So Many Cool Books!
A Reading Challenge from stacked-reviews.com
Check out my 22 TBR below!
Here are the rules.
Pick a novel for each of the 22 TBR prompts. If that’s too much for you, it’s OK to go for less. However…
Those who finish all 22 prompts and post their reviews on their blogs/vlogs have a chance to win a book of their choice as a reward! (International, as long as Book Depository ships to your country)
You can’t start reading those books before January 1st!
Follow the Twitter account for the readathon.
Thank the person that tagged you. (Thank you!)
Tag at least 5 people
A 2020 Release
Shakespeare meets Dashiell Hammett in this wildly entertaining murder mystery from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore—an uproarious, hardboiled take on the Bard’s most performed play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Pocket, the hero of Fool and The Serpent of Venice, along with his sidekick, Drool, and pet monkey, Jeff.
Set adrift by his pirate crew, Pocket of Dog Snogging—last seen in The Serpent of Venice—washes up on the sun-bleached shores of Greece, where he hopes to dazzle the Duke with his comedic brilliance and become his trusted fool.
But the island is in turmoil. Egeus, the Duke’s minister, is furious that his daughter Hermia is determined to marry Demetrius, instead of Lysander, the man he has chosen for her. The Duke decrees that if, by the time of the wedding, Hermia still refuses to marry Lysander, she shall be executed . . . or consigned to a nunnery. Pocket, being Pocket, cannot help but point out that this decree is complete bollocks, and that the Duke is an egregious weasel for having even suggested it. Irritated by the fool’s impudence, the Duke orders his death. With the Duke’s guards in pursuit, Pocket makes a daring escape.
He soon stumbles into the wooded realm of the fairy king Oberon, who, as luck would have it, IS short a fool. His jester Robin Goodfellow—the mischievous sprite better known as Puck—was found dead. Murdered. Oberon makes Pocket an offer he can’t refuse: he will make Pocket his fool and have his death sentence lifted if Pocket finds out who killed Robin Goodfellow. But as anyone who is even vaguely aware of the Bard’s most performed play ever will know, nearly every character has a motive for wanting the mischievous sprite dead.
With too many suspects and too little time, Pocket must work his own kind of magic to find the truth, save his neck, and ensure that all ends well.
A rollicking tale of love, magic, madness, and murder, Shakespeare for Squirrels is a Midsummer Night’s noir—a wicked and brilliantly funny good time conjured by the singular imagination of Christopher Moore.
A Book Published in the year You Were Born
For thirty-five years, Bruno Frye has lived in the shadow of the mother who made his heart beat with constant fear. And even though she died five years ago, the whispers still haunt him in the dark…enough to make him kill—and kill again…Hilary Thomas is one of his intended victims. And she’s about to learn that even death can’t keep a bad man down…
A Novel getting a 2020 Adaptation
An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
Book You Can Read in a Day
Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
Book Originally Written in Another language
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration—”when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded.” Italo Calvino’s novel is in one sense a comedy in which the two protagonists, the Reader and the Other Reader, ultimately end up married, having almost finished If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. In another, it is a tragedy, a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: “Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade.” Alas, after 30 or so pages, he discovers that his copy is corrupted, and consists of nothing but the first section, over and over. Returning to the bookshop, he discovers the volume, which he thought was by Calvino, is actually by the Polish writer Bazakbal. Given the choice between the two, he goes for the Pole, as does the Other Reader, Ludmilla. But this copy turns out to be by yet another writer, as does the next, and the next.
The real Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches—stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition—with explorations of how and why we choose to read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to. Meanwhile the Reader and Ludmilla try to reach, and read, each other. If on a Winter’s Night is dazzling, vertiginous, and deeply romantic. “What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.”
Book by a Dead Author
With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.
Novel That Was Banned
Truman Capote’s chilling 1966 account of the true life murder of a farm family in Kansas was banned at a high school in Georgia, on the grounds of sex, violence, and profanity. It was later reinstated.
Booker Prize Winning Book
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
A Book From a Nobel Prize
T. S. Eliot’s playful cat poems have delighted readers and cat lovers around the world ever since they were first published in 1939. They were originally composed for his godchildren, with Eliot posing as Old Possum himself, and later inspired the legendary musical Cats.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
A Goodreads Winner
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
A Book From the Rory Gilmore Challenge
Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.
On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses the flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.
A Book With a One Word Title
“Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.”
Book With Over 500 Pages
This massive story is a novel within a novel. It’s a thousand-piece puzzle that’s put together from the inside out. The Blind Assassin is the story of two sisters, Iris and Laura, born during a time where women struggled to keep their independence and were expected to be kept happy with shiny objects. Iris, throughout different points of her life, thinks back to the mysterious and tragic day her sister drove off of a bridge and killed herself. This is the kind of novel that won’t spoon-feed you answers, but instead keeps you on your toes throughout 600 pages.
Book Set in Different Continents
Precious Ramotswe has only just set up shop as Botswana’s No.1 (and only) lady detective when she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. However, the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.
Book Set in Your Home State
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.
Every few centuries, the Stillness erupts into lengthy Seasons filled with fire, ash, and death. Individuals known as orogenes can control the seismic activity that leads to Seasons, but their powers are so terrifying and misunderstood that ignorant villages drown them at birth. Those who survive are trained at the Fulcrum and put into service to the state.
When the biggest Season anyone has ever seen rips across the continent, Essun has just returned home to find that her husband has murdered their young son and kidnapped their daughter, because they — like their mother — are orogenes. As the Season rages on, Essun sets out in pursuit of her husband, ready to avenge her child.
Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.
Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.
When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.
A shimmering novel that offers competing versions of historical truth. Atwood investigates the guilt or innocence of Grace Marks, convicted of double murder in a sensational case that riveted Canada in 1843. A psychiatrist who assesses her, the warden’s family with whom she serves a life sentence, newspaper accounts and Grace herself all speak, but the shifting points of view underscore the unknowability. The novel is Victorian in size and acute in its depiction of women’s lives in that era. Yet it’s modern, too, in how it approaches criminality and gender—and tender toward Grace, whose restricted view is both blurred and poetic.
The Darkness That Comes Before is the first of Bakker’s The Prince Of Nothing trilogy. It’s been described as a cross between Tolkien and Nietzsche.
It’s dark—very dark, very violent and at times gratuitously so—with sexual violence that will make your skin crawl. But beyond that, this book and the two that follow it are some of the most compelling, best-written fantasies I’ve ever read.
he brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”
You have so many great books on your list – I love love LOVE 100 Years of Solitude and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one!!!
Thanks for tagging me to participate! This sounds like a great challenge, I just suck at TBRs so I will probably fail lol. BUT MAYBE I WILL TRY!?!?!
I will be very pleased with myself if I hit most of these. Some will probably change a little and get moved around. But I love a good challenge! I can’t wait to see your list!
The Blind Assassin is such a roller coaster, I had no clue what I was walking into (which is the best way). It’s one of those books where the more information you have, the more you recontextualize earlier scenes.
I love books like that. Where you get to look back and say, “ohhhhhh!”
Great picks Beth! Atonement is one of the best books I’ve ever read, I hope you like it. Thanks for taking part 🙂
I cannot wait to start it!
I LOVE magical realism and I have never heard of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (I am ashamed to admit that!) I just googled it and can’t believe I’ve never read it before. THIS IS 100% my first read for November so thank you for sharing. I wanted to recommend a magical realism fiction book to you that I finished recently that definitely spoke to me and has stuck in my mind. It’s called “Journey: A Novel” by Andrew Zimmerman (http://andrewzimmermanbooks.com/). The book is about a spiritual awakening that happens in the most wonderful way – through travel! Paul is a successful corporate drone who takes his family for granted and seems to just be living for his job. An unexpected trip to Glastonbury, England to visit friends opens his eyes to a world of soul readers, purpose seekers, and spirituality. He returns home with a whole new perspective and it’s hard for him to go back to “normal” and forget what he’s learned on his trip as well as who he met. This is actually book 1 in a trilogy that will be coming out and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This was a fiction book that felt so real to life and so possible. Being drawn to energies and the search for the unknown is fascinating to me and I think you will really enjoy this book. If you read it I would like to know your thoughts. Happy Reading!