Top Ten Tuesday | Things that make me pick up a book


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is ‘Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book’ which, once I got thinking about it, was actually a really fun list to compile! Don’t know why I sound surprised, though, considering I love making lists.

Below is a list of ten things that make me pick up a book, why I like them and three books I’ve added to my TBR because of that thing. You may notice that there are a few books that could easily fit into more than one category here, so I’m definitely on brand!

F/F Romance

I’ve said before that, when it comes to LGBT+ books, I used to find it really difficult to find good f/f books, whereas there seemed to be a plethora of m/m stories out there. Thankfully there are so many more books out now, and coming out in future, that cover the whole spectrum of the LGBT+ community, including lots of brilliant-sounding books to satisfy my f/f craving.


The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

We Set the Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia


I mean, come on. If witches weren’t on this list then you could rightly assume someone had booted me off my chair and taken over this blog. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of witchcraft and witch trials, so I love a witch book; I particularly have Celia Rees’s Witch Child to thank for this.


Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft ed. by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

The Tudors

I’ve said plenty of times before that I’m a huge history nerd, and I’ve particularly loved the Tudor era ever since my Dad told me about Henry VIII and his six wives (I even created my own Tudor-themed book tag!). I love learning about this era, particularly about its women.


The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton

Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann

Elizabeth’s Women: The Women Who Shaped the Virgin Queen by Tracy Borman


We see Islam a lot on the news and, in the western media I’m surrounded by, it’s often portrayed in a very negative light, and it’s because of that that I want to learn more about it for myself. I actually think it’s a fascinating religion – I find religions fascinating generally – and I also think it’s become a very misunderstood religion because so many people see ‘Islam’ and think ‘terrorism’. I want to get rid of my ignorance.


The House of Islam: A Global History by Ed Husain

It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race ed. by Mariam Khan

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World by Jerry Brotton


I guess because I’m the youngest of three sisters myself, and stories involving witches so often involve sisters, I love books with strong and realistic portrayals of what it is to be a sister. I don’t want everyone to be the best of friends all the time because sisters can be a pain in the arse – like I said, I’m the youngest, so it’s still my job to annoy the hell out of my sisters – but I love it when books portray sisters as separate people with agency, not merely the main character and her sister who pops up to help from time to time.


Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Banned Magic

Ugh this is probably one of the most overdone tropes in fantasy of all time – even Shrek essentially starts out as a banned magic story – and I eat it up like nobody’s business. I think because it’s a plot that so often leads to rebellions and seeking justice for persecution, it just ticks a lot of my boxes. Keep it coming, fantasy authors, keep it coming.


The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Religious Conflict

This probably stems from my fascination with the Tudor era, when Catholics and Protestants were quite literally at each other’s throats after Henry VIII broke away from Rome and set up the Church of England so he could marry Anne Boleyn. I can’t help being fascinated by those people in history, and in stories, who believe something so strongly they’d willingly die a pretty horrid death for it.


These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse

Italian-inspired Fantasy

Italy’s one of my favourite countries, I’m very lucky in that I’ve visited three cities so far – Rome, Florence and Bologna – and I’m hoping to go to Naples this year, and since reading Foundryside earlier this year I’ve been craving more fantasy books inspired by Italy’s long history.


The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman


In the past few years I’ve realised that I tend to really enjoy work by Nigerian writers, particularly if their work is set in Nigeria. I feel like I haven’t read anything set in Nigeria for a while, though, so I need to get on that.


Rosewater by Tade Thompson

David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite


I actually wrote a post about this not too long ago when I realised, after reading Dread Nation, that I tend to enjoy books with a western vibe. Traditional westerns I’m not into at all, but books that give me that Blood Red Road feel I am all about.


Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

What did you talk about this week?

36 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Things that make me pick up a book

  1. foreverlostinlit says:

    I love your list! Witches for sure make me pick up a book, no questions. Samw with anything Tudors-related! And, well, honestly most things on this list make me want to read a book as well, haha. The Queens of Innis Lear is such a fantastic sibling story. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joy V Spicer says:

    Wow!! Talk about an inspiring list! And I’m totally blown away by the books you’ve listed. I need to get ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ for the cover alone! I’d never heard of ‘Unbury Carol’ till a week or so ago when I blogged about adult fairy tales, and now it seems to be popping up everywhere πŸ™‚ My TBR list is going to be in serious danger of toppling over when I’m done checking out the books you’ve listed.
    My TTT:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      That’s a good point! I must admit, though, I quite like those fantasy worlds who have remnants of magic that they’ve lost – there’s something about the atmosphere in those settings that always pulls me in. πŸ™‚


  3. Louise says:

    Great list! I 100% agree with so many of these. I never really thought about myself as enjoying westerns but, like you say, loved that vibe in Dread Nation. Maybe I just need to find the right sort of westerns?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      I know what you mean – traditional westerns aren’t my thing at all, but I love women-led stories with a western vibe. I think Devils Unto Dust is another one set around/after the American Civil War, so it could be worth checking out if you enjoyed Dread Nation! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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