“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. May is rewind month, and my chosen topic for this week is: intimidating books on my TBR.
1. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera writes some of the worst best books in YA. By which I mean he writes compelling stories of complex characters dealing with heavy issues…that are ultimately terrible for my own mental health. History is All You Left Me wreaked havoc on my emotions and More Happy Than Not dropped me into a depressive episode. There’s something about his writing style–how simple and almost cutesy it is–that continuously fools my brain into thinking these stories are happy ones. But then they delve into subjects like depression, suicide, and grief, and it’s like being mentally hit by a truck.
So while I have heard many great things about They Both Die at the End, and while I do plan on reading it at some point, I’m not exactly jumping out of my chair to get to it.
2. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
I have actually read some of Pratchett’s Discworld books, in the form of Tiffany Aching (which I’d loved). Then, years later, I found out that the Aching books were part of a 41-book series, at which point my brain kind of seized up on itself. I mean, I adore Pratchett’s prose, his characters, and his sense of humour, so there’s no good reason for avoiding them, but the sheer number just gets to me. Regardless, I’ve still made it my goal for the next year or so to read through the rest of the series, so we’ll see how that goes.
3. The Red Queen (The Chronicle of Alice 2) by Christina Henry
Alice, the first book in Henry’s The Chronicle of Alice series, can only be described as Alice in Wonderland meets Eastern Promises (a movie which got me seeing Aragorn in a very different light). Basically, it’s human trafficking, sexual violence, and mobsters mixed with the LSD-craziness of Carroll’s classic tale. It’s disturbingly, darkly fascinating, and it was a reading experience I both hated and loved. So I’ve been eyeing the sequel with equal dread and curiosity.
4. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
I love grimdark fantasy. It irks me when people dismiss it as stories about senseless slaughter, loathsome people, and just general hopelessness. Because, to me, it’s the opposite. The purpose of grimdark is about finding a kernel of hope in a sea of darkness. It’s about people who are trying to do their best in a ruthless, unforgiving world.
So what’s stopping me from picking up Abercrombie’s books? The hype. The First Law series is hailed as being the foundation of grimdark, written by a man whose moniker is “Lord Grimdark.” So I’m a little worried I’ll read it and be like, “This is what they’ve been raving about??”
5. Ulysses by James Joyce
Ah, Ulysses. Worshiped by English profs and teachers everywhere. This one’s in my TBR for part bragging rights and part genuine curiosity. I’ve known people who thought Joyce was a complete hack and this book utter trash, and others who consider it the greatest piece of literature published in the last 100 years. And while I generally like seeing stream-of-consciousness techniques in books, I don’t know if I can stomach 600 pages of it.
Have you read any of these books? See any that you think I should read immediately?