Down the TBR Hole is a (very) bookish meme, originally created by Lia @ Lost In A Story. She has since combed through all of her TBR (very impressive) and diminished it by quite a bit, but the meme is still open to others! How to participate:
- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
- Order by Ascending Date Added
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or let it go?
After my birthday book haul, my shelves are crazy overflowing. However, a few days ago I was clued in to Library Extension, which makes it easy for me to find books in my library system while browsing Goodreads. Before, whenever I did one of these posts, I’d look up each book individually in the catalog, first in my county system, and if I didn’t find it, then in the statewide system. I recorded the results on my master reading list spreadsheet–yes, I have one of those, I’m tracking three major reading challenges and fluctuating numbers of monthly ones.
Turns out some of my entries were out of date! Hoopla has expanded to include some books I previously thought I’d have to request through inter-library loan, and I’ve already read two of them.
So now, going though my TBR for this is even better! But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be cutting dead weight. Let’s get started.
YA paranormal/contemporary romance featuring a math nerd. Yeah, that sold me for putting it on my TBR right out of the box.
Should I keep it? Yes. It apparently scores high marks for adorableness, and since so much of the YA/NA romance I read is drenched in (usually unnecessary) angst, I’m all for sweetness and light to level things out.
Plus, I now know it’s on Hoopla, so borrowing it is easy as pie. Thank you, Library Extension. (I won’t belabor this point anymore, but seriously, it’s awesome.)
#2 – Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
This book was everywhere on social media when I added it (December 2016, yes, I’m still working on TBR from two and a half years ago,) but I’ve seen little about it since, which concerns me. Reviews are all over the spectrum by now, which concerns me, too.
I can’t read every book by every author of color, but I’m hesitant to chuck one off the list for vague “but maybe it’s bad” reasons, when the story still sounds interesting and I’ve never tried the author. And when my TBR is definitely predominantly white-written and I want to read books from more diverse voices. It stays. Let’s hope it’s awesome.
#3 – Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George
I don’t go out of my way to read middle grade books, but every once in a while, one pops up on a rec list somewhere and I say “huh” and pop it on my TBR.
The blurb makes this sound like a fantastic subversion of the classic “girl sacrificed to monster” trope, and I’m on board for that.
It can stay.
I know I’m a sucker for things with dragons, and that gets me into trouble, but this still looks good.
#4 – The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon
Since I don’t go out of my way to read horror, I honestly don’t know how this ended up on my TBR, I don’t remember. (Except for Stephen King, but given how easy it is to find his books used, that’s not out of my way.)
My gut instinct was to let it go, simply because it’s outside my wheelhouse. I used to read horror almost exclusively as a kid, I’m too old for Goosebumps but around 12-14 I was all about King and Dean Koontz, then I gave it up by college.
I think this should actually stay. I’m curious.
#5 – Letters to a Young Muslim, by Omar Saif Ghobash
While I was still watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I would put the books of authors interviewed there on my TBR if they sounded interesting. Ghobash gave what must have been a decent interview with Trevor Noah, though I don’t remember it clearly now. So his book went on the list.
Sadly, it can go. Despite numerous reviews likening it to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, which was an amazing read, this doesn’t seem at all like something I want to read. I’ll look to other sources to expand my understanding of Islam.
#6 – Cards of Grief, by Jane Yolen
Whenever obscure works pop up on my social media with tags like “I can’t believe no one else is reading this,” I pay attention.
Especially when reviews keep saying “similar to Ursula K. Le Guin.” You know, only one of my favorite authors ever.
I’d never heard of this book, or this author, before. I’m hoping once I read this, I’ll want to hunt down more of her work–because obviously this stays–and dive deep into the mind of someone who writes adult scifi with an anthropological bent while also writing tons of children’s books about dinosaurs. Fascinating.
#7 – Hold Me, by Courtney Milan
Oddly enough, finding this book on a rec list for trans characters in romance is what introduced me to Courtney Milan. I’ve since read several of her books and liked or loved them (including the first entry in this series, which was AMAZING) and yet, I still haven’t laid hands on a copy of this, despite it being the first book to grab my attention.
It stays. And I’m making myself a note to move it up the list, if at all possible.
Trans representation in romance by an awesome author! Do want!
#8 – Even Odds, by Elia Winters
This came from a geeky romance rec list, and that should put it squarely in my wheelhouse. I’m a bona fide video game nerd, even if gaming has taken a backseat to my at-home job as an author. I should be all over this.
But I’m not. It goes.
No matter how promising the setup is, no matter how diverse and appealing the characters are packaged as, reviews like “no chemistry between the leads” and “predictable conflicts” and “even the sex was boring” are absolute killers for me in a romance novel.
#9 – Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, by Six de los Reyes
More nerdy romance, from the same list, I’m pretty sure.
Some reviews mention this being too science-y, which will never been a problem for my biology-degreed self; while others positively compare it to The Kiss Quotient, which I read recently and adored. So this stays.
Nerds finding love is so beautiful, especially us science nerd girls. We’re awesome. We deserve awesome love.
#10 – Breaking Legacies, by Zoe Reed
This 100% came from the Writeblr community on Tumblr, because this is an independent author and a lesbian fantasy and I’ve had it recommended to me like eight times by five different people. Once, I was like “this sounds familiar but let me put it on my TBR” only to find out it was already there.
I’m all for supporting indie authors–I am one. And the reviews for this are pretty glowing. (Not that I haven’t been in the minority on that before, but still. I’ll give it a try.) It stays.
I only cut 2/10 this time, but that’ll happen. Eventually I’ll bet there’s an inverse week where I cut 8/10! (I’m not going back to check, but I doubt my record’s that high. I’m pretty sure I’ve cut at least four in a week a few times, maybe five, but I’m doubtful about six.)
As always, if you’ve read any of these and want to weigh in, feel free. I’m open to changing a book’s status if you’ve got a story to tell about your experience with it.