TBR List Declutter: Week 5

Well, what do you know? Ten more titles from the book of books (added January 15, 2010). I really went to town adding titles from that book.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the introductory post.

Titles 41-50:

437067#41: A Cure for Dreams by Kaye Gibbons

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Southern Lit, published by Algonquin.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. I thought of replacing it with Ellen Foster, but I always feel conflicted when I read a debut novel. If it’s good, I despair that I could never write a first novel that’s so good. If it’s bad, I get down on myself because I’ve not finished writing any of the novels I’ve started, which I just know would be at least as good as this bad one that got published. It’s even worse if the author was quite young when she wrote the debut novel. And as I get older, my definition of “quite young” becomes broader. Long story short: I’ll read this one instead of Ellen Foster, at least to start.

Project list: none.

281114#42: In the Land of Dreamy Dreams by Ellen Gilchrist

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Southern Lit. Also, this title keeps coming up, which maybe means something. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should read it. The DaVinci Code comes up a lot, but I have no intention of reading that, but this one seems different because people who bring this one up are those whose opinions about books I trust. Also, I think I might have read one of her stories in college.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep.

Project list: none.

#43: The Odd Woman by Gail Godwin

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? No idea. Maybe I liked the cover?

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. If I had a B-list, this would be on it. The plot sounds like a lot of other books I’ve read, but it was a National Book Award finalist, so I’ll give it a chance.

Project list: none.

240628#44: The Long Night of White Chickens by Francisco Goldman

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Not sure. I probably put it here because of Guatemala, but I’ll probably keep it there because it’s set in part in a suburb of Boston (as am I).

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep.

Project list: none.

#45: A Sport of Nature by Nadine Gordimer

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Probably because it’s set in South Africa, and I can’t recall reading a book set in South Africa before.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep.

Project list: none, but with all of the different countries represented on my TBR so far, maybe I should start putting together a reading-around-the-world list.

 #46: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Probably because it’s famous.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Go. Famous isn’t a compelling enough reason for me.

Project list: N/A

#47: The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? I don’t know why I put it here, but it’s another one with very polarized reviews, which is always intriguing to me.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. A lot of reviewers who dislike the book dislike it because they can’t relate to the characters. I’m curious to see if I can relate to them.

Project list: none.

 #48: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? This is described as a book about outsiders, and it’s about Germany during World War II. I probably put it on the list for one or both of those reasons, but the plot also sounds interesting. The reviewers who like the book note that Hegi doesn’t go for the melodramatic, Hollywood-film WWII treatment, and I would like to see what this looks like.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep.

Project list: none.

 #49: Ellis Island and Other Stories by Mark Helprin

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? Maybe I added it because it’s supposed to be an eclectic collection of short stories. Sounds good to me.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Keep. It’s possible that the author is over-hyped, but I guess I’ll have to read his writing to find out.

Project list: none.

#50: Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Date added: 01/15/2010

Why is it on my TBR? I’m betting it’s here because the title sounds cool and because the author’s last name has that Scandinavian zero-looking “o” in it.

Do I own it? No.

Verdict: Go. The reviews—even the positive ones—don’t make this book compelling to me.

Project list: N/A


Two more titles off the list for a total of 9 out of 40 titles crossed off (1.2% of the original TBR).

There were another couple of B-list titles. I really do need to figure out a way to shelve these. I mentioned my first 25-50 pages idea to my spouse, and he approved of it, saying it sounds like the Silicon Valley prototype model, at least how he understands it. He said there are some who suggest applying the prototype model to one’s career by trying out elements of several different careers and seeing where they lead rather than setting out a detailed plan to follow for the next ten years or whatever.

I value forward-planning, but I’m also somewhat changeable. Because I don’t know how I’m going to feel about something after I’ve done it for a while, I don’t like to feel tied to any particular path. (Of course, I committed to parenthood, but that’s not even the same two days in a row, so it stays pretty fresh, even during periods of acute exhaustion.) These B-list books sound interesting enough that I don’t want to toss them entirely, but not interesting enough that I want to completely commit to them. I’ll have to mull over the dilemma. But then, the more time I mull, the less I have to read. It’s a double dilemma.

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