TBR List Declutter: Week 2

Another week, another ten books from my TBR to scrutinize. For background about this weekly event, check out the introductory post.

In December 2009, I visited the Salt Like City library and got one of those books that lists the 500 books you should read before you die (because presumably reading after you die isn’t something one should bank on). Any titles that were added on 12/31/2009 were likely the result of the fit of New Year’s Eve optimism incited by that book of books. And since I was probably nursing a baby while putting those titles on the list, some oxytocin probably played a role, too.

TBR titles 11-20:

101334#11: Remainder by Tom McCarthy

Date added: 07/16/2009

Why is it on my TBR? I’m not sure. The description doesn’t even sound familiar.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep, mostly because one of my GR friends with good taste loved it.

Project list: none.

2985#12: On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage by Robert Alden Rubin

Date added: 12/30/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Probably because it’s about the Appalachian Trail and because the author worked at Algonquin Books, a press I quite like.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Go. I love Appalachian Trail memoirs, but I can find this one again, if I want to.

Project list: N/A

464260#13: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? I first added this from that book of books I mentioned, but I’ve gone to Goodreads to add it probably a half-dozen more times since then. It’s mentioned as a classic with increasing frequency, at least in my circles, and I definitely want to read it.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep!

Project list: Cavalcade of Classics.

30861#14: Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? I found the title in that book of books, but I think I added it because a friend from college is a fan of the author.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. I want to read Cisneros, and this seems like a good place to start.

Project list: none.

261601#15: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? It was in the book of books, it’s about Vietnam during the time that my dad was in Vietnam, and it won the Pulitzer.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep!

Project list: maybe Cavalcade of Classics, but it might be too new. I need to develop some more criteria for my classics.

377993#16: Joe by Larry Brown

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Book of books, Southern Lit, great reviews, critically acclaimed.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep, but reassess if I’ve not read it in a year.

Project list: none.

24847#17: A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Book of books, Southern Lit, great reviews, critically acclaimed.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Go. The premise sounds interesting, but the passages people who love the book quote just seem brutal and make me feel squirmy. If I’m meant to read it, it will show up again.

Project list: N/A

251665#18: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Book of books, Booker Prize, French-sounding title.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Go. I generally like slow-moving, depressing books, but based on the synopsis and the reviews, this sounds like a particular type of novel written by a woman author of a particular vintage about a woman unfulfilled because her life lacks a man. I find myself uninterested.

Project list: N/A

217081#19: Come to Me by Amy Bloom

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Book of books, National Book Award finalist.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. It’s another book of short stories, and the reviews are either five stars or one, which I find intriguing.

Project list: none.

92267#20: Ship Fever: Stories by Angela Barrett

Date added: 12/31/2009

Why is it on my TBR? Book of books, National Book Award, intersection of fiction and nonfiction.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep.

Project list: none.


Well, that’s a little more like it. I considered ten and kept seven. Given my interest in Booker Prize and National Book Award winners, I might need to make up an “award-winners” project list.

Until next week!

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