AKA “Down The TBR Hole #2: Conquer your TBR”
It has been a very long time since I did this list. According to my first one, my fellow blogger Bookish Rita turned me on to this, which was originally Lia @ Lost in a Story’s idea. I’ve noticed many other bloggers doing these, and with no interview in the pipeline, and The rules are very simple:
- Sort your Goodreads to-be-read shelf and sort them from oldest to newest;
- Pick the first 5 or 10 (or whatever number you choose, depending on how large your list is) books you see;
- Read the synopses of the books;
- Decide whether to keep them or get rid of them.
With only 100 books on my TBR list, here are last ten I put on my list:
Celestial Navigation by Tyler, Anne (average rating: 3.78) Blurb: Thirty-eight-year-old Jeremy Pauling has never left home. He lives on the top floor of a Baltimore row house where he creates collages of little people snipped from wrapping paper. His elderly mother putters in the rooms below, until her death. And it is then that Jeremy is forced to take in Mary Tell and her child as boarders. Mary is unaware of how much courage it takes Jeremy to look her in the eye. For Jeremy, like one of his paper creations, is fragile and easily torn–especially when he’s falling in love. Verdict: Sorry, but Anne Tyler? How could I NOT want to read anything by her? Of course this one STAYS!
Tree of Codes by Foer, Jonathan Safran (average rating: 3.86) Blurb: Tree of Codes is the story of an enormous last day of life — as one character’s life is chased to extinction, Foer multi-layers the story with immense, anxious, at times disorientating imagery, crossing both a sense of time and place, making the story of one person’s last day everyone’s story. Verdict: actually, this does still sound interesting. I think I’ll keep it!
1Q84 by Murakami, Haruki (average rating 3.92) Blurb: A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls “1Q84 — Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. Verdict: What? Parallel existence? Why did I have this on my list at all? You’re OUTTA here!
The Paris Wife by McLain, Paula (average rating 3.81) Blurb: A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. Verdict: excuse me but why haven’t I read this one yet? This one is absolutely staying on my list!
Wonder Boys by Chabon, Michael (average rating 3.93) Blurb: In his first novel since “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” Chabon presents a hilarious and heartbreaking work—the story of the friendship between the “wonder boys”—Grady, an aging writer who has lost his way, and Crabtree, whose relentless debauchery is capsizing his career. Verdict: Oh, this does sound good, and I do like Chabon, so we’ll keep this one!
Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4) by Atkinson, Kate (average rating 3.92) Blurb: Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective – a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other – or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns [that] her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge. Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue – that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished. Verdict: Um… the fourth in a series I’ve ever read. Sorry – you’re gone!
Memories of My Melancholy Whores by García Márquez, Gabriel (average rating 3.6) Blurb: On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting, but exhausted as she is from caring for siblings and her job sewing buttons, she can do little but sleep. Yet with this sleeping beauty at his side, it is he who awakens to a romance he has never known. Verdict: Yuck! Even this author can’t make me like the idea of statutory rape sound appealing, even if it is only attempted, so this is a solid no!
The House Beautiful by Burnett, Allison (average rating 3.96) Blurb: B.K. Troop — a middle-aged, witty, bipolar, alcoholic homosexual — lives alone in a cramped New York apartment. His life is turned upside down when his best friend, Sasha Buchwitz, dies and leaves him her Manhattan brownstone. To afford the property tax, B.K. turns his new home into a colony for young, struggling artists, to whom he can serve as mentor, if not muse. He christens the place the House Beautiful. The House Beautiful tells the story of a fateful summer when a young man named Adrian Malloy arrives at B.K.’s door, lugging a suitcase and dragging a garbage bag crammed with what B.K. presumes to be odes and sonnets. Overjoyed to have found a new poet, B.K. sweeps Adrian into his home and under his wing. Although Adrian is the spitting image of John Keats, he is not a poet. He is an astronomy student, who has sought out B.K. for very private reasons, which he is reluctant to reveal. At once hilarious, romantic, wise, and lunatic, The House Beautiful tells the story not only of B.K.’s emerging friendship with Adrian, but of all the artists’ adventures that summer, as they struggle to make art and love. Verdict: Yes, I enjoyed the first book in this series, but even though this was written by someone I went to High School with, I think I’m going to give this one a pass. Sorry!
Death by Sunshine by Burnett, Allison (average rating 4.13) Blurb: B.K. Troop is an aging, erudite, mentally ill, gay, alcoholic novelist living in Manhattan. His life is turned upside down when he receives an invitation to come to Hollywood to adapt one of his novels into a screenplay. When things on the West coast do not go quite as planned, B.K. is thrust into the heart of a murder mystery, which only he can solve. With the help of Jesus, his trusty Mexican driver, B.K. penetrates the inner sanctum of Tinsel Town with hilarious and surprisingly poignant results. Verdict: See above – thanks but no thanks!
The Conductor by Quigley, Sarah (average rating 3.79) Blurb: In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler’s plan is to shell, bomb, and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are forced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg – a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate Radio Orchestra – and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony. Verdict: I think I put this on my list for my husband but the truth is, it still sounds interesting. I’ll keep this one!
So that’s ten books, out of which I’m cutting five and keeping five! Well, 50% isn’t too bad, right?
Are there books here that I kept that you would have dropped?
Are there books here that I dropped that you would have kept?
Let me know in the comments, below!