[Top Ten Tuesday] – #47 – Top Ten Shortlisted Books For My Non-Existent Bookclub

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.


This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Shortlisted Books
For My Non-Existent Bookclub

Initial Thoughts:

There’s a thread of intent that weaves all these shortlisted choices together and perhaps you can take jabs at what the overarching theme I’d look to engage is. Reading the synopsis excerpts might help in the understanding, but more importantly, their purpose and its placement over a year-long endeavour.

There are actually 12 books listed for reasons of thematic continuity to span a year—except for one book—that was just a choice for me alone LOL (I’m sure you can guess which one it is haha). Some of these I’ve read, many of these I haven’t. As always, all images link back to their respective Goodreads.

Every Day – David Levithan

david levithan - everydayEvery day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day

Past The Shadows – Favel Parrett

past the shallows - favel parrett (cover)Brothers Joe, Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and so are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father’s mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father’s anger…

Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin

golden boy - abigail tarttelin (cover)Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years, but now that the boys are getting older, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband Steve has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him—once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Ernest cline - ready player oneLike most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

We Were Here – Matt De La Pena

we were here - matt de la pena (cover)The story of one boy and his journey to find himself.

When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home—said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.

But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.

Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.

The Way Of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson - The Way of Kings (cover)Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soiless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Boy 21 – Matthew Quick

boy21 coverBasketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in gray, broken Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish Mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, he takes care of his disabled grandfather, and at school he’s called “White Rabbit”, the only white kid on the varsity basketball team. He’s always dreamed of getting out somehow with his girlfriend, Erin. But until then, when he puts on his number 21, everything seems to make sense.

Russ has just moved to the neighborhood. A former teen basketball phenom from a privileged home, his life has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he now answers only to the name Boy21—his former jersey number—and has an unusual obsession with outer space.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan

mr. penumbras 24 hour bookstore - robin sloan (cover)The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

neil gaiman - neverwhere (cover)Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Where Things Come Back – John Corey Whaley

where things come back - john corey whaley (cover)Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears. . . .

In the summer before Cullen’s senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone’s eating “Lazarus burgers.” But as absurd as the town’s carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami

kafka on the shore - murakami (cover)Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle – yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.

More Than This – Patrick Ness

more than this coverA boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?


What’s funny is that I did dabble with the idea of starting an e-book club (but that’s another story for another day).

But yeah, there actually isn’t much more I can say about “why these books”. In truth, I do have substitute/alternatives for most of the selections above, so this list isn’t really finite. The progression however, in terms of a beginning, middle, and end, is pretty concrete.

Life’s a journey, and that’s all I’ll say. That, and you should bro out.


43 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #47 – Top Ten Shortlisted Books For My Non-Existent Bookclub”

  1. I’ve got Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore on my shelf waiting to be read. It’ll happen sometime. Lol. I tried to listen to Neverwhere as an audiobook (Neil Gaiman narrating? YES!) but the library’s copy was too scratched. Do want to try again though.
    My TTT!


    1. I didn’t think much of the sub-genre (?) of “Books about books” but I A.J. Fikry was a surprising read last year so I figured I’d try to read one in this genre per year (Shadow of the Wind and Book Thief being other notable ones).

      I haven’t ventured much into audiobooks but it sounds pretty rad when authors narrate their own writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As usual, I can always count on you to broaden my horizons with your lists. I have read a Levithan book, although not that particular one, and can see where his books would make great book club selections.


    1. Happy to oblige!

      Levithan’s Every Day was a much needed choice because I’ve heard of its ambiguity (the main character could really be anyone, I’ve been told). And so my brilliant logic was that on the journey of life, whether you believe or not, life is hazy and full of noise; of interpretation and realignment. The point being that through all the gray areas, you need to start discovering things on your own merit–and I believe that was the intent I’d hope to achieve with the choice.

      (I should be a motivation speaker.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Neverwhere was my first Gaiman. It’s still my favorite to this day, and I’ve read quite a bit of his stuff. I haven’t listened to an audiobook of him narrating this book, though, so I probably should remedy this!


    1. I’m not sure if I came across Neverwhere or Coraline first but either way, Gaiman being Gaiman is just spectacular. I think I’d love to listen to his narrating but my propensity for audio comprehension is amazingly bad. Like, I’d imagine most people listen while they do other things. Yeah, I think I’d even fail following the intricacies of the story if I wasn’t doing anything aha.


  4. Mr. Penumbra’s has been on my TBR for a while! I’ve actually really wanted to read something by Matt de la Pena since I read his short story in My True Love Gave to Me. I really liked how he writes with such an awareness of the hispanic-american culture.


  5. Levithan just keeps popping up today, maybe it’s a sign that I really should take a shot at Every Day. And when I’m at it I need to read Neverwhere, of all Gaimans books this one still sitting on one of my TBR piles.

    Like always an inspiring list! 🙂
    Take care,


  6. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any Gaiman yet. But I recently got a copy of Stardust that keeps tempting me from underneath my reading challenge books. Looks like I need to add Neverwhere to my collection, as well as a few others from this list!


  7. I still need to read Ready Player One, Neverwhere, Mr. Penumbra, and Kafka on the Shore. If you had a book club, I’d totally join it with this list!


  8. Every day actually made my list this week too. (for my might read books) Way of Kings has been on my want to read list forever! I’m only afraid to start a longer book while I’m blogging. I’ve owned Neverwhere for years, since I was on a Gaiman kick, but I haven’t read it yet.


    1. I think I like the idea of starting Way of Kings more than actually doing it. Well, no, that’s not all true. If Stormlight Archive is Sanderson’s magnum opus (as I’ve heard) then oh man there’s going to be lots of feels. Not to mention it’s two sets of five books–should I wait? But most importantly: I kind of want to lug around the hardcopy of his books in public so I can be cool with my one-thousand-page-behemoth (maybe that’s just my nerdiness shining though).


      1. Well, I think contemporary is a great choice for a book club as it can be read by a large variety of people, and it offers so many different subject matter choices that there is always something that can appeal to different people. (You know as opposed to sci-fi, or fantasy, which not a whole lot of people read.)


  9. Nice list!! And the thing they all have in common… they all have male protagonists? That’s not really a theme, though.
    But It really is a great list, Kafka On The Shore and More Than This didn’t work for me, but otherwise it’s full of books I have read and loved (Boy21, Ready Player One, Every Day, We Were Here, Golden Boy, Neverwhere)
    And that one, just for you…. Ready Player One (or maybe the Sanderson book?)


    1. I’m sure I could perhaps persuade you to think otherwise in regards to engaging and discussing the journey of a male protagonist as a focus theme.

      And you’re pretty spot on! It is indeed the Sanderson epic that is most definitely more for me than my club haha.


  10. Great list! Looks like a lot of books that could easily generate discussion. Somehow, I have only read one book on your list (Ready Player One), but several others are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read and I’m adding a few more to my long-list TBR.


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