Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020 (plus July!)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020.

I do fee like I’ve covered this topic already in previous TTT posts (like my winter 2020 TBR list and a list of upcoming ARCs), but what the heck — I never get tired of making top 10 lists! So, here are ten MORE books releasing between now and the middle of July that I’m super excited to read.

  1. Parable of the Sower graphic novel (1/28)
  2. Meat Cute by Gail Carriger (2/16)
  3. When We Were Magic by Sarah Gaily (3/3)
  4. The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey (4/14)
  5. Malorie by Josh Malerman (5/19)
  6. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (5/19)
  7. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (5/26)
  8. The Ghosts of Sherwood by Carrie Vaughn (6/9)
  9. Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher (7/14)
  10. The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut, #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal (7/14)

What new releases are you most looking forward to in 2020? Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

Let us now praise gorgeous books

My photos simply won’t do this book justice, but I still have to share. I was so excited to get this delivered this week:

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It’s a brand new release — a graphic novel adaptation of the late, great Octavia Butler’s masterpiece Kindred.

A few more peeks:

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I hope to start reading this graphic novel this week. Kindred is an amazing book — if you haven’t read the original novel, do it now!! I can’t wait to see if the power and intensity of the book translate well into graphic novel format.

I’ll let you know!

Flashback Friday: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

It’s time, once again, for Flashback Friday…

Flashback Friday is a chance to dig deep in the darkest nooks of our bookshelves and pull out the good stuff from way back. As a reader, a blogger, and a consumer, I tend to focus on new, new, new… but what about the old favorites, the hidden gems? On Flashback Fridays, I want to hit the pause button for a moment and concentrate on older books that are deserving of attention.

If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

(published 1993)

When a friend with exquisite taste in books first recommended this book to me, I delayed and dawdled. It just didn’t sound like something I’d want to read — too Biblical, perhaps? Not at all, she assured me. Just give it a try, she cajoled. When I finally read it, I could have kicked myself. Why, oh why did I wait to read this book? This masterpiece by Octavia Butler scared the heck out of me, kept me up nights, and simply enthralled me.

From Publishers Weekly:

Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Butler’s first novel since 1989’s Imago offers an uncommonly sensitive rendering of a very common SF scenario: by 2025, global warming, pollution, racial and ethnic tensions and other ills have precipitated a worldwide decline. In the Los Angeles area, small beleaguered communities of the still-employed hide behind makeshift walls from hordes of desperate homeless scavengers and violent pyromaniac addicts known as “paints” who, with water and work growing scarcer, have become increasingly aggressive. Lauren Olamina, a young black woman, flees when the paints overrun her community, heading north with thousands of other refugees seeking a better life. Lauren suffers from ‘hyperempathy,” a genetic condition that causes her to experience the pain of others as viscerally as her own–a heavy liability in this future world of cruelty and hunger. But she dreams of a better world, and with her philosophy/religion, Earthseed, she hopes to found an enclave which will weather the tough times and which may one day help carry humans to the stars. Butler tells her story with unusual warmth, sensitivity, honesty and grace; though science fiction readers will recognize this future Earth, Lauren Olamina and her vision make this novel stand out like a tree amid saplings.

Parable of the Sower sets the bar high for dystopian fiction. In a world that is scarily recognizable, as the planet warms and resources become scarce, one young woman finds the strength to lead a makeshift family north toward a better life, guided by her vision of a new faith and a new future. The novel takes place only a little over a decade from now, and it’s all too easy to see that Octavia Butler’s fictional world isn’t that far from reality. Lauren Olamina is an unforgettable heroine, and while her story has more than its share of awful inhumanity and depravity, it has moments of loveliness, inspiration, and connection as well.

Whether or not you typically read science fiction, don’t miss out on Parable of the Sower and its powerful sequel, Parable of the Talents.

So, what’s your favorite blast from the past? Leave a tip for your fellow booklovers, and share the wealth. It’s time to dust off our old favorites and get them back into circulation!¬†

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday bloghop, post about a book you love on your blog, and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!



My top 5 favorite timey-wimey books

It’s September 1st, and you know what that means, right? It’s the return of the Doctor! (And if you’re asking, “Doctor who?”, the answer is — yes!). The BBC’s Doctor Who returns for a much-anticipated 7th season tonight, and Whovians everywhere are dusting off their bowties and sonic screwdrivers in preparation for another fantastic journey through time and space.

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… timey wimey… stuff” – The Doctor

Inspired by the Doctor, step inside my TARDIS (that’s Time and Relative Dimension in Space, for the uninitiated) for a tour of my favorite timey-wimey books — books that deal with time travel, time slips, or just plain old time-related weirdness.

1) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I was just swept away by this mind-bending journey through a relationship between a woman who is fixed in time and a man who is not. Claire meets Henry when she is six years old; Henry meets Claire when she is 21. Early on, they discuss their temporal relationship in comparison to a Mobius strip, and it’s an apt metaphor. Older Henry visits child Claire; young Henry visits older Claire. In the midst of all the comings and goings, they find true love. At once tragic and beautiful, this book will make your head spin as you try to puzzle out whether the words “before” and “after” have any meaning whatsoever. This was one of the very few books that I began reading a second time immediately upon reaching the end the first time through, just to see how the pieces fit together knowing what was still to come.

2) Kindred by Octavia Butler

As Kindred opens in the mid-1970s, Dana is an African American woman in her 20s, happily married to a white man and living a contented life. She is yanked back through time to the ante-bellum South, where time and again she must intervene to save the life of her ancestor Rufus, son of a slave-owner. Dana’s experiences are shocking, raw, and brutal, and the effect upon her and her marriage is indelible. Kindred is less about time travel than about slavery, power, and freedom. It is a shocking book, and packs a powerful punch. Not to be missed.

3) Replay by Ken Grimwood

Replay is not about time travel, but the timey-wimey weirdness is here just the same. At age 43, unfulfilled and bored, Jeff Winston has a heart attack and dies… but wakes up again in his 18-year-old body, with his whole life ahead of him again, and with all the memories of his previous life. Is this a chance to right old wrongs? to set a new path for himself? to make an impact on the world? Jeff relives his life, but with alterations along the way, all the way through to age 43, when he dies again… and so on, and so on, and so on. Each time around, Jeff comes back to himself just a bit later, and each time around he thinks he’s found the way to get it right — but of course, life isn’t something you can plan for or make turn out just the way you want. Replay is hard to explain, but marvelous to read.

4) Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson

Until a couple of years ago, I actually had no idea this was a book. I fell in love with the lush romance of the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour movies years ago, and was astonished to find the book at a used book sale. And by Richard Matheson, no less — someone who really knows how to tell a story. Richard is a modern man who falls in love with a woman in a photo from decades earlier, and using the power of his mind, finds a way to travel back in time to be with her. Passionate and intense, this is yet another interesting spin on a journey through time. (For more details, you can see my Goodreads review here).

5) 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I love Stephen King, am fascinated by the Kennedy assassination and all the associated conspiracy theories, and adore reading about time travel. Clearly, this massive novel was right up my alley! Given the opportunity to travel back through time and avert a national tragedy, would you? Should you? 11/22/63 is a combination of time travel, historical fiction, and romance, and it works. As I say in my review, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

I’m leaving out some other great ones, not because I don’t love them — I do! I really do! — but because time’s a-wasting, and I must move on. So I’ll wrap this up with a list of a few other favorite books full of timey-wimey goodness. Let me know what time-related books you’ve enjoyed!

More time-travel, time-slip, and time oddities:

Outlander (and sequels) by Diana Gabaldon (which I didn’t include in my top 5 despite my mad love for them, just because I’m always raving about these books to the point of sounding like a broken record. Read these books! There, ’nuff said.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling — the book that introduced my children to the brain-twisting concept of time travel!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen
The Future of Us by Jay Asher
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Lightning by Dean Koontz
The Sound of Thunder (short story) by Ray Bradbury