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.
This week’s prompt is books that were too good to review right.
It’s weird, how finding words for a book I found utterly awful come so easily, and sometimes there are four- and five-star reads I can gush on and on about, but it’s those three-star meh it was okay and the ones I absolutely, utterly adore and am mindboggled over that I just cannot find words for?
It’s like in life. Sometimes I can talk and be (somewhat) charming, and other (most) times I just want to run into a cave and never emerge because I literally cannot speak or find the words to express myself.
So here are those books I can’t review because I have no words. I loved them, but nothing I write will ever do them justice or encompass everything I adored.
I did break them up into sections to hopefully help capture why I can never review them properly.
Too Smart for My Pea-Brain
There are a lot of books out there that I am just not smart enough to get. Conversely, there are a lot of books out there where the writing is just not one I can crack or seem to understand what the hell they are saying (a lot of it comes down to font choice as well, certain fonts and I just do not do well when it comes with reading comprehension).
And then there are these four. My favorites, and I love them, but holy hell am I too dumb to either fully grasp (much less explain) the complexities in worldbuilding, the mastery of storytelling, and the layers and layers of nuance built into each one. Which is why I’m not going to break them down individually. They are all brilliant and utterly deserving of all of the awards they received.
These are the authors I would probably thank if they spat on me and didn’t apologize. Hell, I’d even be grateful and call it an honor.
Chock Full of Memories
These books, however, these books I’m going to try to talk about.
I could never review Buffalo Gal objectively. This book was literally my childhood. I reread it more than any book (well over fifty times), and when I returned to it last year for a reading challenge I remembered why I loved it and why I will always keep my battered copy from childhood (it is held together with tape, hope and mold). As a kid, I wrote the author, and he responded and was so kind. It’s an experience I will cherish forever and never forget. While Beauty is Wallace’s best work, Buffalo Gal is my favorite, and I do wish that he’d broken his no-sequels stance and written one for this book.
How do I even encompass the brilliance that is the Vorkosigan Saga? I know I’ve talked about it a lot recently, particularly since I restarted my reread last month, and I thought a lot about maybe focusing too much on it, but there are people who literally talk nonstop about their favorites so why can’t I do the same?
This series is, well. It’s my everything. For the deserted island and only one book question, I’d be torn between A Civil Campaign and Cordelia’s Honor. However, it’s a series not without significant trigger warnings (and flaws, to be sure, although at the time it was considered groundbreaking). These books are the kind that only improve upon each reread because there are so many layers and so much nuance in what seems at first glance to be rather straightforward stories about a hyperactive disabled man on galactic military adventures.
A Straight-Up MOOD
A Psalm for the Wild-Built was not a childhood book, but it was one I wished I could have had in my twenties. This was a book I needed in my twenties, and also in my mid-thirties, which was when I read it. It is philosophical and heartfelt and beautifully written and honest. I feel like it’s a love letter to millennials and the things many of us were promised, and then the smashing door of reality we discovered.
Until the End of the World, and its trilogy and companion trilogy, fall right in line with A Psalm for the Wild-Built. Where at its core The End is about the zombie apocalypse, it’s so much more (I probably should have put the companion trilogy in here instead because it’s even better, but this is the first and also amazing). It’s so good, so stunning, and I will never, ever be able to review it or any of the others properly.
The Goblin Emperor was one of those books that perfectly straddles the too smart for me to get and straight up MOOD books. I never understood the naming conventions, and stopped trying (and got several characters confused because of the names). And the writing is chock full of thees and thines and other archaic language devices. But this book is a MOOD. It’s brilliant and beautiful and so filled with heart that I can’t even begin to full encompass everything. Like the Vorkosigan Saga, it has so many layers.
No Words, Just Reactions
And these are the books I read and adored and was like wtf and basically did a review in gif format.
I read Verity because I saw it literally everywhere, and if you’re just as surprised at me by my inclusion of a Colleen Hoover (who I really do not like) book in this list, then join me in my sorrows because here. we. go. Anywho, my reaction to this one was…this, and it let me both to read Pretty Girls, which was a good choice, and November 9, which was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. So. There’s that. But I did really enjoy this book, and it led me to start reading more thrillers.
I’ve seen Karen Slaughter books a lot (she is very popular in the library), but assumed her books were tame little thrillers about middle aged women and their middle aged angst. I never expected this. Anywho, I read it because I’d read Verity a year ago and then a coworker was listening to this in the office and I was intrigued. Pretty Girls, however, remains I book I cannot thoroughly review in words, although I gave it a solid try before devolving into gifs.
And then there was The End of Everything, which was a book so brilliant and above my head that I didn’t even attempt to try and review it. I just gave my general reactions in gif form.
I also included this book because 1) it’s brilliant and I do believe most folks should give the audiobook a go, and 2) because why do old whyte cis men like to comments on my reviews? Like, fuck you, dude, you are not helpful. At least this comment was supportive (if condescending as hell), unlike the review where I disagreed with the author with examples of why the author was out of touch, and had two men (who hadn’t even read the book) tell me I was wrong. Peak mansplaining, right there.
But that, I suppose, is neither here nor there.