Top Ten Books on Matthew’s TBR list for Winter

Top Ten TuesdayThis is utterly shameless, but I’m going to start participating (when I can) in a series of blog posts known as Top Ten Tuesdays. It’s this innovative idea from over at The Broke and the Bookish where they pick a different topic every Tuesday and people blog about it. It’s always book related, so it drew me in quickly on Freshly Pressed.

Anyway, without further wait, here are the Top Ten Books on my Winter “To Be Read” list (in order of Urge to Read, 10 being the lowest and 1 being the highest):

 Money Has No Smell10. Money Has No Smell. Being unfamiliar with these types of blog posts, I’m not sure if I’m cheating by putting an ethnography on here. Is that allowed? Let’s assume it’s allowed for the sake of moving forward.

This was a book I was supposed to have read for an Intro to Anthropology class last year. There was another, earlier book by Stoller titled In Sorcery’s Shadow that I’d read and loved, and I thought I’d like this one too. Spoilers: I didn’t. It’s not bad, it’s just much dryer than the one that came before it.

I’m ready to forgive this book. It’s one of very few assigned books I never read, and I think it’s time I checked it off my list. Plus the topic is a great one: Africanization of New York City. That sounds big and confusing — and it is, that’s part of the problem — but when you get down to it it’s actually an interesting and complex political issue that strangely isn’t talked about much.

Wicked Lovely9. Wicked Lovely. This one is on the list because it seems like everyone I know has read it. At first glance it looks like something I would never pick up… and to be honest, that’s part of the appeal.

Actually, that’s most of the appeal.

I’ve reached a point in my life where the biggest deterrent from a book is a cover that makes me want to pick it up. Is that strange? Let’s say yes. Marketers have me pegged so correctly that they can sell me out-and-out plagiarism and I’ll buy it if it has a nice shiny cover on it.

I’m also learning that, unlike what inspired it, these fantasy genre romances can be exceptionally compelling. I dare say even… good. So yeah, I’m stealing Wicked Lovely from Ellen or Jess when I get a chance and having myself a (hopefully) good read.

The Independent Squadron8. The Independent Squadron. This is actually the fourth book in the Defense Command series written by a fellow Canadian author (and good friend) named Kenneth Tam. The first three were great, and this one promised to be no different… actually, it promised to be right up my alley, with a dark twist on the unfolding storyline. And yet I never read it.

I read the first three within a two-week period and just burned out on the style. I took a break to read something else, a Stephen King novel I believe, and just never got back to it. It was supposed to be a one-book hiatus, and yet I’ve never returned. Which is a shame, because I want to find out what happens to Barron and Karen and the rest!

That said, I can infer they turn out okay… there are sixteen books at this point in the series. πŸ˜‰

Here’s hoping that this winter allows me to read about the cold of space on a cold winter’s night.

Colony of Unrequited Dreams7. Colony of Unrequited Dreams. I have no idea what this Wayne Johnston – penned book is about. I know it’s about Newfoundland. I know it’s critically acclaimed. I know I absolutely loved one of his other books, The Divine Ryans. I loved it so much that I can say I want to read this book despite the fact that the title and setting just throw me. Books based in Newfoundland bother me. I’m from Newfoundland. I love Newfoundland. But good fiction is supposed to be “real life minus the boring stuff”… and, well, I’m not going to insult my own culture, but anyone who can figure out this equation will know the answer themselves. (N – Bo = 0)

Eat Pray Love6. Eat Pray Love. This is another one that’s on the list simply because it’s not something I’d typically enjoy. I think I could learn a lot from this book.

Because I’m a writer, people are always trying to suggest books to me that fall into the same genre I write. But as a writer, I want to enjoy a wide variety of books. I want to consume books so far outside my talent-base that nobody would ever think I read it. Most of this is simply because, by reading good books by people with different writing styles, I can learn how to write in different styles. I can learn how to incorporate the best of those elements into my writing and make the fictional world I create that much more believable because of the wide berth of characters. I don’t want another stock female character in the next Black Womb book. I want a powerful woman in control of her destiny like the woman in this novel.

Let’s see if we can make that happen.

Silence of the Lambs5. Silence of the Lambs. This is one where movies have spoiled me. I’ve seen the movie. I know what happens. And even though I read Red Dragon and loved it, the fact that I know what happens just takes away any drive I have to read this book. Which is a shame, because I loved Red Dragon.

I own this book. It’s looking at me right now. Let’s see if we can’t get this read over the winter.

The Bluest Eye4. The Bluest Eye. This book was on a book list for my English 1101 class along with The Divine Ryans, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and The Color Purple. I loved all the others, but this one we never got around to doing in class and I always wondered if I’d like this one, too. I’ve heard it’s some fairly startling subject matter. I’m interested to see what I would think of it.

Away from Everywhere.3. Away from Everywhere. This is another University-inspired book, but not in the same way. A few years ago I found myself in a writing class under the acclaimed Dr. Jessica Grant. There were a lot of great writers in there, one of which we’re coaxing over to Engen, but I found that one of my fellow students was Chad Pelley. He’s also an award-winning Newfoundland author.

I need to read this book. I bought it, I own it, and now I must read it. I know he’s a great author because of the stuff he submitted in class. That, and they might as well rename the Cuffer prize “The Pelley Prize,” because the sneaky guy wins it every year.

Required reading has stood in the path of this one for far too long. High time I gave it a scan.

Kill Shakespeare, Conor McCreery2. Kill Shakespeare. Again, are graphic novels allowed? Let’s say yes. Another one co-authored by a friend, named Conor McCreery. This one I have no excuse for. I bought the whole series as a trade. Ellen read it and loved it. It’s award winning and getting mass amounts of media attention. I need to read this. It’s a comic, it won’t even take me that long. I think I’m just lazy. Sorry Conor, I’ll pass along my thoughts before the snow passes (thankfully I’m in Newfoundland. I should have until August.)

And the Number One book I hope to read this Winter is…

Come Thou Tortoise1. Come Thou Tortoise. As mentioned above, I was in a MUN class taught by Dr. Grant. She’s witty and smart, and gave some of the best notes on a future Black Womb novel I’ve ever gotten.

Why haven’t I read this?

Like with Pelley, this is another case of: I own it. It is looking at me right now. Why haven’t I read you?

This one I need to read. It’s heralded as being the greatest book to come out of our province… which just blows me away. The authors that I’ve mentored under, I should be a better writer. Really, there’s no excuse for me to suck as much as I do when I have teachers like this.

Here I come, thou Tortoise. You are getting read.

Never Look Back,
Matthew LeDrew

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10 responses to “Top Ten Books on Matthew’s TBR list for Winter

  1. I too have a problem ever getting to books that I own. As a book reviewer, I always feel an obligation to read the books sent to me by publishers first, then I read my library books before they’re due. It’s the kiss of death for a book if I buy it and shelve it! It’s even worse if it goes on my Kindle… I feel your pain! But… You’re more disciplined than I am because my whole Top Ten list is upcoming titles!

    If you’re wanting non-boring books about Newfoundland, I do hope you’ve read, or intend to read Anne of Green Gables, et al. Isn’t L.M. Montgomery an icon up there? The Anne Shirley books are some of my all-time favorite books (Gilbert was my first book crush at age 8). Kid’s books or not, I think they are a must-read for everyone!

    Money Has No Smell is not my type of read, but my husband would absolutely love it! You just gave me a potential Christmas gift idea, so thank you! I hated Wicked Lovely. I couldn’t get through it. I felt like it was overdone idea. There are such better dark faery books out there. Holly Black’s books are much better choices IMHO… Silence of the Lambs is one of my all-time favorites, and I read it at least 20 years ago, so that says a lot! It really is so much better than the movie (although the movie was very good). Finally, I have to offer up my opinion on Eat, Pray, Love… I know I’m in the minority, but I effing HATED it! Elizabeth Gilbert may have been in control of her destiny, but she came off as a self-absorbed, whiny, child to me. I rarely meet a book I hate, but this definitely made the list. I hope you like it as much as everyone else did!

    I’m not a huge graphic novel fan (although I do read them from time to time in order to broaden my horizons), but I will say that you are incredibly talented. Good luck with it!

    My Top Ten

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    • I actually have read Anne of Green Gables, and loved it… but that’s actually a PEI thing, not a Newfoundland thing… though it’s easy to confuse. We’re both islands on the east coast of Canada… and to be fair, when “Anne” was at the height of her popularity during the tv-miniseries, everyone here was reading it too.

      I may steer clear of Wicked Lovely, based on your thoughts. For some reason I feel the need for Eat Pray Love though. We’ll see what happens. πŸ˜‰

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  2. I think “Top Ten Tuesday” is a fantastic idea, and, coincidentally, I was just looking for ways to start posting on a near-daily basis. Thanks, and great list!

    Like

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