Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Reading This Spring

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books I plan to read this spring.

My Spring Reading List

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries—memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.

Touching the Void is the tale of two mountaineers’ harrowing ordeal in the Peruvian Andes. In the summer of 1985, two young, headstrong mountaineers set off to conquer an unclimbed route. They had triumphantly reached the summit, when a horrific accident mid-descent forced one friend to leave another for dead.

“A road's a kind of holy thing,” said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. “That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.”  
And Adam, though only eleven, was to remember his father's words when his beloved dog, Nick, was stolen, and Roger had disappeared, and he found himself traveling alone along these same great roads, searching the fairs and market towns for his father and his dog.

Crow was Ted Hughes's fourth book of poems for adults and a pivotal moment in his writing career. In it, he found both a structure and a persona that gave his vision a new power and coherence. A deep engagement with history, mythology and the natural world combine to forge a work of impressive and unsettling force.

From Steve Sheinkin comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose the government's deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests.

It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes—in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.  
Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?


  1. Year of Wonders is a really good book. I enjoyed reading about the fear as the plague spreads! I also liked Touching the Void-it really is a remarkable survival story and I really felt for both men as the story unfolded. Hope you enjoy them both!

  2. Most Dangerous that has been on my radar for a while. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

  3. Year of Wonders looks great! I added to my list of books to take a closer look at. Years ago, I read Fever, 1793 to my class and loved it. This title reminded me of that story so I will definitely be picking it up.
    Have a great week!
    Laura :)
    My Top Ten Tuesday

  4. I haven't read any of these, but Elizabeth Wein has been on my TBR list for ages. I really need to fit her in.

    Nice list!

  5. When you read "Year of Wonders," I hope you post about it WITH spoilers! It's a book that generates a lot of discussion, for sure.

  6. I need to read Black Raven, White Dove. :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

  7. I loved The 19th Wife, Year of Wonders, and Snow Falling on Cedars, which I've also seen a play version of. Touching the Void is is incredible too. Adam of the Road always looked boring to me as a kid. I'm looking forward to reading Black Dove, White Raven, and I feel like I should read Most Dangerous as well. I haven't read any Atwood in a long time. What a fascinating and eclectic selection you've put together!

  8. I looooooved Snow Falling On Cedars when I read it in high school!

  9. I've never read any of Ted Hughes' works, I should get around to reading some one of these days. Great list, happy reading :)

    My TTT

  10. I've read Birthday Letters, but not that one.

  11. We are Unprepared looks like it could be really good, and I love that premise. Preppers too. :) And The Heart Goes LAst definitely sounds intriguing as well.

  12. We Are Unprepared and The Heart Goes Last both look really good! I still need to read some Margaret Atwood, tbh. But this premise seems... fabulously weird. And I need it. You read them, and then make sure you let me know if I need to add them to my wishlist ;)

  13. OMG I LOVED ADAM OF THE ROAD!! It's been years since I read that but I reeeeally liked it back in school. I hope you enjoy it. :D

  14. Such a great list. I will add 5 books from it to my watch list. Snow Falling on Cedars sounds espessially interesting.

  15. I hope you enjoy all of these. I have seen the 19th Wife and Margaret Atwood's books around but haven't read any of these.

  16. All of these books sound interesting, especially the Heart Goes Last!

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog