TTT: Top 10 on my summer reading list

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Happy Summer! Are you so ready? I’m not as excited about summer this year with quarantine and everything. The last couple of years we’ve stayed at a cabin with family, but that’s obviously cancelled. Instead this summer we are moving to a NEW HOUSE!

I’ve packed SO MANY book, but I tried to keep out my TBR and challenge books, so that’s what I’m reading this summer.

(In no particular order)

1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Physical copy, kinda struggling with this. Very unusual writing style.

First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison’s nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.

2. Clariel by Garth Nix. Just read a spoiler & now I’m mad.

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

3. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman. I do not like this. Everyone says it’s worth it at the end. I hope so.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

4. Beautiful by Juliet Marillier. Told in 3 parts; I liked part 1 best. Starts off with a fairy tale but becomes something more.l

Beautiful is in three parts. Part one follows the pattern of the fairy tale, though the central character is not the white bear prince or the intrepid young woman who travels east of the sun and west of the moon to save him from a curse. Our narrator, whom I named Hulde, only had a bit-part in that original story. The novel-length version takes Hulde way out of her comfort zone as she heads off into the unknown world beyond the glass mountain, to find out what it means to make your own story.

These 4 are all books I am currently reading. Here are the others I hope to read soon.

5. Altered Perceptions, ed. Dan Wells. I backed this when I was on Indiegogo and then I lost my digital copy. I was really bummed, but I didn’t really want to buy it again. Then I found it at the library! So happy. It’s a collection of speculative fiction short stories.

6. Work Song by Ivan Doig. Physical copy.

An award-winning and beloved novelist of the American West spins the further adventures of a favorite character, in one of his richest historical settings yet.

“If America was a melting pot, Butte would be its boiling point,” observes Morrie Morgan, the itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia, and inveterate charmer last seen leaving a one-room schoolhouse in Marias Coulee, the stage he stole in Ivan Doig’s 2006 The Whistling Season. A decade later, Morrie is back in Montana, as the beguiling narrator of Work Song.

Lured like so many others by “the richest hill on earth,” Morrie steps off the train in Butte, copper-mining capital of the world, in its jittery heyday of 1919. But while riches elude Morrie, once again a colorful cast of local characters-and their dramas-seek him out: a look-alike, sound-alike pair of retired Welsh miners; a streak-of-lightning waif so skinny that he is dubbed Russian Famine; a pair of mining company goons; a comely landlady propitiously named Grace; and an eccentric boss at the public library, his whispered nickname a source of inexplicable terror. When Morrie crosses paths with a lively former student, now engaged to a fiery young union leader, he is caught up in the mounting clash between the iron-fisted mining company, radical “outside agitators,” and the beleaguered miners. And as tensions above ground and below reach the explosion point, Morrie finds a unique way to give a voice to those who truly need one.

7. The Letter for the King by Tonke Draft. Also physical copy.

A young messenger. A secret mission. A kingdom in peril.

It is the dead of night.

Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day.

But, as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help.

A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the Great Mountains – a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood.

Tiuri’s journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places.

He must trust no one.

He must keep his true identity secret.

Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter…

The Letter for the King is the thrilling story of one boy’s battle against evil, set in an enchanted world of chivalry, courage and true friendship.

8. The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe by Jamie James.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers believed that the universe was a stately, ordered mechanism, both mathematical and musical. The perceived distances between objects in the sky mirrored (and were mirrored by) the spaces between notes forming chords and scales. The smooth operation of the cosmos created a divine harmony that composers sought to capture and express.

Jamie James allows readers to see how this scientific philosophy emerged, how it was shattered by changing views of the universe and the rise of Romanticism, and to what extent it survives today – if at all. From Pythagoras to Newton, Bach to Beethoven, and on to the twentieth century of Einstein, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Cage and Glass. A spellbinding examination of the interwoven fates of science and music throughout history.

That’s only 8, but since I’m bad at planning out my reading I’m going to call it good. I’m going to start on Invisible Man this week and try to finish Çlariel next. I *really* wish I hadn’t seen that stupid spoiler. Now I’m not excited to finish the book. 😢 What are you reading? Have you read any of these? Let me now & happy reading!

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