Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.
This week’s topic is hard, but it shouldn’t be, considering I add 10 books to my Goodreads TBR every single day. Which is where the difficulty lies because how in the world am I supposed to narrow down my TBR to 10 books?! So, here are ten books I recently became aware of that have been getting great reviews and which I’m most excited to get to.
10. The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj
The Yoga of Max’s Discontent follows the story of Max Psoraz, a child of Greek immigrants who grew up in New York, became hella successful on Wall Street and became the poster child for the American Dream. When he’s involved in a violent incident one night, Max begins to question his life, and contemplates the meaning of life, death, suffering and mortality. His questions lead him all the way to India where he’s forced to confront the basest aspects of humanity and discover the meaning of life.
Okay, so I know this book sounds like that stereotypical white-person-goes-to-India-and-discovers-himself book, a trope I’m very much against. But this book has incredible reviews from Indian people, and it’s an Own Voices book, meaning it’s written by an Indian. I’m very curious to see how the subject and trope is tackled. Oh, and that cover. *drools*
9. The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu
The Grace of Kings is a fantasy book that has crossed my path several times the past few months, and I don’t think I’ve heard a single negative thing about it. Written by a Chinese-American author, this massive novel follows the story of two guys, both fearless and colorful within their own right, who become best friends and fellow-rebels after a series of adventures against armies and gods. They join forces to overthrow the emperor of their kingdom, but once their task has been achieved, they find themselves leaders of opposing factions and end up becoming rivals.
This fantasy series sounds incredible, and one that is driven primarily with its complex characters. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love myself a good character dynamic. From what I’ve heard, The Grace of Kings has intimate political intrigue, complex plot and fantastic world-building. I’m excited to get to it!
8. The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1) by Helene Wecker
This book follows the story of two (semi?)supernatural beings who are thrown into an unfamiliar surrounding, forced to rely on each other as friends to get through hardship. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, who was brought to life by a rabbi dealing with black magic. Circumstances lead to her guardian dying, and she finds herself in New York City. Ahmad is a jinn, born in a Syrian desert. When he is accidentally released from a copper flask in a Lower Manhattan store, Ahmad finds that even though he is free, he’s still bound to the world.
This is, by no means, a new book. When it was first released in 2013, I wasn’t interested because it’s freaking massive and I’m not into historical fiction. But when I learned that it was about two supernatural creatures from two religious mythologies that are often so up-in-arms with each other, I was sold.
7. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet follows the stories of three different people – a Martian woman who’s looking for an escape from the life she’s leaving behind, a pilot who’s navigating space without any of her own kind, and a captain who’s waiting for a loved one at war. But even though three primary stories are at play, the book weaves together the adventures of nine different characters, from various cultures and backgrounds in a futuristic society where our extraordinary is the norm.
This is another book I’ve been aware of for a long time, but it didn’t come to my attention until I saw a glowing review from one of my favorite Booktubers (MercysBookishMusings), who is generally a harsh critic. The only other book I’ve read that can be categorized as a space opera is Illuminae, but this one sounds so much more appealing to me than Illuminae ever did.
6. For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
When Peter Huang was born, Peter was given the Chinese name “juan chaun,” powerful king. The only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter’s been given the burden of certain expectations- Peter will embody the dreams of Peter’s father, embody the ideals of masculinity and power. But Peter doesn’t have those dreams; because Peter is a girl, and there’s no question about it.
This is completely CW’s fault- whenever she talks about this book, I bump it up my TBR because it sounds incredible. I haven’t read many books with trans protagonists in the first place, but a book with a Chinese trans woman as the main character? It sounds poignant and profound, and I’ve heard that it’s sensitive, witty, and I can’t wait to get to it.
5. Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
Burnt Shadows is the tale of one woman’s tumultuous life as she is transported from place to place, culture to culture in a world torn apart by hatred and war. Starting in Nagasaki, Hiroko Tanaka is a twenty-one year old woman betrothed to a man, living a decent enough life. When the atomic bomb destroys life as she knows it, Hiroko moves to India to start over, to escape the horrors she’s experienced in her life. But she arrives in Delhi in the middle of the Pakistan-India Partition, and she finds herself in yet another war-torn country.
As a Pakistani, I have never read a book about the India-Pakistan partition- I’m such a joke. I think it’s such a pivotal moment in world history, often overlooked for whatever reason. The fact that the protagonist is a Japanese immigrant to Pakistan just makes me so excited to give it a go.
4. Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland Stone
This is a really hard book to summarize, so I’m just going to use the Goodreads description: “Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.
Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change the power balance. For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.”
Justina Ireland Stone is one of the most vocal advocates of social justice on Twitter, and I’ve been aware of her for a very long time, but I’ve never read any of her books. I’ve heard good things about this, so I’ll start over here. 🙂
3. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Vegetarian is a semi-horror, psychological thriller about a woman named Yeong-hye whose perfect life with her wonderful husband is disrupted when the nightmares begin. The dreams present her with vulgar images of brutality and torture, and Yeong-hye is so turned off by it all that she vows to never eat meat again. The small act of independence sets in motion a pushback from her family, and as Yeong-hye defends her decision so adamantly, she spirals into an estranged, dangerous state.
I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one, but nothing I’ve heard has quite diminished my interest. It sounds like a fascinating commentary on our concept of self and the personal choices we make, for whatever reason. I’ve recently been really enjoy thrillers as well, so I’m looking forward to giving this a go.
2. The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus
This series follows the story of a seventeen year old gangster named Zebulon Finch, who is gunned down and murdered on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1896. Then, he is mysteriously resurrected. Zebulon’s second life is completely different from his first; he finds himself constantly under scientific inspection. He is prodded and probed by a scientist obsessed with death. Zebulon escapes and begins an adventure, running through North America, discovering the meaning of love and loss- hoping that he’ll one day find redemption for everything he did in his past life.
I’ve heard nothing about this book. When I was perusing the shelves at The Strand Bookstore, I found this on one of the tables and it immediately called out to me. It sounds freaking incredible, and I love me a morally ambiguous protagonist. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy this- and hopefully, more people will pick it up.
1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing begins when two half-sisters from Ghana are torn apart; one is sold into slavery, the other is married off to a British slaver. The latter lives in an extravagant palace, with all the luxuries she can afford, but little does she know that her sister is entrapped and slaving away in a dungeon below where she breathes, eats and lives. I believe that Homegoing is a generational story in that it follows the stories of many different families and characters over the course of two continents and three centuries of history- from the plantations in the South to the Civil War to the coal mines in Alabama.
Recently, this book has been the talk of the town. Some of my most trusted bloggers have read and raved about it- calling it their best read of the year. From the synopsis, I can already tell that it’s going to be a heartbreaking tale of family, love and loss. It’s also an Own Voices novel, which excites me so much.