To-Be-Read stacks can be awesome because they give the bookworm tons of options on what to pick up after finishing a book, however. This can also create madness within a bibliophile because sometimes everything on the TBR list sounds and looks fantastic, thus making it a hundred times harder to actually choose that next read. Ah, such is the delightfully frustrating yet sadistic cycle of being a bonafide booklover.
So, in an effort to narrow down my gargantuan TBR pile, I decided to partake in today’s Top 5 Wednesday meme (check out the GoodReads page and info on the creators here), which consists of naming five books that you’d like to read before 2018 is kicked into the dust.
Since my list is about as large as Kheb’s ego, and I am one of the most indecisive humans ever, I decided to double the number and list 10 books that I would like to experience before the year ends. There are just too many kick-ass reads on my list, guys, I couldn’t narrow it down further. #SorryNotSorry
Check out my ten below. As per usual, they are in no specific order, except for the very last one, which is my most-desired book to tackle for the year.
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
This young adult, historical fiction thriller novel is the second instalment in a series that I honestly never expected to enjoy as much as I did! You can read my full raving review for book one here. In this book, Audrey Rose returns, with her devilishly delicious colleague, Thomas, as they attend a forensic academy situated in a Romanian castle, once owned by the infamous Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Prince Dracula. When whisperings of depraved deaths bring forth rumours of Vlad’s return, it’s up to the sharp-tongued and wisely witty duo to solve the mystery! My goal is to read this book prior to August/September so that I can be ready for the third volume in the series, Hiding From Houdini.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Shocking! I have chosen a contemporary, something that I rarely read! But I blame my new interest in Korean Dramas, which is what this book is very much inspired by. Desi Lee is a girl who believes that anything can be conquered with the right plan. It’s how she became the star soccer athlete and student body president at her school. Yet, regardless of obtaining her goals with the fitting blueprint, she’s never had a boyfriend or experienced love. To conquer this one unfulfilled aspect of her life, she turns to the pros for advice: Korean dramas. The heroine almost always gets her dream dude within ten episodes. If she can do it, then Desi can do it too, right? Right? This sounds like it’s going to be hilarious, and I think it will fit well with my own current Korean Drama obsession.
Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
This Japanese-Canadian young adult Queer graphic novel is one that’s been on my TBR list since I found out about it almost two years ago. I finally ordered it from the library and can’t wait to dive in! It follows a high schooler named “Skim” Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a non-slim, Wiccan Goth who attends a girls’ private school. When Skim’s classmate’s boyfriend dumps her and commits suicide, the whole school goes into severe mourning, causing Skim to fall deeper in her battle with depression. As she struggles with all of the heaviness engulfing her life, she finds herself developing feelings for one of her classmate’s.
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists is one of the best books that I have ever read in my life. You can read my full review for it here, but it’s by far one of the most poignant and emotionally riveting novels I’ve encountered yet. When I found The Gift of Rain, it’s predecessor, earlier this year, I became determined to read it before 2018 is up! This book takes place in 1939 and follows a 16-year-old half-Chinese, half-English boy named Philip Hutton. He is the youngest child of the head of one of Penang’s great trading families and feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He at last discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture, and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. Both books are #OwnVoices Malaysian historical fiction literature.
Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie
This #OwnVoices Chinese historical fiction novel is one that caught my eye because of its cover, but when I read the premise before buying it, I was completely enthralled by it. It’s definitely one that I would like to read and experience very soon. The story alternates between two separate time periods. The first is the 1930s when China’s last emperor, who has been exiled to Manchuria, discovers a silk scroll that is 900 years old and believed to have been inscribed by the Buddha himself. After illegally selling it to a French linguist named Paul d’Ampere, the linguist becomes imprisoned and the scroll is lost. The second is the 1970s where an unnamed college student from the West, charmed by a young man’s tales of the scroll, goes on an emotional journey that will lead her to the long-lost scroll.
Summer of the Big Bachi (Mas Arai #1) by Naomi Hirahara
I have been loving mysteries and thrillers lately! They have been hitting my bookish sweet spot, so naturally there had to be at least a couple on this list today. This novel is an #OwnVoices Japanese mystery novel, the first of a series, that I found on sale earlier this month, and it sounds perfect for the summer season. It follows Mas Arai, a Japanese-American gardener, living in the foothills of Pasadena. His lawnmower blades are clean and sharp, and his truck carefully tuned. But while Mas keeps lawns neatly trimmed, his own life has gone south. His wife is dead, and his livelihood is falling into the hands of men that he was hired by for the day. For Mas, a life of sin is catching up to him, and now bachi—the spirit of retribution—is knocking upon his door. It begins when a stranger comes around, asking questions about a nursery-man who once lived in Hiroshima, a man known as Jōji Haneda. By the end of the summer, Jōji will be dead and Mas’s own life will be in danger.
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Written by a female Indonesian-born Singaporean writer, Rainbirds is one of the books that I received in my Book of the Month box earlier this year. It intrigues me because of the author and also because the premise sounds absolutely brilliant and completely like my cup of chai. It revolves around a guy names Ren Ishida who’s nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when one night he gets news of his sister’s violent death. He heads to Akakawa to understand what happened to her, and also to decipher why she had chosen to abandon her family and her home in Tokyo for such a desolate place. Shortly after arriving, he is offered to take up his sister’s work, which he gladly accepts, leaving behind his own life in Tokyo to better come to grips with his grief and mysteries surrounding his sister. The novel is labelled as magical realism and psychological thriller, which, again, are some of my favourite types of books to read.
Southern Reach Books 2 & 3 by Jeff VanderMeer
I know, I know, these are technically two books. But since they’re from the same series, I decided to count them as one. Don’t judge me too harshly. 😉 I read the first book earlier this month and was totally blown away by it. Annihilation has some of the best atmosphere building of anything I have read in years. Sir Betrothed recently finished off the series and highly recommended the rest of the volumes, and unlike my bad habit of never finishing serials, this is one that I would like to complete before the summer season closes. It’s part of the new weird subgenre of science-fiction, and I highly recommend you check out my review for book one if you enjoy weird, gradual storytelling that uses prose to build the plot.
Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fuji
This #OwnVoices Japanese hard science-fiction book has been on my list of stuff to read since last year when I hauled it. In addition to mysteries and thrillers, I’ve been really in the mood for well-written, complex, and intelligent sci-fi, which are all attributes that have been raved about when it comes to this title. My anticipation has been fuelled! The only thing that’s been holding me back so far is the length of it. The summary is a bit convoluted and I didn’t want to try and write one in my own words, potentially ruining the charm, so, you can check it out here if you’re interested.
The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu
MY MOST ANTICIPATED AND NUMBER ONE BOOK TO CONQUER THIS YEAR!! Man, okay, I am ashamed to say this, but this book has been on my TBR list since it released in 2015. I fucking love epic fantasy, and this one is inspired heavily by Chinese culture, lore, and mythology, AND it’s written by a brilliant human being. Why have I not picked it up yet? Oh… right… IT’S A BEAST OF A BOOK! But still, it’s not really an excuse to not read it and I desperately want to consume every word on every page before December 31st strikes to a close. I haven’t read a super detailed synopsis for this because I like to go into my SFF books with as little information as possible so that I can enjoy them the best. However, if you’re curious as to what this thing entails, check it out here on GoodReads.
That closes my list of ten books to read before the year ends. Please, let me know in the comments if you are interested in reading any of these books! If not, then what is the number one book you’re looking forward to reading this year?