Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My Disturbing Spring Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week I’m talking about the books I’m reading this spring. These books have been sitting on my shelf since last November. Probably because they’re all a bit disturbing, and you need to be in the right mood for that. Hopefully I’ll get to them in the next few months.

What I’m Reading This Spring

The Possessions – Sara Flannery Murphy

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies,” wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.  
But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.  
After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

The Cresswell Plot – Eliza Wass

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.  
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.  
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Stranded – Bracken MacLeod

Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.  
Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.

A Head Full Of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.  
To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

The Last Harvest – Kim Liggett

“I plead the blood.”  
Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely Cattle Ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest. 
Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends.  
Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity . . . or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War – Mary Roach

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History – Bill Schutt

For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism—the role it plays in evolution as well as human history—is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we've come to accept as fact.

Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them – Jennifer Wright

In 1518, in a small town in France, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced herself to her death six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had died from the mysterious dancing plague. In late-nineteenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome—a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary and led to historic medical breakthroughs.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple – Jeff Guinn

In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader. 
In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.

The Blood Of Emmett Till – Timothy B. Tyson

In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves “the Emmett Till generation” launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till’s lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history.  
But what actually happened to Emmett Till—not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till “unfolds like a movie” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till’s innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading this spring?


  1. I'm listening to Get Well Soon now and it's very good! Think you'll like it.

  2. Ooh, I really liked The Possessions! Hope you enjoy it!

  3. I tend toward lighter reads in the Spring. I'm guessing you don't? Ha ha. Some of these sound really good. STRANDED especially.

    Happy TTT!

  4. I've read the Creswell Plot...it was....strange.

  5. Can't wait to see what you think of The Road to Jonestown. Hope you enjoy all of these!!

  6. I can't wait to see what you think of The Cresswell Plot! I wasn't crazy about it BUT I think you'll like it!

  7. I read The Possessions last year and even though I didn't love it, I did enjoy it. Hopefully you will enjoy it too! Happy reading :)

  8. I haven't read any of them.

    The Possessions and the Jim Jones one seem the most interesting.

    I am currently reading The Blue Room (Georges Simenon). When We Were Ghouls (Amy Wallen) and a book on movies are at the top of my TBR rankings. Also, poetry.

  9. Well, I own 4 of these and wish I could recommend them, but nope, haven't read them yet. Good luck with all of your choices! Nice variety.

  10. I just watched a TV special about Jonestown and it was riveting and horrifying all at once. I hope you get to read every last one of your disturbing books. :)

  11. Stranded looks awesome and I haven't seen it before. Love the blurb, I'm DEFINITELY adding that one

  12. I have read A Head Full of Ghosts and it was very good. And odd. Really odd. You are right that this is an 'interesting' list. Enjoy!

  13. Disturbing Spring reading. I like it. I need to pick up more Mary Roach. Hope you enjoy all these titles!

  14. Can I just say, I love that you are going hard on your backlist. I always say I will read backlist books, but then I never really do. I either read ARCs or take books out of the library, because I am SICK, SICK! I have had The Cresswell Plot for quite a while. I should really read it.

  15. The Possessions and A Head Full of Ghosts both sound fantastic! I hope you're able to get to all of these this spring.

  16. I read Stranded last year and enjoyed it! The Road to Jonestown is one I definitely want to read someday! Maybe there's an audiobook...

  17. I'm very intrigued by the sound of both The Possessions and The Cresswell Plot. Hope they both turn out to be great reads for you!

  18. I love this list! It's been awhile since I last read A Mary Roach book. I would like to read Grunt. Stiff is my favorite, the first I read by her. A Head Full of Ghosts has been on my TBR pile awhile. I am adding Get Well Soon to my wish list. I really like the sound of it! I hope you get to all of these!

  19. I had to immediately add The Posessions to my Goodreads TBR list. It seems like nothing I've read before, which is always a good sign! I had already had The Cresswell Plot on my TBR list, I just haven't picked it up to read yet.

    I absolutely loved A Head Full of Ghosts! Tremblay is a master a writing.

  20. I love how most people gravitate towards lighter reads during spring/summer time and then you have this dark & disturbing list - haha. I do love a darker read myself, and some of these have intrigued me.

    Happy reading!

  21. The Cresswell Plot has been on my TBR for awhile now, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I love that cover. Great list!

  22. I have not read any of these, but I don't mind disturbing! Sometimes you do have to be in the right frame of mind for them though.


  23. I love that you did a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I especially am intrigued by Grunt and that Jim Jones book. I'm always on the hunt for nonfiction that will hold my interest, so thanks.

  24. Indeed, they do look disturbing!!LOL I hope you like every one!!

  25. The Possessions looks so good - my library has it and I've been thinking of picking it up. :)

  26. I enjoyed Cannablism but I listened to it in very small sections. A Head Full of Ghosts has been on my kindle for a very long time. I hope you enjoy all of these.

  27. Every book on this list sounds amazing!

  28. I have to say that disturbing books aren't on the top of my TBR pile. Hope you enjoy these when you get to read them.

  29. Ahh I love seeing how varied your reading tastes are. You are surely super well-rounded as a bookworm! And YAS The Cresswell Plot! I adored that one and it's definitely weird and creepy sometimes.

  30. Wow so creepy. I have only read and heard of the creawell plot. Hope you enjoy these crazy creepy books

  31. I haven't read any of them. Of them, I've only heard of Grunt.

  32. Damn, these sound INTENSE. I'd be most likely to read The Last Harvest, Head Full of Ghosts, and The Cresswell Plot, I think. If they weren't TOO horrorific. Grunt and The Blood of Emmet Till sound very interesting too.

  33. I have heard a lot of good things about The Cresswell Plot and I am curious to know what you'll think of that one. The Blood of Emmett Till sounds so very intense. The true story was horrific and tragic... It looks like this book will pick up on it!