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?
If I ever want to actually comb through my entire TBR…well, I should probably post these daily, then. I was going to say weekly, but monthly is all the blog can handle. But there’s still so many books to go through! (Currently 641 items on my Goodreads “want to read” shelf.)
Okay, where I did leave off last month?
#1 – The Shirley Letters: From the California Mines, 1851-1852, by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
The mystery of where I found this title is solved easily by the date I added it on Goodreads being identical to the date of the review of the only friend I have to have read this. Her review was glowing; I was interested.
I completely forgot it was here, and I don’t read nonfiction much anymore. Not never, just not much. That would almost be enough to pitch this off the list, but one of the reading challenges I’m planning for in 2020 asks for a book I’d forgotten was on my TBR, and this seems like a perfect candidate. It stays. It certainly helps that I can get it through interlibrary loan, though, because I doubt I’d want to buy this.
#2 – The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
I don’t recall where I found this, but I like the premise enough that I’ve considered buying it from Thriftbooks several times over the past several weeks, every time I place an order. (Which, between my personal purchases and Christmas shopping, has actually been quite a few instances.)
I still haven’t quite bought it–there’s always something I want just a little more–but I still want to read it eventually. It can stay.
#3 – The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie
I think I grabbed this off a rec list, but just looking at the “readers also enjoyed” section on Goodreads makes me cringe, because The Lies of Locke Lamora is there–which I liked just fine–but so is Prince of Thorns, which I absolutely detested. I’m not sure I need to read more “dark, gritty” fantasy novels by men, when that’s such an over-saturated genre. Couple that with the good reviews being hyperbolic and glowing while the bad reviews are talking about this book trying way too hard to sound adult but coming off like a posturing teenager, and it goes, I’m not interested anymore.
#4 – Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, by Lizzie Collingham
While I don’t remember where I heard of the book, the appeal is obvious to me–I love curry, we have Curry Friday in my household the same as Taco Tuesday. I have half a dozen Indian cookbooks (both by native Indians and Brits of Indian heritage) and I make dishes from all over the country and its regional cuisines.
But, despite this being a combo nonfiction history and cookbook, I’m not digging it anymore. All the reviews are pretty meh and getting my hands on a copy doesn’t look like it’s going to be worth the hassle. It can go.
#5 – How to Suppress Women’s Writing, by Joanna Russ
Listen, I know I say I don’t read a lot of nonfiction anymore, and I am by nature skeptical of anything people say is “required reading” for any group of people, even those I belong to. And I am a woman, a writer, and a feminist, three things on various reviewers’ lists for that “required” reading.
But they also keep saying that it holds up beautifully for a 40-year old book about social issues, and practically reads like it could have been written now. And that intrigues me, on top of the subject matter. I still want to read this.
I know I’ve been moaning lately about reading WWII fiction, and I am tired of it. But I also want to read more works by Japanese authors, because I studied the language for a year (nearly twenty years ago, but still) and I watch a ton of anime (both twenty years ago and currently.) The history and culture of Japan have fascinated me since I was quite a small child. Shouldn’t I dive into their literary traditions? I mean, I have, I read The Tale of Genji ages ago, and I have a few other books already in my possession. But when one anime character a while back just kept on quoting Dazai in practically every episode, I got curious! I don’t know if I’ll like them, maybe I’ll hate them (in which case I’ll only read one and ditch the other) but they should stay. I need to read more world literature and that definitely includes a country I’m already consuming lots of other media from.
#8 – The Man Who Loved Children, by Christina Stead
I was tempted to chuck this without much deliberation, because I think I pulled this from a world-lit list (Australia) without looking too closely at it. Gentle digging uncovered incredibly divisive reviews proclaiming this the best under-rated book ever all the way across the spectrum to a steaming pile of trash. That alone would make me let it go.
But it qualifies perfectly for “an underrated/lesser known book” for that challenge I mentioned earlier. And I can get the ebook through Hoopla, which means no risk to me if I hate it. It stays for a very specific purpose.
#9 – Stoner, by John Williams
I know I pulled this off a rec list, though judging by the books following it that I added the same day, I can’t quite figure out what the rec list was advocating as a theme, because there seems to be no sense in it.
This “classic” seems to have a cult following even though I’d never heard of it–but then, isn’t that practically the definition of cult media? I’m torn. It sounds like it could be interesting, but it also sounds like it could be dull as bricks. I do want to read more “classics” even though it always seems like a 50-50 chance I’ll hate them. But then if I gave up on classics, I would never have read some of my favorites. With a great sigh, this can stay. But I will DNF it if it looks at me funny in the first 10%.
#10 – My Abandonment, by Peter Rock
This came from the same list as Stoner above. See what I mean? No clue what the point of the list was.
This, though, I’m not so torn about keeping around. It still sounds interesting in concept, it’s still based on a true story, and though the reviews are decidedly mixed and have myriad complaints, I’m still willing to give it a try. I need to read more outside my comfort zone in general, and hey, look, it’s on Hoopla. It can stay.
I only cut two books out of ten? That doesn’t seem like me. Especially since a lot of these are not-me kind of books. A sign that I’m still trying to grow as a reader? Or am I just being generous with my TBR since I’ve lowered my DNF cutoff this past year from 25% to 10%? It’s a lot easier to try a book out when you’re only committing to 50 pages or less, in most cases.