Down the TBR Hole #17

Welcome folks to the seventeenth 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. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Why is it there? I randomly own this on Kindle and I’m 99% sure that the only reason I bought this book in the first place when flicking through a Kindle books sale was because I’d vaguely seen it around on Booktube but mainly because I am a sucker for anything that uses the phrase “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea” (see also: Spaceman by The Killers). Since then I’ve heard some not great things about it in terms of plot and characters, but I’ve also heard the tone is really good, so I’m torn. If it delivers on the “blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror” then I am there for it. I guess there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

2. The Elite by Kiera Cass

Why is it there? I’m pretty sure that back in the day the books in this series were pretty cheap on Kindle so I impulse bought a few of them. The Selection was dumb and fluffy but I actually enjoyed it, for what it was, but I’ve just never quite gotten around to this second book in the series. If you’d asked me last month whether to keep or ditch it, I probably would have ditched it, but my housemate Liz has recently marathoned the books in this series and I kind of want to read them too now so that I can talk to her about them.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Why is it there? This seems to be set in an alternate history steampunk World War I and that, for me, is such a unique setting and concept that I was sold once I knew that’s what it was about. It helps that, much like “the devil and the deep blue sea”, the buzzword of “leviathan” also always piques my interest for no apparent reason. I sense that this is a book I should have probably got too quite a few years ago by this point but I never did… but I think I still want to…
Do I own it? Yes (just)
Verdict? Keep

4. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

Why is it there? Back in university I had to read War of the Worlds for one of my modules… I can’t quite remember which one, or why, but I do remember that I found myself pleasantly surprised by it because I didn’t entirely hate H.G. Wells’ writing style. I knew the story of it already because I’d studied the film for a piece of GCSE coursework whilst in secondary school. The Island of Dr. Moreau, on the other hand, I know nothing about and I’m kind of fine with keeping it that way until I get around to this one. Step one would probably be procuring a copy of it…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

5. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Why is it there? Given that the previous book was The Island of Dr. Moreau, I was clearly watching some kind of booktube video about YA inspired by classics when I was adding these books to my TBR because this one is indeed inspired by the aforementioned H.G. Wells novel. At the time, I thought this sounded amazing, and it’s got 5-star reviews from some people whose opinions I trust… but it also has a lot of 2-star reviews from people I also trust so I’ve got to probably got with the majority here and say bye bye.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

Why is it there? I once bought this used in a charity shop purely for the cover, I’m not ashamed of that, but what I am ashamed of is that I haven’t read it yet despite owning it for many, many months, and I still know about as much about its plot as I did when I first came across it in that shop all that time ago. This seems Dickensian in tone and about a boy who ends up on swashbuckling adventures, allegedly… I think that might be enough to persuade me to keep it this time round.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

7. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Why is it there? I went through a stage of thinking I’d read Bill Bryson books. Well it’s years later and I still haven’t read any Bill Bryson books despite owning a good three or four of them. I just never seem to get around to them. Maybe that ship has sailed? Maybe one day I will get to this but for now if I’m going to read any Bill Bryson books it should probably at least be the one’s I actually own…???
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

8. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson

Why is it there? You know I mentioned Bill Bryson books that I do actually own? Yeah, this is one of those. I used to love learning about the history of the English language when I studied (funnily enough) English Language for my A Levels, but I never did get around to reading the full length works of any of the linguists we studied, such as David Crystal or Noam Chomsky. I probably bought this Bill Bryson book around that time though, when I was fascinated by the weird and wonderful colourful history of the English language… and since then… I haven’t thought about picking it up, but I do still dabble very occasionally in linguistics and I do enjoy learning about it still so maybe this one will eventually get read…
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

9. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Why is it there? This is a true crime book that has a lot of 5-star ratings and acclaim and I remember adding it to my TBR for that very reason. But, since then, I’ve stopped to ask myself: am I actually interested in crime, or true crime, or am I just thinking I should try it because other people have said it’s really good? I think it’s probably the latter, to be perfectly honest… I know my little niche, and I’ll stick to it, thanks, and it doesn’t involve books like this. Sorry/not sorry.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Lean in for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

Why is it there? I should have read this book back in 2014 or 2015 when I was facing the prospect of life after graduating and was really scared about the world after university because I felt unqualified to do anything. I’ve since had jobs, and I’ve since gleaned some career advice via blogs, comment pieces, and YouTube videos, so I think this book will probably be rehashing a lot of what I’ve already managed to pick up from elsewhere. This is a case of ‘I wish I’d read it sooner… and now I’ve missed the boat on this I likely never will get round to it after the fact’.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch


This round:
Kept – 6
Ditched – 4

Overall:
Kept – 89
Ditched – 81

That’s all folks for the seventeenth round of my Down the TBR Hole project. I’m still managing to weed out a few books in every round, but I found this distinctly harder to do than in previous rounds. Maybe I’m just now getting down to books which I didn’t just add to my TBR shelf on a whim, or else I’ve now reached a point in my Goodreads history where I my reading taste started to get more specific, and that taste hasn’t yet changed from that? Either way, for whatever reason, these rounds are becoming harder, even though I have become more discerning (read: cut-throat) with a lot of the decisions.

Even so, my TBR currently stands at 642 books now and I don’t think that’s too bad, compared to the days where it peaked at well over 1000!

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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