Top Ten Tuesday: numbered books

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 we’re checking out the highs and lows of books with numbers in the title.

As I combed through my shelves for books this week, there was a glorious moment where I thought I could actually count down from ten to one purely based on the titles.

And I can.

Sort of.


Book cover: The Thousand Doors of January - Alix E HarrowThe Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E Harrow

I haven’t actually read this one yet, but advance word of mouth is EPIC. I am excited enough that I’ve stuck to starting with it as Ten, in spite of the temptation to dial it up to (Station) Eleven.

Book cover: Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha LeeNinefox Gambit – Yoon Ha Lee

Let’s hear it for a huge favourite of mine: maths as magic, equations to control reality, weapons of WTF, excellent pickles and the vengeful undead. A Hugo runner-up and a Subjective Chaos award winner, Machineries of Empire deserves your eyeballs.

1984 – George Orwell

I saw 1984 on stage a few years back, and I still haven’t recovered. It remains the only play to give me a migraine, but I’d highly recommend it if it ever comes your way. The book is also the fuel of nightmares, of course – and sadly appears to have become a manual for modern government. Essential – if unpleasant – reading.

Book cover: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton (text treatment, art deco)The Seven (and a half) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

An intricately plotted whodunnit peopled with an extravagantly unlikeable cast, this is one of those books that’s hard to put down and a shame to spoil. A great way to while away an afternoon.

Book cover: Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty (a body floating into space)Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes has a great pitch: six clones awake on a generation ship to discover one of them killed the rest. Cue a claustrophobic murder mystery with musings on human nature, technology and ethics, but sadly I really didn’t enjoy the execution.

Book cover: Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut (a yellow digit 5 on a dark background)Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut

Time travel and alien abductions don’t feature in your average war story, but this is far from average. Is it science fiction or a psychological tale of psychedelic PTSD? Either way, it provides plenty of food for thought.

Book cover: Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury (text on yellow background with painted flames)Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Even a man paid to burn books can’t resist their allure in Bradbury’s prescient novel. Have I ever featured so many SF classics in a Top Ten? I doubt it, but this is a firm favourite. Do yourself a favour and read the book (the recent dramatisation is lacklustre), then resist the urge to go hug your books and your friends.

The Three - Sarah Lotz (UK book cover)The Three – Sarah Lotz

Four planes crash simultaneously. Against all the odds, three children survive. The Three is a compelling piece of fictional non-fiction asking how and why. I love a story structured around interviews and news reports – but fair warning, the harrowing prologue could put you off air travel for good.

Book cover: Between Two ThornsBetween Two Thorns – Emma Newman

A portal fantasy of the Fae and a scathing feminist urban fantasy of manners, Emma Newman’s Split Worlds seem like light-hearted fluff until you realise just how much it has to say. Fair warning: it doesn’t stand alone.

Book cover: The Beautiful Ones - Silvia Moreno-Garcia (a silhouette of a long-haired woman ins a gown against a green background)The Beautiful Ones – Silvia Moreno Garcia

This is one of those rare romance novels that won me over – largely thanks to the charm of its book-loving heroine. Expect social vipers, melodrama and a lingering look at the cost of our choices and the value of self-knowledge.

Got any non-cheaty suggestions for Ten, Eight and Four?