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! Time for another Top Ten Tuesday and today’s theme is focussing on books with single-word titles! I have tried to throw in some lesser-known books because I don’t want to repeat books too often for these lists but there a few of my all time favourites that I couldn’t not put in!
1. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent . . .
This is probably my favourite disturbing read of all time. It is an intense and at times pretty horrific read but it is also beautifully written and such a captivating book. I have a first edition of this one and it’s such a special possession to me.
2. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband’s home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.
Rebecca is a book I recommend a lot, I think it works on so many levels and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it! It is so full of atmosphere and I love the fact that you never find out the new Mrs de Winter’s name because Rebecca is such a presence all the way through. Masterful.
3. Circe by Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.
Madeline Miller is an author I just love and both Song of Achilles and Circe are up there with my favourite books. Circe is full of gorgeous imagery and prose and the way Miller brings Greek Mythology to life is just incredible. You can read my review here.
4. Hydra by Matt Wesolowski
A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses. Six stories. Which one is true? One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation. As King unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…
This is the second book in Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series and honestly if you are a fan of the mystery/thriller genre then I am seriously recommending you buy this series. It is so creepy and well thought out and Hydra is my favourite so far! I have Beast, which is the latest one out, on my TBR and I can’t wait to get to it.
5. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
This book really unsettled me. I don’t want to give much away at all because I think it’s best read with no spoilers but I definitely recommend it. I actually listened to the audiobook of this one and it was beautifully done so if you’re an audiobook listener then you might want to give it a go in that format.
6. Sadie by Courtney Summers
A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial – like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him. When West McCray – a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America – overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
This is such a good read and structured in a fantastically clever way. I felt so connected to the main character, Sadie. She is so strong and I was rooting for her so completely all the way through. It’s a Young Adult book but even if you don’t read that genre then I seriously recommend making an exception for this one. You can read my review here.
7. Little by Edward Carey
Born in Alsace in 1761, the unsightly, diminutive Marie Grosholtz is quickly nicknamed ‘Little’. Orphaned at the age of six, she finds employmet in Bern, Switzerland, under the charge of reclusive anatomist, Dr Curtius. In time the unlikely pair form an unlikely bond, and together they pursue an unusual passion: the fine art of wax-modelling.
Forced to flee their city, the doctor and his protégée head for the seamy streets of Paris where they open an exhibition hall for their uncanny creations. Though revolution approaches, the curious-minded flock to see the wax heads, eager to scrutinise the faces of royalty and reprobates alike. At ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Curtius’, heads are made, heads are displayed, and a future is built from wax.
Little is my favourite quirky book of all time. First off, the cover is stunning and and the book is peppered with the most fantastically strange illustrations which really make the book special. The story (which is a fictionalised version of the real Marie’s life) is so bizarre and amazing and I really can’t praise this one enough. You can read my review here.
8. Ponti by Sharlene Teo
2003. Singapore. Friendless and fatherless, sixteen-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress and now a hack medium performing séances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, they develop an intense friendship which offers Szu an escape from her mother’s alarming solitariness, and Circe a step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa.
Seventeen years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught and ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series ‘Ponti’, the very project that defined Amisa’s short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience . . .
This is another quite strange book but it really sticks out in my memory. I feel it’s a little bit of a hidden gem so I want to take the opportunity to talk about it! It’s an odd but fascinating story which is definitely worth a read. You can read my review here.
9. Devotion by Madeline Stevens
Ella Crawford is 26, lonely, and so broke that she seduces strange men when she suspects they’ll buy her dinner. Her fate changes the day she begins nannying for a rich and beautiful Upper East Side mother. Both women are just 26 – but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, artistic talent, and old family money. Ella is mesmerised by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage, but resentment grows too, alongside this dizzying attraction.
I love these kinds of books about obsession and this one was really a great, sharp read. The relationship between Ella and Lonnie is so layered and intriguing and I thought the ending was really well done. You can read my review here.
10. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends – once inseparable roommates – haven’t spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice – she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
I love an atmospheric setting so this book immediately jumped out at me and it did not disappoint. It totally made me feel like I was in 1950’s Tangier and I loved the way the dark story unfolded. You can read my review here.
Well, that’s it for today! Ten of my favourite single-word title books! I would love to know what you think of my choices and what some of your favourites are so please let’s chat in the comments and feel free to leave a link to your own list!