Down the TBR Hole #30

Welcome folks to the thirtieth 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. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Why is it there? I’ve read many a review of this book saying it’s beautiful and brilliant writing and a dark and disturbing story. But, here’s the thing, I’ve also read the synopsis repeatedly and I still don’t think I’m at all interested in the content of the story at all. Happy to be proven wrong but, until then…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Why is it there? Everyone says this is a hauntingly powerful memoir about grief, race, and poverty from Jesmyn Ward. It chronicles the death of five men in her life. I know this would be a difficult read. I know this is probably an important read. I know that this would probably be a read that would transport me to an entirely different place and experience so distant from my own. And I feel like the worst kind of person ever for saying this but I just… I don’t see myself honestly reaching for this anytime soon. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person, don’t think I don’t have guilt over not wanting to read this.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by David Mitchell

Why is it there? This book is one of an assortment I have on my non-fiction humour shelf. You know the sort – the books that you might read on the loo, the books that even non-readers could be persuaded to read if they were gifted them at Christmas, the books that I’ll probably only get to in fits and starts and never actually read cover to cover. Knowing that I have an entire stack of those in my dining room shelves means I don’t really need to have it on my TBR shelf on Goodreads, I’m not likely to forget it exists.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch

4. How Paris Became Paris by Joan DeJean

Why is it there? Although I haven’t read that much non-fiction about it, I have a penchant for anything about Parisian history, or, rather, I have a penchant for optimistically adding books about Parisian history onto my TBR. I’ve heard this one is more about the physicality of the city than anything human interest, so I’d be intrigued to read about that, particularly as I’m told it covers 17th – 19th century which is kind of my jam.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

5. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Why is it there? I’m told Nabokov’s writing is beautiful and lyrical and accomplished and I didn’t really feel like reading that when it was featuring pedophilia so I opted to put Pale Fire on my TBR instead of Lolita. Unfortunately though, I’m just not that interested in actually reading Nabokov other than to be able to say I’ve read Nabokov and that is no longer really enough enticement for me nowadays.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. Rat Queens, Volume 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Why is it there? Back when I was desperately looking for graphic novels to read, all of Booktube seemed to recommend this one as something bright and colourful so I bought it. And then it sat on my shelf for months, nay years at this point, and wasn’t read. I’d almost be tempted to ditch it except there’s a readathon coming up I’ll likely be able to read it during so…
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

7. Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Why is it there? I’m well aware that Kate Tempest is a universally admired and adored poet. I believe this is a poem-sequence based on the myth of Tiresias. I was all ready to be brutally honest with myself and ditch this, thinking I’d never read it, but then I went onto Goodreads and read a couple of quotes from it and now I think I actually might give it a shot, especially if I can find the audio version of this because I’m sure Kate reading out her poetry would be even more powerful than reading it myself.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

8. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Why is it there? Baz Pierce once described this as (I’m paraphrasing but the sentiment is the same) “a group of lads piss-arsing about the English countryside for 900 pages”. I mean I don’t know if I’m necessarily into that but I also know I do generally like Dickens so I probably would like it once I got around to stopping being intimidated by how long it is. Even so, I have plenty of Dickens books on my TBR shelf so I don’t think this needs to also be on there, since I’m not likely to forget it exists anytime soon when I walk past my Complete Works of Dickens collection of books every morning on the way to the shower.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch

9. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Why is it there? I really thoroughly enjoyed reading Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and, of course, when that happens and I think I’ve found a new author to explore, I end up putting nearly all of their other series books onto my TBR, including this one. Looking back at it now, this one seems to be YA dystopian and I’m just… I’m just not interested in that much anymore. It’s time has come and gone for me and so too shall this book from my TBR…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Why is it there? I feel like I need to read this so that I actually know Machiavellian politics rather than just paraphrasing what is already paraphrased about it in a Wikipedia article. Of all the random 16th century texts I optimistically thought I might read at some point, this is the one that has a chance of actually getting read.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

This round:
Kept – 4
Ditched – 6

Kept – 151
Ditched – 149

That’s all folks for the thirtieth round of my Down the TBR Hole project. I’m struggling more and more nowadays to ditch books, but maybe that means I’m starting to get to down to the books I actually do want to read without the extraneous titles? We can live in hope, anyhow, because I still have a hell of a lot of books on my TBR so let’s hope I never fall out of love with reading as my TBR currently stands at 679 books!

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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