Top Ten Tuesday: winter TBR

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, it’s time to take a look at our winter TBR!

Winter is well and truly here: the leaves long-fallen, our days short and damp, the light twinkling mostly from strings we’ve all adorned homes and gardens with to bring us midwinter joy. Wet weather and a warm fire are a perfect excuse for slow afternoons reading – and if I’m trying not to make plans as such, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a list of books most likely to demand my attention.

I’m on a rereading and novella kick this month, so I’ll be completing the Witches of Lychford novellas before Christmas and returning to the Deverry read-along with Dragonspell. More rereads will follow in the new year: I’ll be picking up Ancient Light to complete the Orthe duology with Mayri the BookForager, and Kushiel’s Chosen as we embark on the next phase of #ReadAsThouWilt. But let’s focus on first time reads I’ll be considering this winter…

In spite of my protestations that I will make no commitments in 2021 (ahahahaha as if I know how to live that way), there are a number of ARCs that I will be reading and reviewing soon. Quite a lot of them, in fact. The song of the gullaime and the majesty of the arakeesians summon me back to sail with Lucky Meas and Joron Twiner – yes, I’ve been hearing The Call of the Bone Ships for some time now, and I won’t be resisting much longer.

Dr Adam Roberts’ The End of the World will be my first non-fiction read in some time. As we lurch towards Brexit, perhaps it’s only appropriate that I immerse myself in a discussion of our relationship with the concept of apocalypse.

The Wall by Gautam Bhatia feels just as thematically apt: a much-lauded debut fantasy of an authoritarian nation hemmed in by self-imposed borders and a refusal to contemplate what freedoms and opportunities might lie beyond. Yes, I may be over-interpreting, but this promises to be a fantasy of hope and imagination, which is just what I need.

I’ve had a fairly strong tilt in favour of reading fantasy this year, and based on my instinctive response to which books are clamouring loudest from my backlog, that’s not set to change. Of the various titles I’ve snapped up but not yet read this year, these four are the ones that leap off the shelf this morning.

The Four Profound Weaves is Rose Lemberg’s first full-length fiction, and will be my point of entry into their long-running Birdverse. A tale of identity that plays to many of my sweet spots, this desert fantasy embraces craft, family and mythology as two older protagonists seek a way to challenge a tyrant and define who they truly are.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune is Nghi Vo’s debut novella, a story of a young woman seizing influence in spite of the barriers imposed by her arranged marriage. This sounds like my jam even before I get to the framing device, which is even more up my street; I’m really not sure how I never made time to squeeze this in when it came out. It’s been a helluva year.

Having missed out on an ARC, I’ve somehow had Too Much Going On to read The Obsidian Tower either, even though I’m dying to return to Vaskandar. The plus side? I get to give myself the Christmas present of reading a new Melissa Caruso!

Last but not least, February promises a new series from Mike Brooks featuring war dragons (oh hai); The Black Coast is a review copy that I have been sat on for months, and at this point I can’t wait to dive into it.

I’ll finish with some books that are firmly on the 2021 side of the reading line. January is Vintage SF Month, which is the perfect time to dust off the copy of the only John Wyndham I’ve never read. Plan for Chaos is – by all accounts – an unholy mess, and there’s a reason it was never published in Wyndham’s lifetime, but I’m curious to complete my Wyndham reads.

February is my birthday month, and the stars have aligned to see new releases scheduled in some of my favourite series, so I shall be celebrating in the best possible way. I am exercising great restraint and making no effort to lay my hands on an advance copy of The Galaxy, And The Ground Within as I have pre-ordered a Goldsboro edition as a birthday present to myself. The odds on me leaving it until February to read The Edge are rather longer given the long, long wait to get my hands on it (…and I already have my hands on it).

How many of these will I read? We’ll see. There are sure to be other things that poke their heads above the parapet yelling PICK ME – and my promise to myself for the next 12 months is to read as much on a whim as possible. That may mean reading books off the shelf, or it may mean review copies and new releases – I just want to follow my nose, as I suspect 2021 will be quite hard enough without imposing arbitrary constraints on my reading. But I’d expect a fair few of these to feature.

What will you be reading this winter?