This week’s Top Ten topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is about books that were just too good to review. About a year and a half ago, I posted about books I loved that I didn’t get around to reviewing. Probably this was because of time constraints, though there are other factors: sometimes enough has been said that I don’t feel I have something compelling to add to the discussion, or the book is too hard to describe, or I’m afraid to reveal too much about it. Some books, like classics, are intimidating to review. I also tend not to review books that are part of a series, and I often don’t review romances because I think our reactions to them are very personal.
Here are ten books, since that last post, that I loved but didn’t review — this allows me to call attention to some great reads even if I didn’t have a chance to review them.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro: This was one of my favorite books last year, but it got so much attention I didn’t feel I needed to add anything. But I still think about this story.
Broken: Jenny Lawson’s books are impossible to review, but I love them so much. She has a unique sense of humor and writing style. She can go from laugh out loud funny to heartbreaking in an instant, and I love how much she brings her husband and daughter into her writing.
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamarr: I recommend this book all the time, but I’d have a very hard time reviewing it. How do you make racism funny? Amber Ruffin does it, and in the process makes it very real.
Neverwhere: This is Neil Gaiman’s first novel and it’s wonderful. A lot of times you read older fantasy and you feel like you’ve seen it all before. This one certainly has common elements but I loved every minute. And Gaiman narrating his own book was wonderful, I could listen to him all day long.
Concrete Rose: Read everything by Angie Thomas. Enough said.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy: I can review a classic novel only with a lot of effort and research; otherwise I don’t feel I can do justice to it. I love all of Hardy’s books, and this one was no exception. His characters just leap off the page for me.
A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore. I find romances among the hardest genres to review, because reactions to them tend to be very personal, so I rarely do unless it’s an ARC. I loved the first in the series, Bringing Down the Duke, and this one was maybe even better. I rarely see historical romances with this much depth of character and the history is fascinating.
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones: I found it hard to articulate what I liked so much about this story, but I loved the characters and was moved by the situations they struggled with. I’ve visited Barbados as a tourist but I love a book that gives me new insights about what it’s like to live somewhere.
Transcendent Kingdom: I loved everything about this second novel by Yaa Gyasi. It’s such a compelling story about grief and trauma, and how that affects us as adults.
The Night Watchman: I read almost everything I can by Erdrich and she keeps getting better. I loved that this story is based on her own family.
Those are ten of my favorite recent reads that I didn’t get to review. What keeps you from reviewing a book?