Down the TBR Hole #26

Welcome folks to the twenty-sixth round of Down the TBR Hole! 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:

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. Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee

Why is it there? I have literally no idea why this is still on my TBR. I likely added it at the same time as I bought/added Disgrace to my TBR but I’m still yet to read a single word of J.M. Coetzee’s writing. I don’t think I’ll be getting to this one anytime soon because even the synopsis hasn’t really piqued my interest.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations & Books by Eviatar Zerubavel

Why is it there? I’m really not very sure how this book came onto my radar or my TBR, but it actually sounds like a very useful thing – it seems to be about the creative process (whether that’s writing an essay or a novel) and how to carve out the best time in your daily routine for writing. Considering I forced myself to do so last month during NaNoWriMo and it was relatively successful in terms of getting words down, maybe I should read this and see if I can continue that spirit? I’m not sure if it will be completely helpful to the novel writing side of things since all the reviews on Goodreads say it’s good advice for tackling long-form academic writing, but it’s worth a go.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Why is it there? This sounds like a really intriguing fantasy concept where, according to the synopsis, “When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air”. I mean, that just sounds straight up intriguing, doesn’t it? A few of my Goodreads friends have read this and given it reasonably high ratings so I think that’s enough reason for it to survive this cull.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

4. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Why is it there? I’m a big fan of Schwab’s fantasy novels (specifically the Shades of Magic trilogy) and so when I heard about this earlier book and read the tagline “Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books”, I immediately added it to my TBR. However, I’ve since bought (and thereby added to my TBR shelf) The Dark Vault which is a bind-up of the duology The Archived and The Unbound so I don’t think I really need to keep this first book on there too, do I?
Do I own it? Yes (the bind-up edition)
Verdict? Ditch

5. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Why is it there? This book well and truly did the rounds a few years back and quite a few people whose opinions I trust read and enjoyed it. However, here’s the thing: this book sounds emotional and twee and I’m not ordinarily about that in a book. One of these days I could get around to reading it, maybe if for a book club or something, but I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever actually be inspired enough (or in the right mood) to pick it up off my own back.
Do I own it? Yes?
Verdict? Ditch

6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Why is it there? It’s safe to say that Haruki Murakami is a well talked-about author around these parts. It’s also safe to say that most newbies have zero idea where to start with his books. Most recommend the likes of Norwegian Wood I think for Murakami but, do you know what? Honestly? I don’t see me getting to this one anytime soon.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch

7. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Why is it there? I’m a BIG fan of Parks and Recreation so it’s no surprise that the memoir of Amy Poehler is on my TBR. Although I don’t really “get” SNL, I do like quite a lot of the work of the SNL gang so I’d gladly make my way through their collective autobiographies, definitely by audiobook if possible!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

8. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Why is it there? This historical fiction is compared to the likes of Edith Wharton and Henry James and the synopsis actually sounds right up my street. (I keep getting Downton Abbey vibes though I’m not sure why. Is it just because the main character is named Cora?) However, from just a cursory look on Goodreads, I see that this is a very middling book and not a lot of people have rated it particularly highly. I’m not sure that’s the best endorsement  or if it’s worth it.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

9. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Why is it there? I’m not really hugely into dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction, so it’s a surprise to find this even on my TBR to begin with. As I understand it, something terrible happened and the scattered survivors of this disaster (?) then have to wear blindfolds if they go outside or else they will be driven to violence against others and themselves. So people don’t know if there’s something out there killing people or if there’s another explanation. The concept sounds fascinating, and I keep seeing Sandra Bullock and Susanne Bier doing press for the film adaptation of this on their Instagram pages, but I’m fully convinced this will be too creepy for me to read.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel by Claudia L. Johnson

Why is it there? This book is a piece of literary criticism that I probably would have eaten up eagerly when I was at university. Funnily enough, however, I don’t really tend to reach for an academic study casually anymore, so I really doubt I’ll get to this one soon, if ever, even if it is allegedly particularly interesting and convincing.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

This round:
Kept – 3
Ditched – 7

Kept – 134
Ditched – 126

That’s all folks for the twenty-sixth round of my Down the TBR Hole project. I’m struggling more and more nowadays to ditch books, as you can probably tell by this round, but my TBR currently stands at 632 books. It still may seem like an insurmountable number but it’s not too shabby when I think back to how many books were on my TBR shelf before I started doing this 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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