Having looked back, I haven’t actually written a Down the TBR Hole post and cleared out any unwanted books for over six months now. It’s no wonder these things get out of control!
For anyone who doesn’t know how this works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story:
- 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?
I’m going to be looking at the next ten books on the pile since I’ve neglected the pile for so long! Shall we jump right in? After I left off in my last post – with Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (which I have now read!) I added a number of classics. I know I want to read these and frankly, they aren’t up for debate. For the sakes of making a more interesting post for you, I have decided to skip those.
Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
Having read the synopsis again, I can’t really remember why I added this book to the list. I must have been inspired by something, but if I was it’s long gone now. Whatever the circumstances, I’m not convinced that this is something I would really love to read, so I’m going to pass on this one.
Voyage in the Dark – Jean Rhys
‘It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I had ever known,’ says Anna Morgan, eighteen years old and catapulted to England from the West Indies after the death of her beloved father. Working as a chorus girl, Anna drifts into the demi-monde of Edwardian London. But there, dismayed by the unfamiliar cold and greyness, she is absolutely alone and unconsciously floating from innocence to harsh experience. Her childish dreams have been replaced by the harsher reality of living in a man’s world, where all charity has its price Voyage in the Dark was first published in 1934, but it could have been written today. It is the story of an unhappy love affair, a portrait of a hypocritical society, and an exploration of exile and breakdown; all written in Jean Rhys’s hauntingly simple and beautiful style.
I know why I’ve added this book to the list.
When it comes to books about love, passion, heartbreak, I am very choosy. The historical setting is why I have added this book to the list. Right now, I’m not really in the mood to read 170 pages of someone else’s relationship problems. That probably sounds really harsh, (because it is), but I don’t see the point in picking up a book I doubt I’ll enjoy.
Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.
A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance–and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.
I was torn about this one.
Whilst I am kind of intrigued by the story and the characters, I’m not really feeling it. Not that I think I won’t enjoy the book, but I can’t say I definitively will either. I have so many other books on the list now, I’m inclined to pass.
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself – David McRaney
An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.
Whether you’re deciding which smart phone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic, but here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us–but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.
Growing out of David McRaney’s popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them, but often these stories aren’t true. Each short chapter–covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency–is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.
Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.
Non-fiction books don’t often feature in my TBR, but this one is staying firmly on the list! Psychology (and precisely how the brain works) is one of my favourite subjects; I think this is something I will find both informative and humorous. I don’t like being wrong, so this may just be an eye-opener!
The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh
Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.
Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.
Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…
I barely have to think about this one. Adding it to the TBR last year is not something I have changed m mind about. I expect I will really enjoy reading this. Historical fiction, (and dark themes within) are right up my alley. It’s a no-brainer.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
I added this book to my TBR with the intention to read along with another blogger. But, with so many books and so little time, it didn’t happen.
This would usually be a go-to genre for me, but I’m not sure this is something I would enjoy reading by myself. Whilst beautifully written, it is apparently difficult to get into. Without the motivation of reading with others, I fear I’d end up putting this down all-too-quickly.
I have to say no to this one, on this occasion.
The Shining – Stephen King
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
This isn’t even up for debate. It’s staying. I really love the Stephen King books I have read so far. Whilst based on the film, this “story” comes highly recommended by my parents. On the list, it remains.
The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway
In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.
When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …
But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.
For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.
But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.
And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …
I remember purchasing a copy of this book last year, so I guess that is a good a reason as any to read it. I love theatre, so combine this with a historical theme, add some civil unrest and I am SOLD.
The Destroyer – Michael-Scott Earle
After untold centuries of absence, the evil Ancients have returned. Their magic appears unstoppable and their hunger for conquest is insatiable. To protect the country of Nia, Duchess Nadea and Scholar Paug make a desperate journey to find a human legend: A man known to have destroyed these Ancient foes with a powerful army.
But legends can lie.
When Paug and Nadea revive their hero from sleep, his virtue is far from clear.
Is he really their Savior or their Destroyer?
I think I downloaded this book whilst it was on some kind of free promotion. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t pay for it, because I am less enthusiastic about it than I evidently was at the time. That’s not to say I won’t like it at all, but it just isn’t screaming at me to read it really. I’ll keep it because I have it.
I can’t help but sneak a look at the reviews when I do this; a couple of the comments made worry me. Once I got to that point I stopped reading. Maybe it’s a book to read and take with a pinch of salt?
The Borgia Bride – Jeanne Kalogridis
Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.
Perhaps unconventionally, my interest in the history of the Borgia family came about as a result of featuring in the Assassin’s Creed games (the Ezio storyline, for anyone interested). Those to date remain my favourite of the franchise… because I love the setting and storyline. The controversy of the family appears to be founded from their real history – with that being the case, I am really looking forward to reading this!
So there we are!! I don’t think that’s a bad cleanse of the list! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What do you think? As ever, I would love to hear from you!