Down the TBR Hole #14

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!

Mice – Gordon Reece

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Shelley and her mom have been menaced long enough. Excused from high school where a trio of bullies nearly killed her, and still reeling from her parents’ humiliating divorce, Shelley has retreated with her mother to the quiet of Honeysuckle Cottage in the countryside. Thinking their troubles are over, they revel in their cozy, secure life of gardening and books, hot chocolate and Brahms by the fire. But on the eve of Shelley’s sixteenth birthday, an unwelcome guest disturbs their peace and something inside Shelley snaps. What happens next will shatter all their certainties-about their safety, their moral convictions, the limits of what they are willing to accept, and what they’re capable of.

I’m mostly bored with thrillers because they’re never what I want them to be. So ditch.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol. 1 – Emil Ferris

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Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Full-color illustrations throughout. 

Horror isn’t really my vibe, so I’m gonna ditch this one.

Dancer – Colum McCann

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Taking his inspiration from biographical facts, novelist Colum McCann tells the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through the cast of those who knew him: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi’s first ballet teacher, who rescues her protégé from the stunted life of his provincial town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions are thwarted by her Soviet-sanctioned marriage; and Victor, the Venezuelan street hustler, who reveals the lurid underside of the gay celebrity set. Spanning four decades and many worlds, from the horrors of the Second World War to the wild abandon of New York in the eighties, Dancer is peopled by a large cast of characters, obscure and famous: doormen and shoemakers, nurses and translators, Margot Fonteyn, Eric Bruhn and John Lennon. And at the heart of the spectacle stands the artist himself, willful, lustful, and driven by a never-to-be-met need for perfection.

I think I’m going to try this one, especially because it was on my start here recommendations. Keep.

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism – ed. Vincent B. Leitch

47173

This anthology of critical writing (2624 pp. + XXXVIII) ranges from Gorgias and Plato to Sigmund Freud and Mikhail Bakhtin. Each of the 147 contributions has a headnote introducing the writer and making connections to other critics, theorists and movements. An introduction surveys the history of theory and criticism.

The only reason this book is on the list is because of Rory Gilmore and to be fair I’m never going to read this, so ditch.

A Thunderous Whisper – Christina Diaz Gonzalez

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Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he’s been off fighting in Spain’s Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he’s as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias’s father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She’s actually making a difference in the world. 

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.

The Guernica painting and story have changed me on a deep level, so this is a keep in hopes that it lives up to expectation.

Bough Down – Karen Green

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With fearlessness and grace, Bough Down reports from deep inside the maelstrom of grief. In this profoundly beautiful and intensely moving lament, artist and writer Karen Green conjures the inscrutable space of love and loss, clarity and contradiction, sense and madness. She summons memory and the machination of the interior mind with the emotional acuity of music as she charts her passage through the devastation of her husband’s suicide. In crystalline fragments of text, Green’s voice is paradoxically confessional and non-confessional: moments in her journey are devastating but also luminous, exacting in sensation but also ambiguous and layered in meaning. Her world is haunted by the unnameable, and yet she renders that world with poetic precision in her struggle to make sense of not only of death but of living. In counterpoint, tiny visual collages punctuate the text, each made of salvaged language and scraps of the material world-pages torn from books, bits of paper refuse, drawings and photographs, old postage stamps and the albums which classify them. Each collage — and the creative act of making it — evinces the reassembling of life. A breathtaking lyric elegy, Bough Down uses music and silence, color and its absence, authority of experience and the doubt that trembles at its center to fulfill a humane artistic vision. This is a lapidary, keenly observed work, awash with the honesty of an open heart.

While this sounds amazing, I don’t know that it’s for me. I’m going to ditch.

Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico – Malin Alegria

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“Do you guys have Internet?..”.”How about TiVo?..”.”You do get American TV?” The house was dark. “Wait a minute — do they even have electricity?”Even though Sofi Mendoza was born in Mexico, she’s spent most of her life in California — the closest she gets to a south-of-the-border experience is eating at Taco Bell. But when Sofi and her friends sneak off for a weekend in Tijuana, she gets in real trouble. To Sofi’s shock, the border patrol says that her green card is counterfeit. Until her parents can sort out the paperwork and legal issues, Sofi is stuck in Mexico.

In the meantime, Sofi’s parents arrange for her to stay with long-lost relatives in rural Baja. It’s bad enough that Sofi has to miss senior prom and even graduation, but her aunt, uncle, and cousins live on a ranch with no indoor plumbing! As the weeks pass, though, she finds herself adapting to her surroundings. Sofi starts helping out on the ranch, getting along with her bratty cousins, and she even meets a guy with more potential than anyone from school. Through the unexpected crash course in her heritage, Sofi comes to appreciate that she has a home on both sides of the border.

While this does kind of sound up my alley, the reviews are dissuading me. So, ditch.

Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black – bell hooks

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bell hooks writes about the meaning of feminist consciousness in daily life and about self-recovery, about overcoming white and male supremacy, and about intimate relationships, exploring the point where the public and private meet.

I will forever keep bell hooks books.

Fearless: The Heroic Story of One Navy SEAL’s Sacrifice in the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the Unwavering Devotion of the Woman Who Loved Him – Eric Blehm

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Fearless takes you deep into SEAL Team SIX, straight to the heart of one of its most legendary operators.

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”

Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX—the counterterrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden—he was a fun-loving country boy from Hot Springs, Arkansas, whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. An undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a
promise to his parents.

But after high school, Adam fell in with the wrong crowd, and his family watched as his appetite for risk dragged him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail. Battling his inner demons on a last-chance road to redemption, Adam had one goal: to become the best of the best—a U.S. Navy SEAL.

An absorbing chronicle of heroism and humanity, Fearless presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior who would enter a village with weapons in hand to hunt terrorists, only to come back the next day with an armload of shoes and meals for local children. It is a deeply personal, revealing glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood that also shows how these elite operators live out the rest of their lives, away from danger, as husbands, fathers, and friends.

Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as fearless.

Um, yeah, no not my vibe. Ditch.

Until Today!: Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind – Iyanla Vanzant

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Shift your attitude and live your best life with this inspiring collection of 365 daily devotionals from New York Times bestselling author and star of the OWN Network’s hit show Iyanla: Fix My Life.

If there are situations, circumstances, or perhaps relationships in your life that you have been struggling to overcome, trying to work through, or doing your best to work around, throw your head back and declare to the universe, “Until Today!”

Whatever has been going on in your mind, your life, or your heart can stop—right now, if that is truly what you desire. However, you must be willing to “do a new thing.” You must spend a little time, each day, in devotion to the truth about yourself and your life. You must make a conscious approach to what you think, what you feel, and what you do. Devotion will clear up misconceptions that may have obscured your vision until today!

Bestselling author Iyanla Vanzant presents a new book of devotions for anyone on the path to spiritual empowerment. These daily devotions will create powerful changes in the circumstances of your life that have held you back and will place you on the road to personal strength and peace of mind.

I love Iyanla so keep.

In summary:

I kept 40% of the books presented in this round:

  • “Dancer” – Colum McCann
  • “A Thunderous Whisper” – Christina Diaz Gonzalez
  • “Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black” – bell hooks
  • “Until Today” – Iyanla Vanzant

I ditched 60% of the books presented in this round:

  • “Mice” – Gordon Reece
  • “My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol 1” – Emil Ferris
  • “Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism” – ed. Vincent B. Leitch
  • “Bough Down” – Karen Green
  • “Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico” – Malin Alegria
  • “Fearless” – Eric Blehm

(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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