Down the TBR Hole #2; or, How to Fail at Reducing Your TBR List

My TBR list is seriously out of control. Every time I see or hear of a new book that sounds even remotely interesting to me, I immediately add it to my Want To Read list on Goodreads. It can be intimidating when it comes time to choose a new book because the list is so long that at some point I give up and just choose a book at random.

When I read Lost in a Story’s Down the TBR Hole #1 post, I loved the idea and wanted to do it for myself to try to narrow down my TBR list. 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?

Here’s part two of narrowing down my TBR list (Read Part One). Since my TBR list on Goodreads is currently sitting at 1486, I’m going to do ten books today and try to reduce it a bit.

Also, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads!


Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Amazon | Goodreads

I tried to read this book once all the way back in high school and ended up not finishing it, but I know plenty about the story just due to how prevalent it is in our culture. I’m planning on giving it another try next month.

Verdict: Keep

 

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Amazon | Goodreads

This is a book that came out recently, on October 2nd. I’ve seen it all over Bookstagram and various book blogs. It’s definitely staying on my TBR list. It takes place in a women’s reproductive clinic after a gunman enters it and takes everyone inside hostage. The story is about everyone inside, from the patients, doctors, and the gunman himself. I love books that examine people’s intentions, and this sounds right up my alley.

Verdict: Keep

 

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Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Amazon | Goodreads

The Goodreads synopsis doesn’t say much about the story at all, so I headed over to Amazon for a description. It sounds very surrealist, which I love, so this was an easy decision.

Verdict: Keep

 

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Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Amazon | Goodreads

I read Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral several years ago, and loved everything about it. I’ve never read any of her fiction, however, so I feel as though her newest novel is going to be a good place to start.

Verdict: Keep

 

Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Amazon | Goodreads

So, this book isn’t even out yet, as it’s being released on November 6th. It is set at a remote health resort and follows the story of Frances Welty, who was once a best-selling romantic novelist. I vaguely remember adding this to my TBR list after seeing in on another blog, but after reading the synopsis it honestly doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy.

Verdict: Remove

 

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The Witch Elm by Tana French

Amazon | Goodreads

This was the fastest decision I made on this list – it’s definitely something I’m keeping on my TBR. In this novel, a man is attacked by two burglars in his home and is left for dead. He moves to his family’s ancestral home to recover and to take care of his dying uncle. While there, he finds a skull in the trunk of a tree in the garden, and he’s forced to reexamine his past.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin

The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Amazon | Goodreads

I love most of the short stories I’ve read by Ursula K. Le Guin, but I’ve never actually read any of her novels. This one sounds awesome: “Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe.

Verdict: Keep

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Amazon | Goodreads

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I cannot believe that I never read this book. I feel like this is a vital tale that all book-lovers need to read, so it’s definitely staying.

Verdict: Keep

 

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Amazon | Goodreads

This is yet another classic I have not read, so, like Pride and Prejudice, it stays.

Verdict: Keep

 

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Amazon | Goodreads

A fantastical adventure story about opportunity, wisdom, and following our dreams? Another very easy decision.

Verdict: Keep

 

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Amazon | Goodreads

I apologize, but I must repeat myself once again: I never read this book in school, and I want to catch up on this classic.

Verdict: Keep


Okay, so I ended up removing only one book from my Goodreads TBR, which really isn’t helping my feelings of being overwhelmed by the massive list. However, I love having so many good books that I can look forward to reading!

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts about them?

Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.

The Book
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Goodreads

What It Is
This is the last novel published by Ernest Hemingway before his death in 1961. It was released in 1952, and when Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, the Nobel Committee stated that this book was one of the reasons why.

Santiago, the “old man,” is a fisherman, living in Cuba, who sleeps on newspapers and survives on the kindness of his young friend, referred to in the novel as “the boy,” who brings him bits of food and coffee, and occasionally buys him a beer at the end of the long day.

When we first meet Santiago, he’s gone eighty-four days without catching a fish. He’s lonely, and there’s a heartbreaking reference to his deceased wife.

Once there had been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken it down because it made him too lonely to see it…

On the eighty-fifth day, Santiago decides to go further out into the ocean, far past the point that most of the local fishermen would travel, in order to have a better shot at catching a fish.

The novel follows Santiago as he hooks an extraordinary marlin, facing immense hardships and suffering, and losing much on his way back to his island.

It’s a short book, and a simple one, but it displays courage in the face of suffering and hardship. The book is also an absolute masterpiece, and if you haven’t read it, or if you were forced to read it in school and haven’t picked it up since, now would be a great time to do so.

What I Loved
Only Hemingway could write a book about a lone fisherman trying to catch a marlin, and turn it into such a powerful work of fiction.

The novel essentially has just three characters, Santiago and the boy, and then the marlin. Both Santiago and the boy are immensely lovable characters. Although his parents won’t let him fish with Santiago anymore because they kept coming back empty-handed, he feels sorry for the old man, and feels a sense of responsibility to him, bringing him food and the daily newspaper so he can keep track of baseball and his favorite player, Joe DiMaggio.

It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around his mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

I also love the respect Santiago gives to the ocean and the marlin that he’s trying to catch.

“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”

By the end of the book, you also find yourself feeling attached to the old man. Throughout everything, he remains positive and brave, and it’s a lesson we all need.

What I Disliked
About the book? Nothing. I love this book.

I read this book for the first time when I was in the tenth grade, and I feel that I wasn’t able to really appreciate it because I didn’t have enough life experience yet to actually understand it. I feel that forcing high schoolers to read it is a great disservice to this classic American novel.

Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)
Buy. It’s a short book and a great choice for a lazy day at the beach. It’s a true American classic.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – Book Review

Ernest Hemingway’s last novel published before his death, “The Old Man and the Sea” is a short, simple book with a lot of meaning. It won the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.

The Book
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Goodreads

What It Is
This is the last novel published by Ernest Hemingway before his death in 1961. It was released in 1952, and when Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, the Nobel Committee stated that this book was one of the reasons why.

Santiago, the “old man,” is a fisherman, living in Cuba, who sleeps on newspapers and survives on the kindness of his young friend, referred to in the novel as “the boy,” who brings him bits of food and coffee, and occasionally buys him a beer at the end of the long day.

When we first meet Santiago, he’s gone eighty-four days without catching a fish. He’s lonely, and there’s a heartbreaking reference to his deceased wife.

Once there had been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken it down because it made him too lonely to see it…

On the eighty-fifth day, Santiago decides to go further out into the ocean, far past the point that most of the local fishermen would travel, in order to have a better shot at catching a fish.

The novel follows Santiago as he hooks an extraordinary marlin, facing immense hardships and suffering, and losing much on his way back to his island.

It’s a short book, and a simple one, but it displays courage in the face of suffering and hardship. The book is also an absolute masterpiece, and if you haven’t read it, or if you were forced to read it in school and haven’t picked it up since, now would be a great time to do so.

What I Loved
Only Hemingway could write a book about a lone fisherman trying to catch a marlin, and turn it into such a powerful work of fiction.

The novel essentially has just three characters, Santiago and the boy, and then the marlin. Both Santiago and the boy are immensely lovable characters. Although his parents won’t let him fish with Santiago anymore because they kept coming back empty-handed, he feels sorry for the old man, and feels a sense of responsibility to him, bringing him food and the daily newspaper so he can keep track of baseball and his favorite player, Joe DiMaggio.

It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around his mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

I also love the respect Santiago gives to the ocean and the marlin that he’s trying to catch.

“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”

By the end of the book, you also find yourself feeling attached to the old man. Throughout everything, he remains positive and brave, and it’s a lesson we all need.

What I Disliked
About the book? Nothing. I love this book.

I read this book for the first time when I was in the tenth grade, and I feel that I wasn’t able to really appreciate it because I didn’t have enough life experience yet to actually understand it. I feel that forcing high schoolers to read it is a great disservice to this classic American novel.

Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)
Buy. It’s a short book and a great choice for a lazy day at the beach. It’s a true American classic.



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