Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week's topic: Ten Of My Mose Recent 5 Star Reads. Since the bulk of my content are actual review posts with ratings, I don’t want to sit here and type more about things I’ve already typed about at length (unless, of course, you want to go back and comment on the posts, in which case I’d LOVE to have a conversation about anything I’ve reviewed). So I’m going to look at books I read in the year or so BEFORE my 30th birthday/the start of this blog and highlight ten of the best books I read.



Bring Up The Bodies: I'd read the first volume of this series, Wolf Hall, and actually not really cared for it despite being a sucker for Tudor historical fiction. I think part of it might have been reading it on my Kindle...some books really benefit from being read physically. But I was willing to try the second novel in a hard copy and I LOVED it. The slow build of the first book pays off in this one, the intrigue and drama fly fast and furious, and reading it from a different perspective than we usually see in these kind of books was fascinating. It was great.

Remains of the Day: I'd read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which I liked a lot, so when I saw this at a secondhand book sale, I figured it was worth the $1. I was right. This one grabbed me right from the start, ripping my heart out as I read about Stevens' life and the happiness and meaning it could have had if he'd have only opened himself up to it. It's gorgeous and sad and wonderful.  

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Like everyone else in the world, I read and loved The Kite Runner. I was a little wary of this one because I had such high expectations from Khaled Hosseini's debut, but I knew this was a story about women and I'm always a little suspicious of men writing women's stories. I didn't want to be disappointed, and I wasn't. It was a lovely portrait of female friendship and the power women have when they work together.  

Blindness: I'd seen the movie first, because I love Julianne Moore, and found it well-done but difficult to watch. But I heard the book was a struggle to adapt and better than the movie, and it's true. It tells the story of a world where blindness has become a contagious disease. The first round of victims are quarantined, and an eye doctor's wife refuses to leave her husband despite not being affected and so pretends that she too is blind. It's about humanity and inhumanity, and even though it's written with nameless characters and lack of dialogue markings, it's so good that you just adapt to it and the pages fly by.

High Fidelity: Another one where I'd seen the movie first. The movie is a really solid adaptation, Nick Hornby's novels seem to move well to screen. He really nails that "adult who hasn't quite grown up yet and finally takes significant steps towards maturity over the course of the story" place, which, even though his characters are mostly white dudes, I think is a place that's relatable for a lot of people (myself included). It's a coming-of-age novel, just with the actual age being older than the traditional version of that reliable story. 

The Age of Innocence: I actually still haven't seen the movie for this one! But I want to, because I loved this story of smoldering passion and the ritualistic social manners that keep the players stuck in their roles. It's a love triangle, but one where all the players are sympathetic, the ties that bind them are real, and no one is an interloper just created to be an obstacle in the Twu Wuv of the "real" couple. It explores a lot of the same themes as Anna Karenina, and while it's not quite as masterful, it's beautifully written and a lot shorter. If you enjoyed this, and you should because it's great, the Tolstoy should be on your TBR too.  

The Pianist: And yet another entry in the "I watched the movie first" file. And while the book is excellent and heartbreaking (as Holocaust survivor stories are), this might be one of those cases where the movie measures up to a really good book. Both are incredible stories of survival and the power of music to play on the humanity of both performer and listener. 

So Big: This was something I never would have picked up on my own, but it went on sale for the Kindle and when I saw it had won the Pulitzer Prize, I figured it was worth a read. And yes, yes it is. So Big is the story of Selina, a high-spirited young woman who leaves her native Chicago to teach in farm country for a year. She plans to return home, but instead falls in love with a strong, handsome farmer. They marry and have a child, but her husband dies not long thereafter. Her young son is nicknamed So Big, and her struggle to raise him as a single mother is affecting and inspiring. She's an amazing character and this book is unforgettable. 

The Interestings: I'd heard a lot of buzz around this one when it first came out and finally got around to reading it when I scored a secondhand copy for cheap. It's the story of a group of kids that come together at a summer camp for the artistically gifted and whose friendships wax and wane over the course of their lives as they unfold in many directions. I find these kinds of friendships-changing-over-time novels to be incredibly compelling, and the current running through it about what it means to think of yourself as special and how it impacts your perception of happy-but-ordinary circumstances is just icing on the cake.

Stardust: Last one where I saw the movie first (which is cheating, because this is the last book on the list)! The movie was fun and forgettable, but the kind of epitome of "the book is better"...there's nothing wrong with the film, it's just not as good. 

10 comments

  1. I've had The Interestings on my bookshelf for quite awhile now...I need to read it!! Great list!

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    1. Thanks Lori! I really liked it and keep meaning to add more of Meg Wolitzer's stuff to my TBR because I've heard really good things about her other work too!

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  2. Great list. I just started reading Neil Gaiman’s work last year, and so far I’ve liked everything I’ve read.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Thanks AJ! I've read American Gods as well now, and I've got Neverwhere and Ocean At The End of the Lane queued up on my Kindle too!

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  3. Some great picks! I LOVED High Fidelity (in fact, read it sooooo long ago that it's probably time for a re-read). The Interestings didn't win me completely but I think I'd heard so many good reviews that I went in with very high expectations.

    Here's my TTT - https://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/if-ive-said-it-once-ive-said-it-a-hundred-times-read-these-books/

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    1. There's definitely a "too much hype" effect...when you go in expecting to be blown away, anything less leaves you a little disappointed! I've had a few books where that's happened to me too

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  4. I'm really looking forward to Bringing Up the Bodies - I liked Wolf Hall, especially the miniseries adaptation! :)

    Check out my TTT.

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    1. I really want to watch it! I've also bought a hard copy that I'm planning to read one of these days to see if it works out better for me

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  5. Hi Gabby! I'm a new reader. I loved reading this post! I have read The Kite Runner and the third book, And The Mountains Echoed, but I'm yet to read A Thousand Splendid Suns! I Hope to get to it soon.

    The Pianist is one of those books where I have seen the movie years ago and picking up the book has completely slipped my mind. But it's one of the books I still need to read.

    I've read all of Edith Wharton's novellas, but not her novel yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. I've got And The Mountains Echoed on my TBR for sure...he's just so good! The book of the Pianist is pretty short, so it's a pretty quick read, but it really resonates. Thanks for reading, Melinda! I'm going to add your blog to my reader...looks like you read a lot of books that are ones I'm interested in reading too!

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