Hi, everyone! Welcome back to The Bookish Context. Hope you have an exciting summer planned. This is my first time participating in a book meme, as my venture into book blogging is pretty recent. It seems like such an enjoyable way to get acquainted with one’s bookish tastes.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each Tuesday a topic is assigned and we have to post a top ten list that fits that topic. This week’s topic was a Freebie so I have decided to share the Top Ten books I recently added to my TBR.
- 1 The Story of Silence by Alex Myers
- 2 The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood
- 3 What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean
- 4 Jorasanko by Aruna Chakravarti
- 5 Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
- 6 Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
- 7 The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
- 8 In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
- 9 The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
- 10 Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan
The Story of Silence by Alex Myers
I happened upon this quite by chance and was instantly on board. This novel is based on an Old French romance dating back to the 13th century, namely, ‘Le Roman de Silence’. I am thoroughly intrigued by the concept because it promises an actual exploration of such a complex subject matter, that too in a medieval setting.
A knightly fairy tale of royalty and dragons, of midwives with secrets and dashing strangers in dark inns. Taking the original French legend as his starting point, The Story of Silence is a rich, multilayered new story for today’s world – sure to delight fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.
There was once, long ago, a foolish king who decreed that women should not, and would not, inherit. Thus when a girl-child was born to Lord Cador – Merlin-enchanted fighter of dragons and Earl of Cornwall – he secreted her away: to be raised a boy so that the family land and honour would remain intact.
That child’s name was Silence.
Silence must find their own place in a medieval world that is determined to place the many restrictions of gender and class upon them. With dreams of knighthood and a lonely heart to answer, Silence sets out to define themselves.
Soon their silence will be ended.
The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood
I never tire of fairytale retellings no matter how many seem to queue up each year to grab our attention. Who does not love a gothic fantasy? Finding out how creatively each author presents these much-told stories is what fascinates me.
Once upon a time, Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.
A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.
What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean
I do not think I have ever read a retelling of Pride and Prejudice featuring Kitty as the protagonist because honestly, she was not someone I cared about particularly in Austen’s work. However, unexplored characters have an irresistible appeal because there are so many directions their tale could go. So let us see if it is indeed a book fans will find worth the wait.
England, 1813. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as “silly and ignorant,” Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.
When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners—and for the first time feels liked and respected.
However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation and she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next will not only surprise herself but everyone else too.
Jorasanko by Aruna Chakravarti
This book was a recommendation from a friend. Explores the women of the illustrious Tagore family more closely while also looking at the role of women in society at large. Set against the backdrop of India under colonial rule, it will make for a very engrossing storyline.
High politics, romance, tragedy and the little things that make up a family life in Jorasanko, Kolkata – the family home of the Tagores. Jorasanko was right at the hub of the Bengal Renaissance, with the family at the forefront of the movement, and its women playing a pivotal role.
In a sprawling novel that spans a unique phase in the history of Bengal and India, Aruna Chakravarti provides a fascinating account of how the Tagore women influenced and were in turn influenced by their illustrious male counterparts, the times they lived in and the family they belonged to. She paints memorable portraits of women like Digambari, Dwarkanath’s strong-willed wife who refuses to accept her husband’s dalliance with alcohol and Western ways; Sarada Sundari, the obese, indolent but devoted wife of Debendranath, who is appalled to see the old world order slipping by; the indomitable Jogmaya, who takes on Debendranath and splits the Tagore family in two. There are also the young daughters and daughters-in-law. The tough, resourceful Jnanadanandini who gave the women of Bengal a new way of wearing the sari and initiated the concept of ‘nuclear family’; Swarnakumari, universally acknowledged as a pioneer of women’s writing in India; and Rabindranath’s muse the gentle, melancholic Kadambari.
Jorasanko mirrors the hopes and fears, triumphs and defeats that the women of the Tagore household experienced in their intricate interpersonal relationships, as well as the adjustments they were continually called upon to make as daughters and daughters-in-law of one of the most eminent families of the land.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
The cover is so pretty! Although I am very picky with contemporary romances, this sounds like something I would give a try.
Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.
As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.
Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
The premise suggests a contemplative and deeply moving narrative. I am looking forward to getting to this one.
Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.
Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
I have been trying to branch out in terms of authors for cozy mysteries which is one of my favourite genres. The unusual bunch of characters here has made me especially eager to get to this book soon.
To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…
Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper.
One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.
Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
A poignant autobiography I came across while looking for non-fiction reads for the Asian Readathon.
Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be “completely free,” she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
I am growing increasingly fond of graphic novels with their ability, to put forward important ideas in innovative ways that might appeal even to non-readers. The illustration on the cover looks lovely.
Real life isn’t a fairytale.
But Tiến still enjoys reading his favourite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through?
Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?
A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible to readers of all ages and teaches us that no matter what—we can all have our own happy endings.
Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan
The title had my attention at once because of its relatability. This suggests an entertaining read with a meaningful message.
What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Jessica Pan is going to find out.
When she found herself jobless and friendless, sitting in the familiar Jess-shaped crease on her sofa, she couldn’t help but wonder what life might have looked like if she had been a little more open to new experiences and new people, a little less attached to going home instead of going to the pub.
So, she made a vow: to push herself to live the life of an extrovert for a year. She wrote a list: improv, a solo holiday and… talking to strangers on the tube. She regretted it instantly.
Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come follows Jess’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures in extroverting, reporting back from the frontlines for all the introverts out there.
But is life actually better or easier for the extroverts? Or is it the nightmare Jess always thought it would be?
Which of these books piqued your interest?
What are some of the recent additions to your TBR?
Read any of these already, if so what were your thoughts on it?
Let me know in the comments below!