Down the TBR Hole #6

So I got this idea from my friend Sarah’s blog, who tries to do this once a week. I have over 2,000 books on my TBR, so I think parsing this down every so often would be really great. I’m going to attempt to do this at least once a week, however, instead of doing the last 10 books added, I’m going to randomly select 10 books.

Here are the rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

The only thing I do differently is I randomly select a page number, and a book number, and decide if those should be kept or if they should go. Here we go!

Lullabies – Lang Leav

A sequel to the hugely popular, best-selling Love & Misadventure, Lullabies continues to explore the intricacies of love and loss.

Set to a musical theme, love’s poetic journey in this new, original collection begins with a Duet and travels through Interlude and Finale with an Encore popular piece from the best-selling Love & Misadventure. Lang Leav’s evocative poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who is on this journey.

Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist.

I’ve really been wanting to read a book of Leav’s poetry, so this is a keep.

The Patriots – Sana Krasikov

A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.

This seems very much in my wheelhouse, so I’m going to keep.

Girls Like Me – Lola St. Vil

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Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school.  When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn’t want to tell him who she is.   But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails. 
     Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.

This book seems to have pretty average reviews but has gone very unnoticed by my friends. I think I’m going to keep this.

The Woman Upstairs – Claire Messud

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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children, a brilliant new novel: the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and betrayed by passion and desire for a world beyond her own. 

Nora Eldridge, a thirty-seven-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. 

Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents–dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist–have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies who call him a “terrorist,” Nora is drawn into the complex world of the Shahid family: she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, until Sirena’s careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal. 

Told with urgency, intimacy, and piercing emotion, this story of obsession and artistic fulfillment explores the thrill–and the devastating cost–of giving in to one’s passions.

I’m not doing a very good job getting rid of books this time around, because this seems right up my alley. I’m going to keep.

McFly: Unsaid Things…Our Story – Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd, Dougie Poynter

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Prepare to meet the real McFly …

In 2003, Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter came together and formed what would become one of the most popular and successful bands in the UK. Just teenagers at the time, they were catapulted into the limelight and had to adapt quickly to their new-found fame – and everything that came with it. Now, at last, they have decided to tell their story, in full and revealing detail.

Speaking with candour and their trademark humour, Tom, Danny, Harry and Dougie share both the stories of their own lives and that of McFly. They give their personal insights into their contrasting childhoods, the individual paths that led them to the band, the struggles they have each overcome, their love lives and, of course, their music.

Packed with previously untold stories, a lot of laughter and the occasional tear, Unsaid Things offers a privileged look into the lives of four guys who started out as bandmates and became best friends. Their unique camaraderie radiates from every page and by the end of the book, you’ll know them almost as well as they know each other …

I love McFly, I feel like I basically grew up with them and Busted..so I have to keep.

The Fact of a Body – Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

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Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

Yet another one that I’ve heard really amazing things about. So..a keep.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future – A.S. King

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In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities–but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions–and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

Okay wow, I didn’t even realize how much I would want to read this. So, keep.

For the Record – Charlotte Huang

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Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything 
 
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
 
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

Something I’m a huge sucker for is books about famous characters and dealing with that, so keep.

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted – Elizabeth Berg

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Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman kicks up her heels and commits a small act of liberation. What would you do if you could shed the “shoulds” and do, say—and eat—whatever you really desired? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want? Start a dating service for people over fifty to reclaim the razzle-dazzle in your life—or your marriage? Seek comfort in the face of aging, look for love in the midst of loss, find friendship in the most surprising of places? In these beautiful, funny stories, Elizabeth Berg takes us into the heart of the lives of women who do all these things and more—confronting their true feelings, desires, and joys along the way.

This has mixed reviews and I’m not a huge fan of essays as it is, so I think I’m going to ditch.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson

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Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, identity, home, and a mother.

Jeanette Winterson’s novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life’s work to find happiness. It’s a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she’d written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother.

Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, identity, home, and a mother.

One of my very good bookish friends absolutely loved this so I’m going to keep.

In summary:

I kept 90% of the books presented in this round:

  • “Lullabies” by Lang Leav
  • “The Patriots” by Sana Krasikov
  • “Girls Like Me” by Lola St. Vil
  • “The Woman Upstairs” by Claire Messud
  • “McFly: Unsaid Things” by Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter
  • “The Fact of a Body” by Alexandra Marzano-Lesnivich
  • “Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future” by A.S. King
  • “For the Record” by Charlotte Huang
  • “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” by Jeanette Winterson

I ditched 10% of the books presented in this round:

  • “The Day I Ate Whatever I Want” by Elizabeth Berg

(this post does contain affiliate links that help me keep the site going. please consider purchasing using these links if you’re interested in this book! thanks so much xo r)

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2 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #6

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