My Top Five Books from My Unread Shelf
One of my reading goals for 2018 is to read more of the books I already own but have not read yet; there is even a whole bookstagram movement about it, #theunreadshelfproject2018. When I counted at the beginning of the year, there were over 70 unread books on my bookshelves, and two months into the year, I am pretty sure that number is closer to 85. Whoops. Anyways, of the books on my unread shelf, these are the ones I am most looking forward to reading.
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Goodreads Description: At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.
Why I’m Excited: After reading Anne of Green Gables last year, I bought the box set of all the Anne books and have been excited about getting back into Anne Shirley’s world again. I am hoping she stays just as sassy, but also gives Gilbert Blythe a chance. I have a feeling she will.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Goodreads Description: In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.
Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator oachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.
Why I’m Excited: I haven’t read much of Ann Patchett’s work, only Commonwealth and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, but I loved both of those. I have heard nothing but great things about Bel Canto, so I thought I would give her most well-known book a try.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Goodreads Description: Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890's, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.
They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.
Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.
Why I’m Excited: I first heard about The Essex Serpent from Annie at the Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia on her podcast, From the Front Porch. I then bought it last year because how gorgeous is the cover? And I love almost every book I have ever read that is based in England, so there’s that. I can’t wait to read this one.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Goodreads Description: Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Why I’m Excited: I bought this on Kindle last year after everyone raved about it. Then I read Little Fires Everywhere earlier this year and absolutely loved Celeste Ng’s writing. So now I am itching to read her debut and see what all the fuss is about.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Goodreads Description: With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Why I’m Excited: I really enjoyed Rules of Civility a few years ago, so I’m excited to read anything by Amor Towles. I have heard mixed things about A Gentleman in Moscow, some have said it’s too long, but I just love the way he creates the atmosphere of his novels. I got this from Book of the Month Club sometime last year, but have not gotten around to it yet, so this is definitely high up on my list to read this year.
I have plenty more unread books on my shelves, but these are the ones that I am most excited about.
What books do you own that you haven't read yet? Are any of these on your unread shelf?