Down the TBR Hole #27

Welcome folks to the twenty-seventh 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:

  • 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. Shakespeare And The Loss Of Eden: The Construction Of Family Values In Early Modern Culture by Catherine Belsey

Why is it there? As you might have gathered from previous Down the TBR Hole posts, sometimes in the past I have gone through weird phases of suddenly adding more academic books to my TBR – this is one of those. That’s not to say that I’m not not interested in the book nowadays, it’s just that now I’m out of education, it’s harder to both get hold of the book (no more university inter-library loans) and to find the motivation to actually read it.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic by Elisabeth Bronfen

Why is it there? Much like the previous title, this is an academic title that I added whilst on a roll at university. I’m still interested in the concepts this book undoubtedly addresses but it’s not something that I can foresee casually picking up of an afternoon, you know?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

Why is it there? Last year I read A Room with A View and Howards End and was really very pleasantly surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. I didn’t know anything about E.M. Forster or his writing before I’d picked them up – and I think that was probably why I ended up being so positively surprised by what I found. I’m hoping that will continue to be the case sometime in the future when I get round to this one…
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

4. Heist Society by Ally Carter

Why is it there? This is a YA mystery/thriller, I think? Given it’s name, I think it’s something to do with thieves… and maybe a boarding school in there too? I don’t know, I’ve seen it described as Ocean’s Eleven but for teenagers? And it went round Booktube a little bit back in the day. But that’s basically all I know and I’m not particularly super into the idea of it anymore because it’s not like it’s currently being hyped or receiving rave reviews so I really highly doubt I’m going to get to it anytime soon.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

5. What in God’s Name by Simon Rich

Why is it there? think the reason I wanted to read this once upon a time was because the synopsis of it sounded tongue-in-cheek enough and of similar concept to Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman which is one of my favourite books of all time. This novel sets up heaven as a poorly managed corporation because the CEO/God is barely there and then he retires and decides to destroy Earth, naturally. Two angels in the company don’t take this news so well so they strike a deal with the boss that if they can get two awkward people on earth to fall in love, he’ll cancel Armageddon. See what I mean about it sounding of the same ilk as Good Omens? Yeah, I’m curious enough about this one to want to keep it around because if I did ditch it, I’m not sure I’d find this book again…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

6. Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures by Claudia L. Johnson

Why is it there? Remember how I said sometimes I put academic-esque titles on my TBR and then proceed to do nothing about actually reading them? This is yet another case of that in action. As far as I remember, this one is about the idea of “Jane Austen” as an author, and as a “cult” of Austen and her works, which is all very fascinating I’m sure, but right now I think I should probably just concentrate on actually finishing off reading all of her bibliography before I move onto secondary material.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

7. A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald

Why is it there? Back in the day I used to love a Booktube channel called RonLit, she was super smart and funny and she made videos about classics but in a really accessible and fun way. I loved her content and she used to rep 18th-century works in particular so this was something she highly recommended, if I recall correctly. I mean just this line of the synopsis should be enough for me to keep this: “When Miss Milner announces her passion for her guardian, a Catholic priest, she breaks through the double barrier of his religious vocation and 18th-century British society’s standards of proper womanly behavior.” Um yes please?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

8. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Why is it there? I’m pretty damn sure I’d like Sarah Waters’ novels, when I finally get around to them. I’ve seen many a person on the Internet whose opinions I trust read and review Sarah Waters’ stuff and I’m sure I’ll be one of those people once I get around to her books. here’s the thing: where do I start? If you’re reading this and you’re a fan of Waters, please help me out here and tell me where I should start!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

9. She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor

Why is it there? I quite aspirationally put historical books on my TBR every so often, in the hope I’ll educate myself. Here’s the thing though: I find it really difficult to work up the motivation to pick up non-fiction as it is, let alone history, because I don’t do well with history unless it’s in a more… novelistic form. I’m not sure about this one. It’s well-known enough that if I ditch it now, I’m not going to be in danger of never being able to remember/find it again, so… (I don’t know, is this a mistake? Tell me if so!)
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Why is it there? This is a book that should be my jam because of one very basic thing: Shakespeare references. I know next to nothing about the rest of the book though, and I think that might be a good thing? The one thing that has put me off trying this before now has been that I’ve heard so much hype and I have such high expectations… so I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t know, maybe 2019 will be the year I get over myself and just try it??
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep


This round:
Kept – 5
Ditched – 5

Overall:
Kept – 139
Ditched – 131

That’s all folks for the twenty-seventh 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 633 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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