Down the TBR Hole #7

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Ghost Wall

#1 Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, I was on the fence about this, and I read a few pages of the preview and actually find the writing style very much up my alley as well as the pulling me into the story. It’s definitely not in my usual genre or within my usual tastes, but I often need a break from my usual choices, so I’ll be keeping this one for when I’m in need of a breath of fresh air.

VERDICT: KEEP

Gingerbread

#2 Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, full disclosure, I think this has the lowest average rating of anything on my Goodreads TBR right now. I know literary fiction tends to get rated lower on average, but this only has a 3.07. Most books I like are at least a 3.8, so that alone has me questioning whether this book is worth it. No one I’m following on Goodreads has read this, and normally that wouldn’t bother me, but the fact that this has such a low average rating makes me want to read a review from soemeone whose tastes I’m familiar enough with that I’d be able to tell whether this book is for me. However, because I have so many books on my TBR, this has such a low rating, and my overall hesitation about it… I’m just gonna go with my gut on this.

VERDICT: LET GO

My Lovely Wife

#3 My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

[Goodreads Link]

This is a thriller, and I tend to not be super picky in what thrillers I pick up even if I am harder to please than average, just because they’re such a quick read and so it’s generally a pretty low risk to take a chance on them. If I don’t enjoy them I only wasted a couple days of reading time as opposed to a week or two. That and the premise of a married couple that murders together make this a no brainer.

VERDICT: KEEP

Little Fires Everywhere

#4 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

[Goodreads Link]

Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You is one of my favorite books of 2019. I rated it 5 whole stars. I don’t even need to re-read the synopsis of Little Fires Everywhere to know I’ll be reading it at some point. I really don’t have much else to say about that.

VERDICT: KEEP

My Sister, the Serial Killer

#5 My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

[Goodreads Link]

Frankly this book sounds too good to pass up. It’s basically a mix of a thriller and a family drama? I also know someone IRL who has read this and really enjoyed it, and normally when my real life friends read books I have to give those a chance because I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to talk about books with my friends.

VERDICT: KEEP

In total I’m keeping 4 and letting go of 1. Slowly but surely my TBR is getting a refresh, if not as quickly as I’d like. There are so many books I just want to delete off my TBR, but I’m trying to be good and do it systematically and give each book a fair chance. However, with over 400 books to get through it feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace.

Down the TBR Hole #6

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Blanca & Roja

#1 Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

[Goodreads Link]

This is a YA retelling of Swan Lake with LGBT elements and that sounds right up my alley. As a dance nerd, I wish there were more retellings of stories that are famous ballets because some of them are so good and have so much potential. (I mean, honestly, how many Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and Snow White retellings do we need? There are other– frankly more interesting– stories out there.) Anyways, this is for sure a book that I don’t want to forget about because I would like to eventually give it a chance.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Astonishing Color of After

#2 The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

[Goodreads Link]

I have had mixed experiences with magical realism as a genre. But the overall story of this book, which is about grief and family and coming-of-age, makes me hope that this will be on that I connect with. I don’t tend to pick up many books like this in the fall/winter months, so maybe I’ll get around to it next Spring. Funny this was on my original Asian Readathon TBR back in May, I just sort of… failed miserably at that Readathon so. But yeah, in my own time, I’ll definitely get around to picking this up.

VERDICT: KEEP

Daisy Jones & The Six

#3 Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book I was excited about when it first came out, but since then I’ve heard multiple mixed reviews about it, and some of the less-than-perfect reviews have sort of made me wary. I do have the audiobook saved on Scribd so hopefully I eventually get around to this. But if a large amount of time goes by and I haven’t read this, I’m going to just cut my losses.

VERDICT: KEEP (for now)

Freshwater

#4 Freshwater by Awaeke Emezi

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book I added to my TBR when I was trying to get into literary fiction and I was (loosely) following a couple of awards. I believe I found this one through the Women’s Fiction Prize longlist. I have been trying to find a Nigerian author that I like, and have been unimpressed with the last couple I’ve tried, so almost for that alone I want to give this book a chance.

VERDICT: KEEP

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

#5 Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

[Goodreads Link]

Okay so this is actually fairly high on my priority lists as in it’s a book I haven’t yet bought or solidly committed to, but I regularly think about it and how I really want to give it a chance and hopefully fall in love with Robin Hobb’s writing and the whole Realm of the Elderling series. So with that in mind, there’s definitely no way I’m getting rid of this book.

VERDICT: KEEP

Once again I have kept 5 books and parted with 0. I’m hoping as we get further down my Goodreads TBR that I start to get into posts where I keep 0 books and get rid of 5 to make up for how little I’ve cut from my TBR so far.

Let’s Talk Bookish: TBR’s

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Eternity Books. This is my first time participating, and I’m looking forward to participating in more of these in the future.

This week’s prompt is: Are TBR’s necessary to be a book blogger or reader?

I’ll save everyone the scrolling and give the answer here: No.

End of post! We answered the question! Just kidding. There is more I have to say on this, obviously.

Maybe I’m biased as someone who rarely does TBR’s (and who rarely follows through with them when I do post them,) but the only times I feel like a TBR is necessary is if you’re participating in a read-a-thon and have specific prompts to fill because that does require planning ahead.

Other than that my own version of a TBR is to just make long lists of books I want to prioritize- usually these lists are anywhere between 10 and 20 books- but knowing I’m only going to get to 4 or 5 them in any given month; that makes it a less restrictive list, as I definitely lean towards being a mood reader. My issue with having no list at all is when there are so many books I want to read I sometimes get into this funk where I can’t decide what to pick up at all so I just… don’t pick up anything, which is very counterproductive. So, I personally like a mix of structure and lots of freedom. It’s easier to pick from a list of 20 books than a list of 400 (which is what my current Goodreads TBR is getting to be), and since I’m only going to get to a fraction of those, it still leaves me with plenty of room to let my mood decide what to pick up from the list next.

I also don’t post these lists anywhere because they’re not the traditional “These are all the books I’m planning to read this month” TBR, they’re more of a “Here’s a huge list of books, and I’m going to aim for reading at least 4 of them, and if I get to more, then that’s great, but if not that’s fine. And also there’s no way in hell I’m getting to all of them.”

I also am acutely aware of how many mood readers there are in the book community who likely don’t even make the long lists that I do. For mood readers, sometimes having a TBR can hurt more than help which is totally understandable, in my opinion. I’ve experienced that annoying feeling of forcing myself to read a book I’m not feeling that week or that month and enjoying the book a lot less than I would have otherwised, and possibly ending up in a reading slump because of it. So, I’ve personally just come to the conclusion that more restrictive TBRs that lay out exactly what I’m going to read and not giving me any extra options are just not for me, and so it makes sense to me that there are definitely others who feel this way as well, perhaps even more so.

All that being said, for other types of readers, TBRs certainly can be helpful.

Both types of readers are valid, and I happen to fall into the category of not using TBR’s, but people who do use TBR’s are equally valid and probably a hell of a lot more organized and disciplined than I am. Plus, I like reading TBR’s to try to identify the upcoming trends in the community as well as to see if there’s any books that sound intriguing to me, even if the person hasn’t read and reviewed it yet.

Tl;dr: Make TBR’s if you want, and if you’re the type of person that thrives as a reader that way then great, but they’re not necessary at all, and for certain readers they’re probably even counterproductive.

Down the TBR Hole #5

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Onto the books.

The Luminaries

#1 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

[Goodreads Link]

So, there was a time in my life where books like this were almost all I wanted to read, but I’ve realized since then that my tastes are not what books like this require of a reader. Frankly, books like this just don’t entice me like they used to, and the fact that it’s over 800 pages means I’d have to be convinced I’d love it to even pick it up, and the fact is that… I’m not convinced, so.

Verdict: LET GO

Far from the Tree

#2 Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so, this isn’t at all my usual taste in reading material, but it is one I was interested in because I love reading about families. I read the first couple pages of the preview because the synopsis had me on the fence, and it definitely seems like something I’d like to read, so.

Verdict: KEEP

Milkman

#3 Milkman by Anna Burns

[Goodreads Link]

I’ve seen reviews of this book that have been all over the place. Books that people either love or hate with little in between do usually intrigue me, if only to find out on which side of the spectrum I’ll fall. It’s been awhile since I thought about this book (I think probably since I added it to by Goodreads in March) but the synopsis is definitely something that intrigues me a little bit. This will likely be a book I get from the library if I end up picking it up, but I don’t think I’m willing to part with it from my Goodreads TBR just yet.

Verdict: KEEP

The Silence of the Girls

#4 The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

[Goodreads Link]

Listen, myth and legend and fairy tale retellings are my jam. I’m not really one to read a lot of retellings of the popular stories like Cinderella and Snow White because those have been done to death and I just don’t like reading the same thing over and over, but the only retelling I’ve read of The Iliad is Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles which is one of my favorite books of all time. Briseis is a character that intrigued me in that retelling and the fact that Pat Barker has decided to give her her own story and her own voice in The Silence of the Girls? Sign me the fuck up. Honestly, why the fuck haven’t I read this yet?

Verdict: KEEP

If We Were Villains

#5 If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so, I am not a fan of comparison marketing at all. I have been let down too many times (The Devouring Gray being compared to The Raven Cycle), or I’ve loved the books and actually decided they were unfairly marketed as being for fans of a series it’s not at all like (The Magicians being compared to Harry Potter.) So, the fact that this book is compared to The Secret History has me intrigued and somewhat hesitantly optimistic, but it also has me thinking it either won’t be anywhere as good or else won’t be anything like it. I do plan on giving this a chance, but I have recently seen some negative reviews of it that have me second-guessing that choice so I may decide against reading it in the future.

Verdict: KEEP (for now)

So, in total I’m keep 4 books and letting go of 1. This has been a very… slow cleaning process of my Goodreads shelves. Maybe I’ll get lucky and hit a jackpot soon and get rid of 5 books in one go? But probably not.