Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The BookishThis week's topic: books you picked up on a whim. This is actually going to be a hard one for me...I tend to buy based on recommendations. I haven't really gone to a bookstore just to browse in a looooong time, I've always got a list of what I'm looking to add to my shelf lately. But where I do browse a little more is my Kindle, where I look through the monthly and daily sales to see what I might want to read. I've gone back through my stacks and tried to remember what I picked up without doing more than reading the back cover (or the Kindle equivalent):

The Virgin Suicides: I picked this up when I was in high school...the movie had just come out and it was on the display table at the front of the Borders. My mom would usually buy my sister and I a book or two when we went to the store so I grabbed it and it became one of my very favorites.

The Twentieth Wife: On the other hand, I remember snagging this one in college at some point on a bookstore trip, When I recently got around to reading it, I was unimpressed. So high-risk/high-reward with whim books for me.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn: This was a whim Kindle buy...I saw it during a monthly sale, thought it looked like it was up my alley, and bought it. That was a good choice, I loved this book.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: This was a "thrift store impulse" kind of buy. It was there, it was cheap, and I figured it was probably worth a read. And it was worth that, anyways, but it wasn't life-changing or anything. Neither miss nor hit, really.

The Remains of The Day: This was pretty similar to the above...I've left books I saw because they got turned into movies off this list for the most part, but I was only somewhat aware that this had been made into a movie when I bought it. I'd read Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go a few years previous, but wasn't on any special mission to read more of his work or anything. It turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read.

Devil In The Grove: This was a Kindle purchase...I'd never heard of it, but once I found out it had won a Pulitzer and was about Thurgood Marshall before he went to the Supreme Court, I spent the 2 or 3 dollars and it was well worth it. This is an incredible book that makes the Jim Crow era really come terrifyingly alive.

Methland: Despite the fact that the place I was from (rural-ish Midwest) seems like exactly the kind of place that should have had a meth problem, I'd never really known anyone who did meth. I mean, I probably knew someone who did, but I didn't know they did. But anyways, I was certainly aware of the meth epidemic, and I this book (a Kindle deal) really helps lay out the root of the issue and how it tears families and communities apart.

Katharine of Aragon: I'm partial to Tudor-era history, so this seemed like a worthwhile Kindle score to pick up. It's a compilation of three books about Henry the Eighth's first queen, and it was just okay honestly. Not bad, but it dragged and if I hadn't been stuck on an airplane while I was reading it I probably would have been pretty bored by it.

She's Come Undone: I actually remembered having seen this book at the library when I was a kid, so when I found it for cheap secondhand, I figured I might as well read it even though I had no idea what it was about. I've also read Wally Lamb's other well-regarded work, I Know This Much Is True, and for both of them I have to say that while Lamb is a talented writer and these are the kinds of books I tend to enjoy, I didn't really click with either of these. Worth a read though.

The Piano Teacher: Janice Lee's recent The Expatriates has been praised by lots of bloggers whose opinions I respect and the reason I'm reluctant to pick it up is this book right here. I found the cover striking and the summary on the back intriguing enough, but I found the book itself wanting. All the characters behaved so strangely and were so hard to connect with. I didn't care for it.


  1. You're so right: the return on "whim" books is so high-risk. But I get hem anyway. ;-)

    1. We just can't quite resist them, can we? The promise of finding a great book totally without anyone else's help is too tempting!

  2. Great list, I've never seen a book on Katherine of Aragon before, it's always Anne Boleyn! I should probably try 'Remains of the Day' although I read 'Never Let Me Go' too and wasn't that fussed.

    1. I agree, I feel like I wanted to like Never Let Me Go more than I actually liked it. But Remains of the Day was incredible, I'd definitely recommend it!