Friday, 18 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget on that day's posts (typically put up midnight EST on Tuesday) so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

I know it's Friday already, but on Tuesday I happened to be burrowed in bed with hankies and throat pastilles and when I finally re-emerged to the human world, I decided I really wanted to do this topic anyway. I got to a very slow start with reading this year because I made the unwise decision to start 2016 with A Dance With Dragons – the fifth book in The Song of Ice and Fire series, which you find it hard to believe came out of George R.R. Martin's pen because it's so stuffed with pointlessness. Anyway, now I've chucked that one aside for a long while at least and this week's Top Ten topic came just in time to set my reading pace right again:

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR (to be read) list

Most of my TBR books are already waiting in my bookshelf! Apologies for the dismal phone camera quality.

1. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (currently reading)
I had bumped into Frank McCourt on a few sporadic occasions in the past. I have a vague memory of seeing the film adaptation of Angela's Ashes and how it managed to find humour despite being set in an environment seeping with desperate poverty and Catholic guilt. Later, there was a chapter from his other book, 'Tis, in an English school textbook, where McCourt recounts how he came to America and managed to get enrolled in the University despite having minimal education. He seemed like someone whose life story I would like to know, so I decided to read him one day. 

2. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
I happen to own a beautifully covered, illustrated Finnish translation of this book, which I've never read completely. Now, I watched the Disney film and decided I'm going to do it and find out what the original vision was. I already know Mr Kipling is going to make wonderful use of the Indian setting, so I should be thoroughly enjoying myself with this one. 

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
My blogger friend Hannah is reading through the Anne series right now, we got into a bit of a discussion about them, and I realized it's been such a long while since I read those books that I can't really express a definite opinion. I remember having some issues with the tone and characters of the later books in the series, and I'm suspecting I might find them even more problematic now that I'm much older. I'm excited to revisit and find out! We've had the entire series of the 1960s Finnish translations in our family bookshelf forever, and for the sake of nostalgia I'm going to read those again.

4. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
I've been fascinated by Rushdie since I saw a documentary film where he talked about his multicultural upbringing and the fatwa that he endured after The Satanic Verses caused an uproar. He had such a captivating way of knowing exactly what he wanted to convey and how to express it, that I once again decided here was a writer I was surely going to read one day. The premise in Midnight's Children seems like a wonderfully imaginative combination of historical events and the supernatural: 1001 children who were born at midnight when India was declared independent are telepathically linked to each other and have other special gifts. Just typing that down makes me want to open this book straight away!

5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman 
I've read Neverwhere and Stardust from Neil Gaiman so far and loved them both, Stardust being one of my favourite books ever. Gaiman has such a unique way of world-building, where he takes inspiration from something that already exists, then takes it through the phantasmagoric machinations of his imagination, and out comes something beautifully strange, befuddlingly original, so unpredictable it will keep you on your toes constantly. So I really don't know what to expect from American Gods, other than something from the furthest reaches of imagination.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde is my newest author crush. How amazingly brilliant can a man possibly be? Just search for any quotation by him and it will be the pinnacle of extraordinary wit. Despite being such a prolific writer in various genres, Wilde's oeuvre only includes one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. If Wilde's handling of people and society in this novel is anywhere near the genius of The Importance of Being Earnest, I will definitely love it. 

7. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Jane Austen loved to mock Gothic horror novels; I love to mock Gothic horror novels. Therefore, it's high time I set out to mocking Gothic horror novels together with Miss Austen, and also reach my goal of reading all of her works. The last Austen novel I read was Persuasion, which was her last work and a disappointment to me. I suppose Northanger Abbey might represent the opposite end of the spectrum regarding Austen's style in writing, as it is one of her earlier novels and apparently more light and funny in tone. Let's see if my opinion of it will also be different to Persuasion.

8. The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian
I can't wait to be reunited with Captain Aubrey and Doctor Maturin at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. Those two have become incredibly precious to me in a very short time. Aubrey will be leading a very different sort of life on land now, as spoiler he got married at the end of the previous book. Maturin will be Maturin whatever he does and it's glorious. 

9. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
Arthurian legends are one of those things you know all the basics about even if you're Finnish and never actually read into it. So far, the closest I've done to reading about King Arthur is a children's book by Mauri Kunnas, Kuningas Artturin ritarit. Mind you, that's a very good place to start – Mauri Kunnas is a divine gift to parents who want to teach their children the magic of stories and reading. Anyway, T.H. White's take on the mythology is apparently what inspired Disney's The Sword in the Stone, for which I have a bizarre, childhood nostalgic but still lasting affection. So now it's time to find out what one British writer had to say about King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and all the rest in the early 1900s. 

This goes slightly off-topic, but one does not simply mention the brilliance of Mauri Kunnas without providing a picture. In his take of the legends, Arthur and Guinevere fall out because Guinevere uses the Round Table for playing darts.

10. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
My Top Ten will include one non-fictional book. I bought this for my dad as a present some years ago, because he and I share a borderline-masochistic interest in learning about how white Europeans brought down indigenous peoples and exploited their lands basically wherever they landed. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is one of the key works in describing the conflicts on American territory from the Native Americans' point of view. According to my dad, it's every bit as sad as one might expect: broken treaties, people being backed down into reservations, an entire culture made insignificant. I'm probably going to have my heart buried somewhere in the depths of despair while reading this, but we should all educate ourselves on histories such as these – especially as Finland, at least, is experiencing a significant wave of discussion (and also "discussion") of cultural and ethnic tolerance. 

There's my list! What exciting things are there in your reading future? Have you read any of the books on my list, or did any of them spark your interest? Throw me a comment to let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I own a copy of 'The Jungle Book' but haven't read it yet. I am about to start Kipling's 'Kim' though and I'm very much looking forward to that. Er, what else...

    Well I've read 'Anne of Green Gables' as you'll already know. I read both 'American Gods' and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' quite a few years ago and didn't much like either of them at the time to be honest. I really want to re-read though because I suspect I'd appreciate them a lot more now. 'The Once and Future King' is on my TBR list as well because it's a classic in Arthurian literature. And 'Northanger Abbey' is one of my favourites and I love it to bits. Henry Tilney is my favourite Austen hero and it's a book that literally makes me laugh out loud! I'm sorry you were disappointed in 'Persuasion' which is another big favourite of mine. Personally I love the mature feel of that book and its autumnal atmosphere. I also feel that it's the most proto-feminist of Austen's books and I find that fascinating. There's that famous Mrs Croft quote about calm waters, Anne defends women in her debate with Captain Harville, and both Anne and Wentworth defy gender stereotypes to some extent (I find it so interesting that it's Anne who's the calm and more rational of the two and Wentworth the emotional and expressive one!) It's only in the past year or so that I feel I've really begun to appreciate 'Persuasion' though.

    Happy reading! :)