Down the TBR Hole #31

Welcome folks to the thirty-first 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. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Why is it there? You know when you go through a political philosophy course at university and you ambitiously think you’ll probably read all the set texts, well, this is one of those. Not only did I not read it (despite it being well under 100 pages), I didn’t feel like any Marxist critique applied in a literature essay really needed to have read the source material because it has become so ubiquitous anyway. (What probably helped this onto my TBR was that this, and some of the following books, were part of a series called Penguin Great Ideas and they were available in cute, handy little paperbacks.)
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. The Social Contract by Rousseau

Why is it there? See above tbh.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

Why is it there? See above.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

4. Of the Abuse of Words by John Locke

Why is it there? See above.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

5. The Spectacle of the Scaffold by Michel Foucault

Why is it there? See above.
Do I own it? No

6. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Why is it there? I was somewhat puzzled by how this random YA book had ended up on my TBR until I went on Goodreads and realised it’s a favourite of Booktuber extraordinaire, Ariel Bisett. Now I’m not altogether surprised it’s on my ‘to read’ list, but, having actually looked what it is about, I’m not sure I’m really into it any more. Happy to be convinced I’m wrong if anyone wants to take on the task.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

7. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver

Why is it there? I had an unfortunate tendency to add anything ex-Booktuber Barry Pierce was reading and vaguely recommended. (It’s still a source of great sadness that he’s no longer blessing YouTube with his cuttingly insightful reviews.) But I’m still yet to get to this short story collection which he recommended, largely because I’m not the hugest fan of short stories so it takes something really special to make me prioritise reading them over other things.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

8. Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

Why is it there? Catherine Doyle is one of those authors I’ve seen on many an author’s Instagram and Twitter, I think she hangs around in the same UK/Irish YA crowd that I’m vaguely familiar with from their social media interactions at the very least. Unfortunately, I’m yet to even think about reading this, the first book in her ‘Blood for Blood’ series which is described as Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather which sounds very accurate from just this one line of the synopsis: “Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families”. Unfortunately, I don’t ever really see me being super inclined to prioritise this one on my TBR so I think it might be time to say goodbye?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

9. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Why is it there? I’ve never read any Joan Didion, which is pretty much why it’s there, but I presume Barry Pierce also recommended it at some point. Have I read it? Nope. Have I even thought about reading it? Nope. I really must stop doing this.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines by Samantha Hahn

Why is it there? I find it interesting when fellow readers fancast their characters, especially so when who they have been picturing in their head whilst reading a book seems vastly different to who I’ve been picturing in my head whilst reading the book. So, this book seems right up my street. It looks to be a really stunningly illustrated book and it has 50 portraits of well-known heroines from literature, from Mrs Dalloway to Anna Karenina. I’m really intrigued to see how Samantha Hahn has chosen to depict these infamous literary figures in her portraits, and to see if they are how I also pictured them. I’m not sure how I will ever acquire this book since it seems the ‘coffee table’/’gift edition’ sort, but I guess I’ll have to see if I can persuade a relative or friend to gift me it one birthday or Christmas.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

This round:
Kept – 1
Ditched – 9

Kept – 152
Ditched – 158

That’s all folks for the thirty-first 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 678 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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