A couple of weeks ago, I 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 you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s 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 you’re 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 4 for me, and I am as excited as ever. This has been incredibly helpful to organize my thoughts. I have averaged at 2/5 book removal (40%) rate, whih I think is healthy but not insane.
- My Goodreads: Sam Sigelakis-Minski
- Current TBR: 1,501 (this is more than last week because I have no self control and probably added more).
So without further ado…
1. Persopolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
- Date added: May 5, 2011
- Synopsis: Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
- Real Talk: I remember when this graphic novel came out, and it was all the rage. I also remember when some of the rage died down, and the consensus that this was a wonderfully written graphic novel that sometimes lacks in the “adult” elements like real talk about politics, rioting, etc, and what you get is a graphic novel about a young girl/teen who experiences trauma slightly detachedly, but still likable.
- Verdict: I think this will remain for nowm and I can hopefully borrow from the library.
2. The Birth of Pleasure, by Carol Gilligan
- Date Added: May 5, 2011
- Synopsis: Carol Gilligan, whose classic In a Different Voice revolutionized the study of human psychology, now offers a brilliant, provocative book about love. Why is love so often associated with tragedy, she asks. Why are our experiences of pleasure so often shadowed by loss? And can we change these patterns?Gilligan observes children at play and adult couples in therapy and discovers that the roots of a more hopeful view of love are all around us. She finds evidence in new psychological research and traces a path leading from the myth of Psyche and Cupid through Shakespeare’s plays and Freud’s case histories, to Anne Frank’s diaries and contemporary novels. Groundbreaking and immensely readable, The Birth of Pleasure has powerful implications for the way we live and love.
- Real Talk: This wasn’t a helpful synopsis, so I went through reviews to find out what the hell this lady’s thesis is. Apparently, her whole theory is that all issues with love stem from the patriarchy, hence Freud and the various mythologies. While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t need to read a 200+ page book to explain what women have always known, particularly when it isn’t really backed by anything but debunked psychology and myths.
- Verdict: Buhbye.
3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
- Date Added: August 6, 2011
- Synopsis: While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.
- Real Talk: It is genuinely more surprising to me that I haven’t read this yet, than that this is on my TBR. I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I have seen the Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie on multiple occasions. I love Grahame-Smith’s writing style; it is playful but still dark, as though it were actually addressing a real period in time and real history.
- Verdict: This is absolutely staying.
4. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
- Date Added: August 6, 2011
- Synopsis: Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.
- Real Talk: Here is another one I am shock I haven’t read. I was (and still secretly am) a huge Ellis fan ever since reading Less Than Zero in high school, and really *feeling* it (I was a grungy, rebellious kid, if you can’t tell – see also Chuck Palahniuk, Anthony Burgess). However, watching the American Psycho film adaptation really fucked me up in a way Less Than Zero didn’t, so I am a little torn.
- Verdict: Despite a not-small fear that I may be “too old” for my Ellis phase, I am going to keep this on the list, if only as a litmus test for how much I have grown or otherwise changed.
5. Blood Memories, by Barb Hendee
- Date Added: September 11, 2011
- Synopsis: Eleisha, a vampire, is far older than she looks and makes men yearn to care for her. Then she usually kills them, since self-preservation comes first. So when an old vampire friend kills himself, Eleisha is shocked. And what she finds in his home shows how world-weary he had become; hoarding corpses and keeping records of vampires actual names and addresses. Now the police know who Eleisha is, and more alarmingly, what she is. But she soon realizes that being known may have its uses, even if it puts her and her kind at risk.
- Real Talk: I am always on the fence about Barb Hendee. The Dhampir series was great, with a massive amount of worldbuild and well-written characters, but she just never stopped writing, and with each book being over 500 pages, there was just too much to keep track of (for reference, the Dhampir world has three different series with interlapping characters and timelines, all with more than three books). Her characters are always relatable, but the timeline jumps and the massive world make the books really impossible to follow despite likability. As for her take on urban fantasy that is strictly vampire driven (ala Anne Rice), I fear there would be similar problems.
- Verdict: I can’t picture revisiting this and read another Barb Hendee series of massive books. This is going. Now if she ever revisits the Mist-Torn Witches series, we would be having a different conversation…
And yet again, we have 2 out of 5 (though this was much harder than it has been prior). I have also been weeding out any books that are sequels, whether I have read the prequels years ago or if I never have. Book ones only on this TBR.