The Golden Horse

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Summer 2022 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. I love setting a seasonal TBR even though my picks are hardly ever summery, wintery etc. My main focus at the moment is my Read the World Project as my self-imposed deadline is the end of September. I have 11 countries/books still to read so they are my priority. I have eight books on my TBR for my Read the World Project and two for the 12 Books from 12 Friends challenge. If you happen to know of any writers (whether their novelists, non-fiction writers, poets, or playwrights) from Monaco, Liechtenstein, or Tuvalu please let me know – they’re the last countries I need to find some sort of book for.

The Golden Horse: A Novel About Triumph and Tragedy Building the Panama Railroad by Juan David Morgan
My read for Panama is a saga of the events that transpired as a result of the rivalry between New York shipping magnates, William Aspinwall and Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the enormous personal cost that was borne by the people involved in the construction of the Panama Railroad built during the California Gold Rush.

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska
My read for North Macedonia is set in 1984 and follows twins who are conjoined at the head, their life as they grow up considered freaks by even their family, and how they struggle to decide if they want to be surgically separated from one another. I have tried to read this once and couldn’t really get into it at the time because it’s more of a literary fiction style which I don’t read so often but hopefully second time’s a charm.

Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo
My read for Madagascar is the first novel from Madagascar to ever be translated into English and it’s set in the nineteenth century and it’s about the relationship between a slave and his master’s daughter.

Ali and Nino by Kurban Said
My read for Azerbaijan is a novel about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku in the years 1918–1920. Had this one on my kindle for a while and I think a historical star-crossed romance will be a pretty quick read.

Armenian Golgotha by Grigoris Balakian
My read for Armenia is memoir about Grigoris Balakian’s eyewitness account of the Armenian Genocide which happened from 1915-1918. I have started this, as in I’ve read the introduction and background info as it is a chunky book about a heavy topic, and I think when I do read it properly I’ll read it in parts so I don’t get too overwhelmed by it.

I, the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos
My read for Paraguay is a fictionalised account of the nineteenth-century Paraguayan dictator José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. Out of all the Read the World Project books I have left to read this is the one I know the least about.

Weeding the Flowerbeds by Sarah Mkhonza
My read for Eswatini is a memoir about Mkhonza’s childhood at a boarding school in the seventies where there’s a lot of strict rules. Another one I did start for a readathon but couldn’t get into at the time. It is a short book at less than 200 pages so if I just sat down and read it I could probably read it in a day.

The Fury and Cries of Women by Angèle Rawiri
My read for Gambon follows Emilienne’s life through her university studies, marriage, children, work, and how she tries to search for what feminism means to her while dealing with cultural expectations and the taboos of sex and motherhood.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
This 12 Challenge book is one I don’t think I’d even heard of before it was recommended to me which is half the fun of the challenge. It looks to be a contemporary YA about a teen who’s struggling with his cultural identity and mental health. I don’t read contemporary YA that often so I’m looking forward to seeing what I make of it.

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
One of the 12 Challenge books. This is one I’d definitely seen people talk about online. I know it’s the first book in a fantasy series translated from French and that’s about it to be honest. I don’t really have the time to start new series’ but I’ll give this a go and see if I want to continue with it.

What are you hoping to read over the next few months?

Magical Readathon: Spring Equinox TBR

The Magical Readathon is the brainchild of Gi at BookRoast on YouTube and now we’ve completed the Novice Path, we are in our first year of exams. Previously the Magical Readathon was based on Harry Potter and its exams but Gi has now created her own magical world and university and it’s truly impressive. Like the previous iteration of the Magical Readathon, the aim is to read books that fill the prompts for the subjects you need to pass in order to be able to do the magical career of your choice. Gi’s announcement video explains it all and she has a variety of documents that can guide you. This round of the Magical Readathon, the Spring Equinox exams, is a month-long readathon through the entirety of April. The Autumn Equinox exams/readathon will take place in August.

The career I want to work towards is Moon Warden (though it was so hard to choose) which means in this round of the Magical Readathon I need to read 5 books for the prompts Art of Illusion, Astronomy, Elemental Studies, Restoration and Spells & Incantations. As usual though, I’ve had a look at my TBR and tried to find a book for each of the 14 prompts so I can read as much as possible and then give me more choice when it comes to my magical career path.

TomeTopple hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes is happening in April as well (from 15th-29th and the aim is to read books over 500 pages) so that will be some extra inspiration for at least one of the prompts.

As usual with readathons I try to have a mixture of genres and include as many books for my Read the World Project as possible. One of the only rules with the Magical Readathon is that you can’t double up on prompts so one book = one prompt. However, as you’ll see below, I sometimes have multiple suggestions for a prompt and some books can fit more than one prompt but I promise I won’t use a book for more than one prompt.

Art of Illusion – book with a trope you like
The Ivory Key by Ashaya Raman or The Fortunes of Wangrin by Amadou Hampâté Bâ
The Ivory Key is the first book in a fantasy duology and a book I got in a subscription box. The fact that in the author’s note it said she was a fan of the film National Treasure and was inspired by that is what made me most interested in this book. I love that film and adventure/puzzle stories. On the blurb of The Fortunes of Wangrin it describes the titular character as a “rogue and an operator, hustling both the colonial French and his own people” and I do love a morally grey character.

Astronomy – top of your TBR
Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo
I’m using my latest Top Ten Tuesday post as inspiration for this prompt, so really any of the books there could be what I end up reading. Beyond the Rice Fields is set in the nineteenth century and it’s about the relationship between a slave and his master’s daughter.

Elemental Studies – Book under 100 pages
The Desert and the Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk
OK I am cheating slightly here as the kindle edition I have is 111 page long but I can not find a book on my TBR that has less than 100 pages. Gi’s always saying it’s fine to tweak prompts to fit (and it’s not like she’d know) so that’s what I’m doing here.

Spells & Incantations – a collection of short stories/essays or an individual short story/essay
From Timor-Leste to Australia: Seven families, Three Generations Tell Their Stories edited by Jan Trezise
I have this on my kindle which is a collection of stories and poems from East Timorese families living in Melbourne whose experiences belong to that long history of human tragedy created where violent conflict of power, land and resources takes place, inevitably visiting on ordinary people, disruption and loss.

Restoration – book featuring healers
Angel Mage by Garth Nix or A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
I wasn’t sure if any of the books on my shelves featured healers but thanks to recommendations on the Magical Readathon Twitter I discovered I had a couple on my shelves. Out of the two I’m more likely to read Angel Mage as it’s a standalone and I’ve previously read and enjoyed a lot of Garth Nix’s other work.

Alchemy – read a book featuring romance
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales or Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
I don’t tend to read a lot of romance books but I have a few on my shelves, and to be honest, a lot of books feature some form of romance so this isn’t too hard a prompt to fill.

Animal Studies – a quick read
Chaka by Thomas Mofolo (and probably any of the books for the Alchemy prompt)
Chaka is less than 170 pages so that definitely has the potential of being a quick read. Plus, I tend to find YA contemporary stories pretty quick to get through so they’d work for this prompt too.

Artificery – Earth setting
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas or The Fury and Cries of Women by Angèle Rawiri
This is one that’s pretty easy to fill as the vast majority of my Read the World books are set on Earth. Concrete Rose is the prequel to The Hate U Give which I loved and I’ve been wanting to read it for ages. I believe The Fury and Cries of Women follows Emilienne’s life through her university studies, marriage, children, work, and how she tries to search for what feminism means to her while dealing with cultural expectations and the taboos of sex and motherhood.

Conjuration – source of light on the cover
QuixotiQ by Ali Al Saeed
This is a book I’ve already started once but struggled a bit with but as it’s less than 200 pages long it’s the perfect time to give it another go for a readathon, and as you can see, it has the sun on the cover.

Demonology – word “shadow” in the book/series title
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
A Gathering of Shadows is the only book I have on my TBR that has “shadow” in the title but it has been six(!) years since I read the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, so I’d need to reread that in order to carry on with the series. I’m not sure if A Darker Shade of Magic fits into any of these prompts so I may just have to scrap Demonology as a subject/prompt and any careers that need it.

Inscription – an intimidating read
The Golden Horse by Juan David Morgan or Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-198 by Grigoris Balakian
I find both these books intimidating as they are rather chunky and, in the case of Armenian Golgotha, I think it’s going to be a tough read.

Lore – mythology-inspired book
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
This is an Arthurian retelling and as the sequel is out later this year, this is the perfect time to read a it – and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Psionics & Divination – book set in the future
This is the one prompt I do not have any books that can fill it. I don’t have any sci-fi books on my shelves, which are usually the most obvious books set in the future, and nothing else I’ve read the blurb of makes it seem it’s set in the future. Looks like any careers that needs Psionics & Divination won’t be in my future.

Shapeshifting – creature with claws on the cover
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan or She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Both books have a dragon on the front cover which definitely has claws and A Natural History of Dragons would be an audiobook read.

And that’s my Spring Equinox TBR! Are you taking part in the Magical Readathon? If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear what you think of them. As for Tome Topple, of the books mentioned here, Angel Mage, Legendborn and Armenian Golgotha are over 500 pages so I may try and read them when Tome Topple is happening. Also I do have the A-Z in April Challenge next month too. I already have over half the posts scheduled so hopefully that won’t take up too much of my reading time.