Top 5 Wednesday – Books at the Top of My TBR

“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes in which you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic.

This week’s topic is: Top of Your TBR.

And…that’s it. No fancy rewording for this one; it’s what it says on the tin. (Though I did limit the list to books that are already published) See, mom, I can simplify things!


Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak


What’s an alternative phrase for “performance anxiety” to describe how you’re anxious about the performance of the other party because it’s been 10 long years of waiting–and you know it’s going to be good because they know exactly how to push your buttons, but what if it isn’t good?–so you keep putting it off and making half-hearted excuses like “Sorry, can’t today. I’m washing my hair” and “The stars aren’t aligned tonight. Not a good time”?

…Asking for a friend.

Right. Come February it’s gonna be you and me, Bridge of Clay. Show me what you got.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


I’ve been announcing to myself every year since 2011 that I’m going to read this for sure. Why break a seven-year tradition?

So, ahem. *taps mic* This year. For sure.


The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden


I’ve been hearing so many incredible things about The Winter of the Witch from several bloggers whose opinions I wholly trust, so I figure now is the best time to continue with the series. It hasn’t been all that wintry here thanks to El Niño but at least I can live vicariously through Arden’s vivid descriptions.


Skyward by Brandon Sanderson


I mean, firstly, it’s a Sanderson book (and I hear it’s great which is utterly unsurprising). Secondly, I have a feeling this might be a good sampler on what the third era Mistborn books might be like. Thirdly, it’s an overdue ARC and I really need to start chopping away at those.


Tower of Living and Dying (Empires of Dust 2) by Anna Smith Spark


Another one that I absolutely wanted to get to in 2018 but couldn’t.

A few tidbits on these books (because I never actually talked about them on this blog):

Despite my local bookstore’s propensity to stick this series in the YA display (because women can’t possibly write grimdark fantasy for adults, amirite?) it’s very much an adult grimdark and probably best I’ve read in the past couple of years, for several notable reasons.

One, it’s sexy, which I never thought I’d say about a grimdark story. Yet it doesn’t weaponize sex to fuel the grimdark aspect (a common complaint I have with these books)–so there’s no rape or attempted rape to be found here.

Two, several of its main characters happen to be queer which is definitely something I don’t see in this subgenre (the traditionally published ones, anyway).

Three, Spark’s prose is the kind that I want to roll around in for days–a gorgeous interplay of poetry, sensuality, and bloody violence.

And if you’re now wondering, “Hell, why is it taking you so long to get to it, then?” don’t worry, I’m right there with you.



What are some books that are at the top of your TBR right now?

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0 comment

Liam January 23, 2019 - 11:26 pm

A very strong list here – a couple that I certainly want to get to for sure. I highly recommend the audiobook version of The Night Circus if you struggle to pick it up and physically read it!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 26, 2019 - 12:04 am

Thank you! And I’ve heard that Jim Dale narrates the audiobook so I’m actually learning towards that option!

sjhigbee January 23, 2019 - 11:39 pm

Impressive list! I, too, want to dive into The Girl in the Tower this year… I so NEARLY picked this one up from Netgalley a few years back – and am still kicking myself because I didn’t. Happy reading:)

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 11:54 pm

It somehow doesn’t feel right reading this series when it’s NOT Winter, so I figure I should start now otherwise I’d have to wait a whole another year! 😀

sjhigbee January 26, 2019 - 1:38 pm

lol… there is that! Though I tend to disregard seasons when reading books:)

Kaya @ afictionalbookworm January 24, 2019 - 1:32 am

I loved The Night Circus!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 11:53 pm

AHH that makes me excited! I also heard the author has a new book coming out this year and it sounds absolutely incredible 😀

Lace the Pendragon January 24, 2019 - 9:28 am

Really interested to see what you think of Bridge of Clay and The Night Circus! I’ve been looking into reading both of them.

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 2:56 am

Thank you! I’m very interested to see what I think of them myself! 😀

jennifertarheelreader January 24, 2019 - 1:44 pm

I think you’ll love The Winter of the Witch, and I’m curious about your thoughts on each of these. I’ve had The Night Circus on my Kindle for years and really need to read it!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 11:51 pm

Erin Morgenstern also has a new book coming out this year–about books and libraries and pirates (?)–and it sounds utterly amazing! I hope The Night Circus works out for both of us, Jennifer!

MetalPhantasmReads January 24, 2019 - 7:13 pm

Girrlll Skyward! I loved the audio book for sure and it was my favorite book last year. I think you’ll love it 🙂 Plus the audio for The Night Circus is Jim Dale who did the HP audio books

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 2:46 am

That’s SUCH high praise, now I’m even more excited!! And I 1000% trust your audiobook recommendations so I might just try The Night Circus on audio 😀

MetalPhantasmReads January 25, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Sweet! I can’t wait to see your thoughts on Skyward

bookbeachbunny January 24, 2019 - 7:26 pm

Reading King of Scars and Winter of the Witch is on top of my TBR!
Morgenstern has her first book since Night Circus (which I really want to reread) coming out later this year I’m over the moon about so you can always tell yourself your need to give Night Circus a try before that one 🙂

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 11:49 pm

I SAW! I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be into a story about a circus, but a story about mysterious books and libraries and just stories in general? 1000% YES, no question. Preordered. 😀

Gerry@TheBookNookUK January 24, 2019 - 8:20 pm

I also need to read The Girl in the Tower! I was waiting until The Winter of the Witch was out and I don’t need to wait any more so I best get on that!

I’ve heard mixed things about Bridge of Clay but I don’t know if that’s because the book *wasn’t* that good or if following The Book Thief is an impossible feat.

I adore The Night Circus! If you squint closely with critical reading glasses on you realise that its a bit plotless but I found it delightful and fun and loved it!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky February 1, 2019 - 10:25 am

I’ve done my best to shut my eyes to anything REMOTELY related to Bridge of Clay and I’ve done pretty well so far, so I have no idea what the overall reception is! But I think following The Book Thief IS an impossible feat, and I’m going to try to go into it with an open mind! It probably helps that I adore Zusak’s writing in general. 😀

And I’ve read the blurb for Morgensten’s upcoming book and THAT one definitely doesn’t sound plotless! Libraries and pirates and mysterious magical books? YES PLEASE.

Gerry@TheBookNookUK February 1, 2019 - 8:14 pm

The Book Thief was his unintended magnum opus I think! Following it is going to be tricky but everything needs to be judged on its own merit!

I wonder if Erin Morgensten might have the same issue but I cannot wait until her new book comes out because I adored The Night Circus!

waytoofantasy January 24, 2019 - 9:07 pm

Love this topic. I am regularly looking at the top of my TBR and readjusting, I think I even made a list to sort by priority at one point lol. The Night Circus was an interesting one, it didn’t quite click all the way for me but it has really lovely prose. Hope you enjoy these when you get to them!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 2:39 am

From what I heard about The Night Circus being atmospheric and flowery I *think* I’m going to like it, but who knows! Either way, I’m excited to try it. 😀

waytoofantasy January 25, 2019 - 2:47 am

It’s definitely atmospheric! 😀

Papertea and Bookflowers January 24, 2019 - 10:32 pm

Tower of Living and Dying sounds so amazing? Or well, I suppose the first one in the series does? I’m definitely gonna add this to my TBR. Grimdark fantasy, that’s sexy, has no rape and is queer? Hell yes please!

Also, omg Night Circus!! I sooo get that. I have the same thing with Lair of Dreams, Nevernight and the second Game of Thrones book. This year. Definitely (hopefully!)

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 25, 2019 - 10:01 am

YAY!!! I also forgot to mention that one of the protagonists is queer AND PoC (and so wonderfully complex), so that’s another plus for the series. 😀

And ooh Game of Thrones! Do you watch the TV show also?

Adriana (@BooksOnHerMind) January 25, 2019 - 5:11 am

Oh my goodness… seven years? Wow, you really need to red The Night Circus. When you do I hope you actually like it. I recently DNF’d a book I kept off reading for six years. Hopefully your luck is better!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 26, 2019 - 12:41 pm

Aw no! I’m sorry that book didn’t work out for you! I’m trying to keep my expectations for The Night at a moderate level, so we’ll see how it works out. Thank you! 🙂

Fanna January 25, 2019 - 1:19 pm

Wow, these titles look great! <3 Bridge of Clay is all around the book world, it's getting such a great response, I hope you enjoy it. The Girl in the Tower is on my TBR too so I'm looking forward to knowing your thoughts on it 😀

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 28, 2019 - 1:39 pm

I’ve been trying so hard to avoid anything regarding Bridge of Clay (and I’ve been mostly successful so far) but it’s great to know people are loving it!

madscibrarian January 25, 2019 - 2:26 pm

The Night Circus is one of my all time favorites! I’m sure with the author’s new book coming out this year, you’ll finally get to it due to all the hype that will be generated about her books. 🙂

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 28, 2019 - 12:57 am

Glad to hear that! And oh gosh, the synopsis for her new book sounds utterly fantastic and I’ll definitely be picking it up when it releases. No seven-year waiting period for that one! (hopefully :P)

Norrie January 25, 2019 - 10:10 pm

Skyward, me too!
Also on mine there’s The Great Alone and Nine Perfect Strangers 🙂 All leftovers from last year.

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 28, 2019 - 12:48 am

I wanted to get to The Great Alone too but it slipped through the cracks. 😛

The Reading Hobbit January 26, 2019 - 5:07 pm

The Girl in the Tower is also in the top of my TBR ^^ it’s literally on my desk just waiting for me to finally read it lol

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky January 27, 2019 - 9:40 am

Haha I have a tower of unread books on my desk that’s getting taller every month XD. I hope we both love it when we get to it!!

arubunwritten January 29, 2019 - 1:05 pm

Really, really looking forward to Bridge of Clay (after The Book Thief broke my heart!) and you will adore Skyward, it’s such a good book (my first Sanderson so I read it on reputation and it definitely lives up to it).


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