- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order by ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
1: The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford
As uplifting as the tale of Scrooge itself, this is the story of how one writer and one book revived the signal holiday of the Western world.
Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.
The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.
This still sounds interesting, and I’m curious to know more about the story that is so much a part of our modern Christmas celebrations.
2: Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet
Tashi lives in a tiny village at the foot of the mountains, below the tea plantations where her mother works. When her mother falls ill, Tashi goes alone to the plantation, hoping to earn money for the doctor. But she is far too small to harvest the tender shoots, and her clumsy efforts anger the cruel Overseer. She is desolate, until — chack-chack-chack! — something extraordinary happens. Inspired by a centuries-old legend of tea-picking monkeys, here is a richly told tale full of vivid characters: the heartless Overseer, the enigmatic Royal Tea Taster, and — far away — an empress with a penchant for tea.
Still sounds interesting, and the reviews say the illustrations are lovely. I think I need to read this one soon and see if I want to gift it to my sister’s kids.
3: Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede
This witty and charming collection of ten short fantasies includes a story, set in the Enchanted Forest, about Queen Cimorene’s Frying Pan of Doom; a zany yarn about a magical blue chipmunk with a passion for chestnuts; and an eerie tale of a caliph who turns his vizier’s daughter into a wolf.
Patricia C. Wrede short stories? Yes please!
4: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
I want to *have read* this one, but I don’t want to do the actual reading. I guess that means it comes off the TBR list.
5: Foundation by Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed.
I really want to read more classic sci-fi, and I already know that I like Asimov.
6: Jim Henson: the Biography by Brian Jay Jones
For the first time ever-a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth-century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson.
He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were only part of his remarkable story.
Jim Henson’s Muppets were a huge inspiration for me in my youth. I also feel more interest in his life and what was behind the characters we all know and love now, that I’m older — especially since I was able to tour the Henson Studios in SoCal.
7: Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner
Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists’ studios of Soho. Terri Windling’s original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today’s urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.
There are so many authors here whose work I enjoy, and/or want to know more of. I think I need to bump this one up on the TBR list and get to it sooner rather than later.
8: Magic Color Flair by John Canemaker
Beloved Disney designer Mary Blair has charmed generations with her vibrant, whimsical creations, from stunning art direction for Cinderella and Peter Pan to the wowing and wonderful “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. Magic Color Flair celebrates this Disney icon, tracing the evolution of her mesmerizing style and showcasing her work in gorgeous, full-color imagery.
Created for the Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2014 Mary Blair exhibit, Magic Color Flair is an authoritative collection of Blair’s life’s work—including the precocious paintings she made as a student at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute; the enchanting concept drawings she created for numerous Disney films; her lovely illustrated Golden Books, which are still treasured today; and the rarely seen but delightful advertisements, clothing designs, and large-scale installations that she devised later in life.
A book about Mary Blair! Yes please! We saw the exhibit of her works at the Walt Disney Family Museum some while ago, and I loved it. I don’t remember if we bought the book then or not, but now I need to check so I can buy it now if we didn’t then. This is a no-brainer for me as a fan of her work.
9: Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man by the Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney once said of Marc Davis, “Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it’s there! He’s my Renaissance man.” As such, Davis touched nearly every aspect of The Walt Disney Company during his tenure. He began as an animator, whose supporting work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi inspired Walt to promote him to full animator.
In the ensuing years, Davis breathed life into a bevy of iconic Disney characters, including Cinderella, Alice (in Wonderland), Tinker Bell, Maleficent, and Cruella De Vil. Then, in 1962, Walt Disney transferred the versatile Davis to the Imagineering department to help plan and design attractions for Disneyland and the 1964 65 New York World’s Fair. While at Imagineering, Davis conceived of designs for such classic attractions as Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.
This one was written by multiple authors, but it’s about a man whose art was so important to so much of the Disney work I love. As with the Mary Blair book, I want to read this one for sure.
10: Valor’s Trial (Confederation #4) by Tanya Huff
Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is a Confederation Marines marine. She’s survived more deadly encounters and kept more of her officers and enlistees alive than anyone in the Corps. Unexpectedly pulled from battle, Torin finds herself in an underground POW camp that shouldn’t exist, where her fellow marine prisoners seem to have lost all will to escape. Now, Torin must fight her way not only out of the prison but also past the growing compulsion to sit down and give up not realizing that her escape could mean the end of the war.
I have been procrastinating reading this book for ages because it reminded me of the way the StarDoc series went. Space series with a kick-ass heroine that got weird and I ended up not liking. I didn’t stop early enough with StarDoc, but I am stopping now with the Confederation series. It might not go the same way for me, but I’m not willing to risk it.
BOOKS ANALYSED // 30
BOOKS REMOVED // 9
What about your TBR? Are any of these books on your shelves, either as to-read or have-read books? Are there any I removed which you think I should reconsider?