Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Reading This Fall

This week, we’re talking about what I’m (hopefully) reading in the fall. My work hours are getting cut down soon, so I might actually have time for reading! I’ve barely read anything this summer. These books will be my top priorities in the next few months.

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What I’m Reading This Fall

1. The Avenue Of The Giants by Marc Dugain

Adult Crime Fiction

Inspired by the true story of California “Co-ed Killer” Edmund Kemper, The Avenue of the Giants follows Al Kenner as he progresses from antisocial adolescent to full-fledged serial killer in the turbulent ‘60s and ‘70s. A giant at over seven feet tall with an IQ higher than Einstein’s, Al has never been ordinary. Tainted by his parents’ divorce and his mother’s abusive behavior, his life takes a chilling turn on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Al spends five years in a psychiatric hospital, and although he convinces the staff that he is of sound mind, he continues to harbor vicious impulses. Al leads a double life, befriending the Santa Cruz Police Chief and contemplating marrying his daughter, all the while committing a series of brutal murders.

2. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Young Adult Historical Fantasy

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

3. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

4. Blindness by José Saramago

Adult Science Fiction

A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations, and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing.

5. Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell

Adult Mystery / Crime

Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.

When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey—one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.

6. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Middlegrade Historical Fiction

Caddie Woodlawn is a real adventurer. She'd rather hunt than sew and plow than bake, and tries to beat her brother's dares every chance she gets. Caddie is friends with Indians, who scare most of the neighbors—neighbors who, like her mother and sisters, don't understand her at all.

Caddie is brave, and her story is special because it's based on the life and memories of Carol Ryrie Brink's grandmother, the real Caddie Woodlawn. Her spirit and sense of fun have made this book a classic that readers have taken to their hearts for more than seventy years.

7. Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And A Mother’s Quest: A True Story Of The Jim Crow South by Beth Macy

Adult Biography

The true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back.

The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever.

Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even "Ambassadors from Mars." 

Back home, their mother never accepted that they were "gone" and spent 28 years trying to get them back. Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home?

8. Death With Interruptions by José Saramago

Adult Magical Realism

What happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death? On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This, of course, causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration. Flags are hung out on balconies; people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home—families are left to care for the permanently dying; life-insurance policies become meaningless; and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots. 

Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small "d," became human and were to fall in love?

9. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Adult Historical Fiction

Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars—against the Sioux and the Yurok—and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.

10. Son by Lois Lowry

Middlegrade Science Fiction

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

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


  1. I love the cover of Caddie Woodlawn - go figure, cute dog. It definitely sounds worth picking up though. I'm actually planning on reading the Arden books too. Great list!

  2. I have Katherine Arden's books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read but I think I will hold off until the winter time to read them. Happy reading! :)

    My TTT

  3. Hi Aj - the Italian Shoes looks really interesting; while I'd like to read the Jim Crow one ... the others I'm sure will do justification to their publication ... but I haven't read any - and like you I've done very little reading ... cheers Hilary

  4. I'm really curious about The Avenue of the Giants - need to add that to my list now.



  5. I had mixed feelings about Son. I hope you like it, though!

    And Caddie Woodlawn looks like such a fun read.

    My TTT.

  6. The Bear and the Nightingale was one of my favorite books this year! I hope you end up liking it <3

  7. So much yes for The Bear and the Nightingale! I am so in love with this trilogy. I hope you enjoy all of your planned reads.

  8. I’ve had Eliza and Her Monsters on my TBR for so long. I’ll be interested to see what you think of it. Maybe it’ll give me the nudge to finally read it. :)

  9. I approve of Eliza. And I've heard so many great things about The Bear and the Nightingale!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  10. Death With Interruptions sounds super interesting and I've never seen that one! What a cool premise. I kinda wanna read Eliza as well.

  11. Gosh, I loved Eliza. I recently read Zappia's two other books, and Eliza is still my favorite. I hope you read and enjoy it.

  12. You always find the most interesting-sounding books!

  13. I haven’t but “Days Without End,” Truevine” and Death’s Interruption” all sound very interesting. I’ll look forward to your review.

  14. I loved Eliza and Her Monsters! I'm not familiar with many of the other books on your list, but it looks like a lot of reading! I hope you enjoy your fall reading!

  15. José Saramago's books sound a bit different. I'll be curious to see what you think of them.

  16. The Bear and the Nightingale with Eliza are two books that I meant to read for a long time AJ!!!

  17. The Bear and the Nightingale is so good <3 I hope you will love it too.

  18. The Bear and the Nightingale is one I've been wanting to read forever! I hope you enjoy all of these!

  19. Italian Shoes is a new to me book; you have piqued my attention there. I hope you get round to reading all of these over the coming months. Happy reading!

  20. eliza and her monsters looks like a fun read. hope you enjoy them all
    sherry @ fundinmental

  21. I really need to get around to reading Eliza and her Monsters and Days Without End looks good too! Great choices 😊

  22. Great list! I've heard SO many good things about The Bear and the Nightingale, I really need to check it out.

  23. Eliza was good! I hadn't heard of some of these but now I REALLY need them in my life- especially Blindness and Death With Interruptions, they sound SO good! I want to read Bear & Nightingale at some point too- and The Son! Hope they end up being good!

  24. Ah I love Eliza and Her Monsters so, so much, I hope you'll love it :) happy reading! :)

  25. The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it and all of the other books on your TBR.

  26. I will be very interested to hear your thoughts on Blindness! That is one book by him that I have, and I have heard very amazing things about. And I want to try The Bear and the Nightingale, as well as Eliza and Her Monsters myself as well. So I shall eagerly await your thoughts on those two too ^.^

    Olivia-S @ Olivia's Catastrophe

  27. Blindness is an absolute favourite of mine! Grim, but brilliant. I've not read any other Saramago books though - I think I'm concerned they wouldn't be as amazing!

  28. I loved the Winternight trilogy! I hope you do, too. 👍✨

    I didn't care for The Son. It was a big disappointment because I really liked the other books. 😛

  29. Several of these sound interesting. I've read The Bear and The Nightingale and Eliza and Her Monsters has been a book I've wanted to read for a while.

  30. Good luck! I hope you'll get to read all of them!
    I only read The Bear and the Nightingale from this list, and I hope you will like it more then I did.

  31. Both The Bear and the Nightingale and Elisa are on my TBR. I've seen so many good reviews on those books. Curious what you'll think!