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?
Running a little behind this month, on the regular features, blame it on working on the novel a lot!
#1 – He Forgot to Say Goodbye, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Like many reviews of this also say, this is on my TBR because my first book by this author was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and I LOVED IT.
So of course I dug up another novel or two of his to add to my list. I don’t own this one–I do own The Inexplicable Logic of My Life and will undoubtedly read that first–so we’ll see if I’m still as impressed with Sáenz then. I will say, this one has decidedly more mixed reviews than his later works, but I’m still hopeful I’ll enjoy it. I’ll just hedge my bets by getting it from the library instead of buying it. It stays.
#2 – Brooks, by Chris Keniston
I put this on my TBR quite deliberately after reading the first book in this romance series, even mentioning that in my review. But I just reread my review of that first book, and I gave it three stars, and now I’m just thinking I still have too many romances I already own to bother going back for the second book in a series that was enjoyable but not outstanding. I have other authors I like more I could be supporting, as well as many authors still to try. This goes.
#3 – It Devours!, by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Reading Welcome to Night Vale seems so long ago, but I loved it, and I haven’t made the time to reread it yet, and I think I will still want to read this follow-up after I do.
It can stay.
Especially since many reviewers think it’s an improvement on the first novel, which I gave five stars for entertainment value and punching me right in my love of the absurd, despite some clear pacing and stylistic issues. If those got straightened out, even a little, then this will be worth my time.
#4 – Dawn, by Octavia E. Butler
I have had mixed luck with Butler’s other works. I’m pretty sure I put this on the list after being highly impressed with Parable of the Sower, which I enjoyed much more than my first Butler novel, Kindred.
But then I couldn’t even finish Wild Seed, which made me so angry I would have thrown it across the room if it weren’t a library book I didn’t want to damage.
I think if I want to read more of Butler’s work, I’d do better to finish the series I started and enjoyed, than starting yet another one. This goes.
#5 – By Gaslight, by Steven Price
I do not have even the slightest memory of how this came to be on my TBR, but since that’s true, I can read the blurb with fresh eyes and check out some reviews.
Okay. Definitely re-thinking this. A) it’s a historical mystery; b) not only is it long, it’s also incredibly slow-paced, and c) many, many reviewers mentioned confusion/irritation with the stylistic choice to forego quotation marks around dialogue.
That’s enough to make me go, eh, maybe it’s good but it sounds like too much bother. This absolutely goes.
#6 – Moment in Peking, by Lin Yutang
No idea where this addition came from, either, but in the time this I put this on my list I have had the most TERRIBLE luck with reading historical novels set in China, by both white and Chinese authors. Like, the only good one was The Night Tiger, and there are at least half a dozen others that made me want to hurt things with baseball bats, they were so bad.
I’m not saying I’ll never read a historical novel set in China again, far from it, but based on what I can see about this one, it’s not going to be where I start when I’m ready to try again. It can go.
#7 – Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
I have seen the Studio Ghibli anime adaptation of this novel, exactly once, long enough ago that I remember basically nothing about it.
But I do know that people ADORE this book. Most of my Goodread friends who have read it gave it five stars, and not one of them less than three. It’s pretty safe to call this book “beloved.”
It can stay, though I have absolutely no idea when I’ll get to it. I will. Someday.
#8 – The Crow Girl, by Erik Axl Sund
I put this on the list after reading and mostly enjoying the much-more-famous Millennium trilogy, and I thought, hey, Swedish thrillers are pretty interesting, why not try more?
But since then I have tried more, and not really liked them. Also, by the end I didn’t even like the Millennium trilogy that much.
Do I need more Swedish crime novels in my life? I’ve been doing just fine without them for several years, so I think their moment with me has passed. This goes.
#9 – Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
I’m sure this crossed my radar and I thought, huh, a book that’s kind of like Labyrinth but is also heavily focused on music and musicianship.
That concept sold me, but my friends’ reviews are either hyperbolically good or pretty terrible, and the general pool of reviews is pointing things out like “the first half was interesting but I completely lost interest by the end” and “the romance plot is the worst part of the book.”
That doesn’t fill me with confidence. Going to pass on this one.
#10 – Ship of Theseus, by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Sorry, Mr. Dorst, I’m too mad at J.J. Abrams about the new Star Wars
disaster trilogy to bother with this anymore. Not your fault.
In all seriousness, every piece of Abrams media I have ever consumed tells me he can have a vision no problem, then utterly fail to execute it properly. The Force Awakens was a tired and safe retread of A New Hope. The Rise of Skywalker was just a fast-paced mess. Going way back, Lost was interesting the first season and failed to keep me hooked through the second, let alone the rest. Felicity had its moments but mostly annoyed me whenever I tried to take it seriously. All of his Star Trek movies are essentially flash (also literally flash, thank you excessive lens flare) and no substance.
Which is the precise description I saw of this book in no less than three separate reviews. Some people love it, obviously, but the high concept that intrigued me at first now just seems like a set up for disappointment when it falls on its face somewhere before the end. This most definitely gets cut from my list.
Wow, I only kept 3 out of 10 this time around! Harsh, but fair, and the last couple of rounds I was keeping a lot. There’s only so much time in a day, right? I can’t read everything. But as usual, if you have something to say about any one of these books, a warning that a keeper might not be as good as it looks, or an argument for one of the books I cut, please let me know in the comments!