Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Unreviewed Books

Okay, so, I haven't written a post since my last Top Ten Tuesday. Major blogger's block. But I'm back, and here's hoping this will get my blogging juices pumping again. This week the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish are asking for our Top Ten Books We Loved But Never Reviewed. Most of mine come from the books I read before I started blogging. Here are some "oldies" but goodies!

1. The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers - This book gave me a lot to think about, and I wish that I had been blogging when I read it because I think a review would have really helped me sort out my thoughts about what I ultimately found to be an excellent read.

2. Small Island by Andrea Levy - I read this very shortly before I started blogging, and it might be among the first books that I thought, "Hey, this might be fun to review!" I always moan and complain about books that use several narrators but offer up no meaningful distinction between their voices. Small Island is my poster child for multiple narrators done well.

3. Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis - I'm a nut about circus stories, and I loved this one about a girl with extremely low self-esteem who has an extremely traumatic experience and then runs away to join the circus. There is circus stuff and redemption and it's very excellent. And I am super-bummed because the author has since passed away, so I won't get to enjoy any more of her work. =(

4. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - A book I must re-read. It's about the last priest in Mexico. I've never read a book that's simultaneously so hopeless and so hopeful.

5. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty - This is one of the few leisure reading books that made their way into my time in college. I read it in one night. It's all in letters and notes between mother and daughter as well as the main character's best friend, and many tongue in cheek made up organizations (i.e. The Cold Hard Truth Association) with important and hysterical advice and instruction for Elizabeth, the protagonist.

6. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx - I intend to actually getting to review this one. This is my first time out with Annie Proulx and surely won't be my last. It's all about a hapless young man called Bob Dollar who gets a job trolling the Texas panhandle for noxious hog farm sites, but ends up falling in love with an unusual community and way of life instead. The characters are super well-drawn and some of the tangential stories remind me of the sorts of tales you might hear around the campfire.

7. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger - I wish I'd reviewed this book because I loved it, but now I barely remember what happened in it. All I remember is it being about miracles and faith, and it's sort of To Kill a Mockingbird-esque and there's a scene where the father is pacing on a truck bed while praying fervently with his eyes closed, and even though he walks off the edge of it, he never falls. It's a scene you don't forget.

8. Kindred by Octavia Butler - I loved Kindred. For one, I am a huge sucker for historical fiction/time travel stories and Kindred has got to be among the best. It's one of those books that I definitely feel like I should go back and read again because there was so much going on in it. The protagonist, Dana, an African American woman, is transported back in time to slave-era Maryland where she has to suffer as a slave until her unexpected return to the present. Why's she time traveling? To save a white child of slave owners from dying...again and again. See what I mean? It's good.

9. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh - Why do I wish I would have reviewed this one? Because, really, I'm so surprised that I even read it much less liked it. This book is so not me. It's written in nearly incomprehensible Scottish dialect. It's profane. It's gritty. It's full of disturbing pictures of addiction. It's gross really. And I thought it was fantastic. It was gritty in a very real way. I felt unexpected sympathy for the scumbag narrator. Even the nearly incomprehensible Scottish dialogue was entertaining once I got the hang of it. (Reading it? I recommend spending some time alone and reading it aloud until it stars to make sense. Worked for me!)

10. The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett - I have very few "favorite authors." I am just not a huge "author" person who falls in love with an author and must read all their books, so being considered one of my favorites is a rare and dubious honor. Bel Canto is great, but I prefer this story of the magician's assistant who falls in love with her gay best friend and employer. The relationship is so well brought to life and the journey she takes to discover his dark past is compelling.


  1. Isn't that odd? The Other Side of You is a book I just picked up last week! I set it aside yesterday in order to read my friend's new book. I need to make a special effort to read it before I take it back to the library.

    Hope you will stop by and take a look at my post for this week: Top Ten Books You Never Wrote a Review For. And don't forget to sign up for the Readerbuzz August Giveaway!

  2. I love Small Island. It's a serious, critically- acclaimed work, but I mostly remember it as one of the funniest books I ever read. Kindred sounds good - I've only read one Octavia Butler book (Fledgling) but have been wanting to read more.

  3. I only vaguely remember Peace Like a River, but my clearest memory is that I hated the book. I disliked the characters, the message, the tone and the "well, I write pretty... that's all that counts" approach. Every reader has a different opinion, I guess.

    I've been meaning to read Kindred for a while now but I keep forgetting to pick it up... thanks for the reminder!

  4. You know I didn't know Trainspotting was a book. I loved the movie, and now I am going to have to add it on my list so I can compare the two. Your short description of it makes it sound like I will love it!

    Hope you stop by and check mine out!
    Beth ^_^

  5. PEACE LIKE A RIVER is on my list as well! If you ever have nothing to read (which book bloggers like us customarily don't, unfortunately), Enger's sophmore novel, SO BRAVE, YOUNG, AND HANDSOME, is equally excellent. He is refreshingly consistent.

    PS: Please treat me by taking a chance on my Totally Top Ten Tuesday post. Thanks!

  6. More books for me to investigate. I haven't read any on your list and have only heard of a few of them.

  7. I've only read two of the books on your list SMALL ISLAND and PEACE LIKE A RIVER. Wasn't so hot about the former, but adore the latter. I'll have to check out some of the others on your list.

  8. I loved Kindred also, but Annie Proulx is a little dark for me! Love your mini-review of Trainspotting - makes me want to read it right now!

  9. I am familiar with some of these authors and books and some are going on my tbr list because I know they're worth readin...such as The Magician's Assistant. If you preferred it to Bel Canto I want to see what I think of it! I loves Trainspotting, it's a unique, entertaining and, as you said, gross experience!
    Kindred sounds fascinating and kind of shocking
    Great list! Thank youz1

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