Down the TBR Hole #1

I just discovered this meme, Down the TBR hole, from Confessions of a YA Reader, which is created by Lost in a Story (now Sunflowers and Wonder). Down the TBR Hole revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

This is my first week, so I am a little nervous – my TBR pile is seriously out of control.


1. Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

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  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky, washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.
  • Real Talk: I have actually started this book multiple times, and I to this day own it in paperback. Given the historical context of this book (it was how Salman Rushdie ended up with a fatwa for him), I was originally incline to try again and keep trying, but this book really doesn’t speak to me, and I have given it multiple sporting shots.
  • Decision: It shall Go.

2. Jane Austen Ruined My Lifeby Beth Pattilo

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  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: English professor Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father told her she should – a respectable marriage, a teaching job at a good college, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good until the day Emma finds her husband in bed with another woman.
  • Real Talk: What a crappy synopsis, right? I am a huge fan of all things Jane, including “fanfic” like Jane Austen Book Club and Jane-related literature like Becoming Jane; however, this doesn’t give me much to go on. I ended up scouring other reviews for this book, and it sounds like the main character Emma is as annoying as Jane Austen’s Emma, without any sort of redemption arc. I’m all for Jane everything, but this one sounds like a snooze.
  • Decision: It shall Go.

3. Slaughterhouse- Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time, Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. It follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim, from his early years to his time as an American soldier and chaplain’s assistant during World War II, to the postwar years, with Billy occasionally traveling through time itself. The text centers on Billy’s capture by the German Army and his survival of the Allied firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war, an experience which Vonnegut himself lived through as an American serviceman.
  • Real Talk: I literally had to pull the synopsis for this book from Wikipedia because the Goodreads one was so sparse, which is sad, since this is supposed to be one of the most famous American novels of all time. I have read some other Vonnegut, but mostly very off-the-beaten-path selections like Sirens of Titan. As someone who majored in English, I feel like I need to read this book eventually. I even own it. However, my Vonnegut feels are extremely mixed.
  • Decision: It shall Stay. While I have mixed feelings about Vonnegut, it is unfair to knock him until I try his most popular dish.

4. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

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  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. At the center of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. 
  • Real Talk: There is no actual reason why I haven’t read this book – I am into murder books, and Truman Capote is by all accounts an awesome author. I just haven’t gotten around to it. One day.
  • Decision: It shall Stay.

5. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen

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  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
  • Real Talk: I know I know, I literally just got done talking about how much of an Austenophile I am. However, Sense and Sensibility is the only Austen I haven’t read. There is basically no question of removing this one – I just need to carve out time.
  • Decision: It shall Stay.

Conclusions:

Damn, that was cathartic. Like a Marie Kondo-esque joy search. I have removed 2 books from my massive TBR (maybe next week we will do 10!) Has anyone done this before and have some advice on keeping it up, or have any strong objections to my “Go” list?

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