Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want To Reread

In honour of the low-key Re-Readathon that is going on this week – check out Bex’s blog and check it out if you’re interested in participating, I decided to list ten books that I want to re-read. Funny fact about me: I rarely re-read. As in, hardly ever. I’ve read the first four or five books of my favourite book series, the Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd series twice, but besides that I only re-read something if I have to for university. Who knows, maybe this list will give me a gentle kick up the backside. If I was to re-read some literature, these would be my likely books.

And no… I’m not participating in the rereadathon. See above.

Matterhorn – Karl Marlantes: Possibly the best war novel ever written, this is a masterpiece of the English language. It was released to some quiet praise, but wasn’t widely marketed. It is a novel of contrasts – the language used ranges from eloquent and flowing description to stark swearing and biting dialogue. Marlantes uses language to really evoke the battlefield, and considering how much I recommend this novel, I probably should give it a reread.

All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet was the first adult war novel that I read, and I fell in love with it immediately. It launched quite a bit of widespread war and action reading in the years following, but this was the book that started it. I remember having to look up the word ‘latrine’ and ‘mortar’. Oh, the innocence. I wonder how All Quiet would hold up now that I have read so many more war books.

Perfume – Patrick Suskind: Perfume was one of those books that I went into not knowing what to expect. I picked up the Penguin Books ‘popular penguin’ edition before a six hour bus journey, mainly because a TV show had referenced it the day before. I then sat there alternatively terrified and beholden. It’s the only book to scare me so much it actually gave me chills, and it is so beautifully written that I rec it to anyone asking for a creepy recommendation.

Kill Zone – Jack Coughlin: I love the Sniper series by Jack Coughlin, but I think that each book released in the series is weaker than the last. The first book made the main character frighteningly good at sniping, but strangely human. I wonder if the first book is actually as good as I remember, or was it just one of the first books I read about a sniper?

Fair Game – Stephen Leather: Above I said that I had re-read some of the Spider Shepherd series, and Fair Game is one of the later books in the series that I haven’t re-read. But if I remember correctly, it was one of my (and all my friends on goodreads) favourites.) It has Spider Shepherd doing his thing on a ship. I’m such a sucker for naval themes.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak: This is one of those books that deserved all the hype that it got. I loved the narrator and although there were some aspects of the war narrative that bugged me, I loved the story that Zusak told. This is a great gateway drug for hesitant readers too, I’ve recommended it to a few of my older students and they find it challenging but rewarding. I’d love to do a unit plan around this, but I’m unsure if any of the schools would be willing to actually let me teach it.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee: I read To Kill a Mockingbird, or how my dad and I always referred to it, To Mock a Killing-bird, for school and I remember enjoying it at the time, but not actually getting some of the story/language/setting. It was probably introduced too early into my reading career and I although I enjoyed it immensely, I have a feeling I would love it even more if I read it again.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon: This was a read for university that I really enjoyed. My lecturer for that topic had awesome taste in literature, and he put this on the syllabus. He said he wanted to teach The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but that was too long. I actually loved this book and have no interest in reading anything else from Chabon’s back-catalog. I love the noir crime story and the alternative history was a big tick for me at the time.

My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin: Ah… yet another uni read, but this one was a book I was dreading that became a favourite. Miles Franklin wrote this before she was 18 and it is a feminist masterpiece. I would take this over any Austen or Bronte that I have thus far read. I will definitely reread this sometime in the future. The way she ends it… it is amazing. The movie is not a good substitute, that rubbish is rubbish.

The Tunnel Rats – Stephen Leather: A second Stephen Leather for the list, he has been my favourite author for a long time. The Tunnel Rats was my favourite of the pre-Spider Shepherd books, and the book that meant I begged my mum to buy/let me borrow each Stephen Leather book that was released. I reread this one when I was in high school quite a few times because it was the only one of his books that the local library actually had two copies of, so I could normally get one. I want to reread this and bask in the remembrance of being a violent, misunderstood teenager who reads really adult books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and I decided to go through the list of previous topics from before I was participating and select one – and then I realised I can combine it with my Classics Club challenge.

My topic for today is: Top Ten Most Intimidating Books on My Classics Club List. These are all books that I’m silently bricking it over. Seriously… I’m going to need to have some serious hand holding to get through some of these!

I’m not going to go into too much detail about my thoughts of these books, because I’m going to be reading and reviewing each for the classics club – but here we go.

Anna Karenina – Tolstoy: This just scares the bejesus out of me. Seriously – I struggled with War and Peace enough, and the main thing I hear about Anna is that it is romantic. Which I struggle with.

Middlemarch – Eliot: This chunkster is one of those books that seems unnecessarily long. Luckily I’m participating in a readalong, so hopefully I actually get through this one in the next two months.

Moby Dick – Melville: 100 pages of unnecessary description? No thanks. I love all things nautical and boat related… but I’m not sure if I will be able to not skip through scenic and whalic description.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Hardy: I was meant to read this one in third year of my English degree, I read six pages and then picked up the closest, pulpiest novel to cleanse my palette. I put it on my classics club list as a challenge.

The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne: I’m currently reading this as my classics club spin, and although it is fun, I’m struggling to get through the wordage. It’s repetitive and strange, but hilarious.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Hugo: I didn’t even like the movie version of this one, but still added it to my list to be a bitch to myself. I’ll probably keep myself entertained by watching Hunchback clips from Whose Line is it Anyway?

Last of the Mohicans – Cooper: I only know two things about Last of the Mohicans, and that is that it is full of unnecessary description and it’s old. Not two of my favourite things.

The Three Musketeers – Dumas: See above two descriptions, they both apply here.

Ulysses – Joyce: I’ve loved Portrait and Dubliners. But I tried Ulysses and gave in after 50 pages. This shit is scary, and makes no sense. Also, I’m just pretending that Finnegan’s Wake was never written.

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Marquez: … most of my Goodreads friends hated it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best 2016 Releases so far

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday’s topic (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) is best 2016 releases so far in 2016. As I’ve been focusing on reading classics and catching up on some backlist series, I haven’t been as focused on reading new releases in the first half of this glorious year. As a result, I’ve only read 5 – and so I’ve selected my favourite 3 to share with you all in this Top Three Tuesday. It’s still a TTT, so chill.

  1. Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey

nothing short of dying

Have I raved about this book enough in the past month? Trust me, the answer is NO. This book deserves all the accolades and applause (and even then deserves more). I’m really looking forward to Storey’s next work. For a debut, this sure felt like it came from the pen of a seasoned thriller writer. Sharp, vivid and thrilling, it has all the stuff I love – great characters, excellent setting and non-stop action. It’s not even published yet… and I’m SO excited. I feel like I should hold a baby shower for this damn thing – it’s become such a part of the family.

2. The Sandpit by Stephen Leather

the sandpit Oh Spider Shepherd, how I love thee. Of course the latest release in the Spider Shepherd series made this list. It’s only a novella, but if you read it twice that’s novel length, right? It’s a prequel to Hard Landing that I never realised I needed so bad. Life is beautiful now I have my own copy. You know you love a book when you get a netgalley copy but still buy a copy just so you can own it. Also, I don’t want Stephen Leather to starve to death (not that I think we’re in danger of that) so I need to keep supporting him. It’s important to feed and water your favourite author.


3. In The Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride

In The Cold Dark Ground is a favourite from early (like the first days of January) 2016. Logan McRae’s latest outing is such a great novel – it draws so much of the drama from the last arc to a close and opens new doors for McRae to walk through. Not that I’m saying he’ll manage, most likely he will find himself locked in a cargo container being shipped to the other side of the world, while trying to keep a beautiful woman from bleeding to death and realising that all the crates are filled with venemous snakes that just want to be close to him. Or he’ll eat one of his victims. You never know with Stuart MacBride. This is why I don’t write books. My ideas are shite, but I’m content with that because I let the experts, like MacBride, do the heavy lifting for me. Pick up this book. It is worth your time. I purchased it in hardcover and had to have lentil soup for the next two weeks to afford it.


Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year


Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases in the Second Half of 2016. I’ve included releases from July, August and early September. I’ll probably do another list similar to this in late August/early September when more release dates are available. One of my favourites, Geoffrey McGeachin’s Charlie Berlin series, will be due for a new book soon, but so far I haven’t heard anything about it.


Sean Black’s The Edge of Alone – July 10. The 7th in a great series about Ryan Lock, who works in private security but always seems to find himself in deep trouble. Already pre-ordered.

Scott McEwen’s Ghost Sniper – July 12. A favourite series of mine, and one of the few American military fiction authors who I don’t want to give a lesson on tolerance to. His characters are real, but so so tough. Will buy on kindle.

Ace Atkins’s The Innocents – July 12. I’m hoping that this one can recapture the awesomeness that was the early releases of this series. Has one of the most memorable sidekicks ever written in Boom. Netgalley copy.

Alex Kava’s Reckless Creed – July 26. Cute series about a man (called Creed) who trains service dogs. They are still thrilling, but I will admit to reading mostly because of the dogs.

Stephen Leather’s Dark Forces – July 28. SPIDER SHEPHERD! The best UK thriller series, in my humble opinion. My favourite series, and I always pre-order this one. (and often end up with a hardback and kindle copy.)

Jack Coughlin’s Long Shot – August 16. Excellent series about a sniper – was the first American military fiction author that I ever enjoyed. The last book made some questionable choices regarding characters and who would be featured in this book, but I’m waiting to see how this one turns out. Will order from library.

Erik Storey’s Nothing Short of Dying – August 16. I’ve already read this one! AND IT WAS SO GOOD. Expect more fapping, more hyping and lots of 5 star reviews for Nothing Short of Dying. Best thriller debut of 2016, hands down. Netgalley copy.

Chris Ryan’s Bad Soldier – August 25. The Fourth book in the Danny Black series. Each one is just as good as the previous release – all have been four star reads for me. Black is a believable character who you can’t help but root for. Will order from library.

David McCaleb’s Recall – August 30. I’ve never read McCaleb’s work before (he might be a debutant for all I know), but I saw Recall on netgalley and immediately wanted to request it. I’m trying to get ahead of my reviewing queue before I request any more, but this is high up my list of anticipated new releases. Netgalley/kindle copy.

William Kent Krueger’s Manitou Canyon – September 6. Kreuger writes atmospheric thrillers, of which I have read three or four, but I am so behind on the Cork O’Conner series I know I should just pick up the next book in the series and read my way up to these new releases.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Readathons


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the lovely peeps at The Broke and The Bookish. Every week the challenge is to list 10 things/books of a certain theme/question. 

So – if you have been hanging around Ranty Runt of a Reader for any period of time, you might have observed that I LOVE readathons. Here’s my list of 9 things I love about readathons, and one thing I dislike about them.

  1. I read all the things. During a week long readathon, I usually finish between 4-6 books. That’s the same number of books I would normally read in a month on average. In a 24 hour readathon I might knock off a book and a half.
  2. Readathons force me to read different genres. I read lots of thriller novels – I’d say 75% of my reading would fall in the thriller genre. But if you read six thriller novels back to back, things can get repetitive, boring and slumpy. Normally, I would include a classic and something sci-fi or fantasy themed in my TBR. If I read a romance – chances are it was during a readathon.
  3. They usually are flexible with book choice. I don’t read YA or romance – and many book blogging events revolve around those two genres. Readathons generally don’t force you to read a certain genre/book, so I feel I can participate equally with those who DO read those genres.
  4. I get excited to read. During a readathon, I need to strategically prioritize reading over other things, like hobbies, TV and work. I’m excited to add to my page count, to finish a book, to review a book. During a readathon, I’m more excited about everything.
  5. I meet new bookish people. Readathons usually have a sign-up link, and part of my preparation for a readathon is to check out other people’s blogs and friend them if I find them interesting. It’s also great to meet people who blog about different authors/genres.
  6. They provide a hook to my blog. Sometimes, I don’t post as regularly as I would wish. I program the dates of readathons into my phone (especially the bigger events) and even when I’m not feeling like blogging, a readathon will at least get me to crack open a book. Also, most likely lead me to reading other peoples blogs, and then I provide my own with some love. They are events that hook me back into blogging.
  7. They provide different content. Sometimes blogging can start to feel stale. When I first started, all I did was reviews, and that became old quick. Readathons provide something else to write about, but doesn’t require much research or preparation. Challenges within readathons are GREAT for this.
  8. Readathons continue blogging traditions/memories. Some of the more established readathons have become institutions within the blogging community. Events like Bout of Books have been running for so long that it seems like my calendar is divided into the three parts of the year between ‘thons. Also, Dewey’s 24hr readathon keeps the memory of a passed blogger. This is all important for our community.
  9. I get students to read in class. When I am teaching, and a readathon happens to be at the same time, I tell ALL my students about the readathon. Then when it’s time for silent reading I inform students that it’s my readathon time and then we see how much we can read.

And number 10. I always find out about readathons too late. I constantly find wrap-up posts/videos or update posts from during the readathon. I know there’s a couple blogs out there that try to keep track of these things, but so far no list I’ve found has been that comprehensive and kept up to date. Am I missing a resource here?

Are you hosting a readathon? Let me know. Do you love them as much as I do? Do you hate them (are you even human?)? Why?