Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
August 27: Today’s topic is… Books I’ve Read That I’d Like In My Personal Library (perhaps you checked it out, borrowed it from a friend, received it for review, etc. and want to own it yourself.) (Submitted by Annemieke @ A Dance with Books)
I usually do this type of list counting down from 10 to 1 but I’m doing it backwards this time because the #1 slot is important and oh, the feelings it sparks.
This can also be called the exceedingly random list of books no one has heard before because they are mainly (not all) some random 90s to early 2000s titles I read as a child or middle schooler. Just imagine dashes between each of those words. :’D They’re books that were special to me in some moment in time and forgotten due to obscurity.
1.) A Thousand Years Of Dreams by Kiyoshi Shigematsu (Translated into English by Jay Rubin.)
I’m kind of stretching the meaning of this prompt by including this title but technically it is a book I like that I don’t have, as it doesn’t quite exist in traditional formats. If you’re open to sad but beautiful short stories with meaningful themes I highly suggest adding these 3 videos- video 1, video 2, and video 3 to your Watch Later list on Youtube. The only prior knowledge you’ll need is that there is a main character mentioned at times, his name is Kaim and he is immortal and just travels around and meets people. These stories were written by an author in Japan named Kiyoshi Shigematsu, translated incredibly by Jay Rubin who translated Haruki Murakami’s novels and these stories are some of my favorite ever. Some of the best I’ve read in my entire life and the music is no slouch either. So the real tragedy? They have never been printed on paper in English. Yet they do exist in English, housed as a mini-game of sorts in an out of print old RPG for the Xbox 360 called Lost Odyssey. It kills me that the avid readers who will be most moved by these stories may never be able to experience them or know of their existence. They are classically presented short stories, made powerful by their prose. Those three videos above are just a taste of the collection of stories of varying tones. Totally recommend checking them out and I am hoping and dreaming that someday that collection of stories will be reproduced by a publisher and that any of Kiyoshi Shigematsu’s other work might one day be translated because I will instant-buy and beg every library within miles to carry his work.
2.) All the fairytale retellings by Donna Jo Napoli
So I was daydreaming one day and conjured some fantasy of all of this author’s fairytale retellings (which average from 120 pages to 250 pages or so, middle grade books) reproduced in a giant hardcover coffee table book with all the covers as illustrations within and some nice built in bookmark like the ones Barnes and Nobles classics have. It would be so beautiful and precious. I haven’t even read all of her work yet, the ones I’ve read and STRONGLY recommend are Sirena, Spinners, The Magic Circle, Daughter of Venice (not a fairytale retelling but whatever) and The Wager. Still need to read Beast, Zel, Bound, and a slew of others. Highly, highly recommend this author.
My father bought this for me for my birthday when I was 6-8 years old (not sure when) but I wasn’t interested at all and he ended up selling it some years later. This was a hardcover with gorgeous illustrations and I still remember its pristine, new book condition that cannot possibly be experienced again in the here and now. Since this is such an older edition. 1000% sure I would love this book now and properly appreciate it.
4.) Dangerous Angels and others by Francesca Lia Block
Francesca Lia Block was that magical realism YA author from literally 20 years ago, making YA books before YA was a thing and making magical realism since before it was popularly used as a term, I think. My library had several of her books and I feverishly devoured every one despite being a bit too young for its more mature subject matter. I don’t know how I’d feel about her dreamy writing style now, kind of scared actually, but pretty sure there’d still be some affection there. At least powered by nostalgia.
Read an ARC of this before I knew what ARCs were, years and years ago. Did a report on it for middle school or highschool I think it was. Interesting but heavy book. I have no clue where the ARC is now but would be curious to revisit the final version which, I think, has fewer pages. Parts may have been excised and I do remember moments from the ARC that seemed alarming and would probably get cut out of the final version. To my understanding this book received mixed reviews and there was some controversy having to do with the author, the nature of which I’m not certain. It was a good book anyhow.
This book has the distinction of being checked out 20+ times (all by me) from my mother’s college library’s children’s section. I recall feeling very angry at the cover because it was so ugly and plain and the whatever the book was about was exciting and fun and colorful. Plus, I hated this shade of green when I was 6 or so, so that didn’t help, lol. No clue what this book is about, don’t remember even the slightest bit of it.
Library book, review here.
8. ??? by ???
I’ll have to check r/whatsthatbook for this some time but it was a children’s or middle grade book about adults all dying off and kids struggling to survive. Written in a very odd and clinical way for a children’s book, lots of descriptions of dead kids wtf? Eventually the children decide to make a very precocious little girl their leader and she has some office where she doles out food rations and gives the kids assignments for resource gathering. (Warning, spoilers for this unknown book follow**) The ending was grim and shockingly dark for a kid’s book. Basically, they never find any surviving adults. There is no cure for this odd epidemic. Everyone continues to die after the age of 10 or so. The little girl decides she will pick a successor after she dies and they just somehow manage to organize until the end of the world since nobody can procreate under these conditions. I may be wrongly remembering some details. Anyway, would LOVE to find this one again and own it because w t f.
No idea what this one was about. Something about girls who are best friends. I remember they were dancers and I had zero interest in dancing, but adored their enthusiasm. I remember it made me cry and no book I’d read prior had ever had that effect. It has a film adaptation that might be worth looking up. But random forgotten little 90s movies can be hard to find outside of buying used dvds on Amazon.
I remember a shocking amount of this book for not having read it in so long. A girl who idolizes Etta James is trying to survive. She comes from a broken family, and moves in with various people who abandon her. She seems to have some sort of developmental delay. If I remember correctly this was middle grade and wow, there are a lot of heavy middle grade books. Anywho, I recall really clicking with Nolan’s writing style and should probably seek to read more titles by her.
Thank you all for reading this exhaustively long list! I hope I didn’t ramble too long about these selections. Have you read any of these titles or authors? Any interest in these books? Are you doing this post on your blog? I’d love to read about your top 10 books you’ve read and liked but don’t yet own. Any questions or comments are very welcome, as always.