Top Ten Tuesday: 5-star Reads, or Gin & Tears

29th March 2016

I’m quite generous with my 4-star ratings, but 5-stars is harder for me.

I have a shelf on goodreads labeled ‘ten stars’ and another one called ‘there were tears’ and those ones are the ones that I’ll throw at people, so we can talk about it.

‘There will be a test,’ I tell them.

Recent 10-stars have been:

Dept. of Speculation – Heard a bunch about this, and bought it while in NY.  Maybe that’s why it’s a tenner.  But really, pure poetry.  Found myself reading bits aloud to Neil and then threw it at him.  He hasn’t read it, yet.  But I haven’t finished Stone Junction, so we’re even.

The Last Summer of the Camperdowns – This book found me on the NY trip, too.  I loved it so much.  My gin-soaked prose shelf on goodreads was invented for this book.  I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers that don’t really move me, but this one quietly creeped me out more than any of them.  Families will do that to you.

The Interestings – I wanted to go to that camp.  I did for a while.  I lived with this book for as long as I read it, same feeling for me as May We Be Forgiven, also ten stars.  I have yet to experience a book like those two, since I read those two.


Here are some of my 4-star reads.  They might be 5-star reads for people who don’t have other requirements.  Like gin and tears.

Fates and Furies – Beautiful, but aloof.  I didn’t mind the length.  Or that nothing really happened.  That’s how life goes.  The book was worth it, but missing something.  Perhaps a heart.

American Housewife– This is a 4 because Neil bought it for me for Valentines Day.  Because he is a funny, funny man.  And because he says he has trouble finding new books that I haven’t found first.  And because I don’t like short stories, but these were great.

The ones I liked best reminded me of all the times my mother called me up wondering, ‘How’s life in your condo?’

‘It’s not a con…it’s great, Ma.  Thanks for asking.’

The Quiet Game – Sometimes I get notions.  I get notions to read new-to-me crime series set in the South.  Sometimes, I feel like staying up all night to finish a book.  That doesn’t happen much anymore.  Because, Isla.  But with The Quiet Game, I hit bingo.  Twice.

The Whites – A crime story, wrapped in New York.  Some of my favourite things.  Also, recommended by Caitlin at Broadside.  Thank you!  Anything else?


Here are two pure 5-star reads.  Because, y’know, I like to be conventional.  Or something.

River Road – This one has rekindled my love for stuff set in the land of Academia.  Not the best ever, but almost, well, cozy.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark – I very rarely read one book at a time, all the way to the end.  But this weird little thing had me at one.


That’s mine.  What’s your list of 5 or 10 star books?

Gin and tears welcome, but optional.

(Post inspired by The Broke and the Bookish)












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  • Reply Gabi Coatsworth 29th March 2016 at 5:30 pm

    So. I couldn’t finish The Uninterestings. Sorry. I usually give 5 stars to a book that’s tops in its genre, because you really can’t compare Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, for example. But recent 5s include The Oceberg by Marion Coutts and Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel. Give them a try 🙂

  • Reply Jackie Cangro 29th March 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Great post! I have had The Interestings sitting on my shelf for the longest time. I need to push that one up the list.

    Fates and Furies didn’t do it for me. (But I know I’m in the minority on this one.) The premise seemed fantastic, but the language kept me at arm’s length.

    Right now I’m reading (listening to be correct) A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. It’s about books and marriage and parenthood and becoming a parent to your parents. So far, so good!

  • Reply Book Club Mom 29th March 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I loved The Interestings despite the fact that I never had enough creative, artistic or musical talent to go to a camp like that. I thought the story was excellent because even though the characters were not like me, I still felt invested in them and their experiences.

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