanthropic Security Unit has hacked its own software, discovering the joy of daytime television and free will. But when its hapless scientist clients are attacked, it never hesitates to put itself in the line of fire. I defy you not to fall in love with Murderbot.



Book cover: The Red Wolf Conspiracy - Robert V S Redick (a huge sailing ship is towed out of harbour at night)The Red Wolf Conspiracy – Robert V S Redick

This is fantasy writ epic, about the biggest ship on the seas and its world-altering voyage to take an Ambassador and his daughter to broker peace – if they can survive the intrigues of the journey. It’s an excellent debut novel, full of twists and turns.


Book cover: On a Red Station Drifting - Aliette de Bodard (a woman with her hair up in a red robe glares off-page; another in green stares out)On A Red Station, Drifting – Aliette de Bodard

I love de Bodard’s Xuya stories. Here, two stubborn and unlikeable women are forced to confront their issues and insecurities – rather than each other – as the AI controlling Prosper Station begins to fail. The cleverness is in keeping this a claustrophobic family drama, and in the little cultural details that are threaded throughout this excellent space opera.


Older Reds

The Red Wyvern – Katharine Kerr

Kicking off the third Deverry Cycle, Red Wyvern returns to the far North in the present day, and to the later Civil War when dark dweomer raged to determine the outcome. Lillorigga has a talent for magic – and a mother who will stop at nothing to win the war for the Boars. Lilli is a delightful character and her resistance to her mother’s machinations is spell-binding.

Red Square – Martin Cruz Smith

I have a huge soft spot for the Arkady Renko novels. Arkady is so well-meaning, so hapless, so incapable of doing the sensible thing instead of the right thing. Here we join him in exile in Germany… where he’s reunited with an old flame. This stomped all over my poor young heart, which I should have taken as a warning really. Damn you, Mr Cruz Smith, and what you’ve put that poor man through.

Red Shift – Alan Garner

Garner’s weirdest ‘children’s’ book is a good segue to his adult works. His lyricism is in full play in this timeslip drama: Tom and Jan’s heart-breaking long distance relationship interwoven with a tale of Roman survivors of the Ninth Legion (a sure way to my heart) seeking sanctuary, and a Civil War massacre. It’s brave and brutal. Expect scars.

Five Red Herrings – Dorothy L Sayers

I have 3 Lord Peter Wimsey books on my shelf, all read to pieces as I’m the third generation in my family to love them to death. It’s been a long while since I read them (I must fix this), but I recall Five Red Herrings fondly as Lord Peter Goes On Holiday And Solves Murder With Timetables. If you don’t fancy period whodunnits, this won’t be for you.


And one that I’ve not read yet:

Red Country – Joe Abercrombie

I blame Joe Abercrombie for getting me into grimdark back in the day, with the subversive war saga The First Law. I’ve slowly made my way through the various stand-alone books that have followed, except for Red Country – which I will get to eventually. Unfortunately, I’ve subsequently fallen out of love with grimdark in a big way, so it’s going to take a very particular mood.


Any idea what the most common colour on your bookshelf is?