Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Books on my TBR List for Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish; every week there’s a new topic to discuss and this week’s is:

Top Ten Books On My TBR List For Winter

Oh, man.  I am so excited for winter reading.  First there is that 2 week chunk of days off, and this year contains no traveling, no family, no visitors.  Other than getting ready for my class spring semester, I will have a few commitments.  I should be able to read a lot.  Add to that the Around the World in 52 Books Challenge that I'm participating in, and you have one excited reader.  Here are ten of the books I'm looking forward to reading in the next few months!

1. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq
I have previously enjoyed other books by Houellebecq, and although I have not read his entire oeuvre, it has been a while since I've read anything by him.  Looking through Amazon, it looks like something by him came out last year, and I completely missed it (Whatever is the title).  A lot of critics are praising The Map and the Territory, and it sounds like this might be one of the more significant works by the author.  I won't be reading it for my Around the World Challenge, despite the fact that he is French, living in Spain, because I have previously read work by him.  (I believe I'm reading Balzac for France!)

2. Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea
I loved The Hummingbird's Daughter, because of its blend of magical realism, Spanish language (while it is translated, quite a bit of dialogue is still in Spanish), and the healing powers of the main character, Teresa Urrea.  It looks like Queen of America has the same main character, who I will be happy to return to, and it also looks like it takes place along the border of Mexico with other countries (USA, Cuba, etc).  Even better - I recently won a copy through the GoodReads publisher giveaway.  Since I was going to read it anyway, getting a book for free doesn't hurt.  I'm also not planning on using this for my Around the World Challenge because I'd read Urrea before, but I might read it the same week as the other Mexico pick just for kicks.

3. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
I have already read Snow Crash at least once.  I think twice.  It is the pick for one of my online book clubs for January, and I am looking forward to reading it again.  When I re-read the Sprawl Trilogy when we did the Neuromancer readalong on SFF Audio, it was remarkable how much more I got out of it since I had read so much more science fiction in the past few years.  I'm expecting to have a similar experience at this point in my reading life with Snow Crash.  Except this time, I'm going to listen to the audio book.  Scott from SFF Audio claims it is one of the best audio books, and he would know!

4. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes
Speaking of audio books!  I keep hearing good things about Lauren Beukes.  She just won the Arthur C. Clarke award for her second novel, Zoo City.  I have audiobooks of both at home, waiting to be listened to.  The other thing that makes me excited about these particular books is that they are the very first audiobooks published by the new (2009) publisher, Angry Robot Books. They seem to be doing publishing in a way friendlier to the 21st century than most publishers - their eBooks do not have international restrictions or DRM.  In other words, they want us to READ them.  Thank goodness.

5. Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
On the other side of that 21st century publishing coin, I will be happy to finally have access to Half-Blood Blues at the end of February, which is still technically the winter.  After all the acclaim (award nominations, award wins) and all the frustration in actually getting a copy, I want it more than ever.  (Want me to do something?  Just tell me I can't... Yeah, I'm one of THOSE people.)

6. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
This comes out in March, which gives me just enough time to read the two books by Winterson that I haven't read yet (see books 7 and 8! aha!).  Jeanette Winterson is one of my favorite authors, and my two favorite books of hers are The Powerbook and Written on the Body.  Such beautiful language.  This is her autobiography, and from what I've read (and from what I suspect just in her writing), it is bound to be an interesting and powerful story.  The title sounds like a question I've heard from my own mother.  Maybe Winterson and I have some things in common?

7. Art & Lies and 8. Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson
I don't actually know much about these books, I just stumbled across them at an amazing used bookstore in Asheville, NC, knew I hadn't read them, and purchased them on the spot.  I think I will have read everything by the author when I finish these two.  These are good candidates for reading during the December holidays, actually.  Her prose is beautiful, so I will be reading these with sticky notes in hand.

9. From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjon
In all of this international fiction reading that I am going to be doing, I am most excited for the books from Iceland.  I only get to officially pick one, and this is one of the many on my to-read list.  From the Mouth of the Whale has a winning combination.  Ancient culture!  Cold weather island!  Good writing!  Could someone find me a way to get paid to read books from Iceland and travel there as well?  Dream job!

10. The Old Man and His Sons by Heoin Bru
Another cold-weather-island book and possibly the book I'm most excited to read for my Around the World challenge.  It may also be the only Faroe Island work of fiction that has been translated into English.  I looked for a long time, and many are available in Icelandic but very few other languages. 

Part of me feels like I should include 1Q84 on this list, since I am still in the middle of reading it, and it is really great.  But I'm not sure I can look forward to a book I'm already reading.  What are you looking forward to reading?


  1. I haven't heard of all of these, but I am going to check out a couple that sound interesting.
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  2. I must admit that I haven't heard of any of these before! But they sounds really good! :)
    Hope you enjoy your winter reading!
    -Daisy @ the Broke and the Bookish

  3. After you read those two Jeanette Winterson books, you have to pick up Written on the Body. That was my intro to JW back in 2001 and I couldn't get enough. My shelves are lined w/ every book she's written. Such a vividly inspiring writing style. Happy reading!

  4. @Sarah - Written on the Body is one of my two favorites if hers, the other being The PowerBook. I can't get enough!


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