Down the TBR Hole #29

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?

I’m making great progress on this year’s Mount TBR challenge, so the books I already own are being removed from the list with great frequency. But what about the books I don’t own yet? Let’s see what I can accomplish this month.

#1 – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes PBK mech.inddI saw this book in a photo on someone’s Tumblr, and I was into it. I read less and less nonfiction every year, but I’ll dip my toes in when something seems intriguing.

The reviews from both my Goodreads friends and the general reviewing population are mostly positive, so this can stay.

I don’t think I’ll be getting to it any time soon, given the current state of the world I’m not too eager to read about death even in the academic sense, but I’ll come back to it.

 

#2 – If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino

374233._SY475_I threw this on the TBR after a friend recommended Calvino to me in a roundabout way, sending me a link to a video of the actor Liev Schreiber reading a story from The Complete Cosmicomics. I loved it and eventually got the book, though I haven’t read it yet. (Story of my life, that’s why I’m doing this weeding-out process at all, so I won’t buy books I don’t read!)

So this stays for now with my usual caveat that if I read the book I already own and hate it, I’ll purge any other works by that author from my TBR at that point.

 

#3 – #7 – Five Ray Bradbury Works

  1. Dandelion Wine
  2. The Illustrated Man
  3. Zen and the Art of Writing
  4. I Sing the Body Electric! and Other Stories
  5. The Golden Apples of the Sun

So, yeah. Bradbury is one of my favorite authors in that The Martian Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite books, and back in high school when my mother unearthed her vintage paperbacks I know for sure I also read and enjoyed Something Wicked This Way Comes. (I may have also read The Illustrated Man then but I’m not positive, hence its presence on the list.)

But Bradbury has also written some real clunkers in my experience, and if I’m honest, I downright hated The Halloween Tree. So I’m aware that I’m probably not going to like all these equally, and maybe they don’t have to all be here.

Dandelion Wine appears to be a novel-of-stories much in the same vein as The Martian Chronicles, and it gets bonus points for being a story of the Midwest, my stomping grounds. The Illustrated Man I’m honestly just curious to find out/remember if I read it back then. Zen and the Art of Writing appears to be divisive on its usefulness as a how-to/inspirational work for writers, but seeing as how I am one and I do love reading about the processes of other authors, it’s probably worth a look. These three can stay.

I Sing the Body Electric! seems to be a take-it-or-leave-it collection that many people believe to be great if you’re a diehard fan but not one of his better books. The Golden Apples of the Sun gives off the same impression. Though I don’t doubt there are probably good stories in both, these two can go.

#8 – The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature’s Most Elusive Birds, by Leigh Calvez

28007990

More nonfiction! I love owls and would love to read about owls, but apparently this might not be the book for it. The first less-than-stellar review recommends half a dozen other books to give a reader a better understanding of birds of prey (and I’ve read one of them, H is for Hawk) while other reviewers lambast this work as being written by an enthusiastic but obnoxious amateur. No matter how many glowing reviews this has, that’s a big, big red flag for my future enjoyment of this work.

This goes.

 

#9 – #14: Six Cookbooks I Saw When I Went to Powell’s Books

…and basically haven’t thought about since. On that trip to Portland and other points northwestern, I bought so many books I had to ship some of them home. I kept a list of the ones I was interested in but didn’t buy, for both space and monetary reasons, and I’ve just reached the block of my TBR where they all got added. (The Hidden Lives of Owls was one of those, too, but not a cookbook.)

I still do buy cookbooks sometimes, but with so many free recipes out there on the Internet a search term away, something really has to catch my eye to be worth purchasing. Of these six, which I’m not even going to bother to list because like I said I haven’t thought much about them in the two and a half years since that trip, the only one I’m keeping is The Cardamom Trail: Chetna Bakes with Flavours of the East, because Chetna Makan was one of my faves on her season of The Great British Baking Show, and I want to support her baking career. The others? Meh.


This month sees me cut 8/14 books. Progress! This brings my TBR down to 587, though the last book I’m keeping is only #159, leaving over 400 still to wade through. It’s unlikely I’ll ever actually catch up with myself here, but this is still worthwhile to me, because life is too short to read bad books when they can be avoided.

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