Hey guys! In August I tried to challenge myself and have my sister pick my TBR for the month. I think it’s fair to say that I failed, but to see more about how that went check out my August Wrap Up. However, I did like the fact that I read some of the books that had been on my shelves for a long time and would not have picked up last month otherwise. So, to keep up with that idea I am going to conquer my TBR with the Down the TBR Hole challenge every month! I also have around 450 books on my TBR and that number just keeps growing, so I am looking forward to cutting that number down and cleansing my vast TBR list to something a bit more manageable.
This was created by Lia at Lost In A Story and you can find the original post here. Basically, the Down the TBR Hole challenge goes like this;
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf,
- Change the order to ascending date added,
- Take the first 5 (in my case, 10) books,
- Read the synopses of the books and decide if you want to keep it or if it should go.
But I’m going to make things interesting. Because I really enjoyed reading some books that had been on my TBR for a long time, I have decided that every month I will read one of the books that I choose to keep from each month’s Down the TBR Hole challenge. I will try to make a decision at the end of every post but that decision might change throughout each month so be sure to keep up with my monthly wrap ups to see which book I end up reading.
1. Misery by Stephen King
Novelist Paul Sheldon has plans to make the difficult transition from writing historical romances featuring heroine Misery Chastain to publishing literary fiction. Annie Wilkes, Sheldon’s number one fan, rescues the author from the scene of a car accident. The former nurse takes care of him in her remote house, but becomes irate when she discovers that the author has killed Misery off in his latest book. Annie keeps Sheldon prisoner while forcing him to write a book that brings Misery back to life.
So this is the first book I added to my goodreads shelf that I have not yet read. I know that I added it as I was supposed to read it for a gothic fiction class in university but never got round to it. I know that this book is highly reviewed and I would definitely love to pick it up one day, but I’m just not yet quite sure when.
The Verdict: Keep
2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
This is a difficult one for me. The story certainly interests me and its a story that most people will read during their lives. But I’ve been meaning to read this book for longer than I can remember and so perhaps it’s the pressure of reading it that is putting me off. With that being said, I do intend to one day read this.
The Verdict: Keep
3. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…
Aha! A theme emerges! Yes, I have a lot of modern classics on my TBR, which is ironic considering I’ve barely read any. For such a long time I felt such a pressure to read the things I thought I should be reading instead of reading the books I wanted to read and so I abandoned all classics completely. But again, I know the messages in Orwell’s books are so interesting and inspired and they’re not something I want to miss out on. However, Animal Farm is not high up on my list, and at the same time it is certainly not a book that I will forget.
The Verdict: Go
4. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
THE ROSIE PROJECT WAS COMPLETE BUT I WAS UNPREPARED FOR THE ROSIE EFFECT.
GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world’s most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.
Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.
Then Rosie told me we had ‘something to celebrate’, and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.
I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.
The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.
And of losing Rosie forever.
This is a sequel to a book I read way back in 2014, The Rosie Project. I really enjoyed that book – about an autistic man falling in love with a woman on a hunt to track down her father – and for a long time it was one of my favourites. However, that feeling has passed and this is no longer a story or a group of characters I care about. I think I just waited too long to continue with the series.
The Verdict: Go
5. Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore
A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.
In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.
One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.
His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.
This was a book that was recommended to me by a friend years ago. It sparked my interest enough to pick up a copy, but I never seemed to want to reach for it and finally read it. Now, it sounds interesting, sure, but I have so many other books I would rather read and this one just doesn’t feel important to me.
The Verdict: Go
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The traditional favorite Jane Austen novel—her enduring story of pride and prejudice
When Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy she is repelled by his overbearing pride, and prejudice towards her family. But the Bennet girls are in need of financial security in the shape of husbands, so when Darcy’s friend, the affable Mr. Bingley, forms an attachment to Jane, Darcy becomes increasingly hard to avoid. Polite society will be turned upside down in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, and love—Jane Austen’s classic romance novel.
Oh look, another classic!
For most of my life I never thought I would be interested in Pride and Prejudice, but a little while ago I caught the end of the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley and I was hooked. This is definitely a classic I plan on picking up at some point, but like the others it just depends on when.
The Verdict: Keep
7. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
“Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it.”
After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson – bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. (“I had recently read,” Bryson writes, “that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me.”) But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.
Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile.
I read an extract of this book during my GCSE years. That’s over 5 years ago and yet I’m still clinging onto the few pages that I remember falling in love with. Part of me knows that it’s time that I let go of this book, but I am always trying to venture out and try some more non-fiction and getting rid of this book would be a step in the opposite direction.
The Verdict: Go
8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.
Another book that I wish I had already read. The premise of this book fascinates me and it is such an easy decision to keep this book.
The Verdict: Keep
9. The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin
New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…
Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…
Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.
Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…
As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…
I must say, the premise for this book is fantastic. It is so unique and fascinating and is definitely what made me pick this book up in an airport book shop. But after reading the first few chapters I could not get into the novel. I decided to put it down to pick up at a later date, but I feel like my interest in this book has unfortunately passed.
The Verdict: Go
10. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
So this is a bit of a cheat for this list but it’s justified. The tenth book on my list was actually The Mime Order, the 2nd book in this series. I decided to swap this book with the 2nd book, especially considering they were only a few positions away from each other, because I feel like it would make more sense to judge the first book in a series first.
I have read this book before and I remember a lot about it – I remember that it was released on my birthday and my mum managed to get a copy early so I was able to open it as a gift while on holiday. I remember absorbing this book, devouring and and falling in love with it.
What I do not remember is literally everything about the plot. I want to re-read it though, and I am excited to move onto the next books in the series.
The Verdict: Keep
So that is my first Down the TBR Hole challenge complete! I am taking 5 out of the 10 books I looked through off my TBR list and I am super happy with that outcome! This month I am going to try and read The Bone Season, but I might turn to Misery instead. I’m looking forward to picking up one of these long awaited books and I am so happy I did this challenge.
What books would you have chosen differently? Have you read any of these books?
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Book cover and synopses – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10614.Misery, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2657.To_Kill_a_Mockingbird, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3149348-animal-farm, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21844019-the-rosie-effect, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13111441-the-greatcoat, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18300267-pride-and-prejudice, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28.Notes_from_a_Small_Island, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1618.The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night_Time, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20727758-the-axeman-s-jazz, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17199504-the-bone-season .