Happy Friday, all! What a good day to clean up your TBR.
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.
1. The Complete Poems, by Catullus
- Date added: January 9, 2012
- Synopsis: Catullus is a companion of lovers and of those whom love has disappointed. He is also a satirical and epigrammatic writer who savagely consoles with laughter. A range of English metres and rhymes evoke the epigrammatic power of the many modes and moods of this most engaging, erotic and influential of the Latin poets. He left a mark on Horace, Virgil, Ovid and on the lyric and epigrammatic traditions of all the languages of Europe.
- Real Talk: I love Catullus. Back in my day (2008, to be precise), Catullus was an option for the AP Latin Exam instead of Virgil (alas, not anymore), and my Latin teacher jumped on that. Catullus is somehow both heartbreaking and scathingly funny. “Ōdī et amō,” Catullus writes, and all of the girls in Latin class sigh knowingly. “Pedicabo ego uos et irrumabo,” he writes, and all of the boys snicker. An equal opportunist.
- Verdict: I have probably read most of these at one time or another, but keeping for a full experience.
2. A Fistful of Sky, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- Date added: January 9, 2012
- Synopsis: The LaZelle family of southern California has a secret: they can do magic. Real magic. As a teenager, a LaZelle undergoes “the Transition’ —a severe illness that will either kill they or leave they with magical powers. If they’re lucky, they gain a talent like shape-changing or wish-granting. If they’re unlucky, they never experience Transition. If they’re especially unlucky, they undergo Transition late, which increases their chances of dying. And if they survive, they will bear the burden of a dark, dangerous magic: the ability to cast only curses. And curse they must, for when LaZelles doesn’t use their magic, it kills them. Gypsum LaZelle is unique among her brothers and sisters: she has not undergone Transition. She resigns herself to a mundane, magic-bereft existence as a college student. Then one weekend, when her family leaves her home alone, she becomes gravely ill…
- Real Talk: To be frank, this sounds all over the place. Maybe it is just how the synopsis is written, but the magical system seems wonky and not logical (yeah yeah yeah I know it is magic, but still…) I can’t get a feel for the character, or even for the world.
- Verdict: I am removing this tentatively, unless someone tells me they had a great experience reading this book; I am open to suggestions!
3. Touch the Dark, by Karen Chance
- Date added: January 9, 2012
- Synopsis: Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits-talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk…a lot. The undead are another matter. Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection. The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire-and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…
- Real Talk: I am so torn with this one. Karen Chance is a big name in UF, one of my favorite genres. This series seems like it is right up my alley. However, it is 11 books long, and the reviews are not as strong as, say, the Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels series.
- Verdict: Tentatively keeping this one on the shelf, for a long winter week where I can binge read the whole series in one go. I would love to hear from someone that read the series already, though.
4. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?, by William Poundstone
- Date added: January 10, 2012
- Synopsis: You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America’s best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in today’s job market.
- Real Talk: This book came out a couple of days prior to me adding it, while I was a sophomore in college, and I felt like this was so cool to know. Honestly, now that I am a professional and have been on multiple job interviews, the sample riddles and questions I saw are clearly not applicable to my field, and I don’t need another book to make me feel dumb (looking at you, Russian literature).
- Verdict: Being a lawyer means having to say “No” a lot, and here, I am okay with that.
5. A Woman Worth Ten Coppers, by Morgan Howell
- Date added: January 17, 2012
- Synopsis: Seer, healer, goddess, slave—she is all these things and more. Yim is a young woman suddenly cast into slavery, a gifted seer with a shocking secret—and a great destiny. Honus is a Sarf, a warrior dedicated to the service of the compassionate goddess, Karm. A Sarf’s sole purpose is to serve a holy person called a Bearer. But Honus’ Bearer has been killed by the minions of an evil god known only as the Devourer. Masterless and needing someone to bear his pack, Honus purchases Yim for the price of ten coppers—and their fates are forever entwined.
- Real Talk: I was trying to figure out what bothered me about this book, then I realized, it is about a dude that buys a girl to “carry his bag” who is also this all powerful girl and he doesn’t realize it. Then I realized that this book was written by a guy (guy writes with a pseudonym, presumably to write female characters as he pleases with less judgment) and that’s why it came off as creepy even in the synopsis. I checked the reviews to make sure I wasn’t being over-sensitive about this, and yup, it is creepy. Yim is described as an all-powerful Mary Sue in most of the reviews, and the male character Honus is “okay but did try to have sex with Yim at first because he owns her” kind of guy.
- Verdict: Always judge a book by its cover. Goodbye.
So excited I removed three books! I would love to hear thoughts on these removals / keepers!