Down the TBR Hole #3

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 3 for me! I have been averaging at 2 a week removed, but we will see what this week holds.

  • My Goodreads: Sam Sigelakis-Minski
  • Current TBR: 1,494 (down 5 from last week because I have been trying to systematically remove sequels if I haven’t read the first)

1. The Tales of Beetle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J.K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

    Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we know and love, reading them gives new insight into the wizarding world.

  • Real Talk: I don’t really need the synopsis for this one, given how entrenched I am in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I will read anything from JK Rowling (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and this will not be an exception. Also, I own two copies of it, one illustrated and one paperback. No excuses!
  • Verdict: Hell yeah it is staying, and shame on me for not reading yet.

2. Perfumeby Patrick Süskind


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
  • Real Talk: I actually think my “family” owns this one also (as in, it is in my mom’s basement somewhere) and I don’t think any of us had the heart to read it or toss it. I am still on the fence. On the one hand, that is super creepy and I am not sure really “my thing”; on the other hand, this book really did start a mini cultural phenomenon. I have read some other reviews that said Perfume was written well enough to get rid of the creep factor, so I may still give it a try.
  • Verdict: Keep for now; this may be a revisit later.

3. Watchmen, by Alan Moore


  • Date Added: April 19, 2011
  • Synopsis: This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.
  • Real Talk: First off, we are going to drop some “real real” here – I am not a huge fan of comic books (please don’t kill me). I like comic book characters, and have read quite a few spin off novels that feature comic book characters; I love comic book movies as well. However, the medium of the comic is something I have a hard time engaging in (see my #5onmyTBR post about comic book heroes; it is woefully lacking actual comics).  Second “real talk” confession: I loved Watchmen when it came out as a movie, but even eleven years later, I feel like I am a different person. Now, I didn’t even bother watching the new TV series. Edgy, gritty comic worlds where everyone has flaws and everyone is out to get you aren’t as thrilling to me anymore; they are just sad.
  • Verdict: Sadly, it is a going going gone.

4. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman


  • Date Added: May 5, 2011
  • Synopsis: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

    There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

    But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

  • Real Talk: I am a Gaiman fan, a super fan. I loved American GodsGood OmensAnansi Boys, and Ocean at the End of the Lane, and even wrote a paper in high school on American Gods (nerd alert). While I was not a big fan of Coraline, this book feels exactly like the kind of spooky I would be into.
  • Verdict: Stay.

5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz


  • Date Added: May 5, 2011
  • Synopsis: Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ—the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

    Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.

  • Real Talk: That’s a glowing recommendation. However, I just spent some time going through reviews (why would a book with this type of synopsis have a 3.9 rating on Goodreads, of all places?), and now I get it: The curse is that this guy is a bit of a loser. As one reviewer wrote, “There were efforts made at epic storytelling here – tackling the Trujillo dictatorship of the Dominican and its spiritual ramifications on the generations of the de Leon family. But when you boil this thing down, it’s just the story of a loser teenager trying to get laid.” In my brief perusal of the book, I tend to agree.
  • Verdict: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night.


Two seems to be the magical number, 40% per week. Also, definitely reading Tales of Beedle the Bard like ASAP now!



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