Five Things Make a Post: It Came from the TBR!

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.
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May 15, 2013

Like most avid readers, I have a To Be Read pile. Oh, do I ever. Here, have a picture of part of it:

TBR, 5/15/13

TBR, 5/15/13

This is, of course, not all of it. There’s also an electronic component as well as books stashed in other bookcases throughout the apartment.

So what are the top five books on my TBR? Not necessarily the five I’ll get to first–I am too scattered to make a reading plan and stick with it when I’m reading for fun–but the five I’m most looking forward to reading eventually? In no particular order…

Shattered Pillars, Elizabeth Bear. This is the second book in Bear’s epic fantasy set, more or less, in a fantastic cognate of Central Asia. There are horses and magic and terrible sacrifices and I really loved the first book. There’s something about Bear’s writing which really connects with me and she seems to be getting better with each new book that she writes.

Grail of the Summer Stars, Freda Warrington. The third book in the Aetherial Tales trilogy, this is just the kind of urban fantasy I love. Not the new definition where there’s a kick-butt woman in leather pants, but the earlier kind typified by the writing of Charles de Lint and Emma Bull. I suspect that this sort of thing is called contemporary fantasy and I also suspect that it doesn’t sell particularly well these days which is why there’s not a whole lot of it.

Untamed, Anna Cowan. Holy crap has there ever been a lot of discussion about this book in Romancelandia. People seem to either love it (with caveats) or loathe it (I have not read any of these reviews, so really don’t know what they say apart from the general opinion). From what I can gather, there are some serious issues with Cowan’s interpretation of gender roles in the period as well as with her understanding of the Corn Laws–and since my knowledge of the period is gleaned mainly from other romance novels, I suspect that I will fall into the love it (with caveats) crowd.  I am planning on reviewing it here sometime soon, so I’ll be sure to let everyone know what I think. One of the reasons I’m so excited to read this particular book is that, from where I am in a not-having-read-it-yet perspective, Cowan appears to be pushing at the boundaries of what romance is and even if her attempt isn’t wholly successful, she gets points from me going in.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, Joseph Lambert. I can’t remember where I heard about this one, but I’ve had a fascination with Keller and Sullivan for many years and I am interested to see how Lambert translates Keller’s disabilities into graphic novel format. Based on what I’ve read about this, though, it doesn’t talk about Keller’s social activism and perhaps centers Sullivan’s story over Keller’s. I also find the title problematic–Keller was so much more than just a trial. But nonetheless, I am looking forward to reading this.

The Steerswoman’s Road, Rosemary Kirstein. I have heard so many good things about these books from lots of different people. And I have started reading this volume but it’s been so long since I’ve picked it up I’m going to have to start over again. I am, however, totally happy that there will be e-book editions of these soon! Maybe I’ll throw this in my bag for my Memorial Day weekend trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains (I’m taking a train–I’ll have plenty of time for reading).

What’s in your To Be Read pile? Or what are you looking forward to reading? Let us enable each other!

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