Down the TBR Hole #16

Welcome folks to the sixteenth 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. Exchange by Paul Magrs

Why is it there? I was told it was a book about books… and that’s basically enough for Past Emma to have impulsively added it to her TBR shelf. This, by the way, is how I end up with hundreds of books on my TBR. And in an effort to ditch some books I’m going to not look further than a very basic short synopsis… which is why I’m going to bravely ditch this book from the TBR now because I know if I read reviews I’d actually want to read it probably. So, quick, before I change my mind!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Why is it there? When I read Shadow of the Wind several years ago, it became one of my favourite books. To the point that I’m very hesitant to ever re-read it because I have a feeling if I did, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much, buuut that hasn’t stopped me from adding all the other Carlos Ruiz Zafón books I could find to my TBR, including this one. It looks all dark and macabre and Gothic and I am about it. 
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. Rough Music by Patrick Gale

Why is it there? A few years ago at university, a flatmate became quickly obsessed with Patrick Gale. I’d vaguely heard his name around and knew of Notes from an Exhibition which is possibly his most well-known novel, but I’d never heard of this one until my friend bought it. And then I think she ended up with a second copy so she gave me this one and now I have a copy for no apparent reason… here’s the thing, I read like 3/4 of Notes and I enjoyed it but I wasn’t like SUPER into it, so is there any point in trying this one out when I’m trying to be really strict with myself about what I am realistically actually going to pick up and read anytime soon??
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch

4. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

Why is it there? It’s a non-fiction book about beauty and female identity, apparently. As I understand it Wolf takes to task the restrictive social control of “the beauty myth”, an obsession with physical perfection, which has hindered women from advancing any further towards equality. Here’s the thing… this should be my jam… but I’m just kind of shrug about it because, like, I think I know this school of thought already? I’m sure if I actually did give this a chance Wolf would prove to have an incredibly informed and nuanced argument but…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

5. Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 1: A Sea of Troubles by Conor McCreery

Why is it there? It’s a graphic novel of series about Shakespeare’s characters where it pits his “good guys” against his “villains”… and that was kind of a weird and novel enough synopsis for me to add it to my TBR. Let’s be real though, am I ever actually going to buy it and get around to reading it? Especially since I’ve never seen it in any bookshops around here…?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Why is it there? As far as I know, this is young-adult, Victorian-y, and set in a boarding school. So far so good but, most importantly, it has (I think) some kind of magic, paranormal fantasy elements? Sign me up. Yep, I’m that easy and do you know what? This is one of those where that still is enough justification for me to try it out, since I have heard pretty good things about this from booktubers and bookbloggers whose opinions I trust.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

7. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Why is it there? I’ve been meaning to read some Edith Wharton for what must be years at this point. This one won a Pulitzer so, I mean, it’s probably considered good, right? Since I haven’t read even so much as a page of Wharton previously I have literally no idea what to expect, but it’s late 19th century New York so I’ll probably like it.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

8. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

Why is it there? As you may be aware if you’re a frequent reader of Down the TBR Hole posts, I was gifted the complete set of Charles Dickens a few Christmases ago and I still haven’t read them all, let alone this beast of a book… mainly because I started off by reading the shortest of his novels and this is not short, to say the least. Will I ever actually read it? Who knows. Do I really need to keep this listed on my TBR shelf when it’s very real and very there on my already groaning physical classics TBR shelf? Probably not.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch

9. The Art of Fiction by Henry James

Why is it there? I have literally no idea… I haven’t even read any other Henry James so I can’t even cite that as a reason. Seriously, this one has mystified me by its appearance.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Why is it there? Does anyone remember a while back when I talked about intimidatingly long books which I termed “project books”? (I don’t blame you if you don’t.) Yeah, this is one of those for sure, in fact Vanity Fair made an appearance on the original list of aforementioned project books. Have I yet read it? Um, no. Do I still plan to? Honestly? Probably yes, actually, a realisation that undoubtedly has surprised you as well as myself, to be perfectly honest!
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep


This round:
Kept – 4
Ditched – 6

Kept – 83
Ditched – 77

That’s all folks for the sixteenth 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 currently stands at 645 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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7 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #16

  1. Liz Whitehouse 06/03/2018 / 00:12

    I feel like you’re getting a little more cut throat with the ditching and I love it!


    • Emma 07/03/2018 / 20:18

      I think you can agree, the house does not need any more books adding to it… :P


  2. Megan 05/03/2018 / 22:32

    I loved A Great and Terrible Beauty in my tween years. It was one of my favorite books! Vanity Fair is on my list too, but it’s just so long…


    • Emma 07/03/2018 / 20:19

      Yeah, I know that feeling. Many moons ago I read an excerpt from Vanity Fair at school and I found it surprising readable so I’m really hoping that it just LOOKS intimidating but actually isn’t too scary once you get started – fingers crossed anyway!


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