BookendsTop Ten Tuesday

10 books to look forward to

looking-aheadI’m going to ignore the fact this week’s Top Ten is meant to be about debut books that will be published in 2017. Since I am planning to restrict my purchasing habits for at least the first half of the year I really can’t be tempted this early on can I? Hence my list is going to be ten books that are on my wishlist that I’d dearly love to buy but will have to await their turn.

  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. Published in 2016 I’ve seen several positive reviews for this including Kim at Reading Matters  and Lisa at ANZlitlovers. Click on those links to see their reviews.
  • Solea by Jean-Claude Izzo. This is the first part of his Marseilles trilogy. It’s apparently a classic of European crime fiction that was the catalyst for the foundation of an entire literary movement (Mediterranean noir). It might be the closest I get to the South of France this year 🙂
  • Transoceanic Lights by S. Li tells of three families who immigrate to the US from post-Mao China. After my delightful experience with Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say we Have Nothing last year, I’m ready for another immersion in the culture of China.
  • Rumours of Rain by Andre Brink. One to help deepen my knowledge of South Africa’s past. I already own another of his novels – A Dry White Season.
  • All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan. I read the debut novel by this Irish author (The Spinning Heart) and loved it. His latest novel has been recommended by A Life in Books and Lonesome Reader. Follow those links to see their reviews. 
  • Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okpranta. I wish I’d had a £1 for every time I saw this mentioned last year – either on blog sites or in ‘best of’ and ‘highly recommended’ lists but I never got around to this tale of a young girl learning to understand herself amid the turmoil of civil war in Nigeria.
  • An Isolated Incident  by Emily Maguire. There are so many good books coming out from Australia and yet so few of them seem to be known about outside the southern hemisphere. My own knowledge of the literature from Australasia is limited to the handful of Booker prize winners so I want to rectify that. This novel which examines the aftermath of the killing of a young girl in a small town of Strathdee comes highly recommended.
  • The Tower by Uwe Tellkamp. Having spent some time last year in East Germany, including Dresden, this tale of the experience of the Communist downfall caught my attention.
  • Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan. This is a tale of a family set against the background of Taiwan’s history from the end of Japanese colonial rule to the decades under martial.It was nominated in the historical fiction category of the Goodreads awards 2016.
  • Ru  by Kim Thúy. The author based this novel on her own experience of fleeing Vietnam who has to make a new life in Canada on a boat with her family.



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

21 thoughts on “10 books to look forward to

  • I loved Ru and have another book by the author in my TBR stack.

    And hoorah for reading more by Australian authors 🙂 My very favourite authors include Sonya Hartnett, Charlotte Wood and Favell Parret.

  • Rumours of Rain is such a great book! I do hope you get to read it—I would love to chat about it. It’s the counterpoint to Dry Season (which I have yet to read). Brink uses a white apologist for Apartheid to tell a very effective backhanded story. His hero is a jerk, but he is tragic, he just doesn’t get what is happening. It’s a grand novel with symbolic elements that would not work in a lesser writer’s hands. I thought it was very powerful!

  • Thanks for the link! I’ve also read Ru (several years ago when it was long listed for the Giller Prize). My recollection is that it was very short… I had mixed feelings about it.

    • i got this mixed up with The Tower which apparently is very very long!

    • the question will be whether I can exercise enough restraint to wait six months before I buy them

  • Ru is such a beautiful book. I hope you get to read it!

    • I just see from Susan that Ru is a monstrous length…..

      • Ah not Ru, that’s more of a novella in fact, I think it was Tower she mentioned as the chunkster, not one I’m familiar with or likely to become acquainted with if its over 1000 pages!

        • Oh gosh yes I see now how I confused them!

  • Thanks for the link – a very fine book. I’m not sure if you’ve seen a copy of The Tower yet. I picked it up in a bookshop yesterday and it weighs in at nearly 1,000 pages – small font, too – which has tempered my enthusiasm a little.

    • No!! I didnt know that, it would have to be absolutely stunning for me to read that length of book. I think you just dissuaded me…..


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