Down the TBR Hole #13

Welcome folks to the thirteenth round of Down the TBR Hole! That’s right, I’ve somehow reached unlucky number thirteen of this blog post series and I kind of can’t believe it. The previous twelve posts from 2017 have really helped to clean up my Goodreads TBR and start to get it to a point where it’s a little more honest and realistic about what books I’m ever actually going to read rather than just saying I want to read. I hope to continue this spirit well into 2018 so, for now at least, Down the TBR Hole is staying as a semi-regular feature!

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my twelfthmy eleventhmy tenthmy ninthmy eighthmy seventhmy sixthmy fifthmy fourthmy thirdmy second or my first round post or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Why is it there? Honestly? Not even sure… I’m sure there was a stage at which I kept seeing Jonas Jonasson books everywhere, online and off-line, so I guess I must have added this then. Since then, I haven’t really heard anything super inspiring or encouraging about Jonasson’s books and I’ve never had the urge to buy this so I guess that answers the next couple of questions…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Don Juan by Lord Byron

Why is it there? I must have added this at the point I was studying Byron at school or university, because I feel like there’s no other reason for me to have done so. As it turned out, I liked studying Byron enough but not enough to actually actively pursue any of his stuff other than what I’d been assigned as required reading. I think that says it all really… especially since I graduated from my BA back in 2014 and my MA in 2015 and I still haven’t read any more Byron in the interim.
Do I own it? Yes (in one of my many literature anthologies, I’m sure)
Verdict? Ditch

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Why is it there? It’s an alternative history set at the time of the Napoleonic Wars about a pair of magicians (I presume, the titular characters)… like why wouldn’t this be on my TBR? It also apparently is inspired by like Romantic literary tropes and stuff and is written in the style of a 19th century novel. I’m all about that.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

4. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Why is it there? I’ve been making an effort to read more classics, especially those that intimidate me. Most Russian classics tend to intimidate me, and this is no exception. I’m not sure why this was added to my TBR amidst the likes of Jonathan Strange but, hey, my mind clearly works in mysterious ways. I recently bought a beautiful edition of this, after being reminded of my desire to read it after Joe and Katya danced a waltz to a song from its film adaptation during Strictly Come Dancing – like I said, mysterious ways…
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

5. The Collector by John Fowles

Why is it there? I don’t even know what the plot of this is, except that it’s kind of messed up… that’s literally all I know. And the fact that I can’t even remember the vaguest bit of the synopsis? Yep, that’s a sure sign – I can be cut-throat about this now…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. Drood by Dan Simmons

Why is it there? A while ago at university I overheard someone talking about this book in the library – you’d be surprised how little book recommendations I got at university… during an English literature degree, but I guess we were all a little too busy with the required reading to actually read for fun. Anyway, I think this is a fictional look at Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens and features buzz phrases like ‘underbelly of society’ and ‘slums of Victorian London’ so, hey, that sounds promising.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

7. The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe

Why is it there? I’ve never read anything by Jonathan Coe and, if I’m completely honest, I know next to nothing about him so I have literally no preconceived ideas or expectations when it comes to his novels, least of all this. Goodreads informs me that a few of my friends have read this and rated it highly so that’s good enough for me to give it a go at some point.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

8. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

Why is it there? It’s no secret that I adore Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – I love the musical and narrative so much that I even did my undergraduate final dissertation on it! Whilst reading secondary critical essays and books to inform said dissertation, I ended up realising that Hugo also wrote the story of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, you know the Disney film, right? I got excited about that connection and clearly added this to my TBR – I’m sure the essays I was reading about Hugo’s works also helped too. But, let’s be honest here, I still haven’t actually read the entirety of Les Misérables from cover to cover yet (I confess, I have skimmed whole sections) so maybe I should do that first before trying to read other Hugo novels…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Why is it there? There was a phase a few years back when you couldn’t move for this book. Seriously, it had all the hype. And then the hype died down. And then it was reinvigorated… and now it’s tailed off again I think. That pretty much describes my journey with this book too. When I heard it told the story of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus I was all for it, especially since the author is a Latin and Greek teacher and because it won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012. Despite the many things that speak in its favour, I still haven’t read this. I skim-read the opening section once when I was deciding whether or not to buy it in a bookshop… and I didn’t. Maybe that says something about it – I think I was sick of first-person narratives to be honest – but I’m willing to let this one slip through this time… just.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

10. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Why is it there? I’ve had this on my Kindle FOREVER, I think it was actually one of the first ebooks I downloaded onto my very first Kindle (RIP) that wasn’t a freebie classic. It was free though, for some inexplicable reason. And I knew Margaret Atwood was a respected author and I liked Greek mythology so why not? It tells the story of Penelope, wife of Odysseus, and is about what she got up to whilst he was off gallivanting during the Trojan War… I presume. I still do have a soft spot for mythology but I haven’t read anything Greek-based in quite some time… maybe it’s high time to change that.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

Results

This round:
Kept – 6
Ditched – 4

Overall:
Kept – 69
Ditched – 61

That, my friends, was the thirteenth round of my Down the TBR Hole project. But have I made a terrible mistake in ditching some of these titles? Or have I kept some that really aren’t worth my time? Let me know in the comments below!


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5 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #13

  1. RedRocketPanda 16/01/2018 / 15:49

    Yessssss please do read The Song of Achilles! It is one of my favourite books and I think you would really enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma 18/01/2018 / 17:57

      It’s still on my list so I’ll definitely get round to it at some point! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ally Writes Things 15/01/2018 / 19:48

    I’ve read the Jonas Jonasson book, and it’s pretty funny but not like great literature or anything. It’s kind of like Forest Gump but a book. I don’t think it’s a must read, but if you want a lighter and funny book, it would be good for that

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma 18/01/2018 / 17:58

      Well that’s solved it for me- I’ve never seen Forest Gump and don’t really care much for it to seek it out. So if that is like that then maybe I’ll pass on this one…

      Liked by 1 person

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