Down the TBR Hole #7

Finally back on track! This is officially my third week in a row being consistent with my TBR Challenge. Given that I am basically the worst with follow through, and COVID has made my productivity and motivation levels fluctuate alarmingly, I am really really excited about this.

A month 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 seven 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, which I think is healthy but not insane. Last time, I managed to removed 4/5 and gave myself a fun statistical fluctuation.

My Goodreads: Sam Sigelakis-Minski
Current TBR: 1,495


1. Psych in a Dress, by Francesca Lia Block

14560

  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis:
    But this is what
    I could not give up:
    I could not give up myself

    Psyche has known Love—scented with jasmine and tasting of fresh oranges. Yet he is fleeting and fragile, lost to her too quickly. Punished by self-doubt, Psyche yearns to be transformed, like the beautiful and brutal figures in the myths her lover once spoke of. Attempting to uncover beauty in the darkness, she is challenged, tested, and changed by the gods and demons who tempt her. Her faith must be found again, for if she is to love, she must never look back.

  • Real Talk: Uh, I’m sorry what? I ended up having to go into user reviews to figure out what this Psyche/Eros retelling is actually about. Apparently it is present day, Aphrodite is Psyche’s dad’s girlfriend, and she sends her son Eros to get the scoop on Psyche, a teenage movie star. When Eros dumps her, she goes for a tailspin and needs to figure out her life. To be completely honest, Cupid and Psyche is one of my least favorite myths. I read Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis at the beginning of this year (a retelling from the POV of Psyche’s sister), and I was very unsettled by it. Also, the idea of reading another Francesa Block book (I read Weetzie Bat as a teen and have never given a book a lower rating on Goodreads) is frankly unappealing as sawdust to me.
  • Verdict: Hell to the no to keeping this.

2. A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb

289601._SY475_

  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis:In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen–terrified, but intrigued–is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.
  • Real Talk: To be honest, this is a book I would have loved as a teen. ghosts inhabiting human bodies in order to find love and purpose, dark undertones, the idea of loneliness and loss etc. I would have eaten it up and been begging for me. (I was a masochistic little thing that believed in poetry in the dark). Now, this just seems creepy to me – two ghosts who were in their late twenties when they die, decide to inhabit 15 and 17 year old’s bodies because the teen’s actual souls have “fled” (I’m sorry, what?) and inhabit the bodies to have a lot of ghost sex under the guise of love.
  • Verdict: Maybe I am old and salty, but this doesn’t do it for me. Remove.

3. Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

12960

  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis: In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare includes two quite different stories of romantic love. Hero and Claudio fall in love almost at first sight, but an outsider, Don John, strikes out at their happiness. Beatrice and Benedick are kept apart by pride and mutual antagonism until others decide to play Cupid.
  • Real Talk: This isn’t the most helpful of synopses, but thankfully this is also one of the funniest Shakespeare comedies known to man. I loved Kenneth Branaugh’s film version of the play, and enjoyed Joss Whedon’s modern retelling also. To be honest, the most surprising thing about this is that I haven’t read it (and I even own it).
  • Verdict: Keep, of course.

4.  Possession, by A.S Bryatt

41219

  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis: Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas
  • Real Talk: Here is another book whose movie I loved. Gwyneth Paltrow played the modern-day academic, and she was amazing. Reviewers seem to either love or hate Possession, because it is written very lyrically (some say pretentious) while semi-ironically raging against academia’s institutionalized pretentiousness. My mom loved this book, and honestly, that is enough of an endorsement for me, since she is usually pretty allergic to badly pretentious authors.
  • Verdict: Keeping it. Gwyneth and my mom can’t be wrong.

5. Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen

4325

  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis: Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He’s magnetic. He’s compelling. He’s dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
  • Real Talk: TW: This is about an abusive relationship. I added this a while back because, like most teenage girls, I went through a Sarah Dessen phase, and purposely held off reading this one because I wasn’t really in the mood to read a book about a girl getting beaten up and experiencing battered girlfriend syndrome. It stayed on my TBR because Sarah Dessen is a wonderful writer for teenage girls who want to be recognized and their problems acknowledged. However, I still don’t want to read this, and I am far enough away from my Sarah Dessen phase to not idolize her writing, even if it holds a place in my 16-year-old heart.
  • Verdict: I am not sorry to see this one go.

Conclusion:

We are apparently still on the December 27, 2011 list (I have no idea what I was doing that day), and so 3/5 books are on the chopping block. Not bad for a day’s work. Looking forward to picking up Much Ado About Nothing, though!

Let’s chat in the comments; I would love to hear if you have thoughts on any of these!

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