Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks

To me a great book club pick is one that begs to be discussed. It's not necessarily a book that everyone in the book club will like, but one that each member will have something to say about nonetheless. I've focused my list on fiction, because those are the books I know best. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

The Submission by Amy Waldman: This book is heated. It's subject matter is quite controversial and extremely relevant today, exploring the trials of an American Muslim who was annoymously chosen to design a post-9/11 memorial.

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: Maugham's writing is truly lovely and his ability to convey ideas without hitting the reader over the head with them is refreshing. This is a book about the human ability to grow and change for the better, leaving much to discuss.

Native Son by Richard Wright: This is a book that truly inspires discussion, touching on topics that include civil rights, equality and freedom.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston: Hurston's novel explores gender roles and examines race in terms of its cultural construction and how ideas of race are spread. It's also a coming of age story, but its much more than that.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: After I finished this book I wanted to talk to someone who had read it. The characters are all so memorable and fully realized I felt like I wanted to gossip about old friends, except they were really just fictional characters.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: There is SO much to talk about while reading this book because most of the characters are unreliable narrators you can't be sure who to trust or who to blame.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Don't be scared, this novel is not super pervie, nor is it sleazy. The beauty of this novel is that Nabokov treads that fine line of portraying the abductor of a young girl as sympathetic, almost excusable. This device makes for a lot of discussion.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: The novel is about a fictional book The History of Love and the interconnectedness of the of the people this book has affected. Each of the multiple plot lines are creatively linked in a way that makes me think Mrs. Kauss is one sharp lady.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: This is a tough one to read in terms of subject matter; it's infuriating, exposing the dark side of human nature. But it;s a book that you'll certainly want to discuss upon completion.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: First off, read this book in winter. Secondly, you will either love or hate this book. Guaranteed you can have a fun conversation with a group about this one. And while we are on Wharton, I'd also suggest The Age of Innocence, for fun or for book club.

Image from the movie The Jane Austen Book Club, a guilty pleasure of mine. (Leave me alone I know it's cheesy.)


The Western Lit Survival Kit by Sandra Newman

In The Western Lit Survivial Kit, author Sandra Newman seeks to shed a new light on the classics to prove they are less intimidating and more readable than you think. She argues that reading literature should be "emotionally satisfying, intellectually thrilling, and just plain fun." By providing a humorous guide that covers nearly every important work in the Western literary canon, Newman resurrects the classics you forgot you read in college and helps you remember why you studied them in the first place. Starting with classical literature, the Greeks and the Romans, and covering everything through the 20th century, Newman deconstructs the plots of important authors into concise summaries, so even if you never got around to reading Chaucer's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, at least you've got a basic knowledge of its plot. 

What is great about this book is that it makes for a great refresher if it has been awhile since your undergraduate lit survey classe (as it has been for me). I feel like I have brushed up on many of the movements, their key players and what made each so significant. The book can also work as an introduction to the history of the classics and would certainly make a good supplement to any related courses. I know the chapter on Shakespeare would have helped me greatly in my Shakespearean Drama class, where we read a play a week for 15 weeks. When studying for my final, it was hard for me to keep all the historical plays in order. While this isn't the end all be all book when it comes to western lit, it certainly helps clarify some of the fuzziness. 
This book treats Western lit like an amusement park. It offers a guide to the rides, suggesting which ones are fun for all ages, which are impossibly dull for all ages, and which might take a lot out of you but offer an experience you simply can't get anywhere else.
What I found especially helpful about this book is it's rating system. Newman conveniently rates each work by each author she cites by it's importance, accessibility and fun, making it easy to weed through the lesser important works in favor for the ones that are more worth your while. The book as a whole has motivated to tackle more classics. While their may not be any new information or profound opinions included in this guide, and though it's likely you'll roll your eyes at some of her jokes, Newman's fresh take on the classics is sure to inspire a non-classic reader to take a look at the works that set the precedent for future literature. 

I was provided a copy of this book by TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

Publisher: Gotham Books, 2012


Top Ten Unputdownable Books

As I am stomping my way through 11/22/63, a book that I don't want to put down, but at 850 pages it's taking me a little longer than an average sized boo. This week I got to thinking about those "unputdownable" books. The books that keep you up past your bedtime. Those books that make you wish your lunch hour was longer (that is, if you read during your lunch hour like I do). Those books that keep you from watching tv for a week because all you want to do is read. Below is my list of my favorite unputdownable books.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This novel is part science fiction, part romance, and entirely amazing. You've been living under a rock if you haven't heard of this book, but if you haven't given it a try yet you're really missing out on a good one.

11/22/63 by Stephen King: Ok fine I haven't finished this one yet, but it's making the list becauese I'm over halfway through and I can attest to it's unputdownable-ness. (I realize this post is full of made-up words.) I can't wait to find out how it ends, but I also don't want it to end.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Another recommended by a friend, I read this pre-blogging and it still remains one of my favorite literary mysteries. I can't wait for his second followup to this one (the first was The Angel's Game) due out this summer, The Prisoner of Heaven.

The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind: I got into this series when a friend from high school recommended it to me. It still remains one of my favorite series, following Richard Cypher as he gradually embraces his destiny as the Seeker of Truth, and sets out to stop the evil that others would unleash. Even though the books in the series are thick, I promise you'll fly through them.

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster: This book was my introduction to Auster. While I haven't come across a book of his I didn't like, this one remains what I believe to be the most unputdownable. It offers a look at the silent movie industry and a complex mystery filled with corruption.

The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer: Say what you will about Adam Langer, I thought this book was freaking awesome. The novel follows a down-and-out aspiring short story writer and the web of lies in which he becomes tangled. It's equal parts funny, thrilling and snarky.

Native Son by Richard Wright: The terms "classic" and "unputdownable" aren't often used in the same sentence. This novel is an exception. Heartbreaking and eye-opening, I couldn't wait to find out what happened in the end.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers: This one was rage inducing, in the most thoughtful way possible. It's a book I think everyone should read, the true story of the Zeitoun family in post-Katrina New Orleans examining what it means to be a Muslim in modern America. It's quite interesting and moves very quickly.

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver: This novel hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as Shriver's other novels, but it is equally compelling as most. It's an imaginative look at the implications of whom we choose to love, exploring the what-if's we all ponder at some point or another.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
photo via weheartit.com


Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery

“Q, Quentina Elizabeth Deveril, is the love of my life.” Shortly before his wedding, the unnamed hero of this uncommon romance is visited by a man who claims to be his future self and ominously admonishes him that he must not marry the love of his life, Q. At first the protagonist doubts this stranger, but in time he becomes convinced of the authenticity of the warning and leaves his fiancĂ©e. The resulting void in his life is impossible to fill. One after the other, future selves arrive urging him to marry someone else, divorce, attend law school, leave law school, travel, join a running club, stop running, study the guitar, the cello, Proust, Buddhism, and opera, and eliminate gluten from his diet. The only constants in this madcap quest for personal improvement are his love for his New York City home and for the irresistible Q.A unique literary talent, Evan Mandery turns the classic story of transcendent love on its head, with an ending that will melt even the darkest heart.

I can't remember where I first read about this novel, but the premise really grabbed me. I'm generally a sucker for time travel and this one sounded unique. Unfortunately, the premise was more captivating than the novel as a whole. The book goes from interesting to obnoxious as our unnamed narrator eventually encounters a dozen or so of his future selves, each telling him to pursue one thing, and the next telling him it won't work, instead he should do something equally as odd. This goes on for three hundred pages and by the end it just feels trite.

Overall, the novel seems to convey the idea that no matter what path you take in life, you will get shit on eventually. It may be true that one path will lead to more happiness and satisfaction than the other, but you will undeniably encounter some level of discontent regardless.
You still don't understand do you? There is no certain path to fame or happiness. The best you can hope for is to attempt to understand the mystery or existence and attain some measure of inner peace.
The book could easily be edited down to 250 pages or so (from 385) removing superfluous conversations that serve as metaphors for time and destiny. In addition, if an author is going to use time travel as a plot device, I think he or she should also include some sort of explanation as to how this time travel works. Audrey Niffeneger attibuted it to a genetic mutation, Stephen King detailed a storeroom portal that takes you back to the same day in 1958 each time you enter it. But in Q, we have a brief dialog that really just glazes over the subject all together, explaining one doesn't need to understand how something works in order to draw from its benefits. I don't need a detailed account of the science behind said time travel, but give a girl something to work with. For instance, do you age while you travel back in time? How long does it take to travel? Is it instantaneous? The fact that Mandery didn't include any nuts or bolts relating to time travel made the majority of the plot seem unauthentic.

Finally, for an ending that boasts it will warm even the coldest of hearts, it really felt lackluster. I was expecting a tsunami of emotions, and I got the tiniest of splashes. I consider myself a pretty warm-hearted person and I am moved by stories fairly easily. This one just missed the mark.

Publisher: Harper, 2011


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The Handmaid's Tale extra copy giveaway winner goes to:

L.L. from The Story Girl

I used random.org to generate a number 1 - 13 (everyone who commented besides myself) and the winner went to number 5. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Congrats, L.L. I'll be sending you an email shortly.

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read Classics

I'm pretty sure most of you who read this blog have read a wide variety of classics, in which case, you don't really need this list. However, if there are some of you out there who typically shy away from classics, this is a list of them that I have read, which I believe to be quite accessible and fun to read. I am loosely using the term "classics" here to signify works that are widely considered worth studying.

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Widely considered the Great American Novel, this is the story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley.
sample: "But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before."

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell: A political allegory that depicts barnyard animals to highlight powerful social commentary. This book, in my opinion, has one of the best closing sentences in the history of closing sentences.
sample: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. (From Goodreads.)
sample: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

4. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot: In my opinion, this is the most accessible Eliot novel. A buldungsroman that follows the rebellious Maggie Tulliover from youth to maturity.
sample: "Her future, she thought, was likely to be worse than her past, for after her years of contented renunciation, she had slipped back into desire and longing; she found joyless days of distasteful occupation harder and harder; she found the image of the intense and varied life she yearned for, and despaired of, becoming more and more importunate."

5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: This story examines the consequences of when white Europeans try to colonize an African villiage.
sample: "We have heard stories about white men who made the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slave away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true."

6. Native Son by Richard Wright: I finished this over a week ago and I'm still mulling it over. The novel explores what it means to be black in America.
sample: "Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed...It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality."

7. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: A valuable stone goes missing and a slew of narrators theorize as to who may have done it. Truly a page turner.
sample: "Here follows the substance of what I said, written out entirely for your benefit. Pay attention to it, or you will be all abroad, when we get deeper into the story. Clear your mind of the children, or the dinner, or the new bonnet, or what not. Try if you can't forget politics, horses, prices in the city and grievances at the club. I hope you won't take this freedom on my part amiss; it's only a way I have of appealing to a gentle reader.

8.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Another American classic, examines the possibilities of the American dream, as well as its pitfalls.
sample: "He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself."

9. A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen: A moving play that looks at the convention of marriage in the late 1800's.
sample: "I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are--or, at all events, that I must try and become one."

10. White Noise by Don DeLillo: My favorite DeLillo to date, White Noise examines family life in the age of extreme consumerism.
sample: "When I read obituaries I always note the age of the deceased. Automatically I relate this figure to my own age. Four years to go, I think. Nine more years. Two years and I'm dead. The power of numbers is never more evident than when we use them to speculate on the time of our dying."

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.


Native Son by Richard Wright

"He felt that there was something missing, some road which, if he had once found it, would have led him to a sure and quiet knowledge."

Native Son is one of those classics that I was always curious about but never had to read in school. This made it a first-time read for me and I was blown away. The back of this book states this novel is "an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and what is means to be black in America." That description is spot it. This book turned out to be one of the most powerful novels I have ever read.

Native Son follows Bigger Thomas, a young black man who has grown up in poverty in inner-city Chicago during the 1930's. Bigger is charged with the rape and murder of a white woman and we follow his story of remorse and guilt, fear and anger. The novel is split into three parts: Fear, Flight and Fate. Among other themes, Wright explores racial inequality, the meaning of freedom, racial divide in America, and the uncontrollable fate of inner-city black people after they were guaranteed "freedom". Bigger has felt as though he has been held down his whole life, restricted from the opportunities that were given to white people. His fear of white people eventually manifests itself as an uncontrollable anger, pushing him to ignore what is right and wrong.
He would have gladly admitted his guilt if he had thought that in doing so he could have also given in the same breath a sense of the deep, choking hate that had been his life, a hate that he had not wanted to have, but could not help having. How could he do that? The impulsion to try and tell was as deep as had been the urge to kill.
Not only is this an explicit and heart-wrenching account of the perils of the black man in 1930's America (and in some cases, they story is also relevant today), but it is truly a page-turner. Despite the brutal and affecting details, I was completely engrossed in this book. My heart went out to Bigger and the ways in which he was discriminated in a judicial system that was against him from the start. I can only imagine the controversy this book stirred up when it was first released in 1940. If you pick it up, it just might change the way you look at those less fortunate than you. Highly recommended.

I read this for the classics challenge, fulfilling a 20th century classic.

Publisher: Herper Perennial, 1940


Giveaway: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I was organizing my bookshelves and notice I have two copies of The Handmaid's Tale, one with my penciled annotations and underlines and another that looks as though it was never read. Since The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite Atwoods, I decided to give the clean copy away. The Handmaid's Tale was the first Margaret Atwood novel I read and I think it's a really good one to start with. So, if you haven't read this book and would like a copy sent you way, just leave a comment and be sure to include an email address.

Blurb from Goodreads: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now... Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

This giveaway is limited to US and Canadian residents only. I'll announce the winner Tuesday, January 17th.


The Joy of Books

This video has been making the rounds and I wanted to share it with those of you who haven't yet seen it. Filmed at a bookstore in Toronto, Type, this magical video is a wonderful testament to the fascination of physical books. 


Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages by Michael Popek

It's happened to all of us: we're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?
By day, Michael Popek works in his family's used bookstore. By night, he's the voyeuristic force behind www.forgottenbookmarks.com, where he shares the weird objects he has found among the stacks at his store.
Forgotten Bookmarks is a scrapbook of Popek's most interesting finds. Sure, there are actual bookmarks, but there are also pictures and ticket stubs, old recipes and notes, valentines, unsent letters, four-leaf clovers, and various sordid, heartbreaking, and bizarre keepsakes. Together this collection of lost treasures offers a glimpse into other readers' lives that they never intended for us to see.
I have been following Michael Popek's blog Forgotten Bookmarks for well over two years now and I was delighted to have won a Friday giveaway a few weeks back in which Michael gave book titles that had been featured on his blog (and in his book), as well as a signed copy of his book. A week or so later I recieved a box of books that contained the following:
Photo from Forgotten Bookmarks
Not only was I excited to have won some of the same editions that I had seen featured on the blog, but I was also happy that Michael Popek had included a copy of his own book, which I had had my eye on ever since it was featured on NPR's Book Seller's Picks of the year's freshest reads. If you follow the blog Forgotten Bookmarks, you'll find the book to be quite similar in content, but even better because it's in book format.

If you've ever read a used book and found something stuck between the pages, left behind from a past reader, and felt a jolt of curiosity, even excitement, then you'll enjoy this book. There are chapters that include, among others, "Photographs," "Letters, Cards, and Correspondence," and" The Old Curiosity Shop: From Four-Leaf Clovers to Razor Blades." Popek explains his love of forgotten bookmarks in the introduction of the book, including several anecdotes describing the first few memorable pieces of ephemera he came across as a used bookseller:
One day, I came across a copy of a fairly common microwave cookbook - the sort of published by the appliance manufacturer to make a few extra dollars. By then, it was habit for me to flip through the pages looking for a lost treasure, and this book didn't disappoint. Near the end of the book, I spread the pages to discover a very large marijuana leaf, dried and pressed and in perfect condition. There was something about a pot leaf stuck inside this hurry-up cookbook that sent me into hysterics. I had visions of the impatient stoner, desperate with hunger, reaching for the book and marking a recipe with the item closest at hand.
Some of the "bookmarks" featured are funny, some angry, some sad, but all interesting. Even better, I found a treat inside the pages of Popek's book itself. He was kind enough to include one of the original forgotten bookmarks that he featured in his book. It is pictured on page 93 and was found in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, published by William Morrow and Company, 1974. (I also received a copy of this book in the prize pack.) I was delighted to find this forgotten bookmark and share some of the excitement that Popek experiences when he finds other forgotten bookmarks.

All in all, this book was a delight to read. Popek keeps the commentary to a minimum throughout, explaining that he would rather present the "material in this book more like a museum curator than a critic." I found that Forgotten Bookmarks speaks to the importance of physical books, as keepsakes and depositories, highlighting a time before ereaders, even before emails, when writing letters and developing film were the norm. For me it evoked an odd sense of nostalgia for a time that I barely got to experience for myself. It really is a testament to books and the unique ways reading can bring us together.

Publisher: Perigee Trade, 2011


Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

We all have authors who we can't get enough of. For me, more often than not, these authors only publish a novel every couple of years or so. Of course the writing process is one that takes time to perfect, but I wish these authors would work double time so I could read more of their books. The list includes debut authors, authors who have seemed to take a writing hiatus, and those that just take awhile to write a book.

I'm not complaining, I would hate to see these talented authors mass produce novels like they were one of James Patterson's ghost writers. I just wish they would giddie up is all.

1. Audrey Niffenegger - Last published a novel in September of 2009.

2. Jhumpa Lahiri - Last published a novel September 2004, though she has a more recent short story collection, I'm aching for another novel.

3. Zadie Smith - Last published novel January of 2005.

4. Miranda July - Aside from the two McSweeny's Irregular books she published in 2011 and 2009, (irregular books of irregular content in irregular intervals) Miranda July last published a short story collection in 2007. I'm ready for more from her.

5. Johnathan Safran Foer - Last published novel 2005. (I am not counting The Tree of Codes, published 2010, as it is considered more a work of visual art than a novel.)

6. Robert Sloan - Sloan wrote this pretty awesome short story entitled Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore and word on the street is that it is going to be published as a novel by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. I can't wait.

7. Alison Bechdel - I'd love to see another graphic novel out of her. She last published Fun Home in 2006.

8. Chad Harbach - Ok to be fair he just published his first novel this year, but he worked on it for nine years. I'm really hoping his second won't take him quite so long.

9. Margaret Atwood - Last published novel 2009. She is working on the third book for the MaddAddam series, but I enjoyed Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood so much I can't wait.

10. Sylvia Plath - It's not exactly possible that she write another book, but even so I wish we could have one more.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

I received a copy of this collection of short stories after Book Lush hosted a giveaway of sorts (literally she just gave a huge stack of her books away to make room on her self - no tweets or signing up required, which is my kind of giveaway.) I had been hoping to get my hands on a collection of stories by Van Booy for awhile, so I was super excited to see it was available on her list of giveaway books. I'm normally not a huge fan of short stories, as I tend to gravitate and enjoy longer narrative works, but I like to sprinkle them into my reading diet nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Love Beings in Winter was not a collection that ultimately satisfied me. While there were instances of fascination and curiosity, the majority of the stories fell flat for me. Each character seemed a little too delicate and many instances too exaggerated to enjoy the meaning of the story at hand. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy any of the stories in the collection. There was one story that I found utterly charming, and there were passages in each story that were notable; I found myself underlining more lines in this book than I do in most. It should be said that Van Booy certainly isn't lacking in ideas and he manages to convey those ideas with eloquent and sobering prose.
Children are the closest we are to wisdom, and they become adults the moment that final drop of everything mysterious is strained from them. I think it happens quietly to every one of us -- like crossing a state line when you're asleep.
But in a collection of five stories, enjoying only one just seems like it misses the mark. I can say that while I didn't abhor this book, I don't think it will stay with me for very long. I probably won't be seeking out Van Booy's other collection of short stories anytime soon, though I do love the title The Secret Lives of People in Love. However, I would be willing to give his novel, Everything Beautiful Began After, a try.

Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2009

Books I'm Excited to Read in 2012

2012 is here which means, among other things, a brand new reading slate beings. Below are the books I am most looking forward to reading this year. Some are new releases and others are old classics.

1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King: I am waiting to start this one until I'm craving a real page-turner. I'm sure you all know the premise by now, and I'm really looking forward to giving it a go.

2. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: According to Carlos Ruiz Zafon's website, The Prisoner of Heaven will be released in June of 2012 and returns to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It begins one year after the close of The Shadow of the Wind when a mysterious stranger enters the shop looking for a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo.

3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: I adored The Moonstone when I read it in college, but I never got around to The Woman in White. This is the year.

4. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: This one was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1996 and is a work of Atwood's fiction I've been looking forward to for awhile.

5. How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu: I've had this one on my TBR wishlist since last year and eventually found it at Half Price Books at the end of 2011. I'm super pumped to get to it at last.

6. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson: I've read mixed reviews on this one, but since I'm a sucker for almost anything related to WWII Germany, I think I'll get into this one.

7. When I Was A Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson: Another 2012 release that I'm anticipating, this one is a collection of essays that explore "faith in modern life and the contradictions inherit in human nature." Not to mention the title sums up my life from the age of six to twelve.

8. Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery: This one has such an interesting premise I can't help but think it will make for a fun read.

9. In the Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates: This is the first book in the Wonderland Quartet (no need to read them all in order) and since I liked the third so much, I went out and bought this.

10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: Another classic that I've heard great things about, but haven't managed to read yet.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
photo via prettybooks.