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.

Next Month’s TBR: April 2020

April 2020 TBR

  1. Fool’s Fate, by Robin Hobb
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  3. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller
  4. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, by Jonathan L. Howard
  5. The Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko
  6. Trick, by Natalia Jaster
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
  8. Wasted Words, by Staci Hart
  9. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
  10. Tikka Chance on Me, by Suleikha Snyder

It took one more book this month than the first three to cover all my challenges, and there are a few other next-in-series reads I want to get to soon, so April is shaping up to be a heavy reading month.

Of course, Michigan is locked down until April 13th, and I’m off work for the duration. (I do still have my job, as long as the business I work for survives the coming hard times. I’m trying not to think about that too much, besides having a rough plan for landing on my feet if things go badly.)

On the other hand, I’ve been playing so very, very much Animal Crossing: New Horizons over the past few days, it’s cutting into my reading time even if I do have extra. But I have to let my husband play too, sometimes, so I’m sure I’ll still stick my nose in books often enough, especially since there are quite a few titles on this (very strangely balanced?) list that I’ve been looking forward to.

Hope you’re all staying safe and enjoying your own reading right now!

 

Down the TBR Hole #28

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 at exactly 1000 books read on Goodreads, and down to just over 600 in my TBR. Progress! So let’s keep that downward trend going, probably:

#1 – Rogue Desire, various authors

35654211._SY475_A romance anthology of politically-minded short stories, featuring one author I love, a few I’ve heard of, and the rest I don’t know at all. I’m sure that I added this because of Tamsen Parker’s presence, but reading through the blurbs for each story, I think this collection may have missed its moment with me.

I have enough unread authors already sitting on my Kindle that I don’t need to specifically buy more right now. This goes.

 

#2 – The Phoenix Codex, by Bryn Donovan

phoenixI love Bryn’s blog and have been following it for a few years, but have yet to read any of her work. I know one of her older books escaped cutting on my TBR in a previous post, but this one can stay too, because I dig paranormal romance and I have a good feeling about this one. I’ve just recently broken my book-buying ban, and I’m not planning to go crazy with purchases, but this could easily be a birthday present to myself in May, because I need to do more to support authors I’m a fan of.

 

#3 – Antisocial, by Heidi Cullinan

antisocialI have no doubt I was attracted to this by the cover, and the promise of gray-ace m/m romance.

Looking into both the positive and negative reviews, I’m far less sold on its content than I was the shiny packaging. Instead of being Japanese cultural appreciation, it’s shading far more toward appropriation.

Listen, I’ll be honest, I’m a weeb. I adore anime, I’ve read my share of manga, and if I weren’t white as hell I’d be rocking a kimono to every formal occasion ever because they’re basically the most beautiful item of clothing on the planet.

But I’m not okay with an author (allegedly) making up a fictional Japanese-sounding town/college of “culture admirers” and having white main characters randomly speaking Japanese and not actually having any Japanese characters, apparently. The positive reviews of this book speak well of the romance, and that’s great, but the negative reviews speak poorly of literally everything else in the book, so..it goes, what the hell was it even doing here in the first place.

#4 – #6 — the Blank Canvas series, by Adriana Anders

I think I came across the second in this series, was interested, and added all three. But looking past the exceptionally pretty covers into both the blurbs and reviews, they’re all going. All of these stories cover one of the leads undergoing and recovering from serious trauma, and that’s not inherently bad, but many reviews across all three books are sending up red flags like insta-love, moves too fast for believable recovery, unplanned pregnancy, and shallow dynamics. I’m getting the feeling there’s little emotional depth underpinning the serious nature of the various traumas, and I don’t want to waste my time on abuse/angst porn.

#7 – Kira-Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata

kira kiraI don’t remember where I came across this–I’m still plugging along through books I added in the second half of 2017–but I’m sure it was because this is middle-grade historical fiction, written by a Japanese-American author, focusing on a female coming-of-age story.

I don’t read a lot of middle-grade these days, but that’s enough of a rarity to intrigue me. Little girls of Japanese ancestry in the 1950’s? Not long after WWII? I’m sold on the idea, because this isn’t a story I’ve ever seen done before, and that’s enough. It stays.

 

#8 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

brooklynYeah, I know. Somehow I’ve never read this. And since the previous entry on my TBR, made on the same day, was also a girl’s coming-of-age story, I have a feeling now that I saw a recommendation list that day and starting plucking stuff from it.

I do often find fiction set in New York City, by New Yorkers, a certain kind of insufferable, but I won’t know if this falls into that pit until I try.

It definitely stays.

 

#9 – Sugar Daddies, by Jade West

sugarThere’s a problem I’ve had from time to time in assessing books for this meme, and that’s the fact that the kinkier the romance novel, the more divisive the reviews tend to be. Readers on board with the kink in question will five-star the crap out of the book, and most of the rest will hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

So in looking at this MMF menage romance…it’s dicey. Two of my Goodreads friends have read it; one gave it four stars and a reasonably glowing review, the other a two-star rating with no review.

As expected, the general pool of reviews follows the pattern I outlined above.

I’ve read good MMF novels I enjoyed thoroughly, one that I even loved best out of its entire series (Kit Rocha’s Beyond books.) I’ve read a series with a couple that turned into a thruple down the road (Abigail Barnette’s The Boss series.) I’ve read middling romantic suspense where the best part of the story was the fact that the romance was MMF and the fun dynamics that thruples can have (one of the novels in Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries.) So it’s safe to say I’m down with this kink in my reading. I think I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and keep it on the list.

#10 – Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero

kidsI added this book because of the hype surrounding it at release–it was everywhere, and it sounded vaguely interesting, a mashup described as Scooby-Doo meets Cthulu.

But, boy, howdy, in the two years and change since, have I heard basically nothing about it, while the humdrum reviews piled up. And one Goodreads friend pointed out some systemic problematic attitudes towards Native American culture, trans people, and mental health.

Doesn’t make me want to read it, and it was added mostly on a whim anyway, so this goes with no regrets.


So I cut 6/10 this month, which is reasonable. The actual chunk of the TBR list I was examining this time covered less than a week of August 2017, which is crazy, at this rate I’ll never be finished with this meme! Should I start doing fifteen a month? These posts are already so long…

Next Month’s TBR: March 2020

March 2020 TBR

Drawing Lessons

  1. Dreams Underfoot, by Charles de Lint
  2. Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews
  3. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
  4. I am a Cat, by Natsume Soseki
  5. The Thing About December, by Donal Ryan
  6. Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren
  7. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  8. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
  9. Drawing Lessons, by Julia Gabriel

Once again, nine is the number of my monthly TBR; the TBR monthly book number shall be nine. Third month in a row.

Five are for Around the Year; six for The Reading Frenzy’s Travel-a-thon to Ireland; all of them count for Mount TBR. (I’ve still only read My Own Damn Books since the start of the year!) At the moment only one also counts for Popsugar, but we’ll see if any of them fit a task after I’ve read them, thus displacing whatever I’d planned to read.

I’ve got the rest of this week to finish last month’s TBR, and actually I still have two books to go–February has been a busy month at work, and some of the books I’ve read have been utter slogs. But I’m confident I’ll finish on time. As for March? I am a Cat is a nice, thick, chunky novel that’s probably going to take me most of the first week, its ATY scheduled spot, but I’ve got that balanced with a few real skinny books. I didn’t plan on that, those were the books that fit best for the Ireland challenge, but I’m glad it worked out that way!

Down the TBR Hole #27

 

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

2521835Like 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

31427026I 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

28208687._SY475_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

60929I 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

28007842I 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

1320195No 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

6294I 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

30965660._SY475_

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

24763621I’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

34203542._SX318_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!

Next Month’s TBR: February 2020

February 2020 TBR

The Only Harmless Great Thing RD3_quote4_pms2_pink

  1. A Secret Affair, by Mary Balogh
  2. The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje
  3. Pantomime, by Laura Lam
  4. The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton
  5. Beauty is a Wound, by Eka Kurniawan
  6. The Heart of What Was Lost, by Tad Williams
  7. Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal
  8. From a Buick 8, by Stephen King
  9. The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander

These nine books cover my absolute minimum necessary reading to cover my challenges in February. Four of them are for Around the Year; six for The Reading Frenzy’s Travel-a-thon to Venice; all of them count for Mount TBR. Only four of them so far count towards PopSugar tasks, but those are more flexible–if I read something and it fits, I can always use it instead of whatever other book I had planned and hadn’t read yet. (And there are still some holes in my PopSugar list anyway.)

Nine is the magic number so far–my January TBR was also nine books, and as of today I’ve read 16 and probably won’t finish another in the next two days. This should be totally doable.

 

Down the TBR Hole #26

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?

New year, same meme!

#1 – Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban

776573A post-apocalyptic story that is also a linguistic puzzler. Don’t remember where I stumbled across this title, definitely see why I added it.  As to whether it should stay? I may never write another post-apocalyptic work myself, or I may, who knows at this point. But I didn’t lose interest in the genre. I’m interested enough that it can stick around.

 

 

 

#2 – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami

2195464._SY475_One of the top-rated reviews on Goodreads, under “who do you recommend this for?” says “runners and writers.” I am not a serious runner, a marathon runner, but I am both of these things. I have a piece of Murakami fiction on the shelves already–Norwegian Wood–and ordinarily I’d do the thing where I say “if I hate that then I’ll come back and cut this” but fiction and nonfiction are different beasts, even from the same author, and I’ll probably still want to read this even if I don’t end up liking Norwegian Wood. It stays.

 

 

#3 – Chemistry, by Weike Wang

31684925._SY475_I heard a lot about this leading up to its release and just after, then it sort of disappeared from my radar. I’m pleased to rediscover it, because a) it still sounds awesome, and b) I need “a book with a protagonist in their 20s” for the PopSugar challenge this year and that spot on my list was still blank, waiting for me to read a book on a whim and find out it qualified. But now, I’ve got a plan! It stays and goes on the challenge list.

 

 

#4 – The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

15819028Wooo boy, I do not remember putting this on the TBR. Rereading the blurb makes it sound okay, but just okay. Skimming my friends’ reviews section on the Goodreads page leads me to believe this is a love-it-or-hate-it book, because the downside seems to be an incredibly slow pace to the story, but the upside of that is “lush, evocative prose.” I’m not going to invest the kind of time that kind of book needs on a blurb I think is so-so. This definitely goes.

 

 

#5 – Persuading Prudence, by Liz Cole

11329359What exactly the heck? I reread this blurb and have no memory of finding this book or putting it on my list or any reason why I might have done so. If you’d asked me about this title before I did this meme, I would have said, in all honesty, “Never heard of it.” Doesn’t seem like my thing at all, away it goes.

 

 

 

#6 – 8  — The NOLA Nights series, by Thea de Salle

These are on the list because a Tumblr mutual, back when book 2 of the series was released, was hyping it to the stars like it was her own personal mission to make as many people as possible aware of this book and hopefully get them to read it. I was convinced enough to throw the whole series on there, but let’s reexamine that, shall we? Book one has lovers with a pretty large age gap, older male/younger female, and that can be a turn-off for me, but reviews point out that she’s plus-size and he’s bisexual. Bisexual male lead? I can forgive a lot of other things that might make me hesitant if that’s good, because bisexuality as a whole doesn’t have good rep, but within that bi ladies are far more visible than bi guys. So I’m on board so far. Book two, the one that was shoved under my nose so vocally, also has bi rep apparently, and basically everyone who reviewed it thinks it’s even better than the first (which is probably why it was the first one to come to my attention despite being the second in the series.) Still on board. Book three? It looks like there’s some religion/sex tension, which can be disastrous if done wrong, but by then if I’ve read the first two I’ll either like the author’s style or I won’t, and I can decide then to go on or not. The final assessment: they can all stay, and now I’m interested enough to put them at the top of my list when I break my book buying ban in the spring.

#9 – ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King

11590My dedication to pruning my TBR even extends to Mr. King, who is simultaneously one of my favorite authors (his best books are easily a few of my lifetime favorites) and one of the least consistent authors I’ve ever read. When he’s good, he’s great, but when he’s bad, I hate it. (I’m looking at you, Lisey’s Story.) So while I will pick up any King novel I don’t already own at a book sale, no question, I will also DNF that sucker in a heartbeat if I’m not enjoying myself–it’s happened, more than once. I couldn’t get through It, which nearly everyone else loves! So the story behind putting this one on my list is that I did it after some of its character show up late in the Dark Tower series, and they’re pivotal, and I was curious. But now, given how long it’s been since I finished the series (that was my big 2017 series goal) and how disappointed I was with it in the end, my nostalgia for something I haven’t actually read is not good enough. Would I read this book on its own merits? Stephen King does vampires. Old-school, early-career horror. So, so many people claiming in their reviews that it’s their favorite King novel (or at least one of them.) I think this can stay. It won’t be high on my priority list any time soon (I’m currently reading a King story collection and have three more of his novels that I do own slated for challenges this year) but it doesn’t need to be cut. I’m quite likely never going to catch up entirely on King’s back catalog, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try.

#10 – Everything Leads to You, by Nina LaCour

#11 – We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour

#12 – Every Day, by David Levithan

Two bonus books, because I need to do these three together, since they all come from the same source: these are the two authors who wrote one of my favorite books of 2017, You Know Me Well. I’m still recommending it as queer fiction to this day–I was just talking recs with a friend this past weekend and I threw this one at her. And I was lamenting my lack of wlw reading, because there isn’t as much out there as I want there to be, but I haven’t even read some of the big titles of what there is, and LaCour is the author who comes up again and again. Seriously, I loved that book so much, so I went straight to Goodreads to look up the authors’ other work and throw a few on there. They all stay. Looking back at what I chose I think I’m more excited about the LaCour books than the Levithan one, but that still looks interesting for its unusual premise.


Once again, it was a bumper crop of books that did not get cut. I only pitched 2/12 this time (like last month, unlike me) but if I was always cutting more than half my list, then what was I thinking putting them on there in the first place? As always, if you’ve got an opinion to share or a disagreement to voice about any of these books, drop a note in the comments and say why you think I should change my mind!