Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
This week’s topic is: Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Caitlin Doughty
Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.
Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?
Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).
The Case of Beasts – Mark Salisbury
Take a front-row seat and witness the filmmaking magic that brought J.K. Rowling’s script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to the screen. Explore the realm of fantastical creatures that roam the wizarding world and discover the magical cast of characters in pursuit of them.
Officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and designed by MinaLima, designers of the graphic props for the Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Case of Beasts delivers an enchanting interactive experience by sharing filmmaking secrets, film photography and artwork, and behind-the-scenes stories from cast and crew. Full of removable, facsimile reproductions of props and paper ephemera from the movie, along with some very special effects, this collectible volume offers a unique look from the talented group who created this movie magic.
Hello, is this planet Earth? – Tim Peake
‘It’s impossible to look down on Earth from space and not be mesmerised by the fragile beauty of our planet. During my mission I became determined to share this unique perspective of the one place we all call ‘home’. This book captures a journey of discovery, not just the discovery of planet Earth – a stunning oasis of life in the vastness of space – but also the discovery of a newfound passion for photography, which has had a major impact on me. I hope readers enjoy leafing through these pages as much as I enjoyed taking these pictures.’
Hello, is this planet Earth? takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of Tim’s historic and inspirational six-month Principia mission. Based on over 150 of Tim’s stunning photographs that he took on board the international space station, many of which have not been seen before, this lavish collection showcases the beauty of earth from above, and is the perfect visual time capsule of Tim’s remarkable trip, which captured the imaginations of millions of children and adults across the world.
The book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, and comes with a personal commentary from Tim, full of his characteristic warmth and charm. The book includes breath-taking aerial photos of cities illuminated at night, the northern lights and unforgettable vistas of oceans, mountains and deserts. The title of the book is inspired by Tim’s famous ‘wrong number’ dialled from space, when he accidentally misdialled a woman from the space station and inquired, ‘Hello, is this planet Earth?’
The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs
A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom.
The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
Clariel – Garth Nix
Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.
With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.
The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
Trial By Fire – Josephine Angelini
Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition – J.K.Rowling, Jim Kay
Award-winning artist Jim Kay illustrates year two of Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts, in the same beautiful, gift-ready format as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?
The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher
The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.