Down the TBR Hole #15

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!

Ginga – Daniel Jose Older

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Between her obscenely muscular new capoeira teacher, her crush going off with a new girl in their favorite park, and trigonometry homework, Kia figures she has enough going on without some creepy ghost causing car crashes and hit-and-runs in her neighborhood. Carlos Delacruz, the half-dead half-resurrected soulcatcher for the New York Council of the Dead, would love to keep her out of it, but things don’t usually go the way he intends. From the world of Daniel José Older’s immensely popular Bone Street Rumba series.

This doesn’t seem like something I’m normally into. So ditch.

American Radical – Tamer Elnoury

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The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside

It’s no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America.

A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury joined an elite counterterrorism unit after September 11. Its express purpose is to gain the trust of terrorists whose goals are to take out as many Americans in as public and as devastating a way possible. It’s a furious race against the clock for Tamer and his unit to stop them before they can implement their plans. Yet as new as this war still is, the techniques are as old as time: listen, record, and prove terrorist intent.

Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero: To many Americans, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all Americans safe. 

This is actually very something I would like to read. So keep.

The Motorcycle Diaries – Ernesto Che Guevara

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The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. 

This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon.

This is one of my favorite movies, and I’m very intrigued to read his actual writing. Keep.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate – Naomi Klein

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Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, exposes the myths that are clouding climate debate. 

You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. You have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it – it just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free-market’ playbook. You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring.

It’s about changing the world, before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Either we leap – or we sink. This Changes Everything is a book that will redefine our era.

Honestly, I’m here for any book talking about the trouble with capitalism, so keep.

I Want My MTV – Craig Marks

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Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in “Thriller”? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in “Jump”? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”? The Beastie Boys spray beer in “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)”? Axl Rose step off the bus in “Welcome to the Jungle”? 

Remember When All You Wanted Was Your MTV?

It was a pretty radical idea-a channel for teenagers, showing nothing but music videos. It was such a radical idea that almost no one thought it would actually succeed, much less become a force in the worlds of music, television, film, fashion, sports, and even politics. But it did work. MTV became more than anyone had ever imagined.

I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV’s programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business. 

Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever.

I love microhistories, so keep.

Breaking Shadows: Bold – Hannah Stewart

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“Jesse and her older brother, Ben, rebuilt the Resnik army after it was nearly wiped out in an ambush 8 years ago. Building this army upon the values of friendship, chivalry, and brotherhood, they believe they hold the key to unlocking the long-lost life of the American Dream. Now, having nearly reached it’s previous height of glory, they wait with bated breath for their chance to change the future of the country. But with the army hot on their tail, undercovers everywhere, and danger around each turn, can they really launch an attack that would turn the tide of the battle for the American Dream?”

This isn’t for me, so ditch.

Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews and Images of Violence in the Middle Ages – Anthony Bale

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In Feeling Persecuted, Anthony Bale explores the medieval Christian attitude toward Jews, which included a pervasive fear of persecution and an imagined fear of violence enacted against Christians. As a result, Christians retaliated with expulsions, riots, and murders that systematically denied Jews the right to religious freedom and peace. Through close readings of a wide range of sources, Bale exposes the perceived violence enacted by the Jews and how the images of this Christian suffering and persecution were central to medieval ideas of love, community, and home. The images and texts explored by Bale expose a surprising practice of recreational persecution and show that the violence perpetrated against medieval Jews was far from simple anti-Semitism and was in fact a complex part of medieval life and culture.

Bale’s comprehensive look at medieval poetry, drama, visual culture, theology, and philosophy makes Feeling Persecuted an important read for anyone interested in the history of Christian-Jewish relations and the impact of this history on modern culture. 

To be fair I have no idea when I’ll actually read this, but it sounds so good and interesting so keep .

Franny and Zooey – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The short story, Franny, takes place in an unnamed college town and tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.

The novella, Zooey, is named for Zooey Glass, the second-youngest member of the Glass family. As his younger sister, Franny, suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents’ Manhattan living room — leaving Bessie, her mother, deeply concerned — Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.

A classic. Keep.

Where I Was From – Joan Didion

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In her moving and insightful new book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history and ours. A native Californian, Didion applies her scalpel-like intelligence to the state’s ethic of ruthless self-sufficiency in order to examine that ethic’s often tenuous relationship to reality.

Combining history and reportage, memoir and literary criticism, Where I Was From explores California’s romances with land and water; its unacknowledged debts to railroads, aerospace, and big government; the disjunction between its code of individualism and its fetish for prisons. Whether she is writing about her pioneer ancestors or privileged sexual predators, robber barons or writers (not excluding herself), Didion is an unparalleled observer, and her book is at once intellectually provocative and deeply personal. 

What I’ve read of Didion I love. Especially how she writes about California. Keep.

Mouthful of Forevers – Clementine von Radics

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Titled after the poem that burned up on Tumblr and has inspired wedding vows, paintings, songs, YouTube videos, and even tattoos among its fans, Mouthful of Forevers brings the first substantial collection of this gifted young poet’s work to the public.

Clementine von Radics writes of love, loss, and the uncertainties and beauties of life with a ravishing poetic voice and piercing bravura that speak directly not only to the sensibility of her generation, but to anyone who has ever been young.

I think this sounds lovely, so keep.

In summary:

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

  • “American Radical” – Tamer Elnoury
  • “The Motorcycle Diaries” – Ernesto Che Guevara
  • “This Changes Everything” – Naomi Klein
  • “I Want My MTV” – Craig Marks
  • “Feeling Persecuted” – Anthony Bale
  • “Franny and Zooey” – JD Salinger
  • “Where I Was From” – Joan Didion
  • “Mouthful of Forevers” – Clementine von Radics

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

  • “Ginga” – Daniel Jose Older
  • “Breaking Shadows: Bold” – Hannah Stewart

(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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