Down the TBR Hole #8

So, I am excited to say, this TBR Challenge marks one month of consistently doing this every week.This is like my COVID quarantine dream; waking up with a cup of coffee in hand in my wonderful library, blogging with semi regular consistency… it only took four months to get here (whoops).

A while 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 project has been incredibly helpful to organize my thoughts, since a lot of the books I am slogging through on my TBR were added almost a decade ago. I don’t know about you guys, but my 20-year-old self was a bit of a twit. I have averaged at 2.5/5 book removal (50%) rate, which I think is healthy but not insane.

My Goodreads: Sam Sigelakis-Minski
Current TBR: 1,423 (for those of you who tuned in last week, this number is significantly lower. I took the liberty of going through with a duplicate search tool, and deleting all duplicates off the bat. It was cathartic. I also have the memory of a gnat).


1. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

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  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis: The story concerns a young married woman, the former Constance Reid (Lady Chatterley), whose upper class husband, Sir Clifford Chatterley, described as a handsome, well-built man, has been paralysed from the waist down due to a Great War injury. In addition to Clifford’s physical limitations, his emotional neglect of Constance forces distance between the couple. Her sexual frustration leads her into an affair with the gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, the novel’s title character. The class difference between the couple highlights a major motif of the novel which is the unfair dominance of intellectuals over the working class. The novel is about Constance’s realization that she cannot live with the mind alone; she must also be alive physically. This realization stems from a heightened sexual experience Constance has only felt with Mellors, suggesting that love can only happen with the element of the body, not the mind…
  • Real Talk: I feel like the scandalous trial and banning of this book may be more interesting than the book itself. I know a little about D.H. Lawrence and the trouble he got himself into over this book, which is probably at least part of why I added it in the first place. However, I am really not normally a fan of affair stories, and I am not sure how I will take to this (since everyone is generally consenting).
  • Verdict: Keeping it, for now. May bang this out over the winter.

2. Lady Susan, by Jane Austen

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  • Date added: December 27, 2011
  • Synopsis: Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks an advantageous second marriage for herself, while attempting to push her daughter into a dismal match. A magnificently crafted novel of Regency manners and mores that will delight Austen enthusiasts with its wit and elegant expression.
  • Real Talk: I love all things Austen, generally. I have read all of her full length novels (this is considered a novella / epistolary), and they all bring me a certain degree of comfort during distressing times. However, I am wary of Lady Susan, because it is one odd instance that Austen wrote a full-on antagonist as the title character. I am *pretty* sure it will still have a happy ending – it is Austen after all – but still uneasy.
  • Verdict: Keeping it, for now. We must read the good, the bad, and the ugly of Austen.

3. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

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  • Date added: December 27, 2011 (when will this date ever end?)
  • Synopsis: Newland Archer saw little to envy in the marriages of his friends, yet he prided himself that in May Welland he had found the companion of his needs–tender and impressionable, with equal purity of mind and manners. The engagement was announced discreetly, but all of New York society was soon privy to this most perfect match, a union of families and circumstances cemented by affection.
            Enter Countess Olenska, a woman of quick wit sharpened by experience, not afraid to flout convention and determined to find freedom in divorce. Against his judgment, Newland is drawn to the socially ostracized Ellen Olenska, who opens his eyes and has the power to make him feel. He knows that in sweet-tempered May, he can expect stability and the steadying comfort of duty. But what new worlds could he discover with Ellen? Written with elegance and wry precision, Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a tragic love story and a powerful homily about the perils of a perfect marriage.
  • Real Talk: It is actually funny that this is popping up now, since I have been very invested in reading and watching Caleb Carr’s sequel to The AlienistThe Angel of Darkness. While that book/show is more focused on a murder mystery, the turn of the century NYC feel is still very present, with high society and scandal brought to the forefront. It was a really engaging and interesting time for New York society.
  • Verdict: Absolute keeper. Edith Wharton is a little heavy for me, but this book is a must read. Bonus, I already own this.

4. Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale

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  • Date added: December 27, 2011 (when will this date ever end?)
  • Synopsis: Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
  • Real Talk: Here is a book I would have loved when I was in 5th grade. Strong female protagonist, the first hint of love. The weird hint of sexism wouldn’t have bothered me as long as the girls were fierce, fun, and supportive. However, I am not 11 anymore, and my time has past. I would absolutely recommend this to my niece though.
  • Verdict: This is being removed from my personal TBR, but I will keep in the back of my head for future recommendations.

5. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

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  • Date added: December 27, 2011 (and another one…)
  • Synopsis: Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love. 
  • Real Talk: I have owned a copy of I Capture the Castle for ages. It has sat on my shelf, begging me to read it, and me always being reluctant because (if you can’t tell) I often avoid heavier subject books except for maybe a handful of times a year. However, as I perused the reviews, I realized here may be a book of hidden humor and light that I was too afraid to pursue. I can’t wait to read this now. Also, for some reason, this book always “vibed” with me in the same way that Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” does. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.
  • Verdict: Keeping!

Conclusion

Compared to last week, this week was “light” on removals – 1 out of 5. However, I got to rediscover old classics that I am now more dedicated to sitting down and reading (growth isn’t always just excision), and I am finally going to be out of 2011 by next week. Until next time!

Any thoughts on these choices? Please tell me what you thought of these!

5 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #8

  1. Lady Susan is a really great book. Not Austen’s A game, but it was one of her earliest works. If you don’t go into it expecting an Austen novel (because it’s super different) it really is an entertaining and thought-provoking read. Plus it’s so short, you can probably read it in just a couple of hours.

    Liked by 1 person

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