Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Most Recent Five-Star Reads

Check out Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m not always sure what makes me decide between four or five stars for a book. Sometimes I’m just caught up in the emotional impact of the ending—I’m an empathetic sponge—and at some point I’ll decide I should downgrade it to four. I read these ten all in the last five months (the list starts with the most recent), but there were at least twice as many more in the same period that, for whatever reason, I gave four stars instead. In any case, both ratings are going to be books I loved, would recommend, and will probably be talking about for a long time.


If I’ve written something to go with the title, the link will take you to the book’s Goodreads page; if I didn’t write anything, it’s because the link goes to my own review here on the blog.

A Personal Matter, by Kenzaburo Oe

Disturbing and unsettlingly intimate, this book is the newest on my favorites shelf. It’s short, but I took my time getting through it because I was just enjoying every page, savoring the entire experience. I can guess pretty confidently that not everyone will love it like I did, but if you like Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Henry Miller, Toni Morrison—if you’re okay with that darkness in books—you might give this a try.

Black Widow, Vol. 1 and 2, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto

I had to anticipate these for a while because I had a hard time getting hold of them—the trades are surprisingly expensive, almost $30—and I was thrilled to find them more than worth the wait. Unlike so many other great comics, Black Widow isn’t funny. The story is one hundred percent ass-kicking, and the artwork is breathtaking. As much as I love Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Squirrel Girl, even Wonder Woman, Black Widow has got to be my favorite.


Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3 and 4, by G. Willow Wilson, Mark Waid, and Adrian Alphona

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce

Othello, Vol. 1, by Satomi Ikezawa

Step Aside, Pops! by Kate Beaton

If you’re in the mood to laugh so hard you snort and cry, read Kate Beaton. You’ll learn things about history at the same time, so, win-win.

Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova

I haven’t read Lisa Genova’s other books, but I get the impression that if you’ve read them, you’ll know what to expect from this. I cried, hard, a lot. But it’s not just about the sadness of the disease itself (this book is about Huntington’s, a completely terrifying hereditary neurodegenerative disease). The characters are well-written, the dynamics of a family captured perfectly; Joe in particular is just a guy I liked right from the beginning, and being inside his experience made it all the more heartbreaking.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman

A young, precocious protagonist dealing with a very grownup world, similar to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Some mysteries, an element of fantasy, lots of discoveries about the group of people who make up Elsa’s world. I was captivated by the premise, and the book delivered.

H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald

This seems to be fairly hit or miss; either people love it, or they got bored. I can’t predict which experience you’ll have, but for me, it was a beautiful combination of memoir, biography, and nonfiction with the emotional impact of a novel. I loved it.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

That link goes to my review, but I still had to say something about this one. Read it. It’s short, and it’s important. No matter what criticisms you have of it, it will be worth your time.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. I loved H is for Hawk as well! Such beautiful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of the books on your TTT list this week. Time to add more book titles to my ever growing reading wishlist!! Happy reading to you!!

    Here’s a link to my TTT post for this week:

    Liked by 1 person

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