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 looking back at our seasonal TBRs to see what books we still haven’t read…
For today, I thought I’d look all the way back to the start of There’s Always Room For One More to see just how hilariously big the pile of still-unread books from my seasonal TBRs really is. Sure enough, there are a lot, but the funny thing about looking back is how aspirational some of my early seasonal lists were. One year I regularly featured books I didn’t even have a copy of – releases I was looking forward to, titles I was excited for. Ah, the enthusiasm and naivete of a novice book blogger! In recent years, they’ve read more like accountability posts, focusing on the award nominees and ARCs that often dominate my Up Next pile.
The lovely thing is how much I still want to read almost all of these books. There are a couple that have been deliberately excised from my queue Because Reasons (usually the author being a shit human being in public, removing themselves from the list of people I choose to promote), but the majority are books that still get considered whenever I put a TBR together.
Five years and counting…
Let’s start with some of the oldest – so old that Signal to Noise and its magic of music is getting a shiny new edition this autumn (Solaris, September 13th). Melissa Scott’s Trouble And Her Friends is mid-90s cyberpunk, with a lesbian protagonist who comes out of retirement to hunt down a hacker using her name. In Glorious Angels, Justina Robson laughs at genre boundaries with a world where science and magic intermingle in a matriarchal society ruled by telepathic Empresses. These three are all books I own, putting them at a disadvantage when ARC guilt kicks in, but that doesn’t take away from how much I want to get round to them.
Three to five years
This is a more difficult period: I’ve made a good dent in the seasonal TBRs, and am often conflicted about the ones that remain. That said, I’m still gasping to read Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite, set on a world where a deadly virus killed all men and changed its women. Generations later, a company arrives to exploit the planet – if they can neutralise the virus – only to find they too are changing.
However, The Queens of Innis Lear (Tessa Gratton) and A Man Of Shadows (Jeff Noon) are both ARCs I have at various points considered flagging as ’will not read’. While I remain mildly intrigued by Gratton’s reimagining of King Lear and by surrealist SF writer Jeff Noon’s tilt at a speculative investigative thriller, they have been on my shelf so long they inspire more guilt than anticipation. However, I’ve steadfastly hung on to them – maybe one day…
The pandemic years
More recently, the world has been a distressing and distracting place, and I just haven’t got round to everything on my list. However, I remain super keen to tackle everything I’ve acquired since 2020 so picking just four has been a bit of a mission.
The Monster Baru Cormorant picks up this intricate political fantasy where Seth Dickinson’s devastating Traitor left off (and yes, it has had a sequel for some time; I’m lagging badly). The Fated Sky is another sequel, if one that has acquired spin-offs rather than direct sequels as Mary Robinette Kowal continues to develop her Lady Astronaut universe. No Gods, No Monsters is a series starter from Cadwell Turnbull in which our darkest fears turn out to walk amongst us – and have plenty to fear themselves.
I’ll end with a retelling: Lucy Holland’s reimagining of a murder ballad. Sistersong has garnered rave reviews and been sitting pretty on my shelf ever since it came out. Soon. Honestly.
…and yes, this is a top ten from a much bigger list – if not quite as long as I expected.
What books are still on your conscience?