Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This weekly shared “meme” has a different theme each week and is shared by many blogs. We’re aiming to come up with ten things between us each week so they won’t be in any particular order!
Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t
1. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver Goodreads blurb: Mexico, 1935. Harrison Shepherd is working in the household of famed muralist Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo. Sometimes cook, sometimes secretary, Shepherd is always an observer, recording his experiences in diaries and notebooks. When exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky arrives, Shepherd inadvertently casts in his lot with art and revolution and his aim for an invisible life is thwarted forever. I almost put it down…: I really struggled to get into this book. I found the narrator’s refusal to use a first person pronoun (I, my etc) really distracting at first, however after 100 pages or so the prose began to flow. By the end of the novel I loved it. I felt completely outraged by the injustices Harrison had to face, and a book that made me feel that strongly about a fictional character must be worth reading. Stick with it, and it will reward you. – Natasha
1. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Goodreads blurb: Mexico, 1935. Harrison Shepherd is working in the household of famed muralist Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo. Sometimes cook, sometimes secretary, Shepherd is always an observer, recording his experiences in diaries and notebooks. When exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky arrives, Shepherd inadvertently casts in his lot with art and revolution and his aim for an invisible life is thwarted forever.
I almost put it down…: I really struggled to get into this book. I found the narrator’s refusal to use a first person pronoun (I, my etc) really distracting at first, however after 100 pages or so the prose began to flow. By the end of the novel I loved it. I felt completely outraged by the injustices Harrison had to face, and a book that made me feel that strongly about a fictional character must be worth reading. Stick with it, and it will reward you. – Natasha
2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
Goodreads Blurb: On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives.
I almost put it down…: It takes time to get into the story, but I am so glad I didn’t put this one down. The reward for this perseverance is breathtaking and it is now one of my favourite novels of all time. – Natasha
3. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Goodreads blurb: Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story.
I almost put it down…:
4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Goodreads blurb: Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another…a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life…and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning..
I almost put it down..: – Philippa
5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Goodreads blurb: Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London, where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery. The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs, the romance of Esther Summerson and the secrets of her origin, the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing-sweeper, these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society, rich and poor, as no other novelist has done. Bleak House, in its atmosphere, symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy, is often regarded as the best of Dickens.
I almost put it down..: This is a monster sized book (almost 1000 pages), and starting it I felt rather daunted. I only stuck with it because I knew Dickens has a remarkable ability to ‘bring it all together’ in the end. He did not disappoint.
6. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Goodreads blurb: Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
I almost put it down..: I still don’t particularly like this book. I think it is totally overrated
7. Great North Road by Peter Hamilton
Goodreads blurb: New York Times bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton’s riveting new thriller combines the nail-biting suspense of a serial-killer investigation with clear-eyed scientific and social extrapolation to create a future that seems not merely plausible but inevitable.
I almost put it down..: At about 1000 pages it’s an absolute tome and kind of slow at the start, but by then end I was pretty attached to the characters and quite enjoyed it.
8. The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Goodreads blurb: In Book One, Shaman’s Crossing, Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King’s Cavella Academy—and survive the hatred, cruelty, and derision of his aristocratic classmates—before joining the King of Gernia’s brutal campaign of territorial expansion.
I almost put it down..: Robin Hobb isn’t the most sunshine-and-rainbows writer at the best of times, but oh my god, this series. Everything goes wrong. I seriously needed to read something happy afterwards.
9. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Goodreads blurb: Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
I almost put it down..: Everyone loves Cat & Bones but I struggled through the book. Glad I did but I wouldn’t rank it near my favourites.
10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Goodreads blurb: Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I almost put it down..: