Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Red, White and Blue Covers

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello lovely people! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s Red, White and Blue theme is in honour of the 4th of July in the USA but we can use our own country’s colours if we prefer. I am British so my country’s colours are luckily red, white and blue too! I have tried to pick books that I haven’t featured in too many previous TTT posts for a bit of variety and these are all books I have enjoyed very much!

1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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Summary: from Goodreads

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Why I Loved It:

This is such a visceral and fast paced book which I thoroughly enjoyed. It is obviously a harrowing subject and some parts of The Underground Railroad are incredibly difficult to read but it is so important to read books that challenge us. The book is written beautifully and in quite an unusual style which I enjoyed. As a reader I felt like I was on Cora’s journey as she runs from the despicable slave catcher – I was holding my breath at certain points as the story raced to it’s conclusion. I would highly recommend this fantastic and original book.

2. The Outsider by Stephen King

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Summary: from Amazon

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.
Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.
As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.
Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

Why I Loved it:

I must confess that before reading The Outsider I had never read ANY of Stephen King’s work! I think it’s because I associate his books with horror which is a genre I don’t read a lot of mostly because I’m pretty easily spooked! However I heard this was more of a crime/thriller which is a genre I love and although there definitely are some horror-esque parts of The Outsider I did find it to be quite thriller like. I raced through this pretty long book. It was so incredibly compelling and although it is pretty dark, it does have some amusing moments which I think is great. I loved my first foray into King’s work and I can’t wait to read more. I just bought Mr Mercedes as I think it centres around some characters who are in The Outsider!

3. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

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Summary: from Goodreads

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

Why I Loved It:

I love all of Fredrik Backman’s books and Beartown and it’s folllow-up, Us Against You, are simply superb. This book has everything but mostly it’s about people and how everyone has both darkness and light within them. I have previously written a full review for Us Against You if you want to give it a read but here I’ll just say if you’ve never read a Fredrik Backman novel then I really suggest giving them a shot!

4. Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman

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Summary: from Amazon

In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a’clear as water’ retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.
From the quests and romance of classics such as ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ to the danger and wit of such lesser-known tales as ‘The Three Snake Leaves’, ‘Hans-my-Hedgehog’ and ‘Godfather Death’, Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story’s background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.
These new versions show the adventures at their most lucid and engaging yet. Pullman’s Grimm Tales of wicked wives, brave children and villainous kings will have you reading, reading aloud and rereading them for many years to come.

Why I Loved It:

I am a huge fan of Fairy Tales in general and the Grimm Brothers tales in particular. They are all fascinating and age old stories in their own right but it’s especially interesting to read Pullman’s commentary on these well-known fairytales. It’s a great book with a gorgeous cover and if you like finding out more about the classic tales like Rapunzel and Snow White then you will love this book!

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Summary: from Amazon

As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is now broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves, and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin – Harry must stand and face his enemy.

Why I Loved It:

The Harry Potter series is crucially important to me and I really love this white cover of The Deathly Hallows, I think it’s a bit more grown up and gorgeously designed! I love the seventh book – my favourite is still Prisoner of Azkaban but I love how much more we find out in the last part of the series and how beautifully and intricately it ties the story together and concludes the series!

6. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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Summary: from Amazon

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, the boys develop a tender friendship, a bond which blossoms into something deeper as they grow into young men.
But when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Achilles is dispatched to distant Troy to fulfil his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Why I Loved It:

Song of Achilles is one of my favourite ever books. I adore Greek Mythology and nobody does it justice better, in my opinion, than the supremely talented Madeline Miller. She keeps the essence and language of Mythology totally believable whilst also making her books completely accessible. It’s an amazing story beautiful told and I love this gold and red cover too!

7. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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Summary: from Amazon

The million copy bestseller, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.
When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

Why I Loved It:

This book honestly destroyed me completely. I don’t think I have ever been so affected by a book before. It’s such a special and well written book but incredible tough to read due to it’s sheer trauma and emotional impact. I highly recommend it but not if you’re feeling a bit vulnerable or are in a difficult place emotionally because it is truly heart-wrenching. I have written a full review of A Little Life if you want to know more!

8. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Summary: from Amazon

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.
He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Why I Loved It:

For me, this book was simply a really fun and highly enjoyable read! It’s got a great cast of characters and the story, whilst perhaps slightly predictable, is still hugely compelling. I think McManus writes relationships really well and I read this book in less than a day because it kept me so hooked until the very end. It’s obviously a kind of play on The Breakfast Club but brings it into modern society including things like social media. If you like Young Adult as a genre then I think you’ll enjoy this fun and intriguing book!

9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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Summary: from Amazon

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover.
Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.
Based on actual events, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving novel about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, in which every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Why I Loved It:

Burial Rites is absolutely gorgeously written and captures the unforgiving, intense yet stunning Icelandic setting so perfectly. I love books that are based on true events because I think a degree of truth always gives a story a little more depth. The story itself is so interesting and there are so many shades of grey and different elements at play in Burial Rites. It’s a dark read but it’s so worth it and so well done! I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy murky mysteries or true crime.

10. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

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Summary: from Amazon

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Pitch Perfect, Twilight, Up in the Air, Into the Woods and Trolls.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, defiant, and ‘10 per cent weird’. When she was thirteen, a classmate dropped by her house unexpectedly and discovered written evidence of Anna’s social ineptitude. From then on she decided to ‘keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.’ In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites her readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candour and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can – from her unusual path to the performing arts (her older brother’s affinity for Vanilla Ice may have inadvertently launched her career) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial ‘dating experiments’ (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to the perils of reading The Shining while filming Twilight in the isolated Canadian wilderness to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual ‘man-child’.

Why I Loved It:

I think I loved this book so much because I didn’t go into into it with many expectations. I wasn’t an Anna Kendrick super fan, although I did like her, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Scrappy Little Nobody! It’s funny and really witty and sometimes it’s nice to read something light and humorous. Kendrick is self-deprecating and sarcastic whilst telling anecdotes about her childhood and her career. It’s a really enjoyable read and if you like celebrity memoirs then this is a well written and quirky one to give a try!

Well that’s it for another Top Ten Tuesday! I would love to hear your thoughts on my list in the comments and your opinions on the books I chose! I can’t wait to read all your lists too! Also I hope anyone in America has a lovely Fourth of July tomorrow!

 

66 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Red, White and Blue Covers

  1. bookmuffin says:

    There’s some amazing books on this list! I really want to read The Outsider, I haven’t read a Stephen King novel before! Some beautiful covers too, Burial Rites and Grimm Tales are gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

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