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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

TBR Explosion!! (part 1 - General Fiction)

The year-end reading wrap-ups are deadly! My TBR list is exploding!!! (and this is just part 1.....I didn't want to overwhelm you!) I'm sure most readers find themselves in the same boat - so many good recommendations out there from podcasts, bookstagram, book blogs and booktubers. And when you find a book reviewer that you trust and generally has a similar taste, there's a sense of confidence in accepting those recommendations.

I decided to break the list into genres so that it might be easier for people to find something they'd like to read. Here's the start of my TBR explosion: 14 General Fiction books. These just sound amazing and I want to read them all next.

The Wall by William Sutcliffe

Genre: General Fiction (YA?)

Published 2013, 304 pages

Added because: my sister read it last year and highly recommended it

Synopsis: boy and his family live safely behind very tall, guarded wall that protects them from a brutal enemy until the boy discovers a hidden tunnel leading outside the wall and is unprepared for what he finds.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2013, 432 pages

Added because: sounded intriguing from the BookTuber PeruseProject with Regan

Synopsis: a story told in two timelines - a girl in Japan contemplates suicide and makes journal entries; a woman in the U.S. discovers a bottle in the ocean with some pages of text.....

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Genre: Chick Lit (General Fiction)

Published 2020, 361 pages

Added because: it's not my usual genre, but BookTuber Noelle made it sound interesting

Synopsis: this is not a book cover that I'd normally look twice at, but on Noelle's recommendation, I'm going to give it a try. A burned out romance writer meets a literary author, both suffering from writer's block. Their plan to write in the other person's style has interesting ramifications - and no one falls in love. (really?)

Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2013, 384 pages

Added because: recommended by my sister, Donna

Synopsis: set in the 1960s, a bored housewife's life is spiced up when new neighbors move in and she has an affair - with the wife. 50 years later she reconnects with the son and learns what was lost and what remains.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2015, 76 pages

Added because: BookTube blogger Regan strongly recommended and I love Backman's writing

Synopsis: elderly man has dementia onset and tries to hold onto his memories by sharing with grandson and family; sad, teary, but heartwarming. I swear the title is longer than the book! I'm ready for a good cry.

** ED: Read 1/31/22; 4 stars

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2019, 330 pages

Added because: it's been around on bookstagram for awhile but hearing Jack in the Books BookTuber talk about it compelled me to try it

Synopsis: in London, black woman in publishing has a bad break up with her white boyfriend then makes a series of bad choices as she tries to find herself. Jack said he feels the voice is very authentic.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

Genre: General Fiction

Published 1984, 280 pages

Added because: recommended by Jack in the Books

Synopsis: (LOVE this cover) sort of a Japanese dystopia; every day items start disappearing on a small island and once they're gone, the residents forget they existed until one woman helps a man keep his memories by writing......a version of 'big brother is watching'.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2020, 320 pages

Added because: recommended by GR friend and BookTuber Noelle

Synopsis: 30-something trying to write a novel, get over mother's death, relationships, finding herself; about transitioning from one phase of life to another.

**ED: Read 1/22 (audio) 3.5 stars

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2016, 163 pages

Added because: recommended by Jack in the Books

Synopsis: novella about Korean woman whose psychic deterioration after the birth of her first child is partly due to constant cultural misogyny; husband sends her to a male psychiatrist to who she relates the details of her life of frustration, submission, and yet perseverance.

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2021, 355 pages

Added because: Jack in the Books made is sound so good and different from what I usually read

Synopsis: wickedly dark romp about class, family, and love as woman who killed 6 members of her family finds herself in prison for a murder she did not commit.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2019, 242 pages

Added because: recommended by Jack in the Books (yes, again)

Synopsis: lyrically written book about Vietnamese experience and LGBTQ; told in letter form to his mother, who can't read.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2021, 155 pages

Added because: recommended by jack in the Books (he likes shorter books)

Synopsis: set in London, a black photographer and black dancer meet over their shared love of the arts and fall in love - the story of their struggle to fit in and how two people meant to be together can still be hurt by fear and violence.

**ED: Read 4/22 - 2 stars

The Promise by Damon Galgut

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2021, 304 pages

Added because: Jack in the Books, South Africa apartheid

Synopsis: saga follows a dysfunctional white South African family through the years before and after apartheid, through 4 family funerals, and the promises broken

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2021, 260 pages

Added because: YouTuber recommended (which one???)

Synopsis: retelling of the Great Gatsby with queer Korean girl being adopted by wealthy white family; light magic and dazzling writing

One of the things I love about watching/reading book reviews is the opportunity to discover books I've never heard or particularly considered reading. And often I would never have come across them on my own. Sometimes the internet can be a good thing. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have a general fiction book that you read this year that should be on this list? Leave me a comment.......

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


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