I skipped a week (or maybe two?), but today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is about our most recent 5-star books on GoodReads. I'll be honest: I'm a terrible reviewer. I feel so guilty giving books a bad review, so I almost always default to 4 stars unless I really hated it or had issues. Also, sometimes I give no starts if I'm not sure what rating to give, so it looks like I hate books when actually I just don't know what to say. Oops. Anyway, despite being overly generous, I rarely do 5 stars, unless I absolutely love the book or it strikes me as unique or incredibly well-done, whether or not I enjoyed the book. I've scoured my lists, and these seem to be all the 5-star books from the past 18 months or so:
1. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson: I might be a bit biased about this one since it is my friend's favourite book, but I really enjoyed reading it, and it was strange and different from any other books that I could recall, so that gave it an extra boost in my ratings.
2. The Diviners by Libba Bray: This book hooked me from the first, and it struck me as not being formulaic, which in the YA fantasy or paranormal genre is hard to find. I loved it.
3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: I avoided this book for years because it looked so intimidating, but, duh, I spent my childhood obsessed with the Tudors, so of course I couldn't put it down. For some reason, I didn't like the sequel that much. Oh well.
4. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden: I've posted about this book a dozen times already, but it was one of the best books I've read in several years, and I think it's a very important book for Canadians to read so we can ponder our own history.
5. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I read this at the recommendation of a friend, though I'd also enjoyed Americanah. I knew next-to-nothing about Nigerian history before this book, and it drew me in to another world with fascinating characters.
6. The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman: I read this for a school project, but now that I volunteer at the Holocaust library, it seems even more important and amazing to me. I loved that Spiegelman found a new and creative way to tell his father's Holocaust memoir. I also appreciated that Spiegelman didn't pull any punches or make his father a glossy hero, but told the real truth about their relationship and how his parents' Holocaust experiences impacted them and their son. Everyone should read this book.
7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: I'm not a huge fan of mysteries and wouldn't say that I loved this book, but it was one of those times that there was a plot twist that I absolutely did NOT see coming, and that's rare. I won't say more, but it seems to be a classic in the mystery genre as a result. Oh, and it's Hercule Poirot, so that gives it more adoration in my book!
8. American Gods by Neil Gaiman: Another book that I didn't personally love, but I found fascinated and well-researched and just plain impressive in its uniqueness.
9. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: I talk about this book all the time and have personally recommended it to dozens of people. It's something we all are facing now or will face in the future, in terms of dealing with our own mortality and that of our loved ones, and he discusses heavy issues in a way that is engaging and thought-provoking.
10. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden: Two young Cree men go to fight in World War One. We see their past and their current demons. I generally am not a huge fan of battle novels, but I could not put this one down, and I appreciated the unique approach that Boyden took. Basically, he could write a grocery list and I would read it now! :)