Down the TBR Hole #15

Welcome folks to the fifteenth round of Down the TBR Hole! As I mentioned in my last round of DtTH (nope, that acronym isn’t particularly attractive, is it?), this little project has been a great way of weening down my TBR over the past year so I’ve decided to keep it up and make it a semi-regular feature in order to spring clean my TBR aka be realistic about what books I aspire to read and what books I actually will read.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag 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. Grimm Tales: For Young and Old by Philip Pullman

Why is it there? Because Philip Pullman re-wrote a collection of his favourite Grimm brothers fairytales and the cover looks like that… is that not reason enough?
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

2. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens

Why is it there? I think it’s part of most English students’ desire to say they’ve read a Dickens or two. Well, I have read a Dickens or two by now, but for some foolish reason I decided to add the complete novels of Dickens to my TBR when I was gifted them a couple of Christmases ago. I’m still yet to read this but, as it’s an unfinished novel, it’s quite short for Dickens so I’ll likely get to it sooner than some of his other books (*cough*The Pickwick Papers*cough*).
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

3. Longbourn by Jo Baker

Why is it there? I love Pride and Prejudice so when I saw this novel floating around the online book community, I immediately added it to my TBR. It tells the story of the aforementioned Austen novel but centres around the life of those “downstairs” i.e. the servants – sounds very promising!
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Why is it there? I have a bit of a hit-and-miss past with Margaret Atwood’s stuff in the past (loved The Handmaid’s Tale, couldn’t even get past the first page of The Blind Assassin) but I’ve never really made enough of an effort to try out different books from her. I really should, given that I do really appreciate The Handmaid’s Tale, so maybe this trilogy should be one I prioritise sooner rather than later?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

5. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Why is it there? I have literally no idea where this book came from, probably Booktube somewhere along the line, but I don’t really know why I thought I wanted to read it. I’m more than happy to be proved wrong though if anyone reading this knows of Dorothy L. Sayers’ work and thinks I’d enjoy it…?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford

Why is it there? When I studied (and later specialised in) early modern literature, there were a few dramas that slipped through the net and that I ended up skipping over for one reason or another. I think this was skipped over because I had essay deadlines the week that we were meant to have read this for the seminar, so I just never read it. I still own it though, so that says a lot about my intent to eventually get to it. I mean, come on, it’s got the word “whore” in its title, of course I’ll read it!
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

7. The Changeling by Thomas Middleton

Why is it there? Yet another one of those texts that I never got around to whilst studying early modern literature. This was probably added around the same time that I was assigned another Middleton drama, Women Beware Women, and which I never got around to reading either. (I swear I wasn’t as bad of a student as this makes me out to be!) If I’m going to read any Middleton, it’ll likely be that play instead since I do own it in a nice handy edition, although that’s not to say I won’t go back to The Changeling, one of these days but, for now…
Do I own it? Probably in an anthology somewhere
Verdict? Ditch

8. The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle

Why is it there? This was likely mentioned during my Victorian Popular Fiction class back in university, but I never actually got around to it, despite it sounding weird and Gothic. Nope, never got to it, even though it’s a novella and so quite short… and I’ll likely never actually get to it nowadays.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

9. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Why is it there? It’s difficult to be even vaguely a part of the YA book blogging community and have not heard of Patrick Ness. The Rest of Us Just Live Here did the rounds a couple of years back and I read that and quite enjoyed it, but I’ve never read arguably his most famous books, the Chaos Walking trilogy, of which this book is the first instalment. Now that I look back at it, I’m no longer interested in this sci-fi trilogy, especially because I’ve since read the first few pages and I’m not especially fond of the writing style and I don’t like the bits of unconventional formatting mid-text.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Why is it there? Confession time – I’ve never read a George Orwell from start to finish, though I want to. I feel like I am one of the few who didn’t study Animal Farm whilst at school, but I think we probably read Lord of the Flies instead, and I haven’t had that final push to pick that up since then. However, I am really intrigued by Orwell’s non-fiction stuff, especially Homage to Catalonia and this, his “investigative” account of being destitute in (you guessed it) Paris and London in the 1920s.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

Results

This round:
Kept – 6
Ditched – 4

Overall:
Kept – 79
Ditched – 71

That’s all folks for the fifteenth round of my Down the TBR Hole project. As you can see I’m definitely succeeding in weeding out a few books every time and those definitely build up over time to significantly reduce my TBR. In an ideal world, I’d like to make sure that my ‘ditched’ is higher than my ‘kept’ ratio because (clearly) I don’t have time to read everything I once said I wanted to. My TBR stands at 648 books now so that’s quite enough to be getting along with!

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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