Top Ten Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed from My Shelf

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Black and white photo of a hardcover book that is opening. All of it’s white pages are gently fanning out as the cover slowly moves down towards the the surface the book is lying on. Here is an assortment of library books I’ve borrowed recently and what I thought of them.

This list is random in the sense that I tried to pick a wide variety of genres and topics from the usual assortment of books that I borrow from my local library.

I also included tales that spanned the range from DNF to things I genuinely liked and would recommend to likeminded readers.



Book cover for The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts, #2) by M.R. Carey. Image on cover shows a drawing of the back side of a teenage boy who is wearing baggy pants and a hoodie. He is slightly slouched over and has his back turned to the audience.

1. The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts, #2) by M.R. Carey

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror (It was a cordyceps zombie story, to be specific)

What I Thought Of It: What a wild ride!  It was especially interesting to see how the various crew members got along while on their dangerous mission since there was quite the clash of personalities sometimes. This is a series that needs to be read in order, by the way, unless you enjoy being totally confused by everything that’s going on. Hehe.


Book cover for Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Image on cover is a painting of a dingy white 1800s train travelling down a lonely stretch of train tracks on the prairie as a large fire burns in the background.

2. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

Genre: Nonfiction

What I Thought Of It: This was a well-written deep-dive into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. It included sometimes tragic stories about her childhood that she left out of the Little House books for a variety of reasons. I’d recommend it to hardcore fans of the Little House books who want to know more about this era. The writing was a little dense and academic at times, but it was worth it if you fit into this niche.


Book cover for Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah. image on cover shows a painting of five little black birds sitting on telephone pole wires on a sunny day. There are only a few puffy white clouds in the otherwise blue sky.

3. Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah

Genre: Literary Fiction

What I Thought Of It: I was looking forward to this one, but sadly couldn’t get into the writing style or the slow pacing. It was a DNF for me.


Book cover for The Secret Midwife by Katy Weitz. Image on cover shows a photograph of a young white woman wearing scrubs. She is standing away from the audience. We cannot see her face, but she seems to be in the hallway of a busy hospital, and there is another white woman in scrubs getting something off of a shelf in front of her.

4. The Secret Midwife by Katy Weitz

Genre: Memoir

What I Thought Of It: The stories themselves were quite interesting, but I was disturbed by the paternalism and sexism in the labour and delivery ward. For example, pregnant women were denied pain medicine even after asking for it repeatedly because the midwives didn’t think they really needed it. Shouldn’t the person giving birth be the one making that call? This was another DNF for me.


Book cover for The Power by Naomi Alderman. Image on cover shows a drawing of a red handprint that has grey nerve endings drawing on top of all five fingers and around the palm.

5. The Power by Naomi Alderman

Genre: Science Fiction

What I Thought Of It: I was not a fan of the writing style or character development. While I’m enjoying the show based on it, this was a DNF for me.


Book cover for he Last Cold Place: a Field Season Studying Penguins in Antarctica Naira de Gracia. Image on cover shows three penguins walking close to the viewer on a snowy Antarctic day. The sky above is cloudy with small blue patches of sky visible above the clouds. There are hundreds of other penguins in the distance behind the ones we can see up close on the ground.

6. The Last Cold Place: a Field Season Studying Penguins in Antarctica Naira de Gracia

Genre: Science (Zoology)

What I Thought Of It: What a delightful read. It felt like having a conversation with the author in the best possible sense of that metaphor. Penguins are such interesting animals, and her passion for studying them shone through perfectly.

Book cover for Destination Prairie by Cathie Bartlett. Image on cover shows an oil painting of an olive-skinned, black-haired woman wearing a flowing purple dress. She has her hands on her hips and is holding her dress up so a small portion of it touches the dappled sunlight. She’s standing on top of a hill covered in dead yellow grass and a few hardy trees looking down on the acres of dead grass and a slow, meandering river below her in the valley.

7. Destination Prairie by Cathie Bartlett

Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance

What I Thought Of It: The main character was a sensible, kind woman who worked hard and dreamed of better days. If she were real and lived in 2023, I would happily be her friend. I only wish the author had made this a longer work so that we could dive more deeply into all of the interesting plot twists as they sometimes felt rushed to me.


Filed under Blog Hops

74 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed from My Shelf

  1. I like how you picked a wide variety assortment of lesser-known books. Penguin book—yay! Midwife book—disappointing.

  2. OOooh. Going to add the penguin book as a science prospect.

  3. I’ve had The Power on my TBR for so long and still haven’t read it! I think this might have to be my sign to finally read it.

  4. The Last Cold Place looks good!! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Penguins are so cool.

  5. I’ve always wanted to read that Carey book. It’s cool you have it on your shelf.

  6. I’ve had The Boy on the Bridge and The Power on my TBR for ages now. I haven’t heard anyone talking about the former but I’ve seen mixed things about the latter. Sorry to hear it was a DNF for you though!

  7. What an interesting mix! The Laura Ingalls book sounds interesting since I remember that show rather fondly. The penguin book too sounds delightful. Bummer about Small Joys- I rather liked the cover and went to read the blurb, sounds kinda heavy though.

    • Thanks, Greg. May you enjoy Small Joys if you read it. \

      I’ve only ever seen random episodes of the Little House books here and there, but I liked them.

  8. I don’t think I’ve heard of any of these, but will say, that cover with the penguins is fun! Also, I’m glad that one was a good read for you. It’s a good writer that can draw you in like that. 🙂

  9. I watched The Girl With All the Gifts movie, but I hadn’t thought of picking up the book. I didn’t realise it had a sequel!

    • Wasn’t that a good film? The Boy on the Bridge is technically a prequel, but it should be read second. Sort of like how you should read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before The Magician’s Nephew if you’re following the original publication order. 🙂

  10. Prairie Fires sounds interesting. My family went to see Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s home last year and I bought The Selected Letters of Laura Ingall’s Wilder, but haven’t read it yet.

  11. A great mix of books. I need to get back to the library at some point, but have so many other books to read first!

    Have a great week!

  12. Anita@seriesbooklover

    I really enjoyed The Power when I read it for book group but a lot the group didn’t like it

  13. I need to read The Boy on the Bridge. And Prairie Fires. And the one about the penguins in Antarctica! So many good books on your list. 😀

  14. I, too, did similar and my list includes read, TBR, and DNF – and it all happened by chance. You have also peeked my interest in The Boy on the Bridge, but I am assuming you need to read The Girl with All the Gifts first?

  15. Super choices! I’ve read a couple of other books on Laura Ingalls Wilder or her daughter, Rose, but remember this book coming out. The penguin book is going on my tbr–thanks!

  16. This is a great list! I’ll have to check out The Last Cold Place — scientists studying Antarctica fascinate me, but I seldom remember to look up good books about them.

    My TTT:

  17. I love that you chose library books – libraries are such a great and valuable resource in our communities. Plus, you also picked some incredible choices, even if I haven’t heard of any of them yet. A lot of them look really intriguing and I’m planning to look into them, so thanks for the heads up.

  18. Penguins are my all time favourite animal (especially the little penguin but I am also an equal opportunity penguin enthusiast, so I like ALL penguins!) so I’m adding The Last Cold Place to my TBR!

  19. The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts, #2) by M.R. Carey

    Thank you for listing this one – I had read The Girl with All The Gifts #1 and loved it, then life happened.

    I have added The Boy on the Bridge to read later this year.

    Great list!

  20. I tried the audiobook of The Power and DFN too, the style feels a little dense

  21. I like your mix of books! The penguin book sounds amazing! I’m also enjoying the TV version of The Power more than I liked the book.

  22. I really like the sound of The Last Cold Place x

  23. I’ve not seen the one about Laura Ingalls Wilder before. It sounds interesting, though. I love how eclectic your picks are!

  24. PRAIRIE FIRES sounds super interesting. I’ve actually had a copy since it came out, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. One of these days!

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  25. I need to try The Boy on the Bridge. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Cordyceps zombie story?! Well, I’m intrigued. Great list!

  27. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Small Joys. I really enjoyed that one! It definitely took some getting used to the dialect, though. Happy reading, Lydia!

  28. The Last Cold Place looks good!! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Penguins are so cool.

  29. I’m unfamiliar with all of these books. The Midwife book sounds like it could be an interesting read. It’s incredible how little say women have over their bodies, especially regarding their reproductive rights. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  30. I do like the cover for Small Joys so I’m sorry to hear it was a DNF for you.

  31. I love how 99% of the time you talk about books I haven’t ever heard of. I need to keep Destination Prairie in mind for my bonus mum – that book could be one she’ll enjoy.

  32. I still need to read The Girl with All the Gifts but I hadn’t heard many reviews on the second book so its good to hear you really liked that one as well.

  33. What a great list. I own Prairie Fires, but I haven’t read it yet. I agree with you on the pain meds. I unwillingly, after being given an epidural that did not work, went through natural child birth. Convincing them I was actually in pain was a task that took hours, and by the time someone believed me, it was too late to increase the dosage.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

  34. The midwife book really caught my eye. It’s a shame it was a DNF, it doesn’t make me very hopeful for the book 🙁

  35. RS

    What an interesting assortment of books. I can only imagine what a colorful patchwork your full checkout history must be!

    I can honestly say I’ve never thought of reading about scientists studying penguins, for all I enjoy little video clips of them interesting, but I’m glad it was as delightful as it looks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *