Down the TBR Hole #2

I recently 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 week 2 for me, and I am excited. Last week was fun and helped me put my TBR in perspective.

  • My Goodreads: Sam Sigelakis-Minski
  • Current TBR: 1,499 (this is the same as last week because I have no self control and probably added more)

1. The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishingby Melissa Bank


  • Date Added: March 13, 2011
  • Synopsis: Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing maps the progress of Jane Rosenal as she sets out on a personal and spirited expedition through the perilous terrain of sex, love, and relationships as well as the treacherous waters of the workplace. With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out issues of the heart, puts a new spin on the mating dance, and captures in perfect pitch what it’s like to be a young woman coming of age in America today.
  • Real Talk: I am normally a Goodreads accolade, but damn that’s a horrible synopsis. I did a little digging, and found out this book is a series of short stories about a central character’s life, all set at different times in her life. Further, all of the stories are about the main character’s love life, she is insecure for most of it, and the empowering feminist tale that the reviews touted doesn’t seem evidenced in the normal people (aka, not reviewers) who have already read it.
  • Verdict: This is going to be a “No” from me.

2. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.
  • Real Talk: I started this book a while back on the recommendation of my mother, and put it down. However, I was a teenager with the attention span of a gnat. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and the movie was well cast. Also Gruen wrote it for National Novel Writing Month, which is basically my dream.
  • Verdict: I am going to tentatively leave this on my TBR for now. I may circle back one day.

3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: “Well, this was when Bill was sighing a lot. He had decided that after our parents died he just didn’t want any more fighting between what was left of us. He was twenty-four, Beth was twenty-three, I was twenty-one, Toph was eight, and all of us were so tried already, from that winter. So when something would come up, any little thing, some bill to pay or decision to make, he would just sigh, his eyes tired, his mouth in a sorry kind of smile. But Beth and I…Jesus, we were fighting with everyone, anyone, each other, with strangers at bars, anywhere — we were angry people wanting to exact revenge. We came to California and we wanted everything, would take what was ours, anything within reach. And I decided that little Toph and I, he with his backward hat and long hair, living together in our little house in Berkeley, would be world-destroyers. We inherited each other and, we felt, a responsibility to reinvent everything, to scoff and re-create and drive fast while singing loudly and pounding the windows. It was a hopeless sort of exhilaration, a kind of arrogance born of fatalism, I guess, of the feeling that if you could lose a couple of parents in a month, then basically anything could happen, at any time — all bullets bear your name, all cars are there to crush you, any balcony could give way; more disaster seemed only logical.”
  • Real Talk: Here is another one with a worthless synopsis, since it is literally just a quote in the book. What I read, I didn’t like. Since this book is big enough for its own Wiki page, I started there. It appears to me that Heartbreaking Work is one of those postmodern hyper self-aware fiction/memoirs that permeated for a while, like Less than Zero by Bret Ellis (which I loved), and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (which I hated). I am very on the fence on this one.
  • Verdict: This is going to be a removal for now. Maybe when I am in a different mindset, I will bring it in again one day.

4. The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: A lot of professors give talks titled ‘The Last Lecture’. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave, ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’, wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.”
  • Real Talk: Now here is an actual book of “staggering genius.” Pausch knew he had only six months to live, and instead of talking about legacies and regrets, he used his “last lecture” to discuss achieving your dreams and living your best life. I remember when all of this was happening, and I admired him then.
  • Verdict: Why haven’t I bought this damn book yet? It is staying.

5. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis:Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray—he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants—Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.”
  • Real Talk: As an (ex) English major (I mean, I do have the BS), it is basically unforgiveable that I haven’t read Don Quixote, especially how often I make puns and jokes regarding the subject.
  • Verdict: A resounding keeper.


2 out of 5 for another week. I consider it a success!

One thought on “Down the TBR Hole #2

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