Down the TBR Hole #10

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!

Schizo – Nic Sheff

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The fascinating, shocking, and ultimately quite hopeful story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness by the bestselling author of Tweak.

Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.
 
Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.
 
Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother. Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Many of my friends have marked this as to-read but none of them have actually read it. It sounds interesting though, so keep.

How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Petranek

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Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable.

It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen.

The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters — from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes — all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take 300 years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years.

In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.

I love space, I love TED Talks. I’m in. Keep.

The Emperor of all Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee

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The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. 

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. 

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” 

The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. 

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about this book, so keep.

The Battle Plan for Prayer – Stephen Kendrick

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Inspired by the Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, War Room, this exciting new resource from the #1 best-selling author team behind The Love Dare and The Resolution for Men is designed to help anyone learn how to become a powerful person of prayer. The Battle Plan for Prayer begins with prayer’s core purpose, its biblical design, and its impact throughout history. Readers will be guided scripturally through the fundamentals of how effective prayer works, inspired towards a closer, more intimate relationship with God, and shown how to develop specific prayer strategies for each area of life. Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. It should be your first plan of attack in all of life’s battles, not your last resort. If you want to experience the joy of mightily answered prayer, then it’s time to engage with God at another level.

I think I’m going to ditch this one.

You Should Pity Us Instead – Amy Gustine

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A debut collection of short stories which sympathetically explores some of the toughest dilemmas we face in our struggle though life.

You Should Pity Us Instead explores some of our toughest dilemmas: the cost of Middle East strife at its most intimate level, the likelihood of God considered in day-to-day terms, the moral stakes of family obligations, and the inescapable fact of mortality. Amy Gustine exhibits an extraordinary generosity toward her characters, instilling them with a thriving, vivid presence.

I am not typically a short story person, but Liberty from BookRiot recommended it, so I think I’ll give it a shot. Keep.

You’re the One That I Want – Giovanna Fletcher

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Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

I love McFly and out of sheer loyalty, I’m going to keep.

Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer Echols

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Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

I am pretty sure all of you have figured out that I am obsessed with faux-celebrity books so keep.

The Rose and the Beast – Francesca Lia Block

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With language that is both lyrical and distinctly her own, Francesca Lia Block turns nine fairy tales inside out.

Escaping the poisoned apple, Snow frees herself from possession to find the truth of love in an unexpected place.

A club girl from L.A., awakening from a long sleep to the memories of her past, finally finds release from its curse.

And Beauty learns that Beasts can understand more than men.

Within these singular, timeless landscapes, the brutal and the magical collide, and the heroine triumphs because of the strength she finds in a pen, a paintbrush, a lover, a friend, a mother, and finally, in herself.

I really love retellings, so I’m going to keep this. It seems like a super interesting twist.

Killing Reagan – Bill O’Reilly

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Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after an assassin’s bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable — or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world?

Told in the same riveting fashion as Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton, Killing Reagan reaches back to the golden days of Hollywood, where Reagan found both fame and heartbreak, up through the years in California governor’s mansion, and finally to the White House, where he presided over boom years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it was John Hinckley Jr.’s attack on him that precipitated President Reagan’s most heroic actions. In Killing Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard take readers behind the scenes, creating an unforgettable portrait of a great man operating in violent times.

I have no idea how a Bill O’Reilly book about the merits of Ronald Reagan ended up on my TBR but it’s going to have to go. Ditch.

Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning – Rebekah Lyons

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Women today are fading. In a female culture built on Photoshopped perfection and Pinterest fantasies, we’ve lost the ability to dream our own big dreams. So busy trying to do it all and have it all, we’ve missed the life we were really designed for. And we are paying the price. The rise of loneliness, depression, and anxiety among the female population in Western cultures is at an all-time high. Overall, women are two and a half times more likely to take antidepressants than men. What is it about our culture, the expectations, and our way of life that is breaking women down in unprecedented ways?

In this vulnerable memoir of transformation, Rebekah Lyons shares her journey from Atlanta, Georgia, to the heart of Manhattan, where she found herself blindsided by crippling depression and anxiety. Overwhelmed by the pressure to be domestically efficient, professionally astute, and physically attractive, Rebekah finally realized that freedom can come only by facing our greatest fears and fully surrendering to God’s call on our lives. This book is an invitation for all women to take that first step toward freedom. For it is only when we free-fall that we can truly fly.

This one was recommended by Jen Hatmaker, and I absolutely love her and trust her recommendations. Keep.

In summary:

I kept 80% of the books presented in this round:

  • “Schizo” – Nic Sheff
  • “How We’ll Live on Mars” – Stephen L. Petranek
  • “The Emperor of All Maladies” – Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • “You Should Pity Us Instead” – Amy Gustine
  • “You’re the One That I Want” – Giovanna Fletcher
  • “Dirty Little Secret” – Jennifer Echols
  • “The Rose and the Beast” – Francesca Lia Block
  • “Freefall to Fly” – Rebekah Lyons

I ditched 20% of the books presented in this round:

  • “Battle Plan for Prayer” – Stephen Kendrick
  • “Killing Reagan” – Bill O’Reilly

(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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