TBR List Declutter, Issue 16

Last week I mentioned my plan to think about making a plan to speed this declutter up a little. I’m still mulling on that plan to plan, and I’ve not gotten much closer than to look slack-jawed at the master spreadsheet I have of all of my TBRs and think, “I’m going to be 42 years old before this project is done.”

Act in haste, repent at leisure, the sages say—or rather, “married in haste, we may repent at leisure,” per William Congreve in 1693, who likely modified his version from Shakespeare, who is the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon of English aphorisms (if Six Degrees of William Shakespeare isn’t already an English major game, it really should be). Whatever the saying, I’m neither hastily marrying nor hastily making more changes to my TBR List Declutter.

Actually, I have made one tiny change. You might have noticed that the title of this post says “Issue 16” rather than “Week 16.” That’s so I have the leeway to publish more than one declutter post a week, should I decide to plan on making that part of my speed-up plan.

Wondering what this is all about? (I think we’re all a bit confused by now.) Check out the introductory post.

Titles 151-160:

Title: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror
Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis
Date Added: 09/19/11

Verdict: Keep. Both of my kids have read excerpts of The Strange Case… as part of their writing curriculum, and we’re all three interested in reading the whole story.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics

Title: Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning
Author: DeRoche, Torre
Date Added: 09/20/11

Verdict: Keep. I was going to scrap this one. I don’t have any experience with sailing and have only ever been on a boat on the ocean once, for a seal-watching tour off Bar Harbor, Maine, aided by large doses of Dramamine. I added it because my friends Tucker and Victoria, who sailed all over the world, rated it highly, but now that they’re done adventuring for a spell, I wasn’t sure if I was interested anymore. Then I read a review that suggested that if I was someone who found Eat, Pray, Love self-indulgent—which I did (gag)—I might like this one. So, here we are.

Project List: none

Title: In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
Author: Compton, Todd M.
Date Added: 10/01/11

Verdict: Go. I waffled on this one. I’m certainly curious about the realities of the practice of polygamy, and I’ve long been intrigued by the idiosyncrasies and hypocrisies of the leaders of the early LDS church, but I’m not sure if I’m 800-pages intrigued.

Project List: n/a

Title: The Grief of Others
Author: Cohen, Leah Hager
Date Added: 10/04/11

Verdict: Keep. This book sounds good and gets very good reviews from people whose opinions I trust. And I’m far enough from my children’s infancies that it might be slightly less devastatingly sad to read than it might have been a few years ago.

Project List: none

Title: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
Author: Orlean, Susan
Date Added: 10/06/11

Verdict: Go. This was a tough decision. With the glowing reviews, this seems like a book I ought to read, but I’m not sure I care enough about the film industry to want to read a whole book about a dog—or rather several generations of dogs all called the same thing—who worked in movies.

Project List: n/a

Title: Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy
Author: Kraybill, Donald B.
Date Added: 10/09/11

Verdict: Go. I’m interested in religious beliefs, I’m interested in the Amish, and I’m interested in the nature of forgiveness, but I’m not sure that this book has the kind of analysis that I’m looking for.

Project List: n/a

Title: 1Q84
Author: Murakami, Haruki
Date Added: 10/22/11

Verdict: Keep. No question, no hesitation, just keep. (side note: I heart Murakami’s writing, and I have no idea why I haven’t read this one already.)

Project List: none

Title: Annabel
Author: Winter, Kathleen
Date Added: 11/03/11

Verdict: Keep. I’ve been curious for years about the day-to-day lives of intersex children and their families in Western cultures—How do parents/doctors choose to assign a gender? How do they make the decision to have a child surgically altered? If parents decide not to have their child undergo surgery, what are the logistics of raising a child who is neither male nor female? (What do they tell family and friends? What about when the child starts school?) Based on the reviews, there are some big flaws with this novel, not the least of which is that the author didn’t speak to any intersex individuals while writing it, and I don’t think it’s likely to answer the questions I have, or at least not in ways that I can trust are authentic to the experience of nonfictional intersex individuals. But knowing this going in, it sounds like it might still be an interesting exploration of the nature of gender within Western culture.

Project List: none

Title: What Were We Thinking?
Author: Sathre-Vogel, Nancy
Date Added: 11/05/11

Verdict: Go. I first learned about the Vogel family when I picked up a newspaper in a coffee shop in Davis, California, in 2006. In the article about their travels was a line about their son on the back of a tandem bicycle staring for hundreds of miles at his father’s “relentlessly pumping glutes.” Funny the things that stick with us. Aside from that line, I retained from the article an interest in just how one might go about bicycle touring with children, and in 2011, I apparently added a couple of Nancy Sathre-Vogel’s books. Reflecting on the titles now, I’m opting to replace these two with Twenty Miles Per Cookie, which seems to address more directly the parts of the Vogels’ story that interest me.

Project List: n/a

Title: Bicycle Touring With Children: A Guide to Getting Started
Author: Sathre-Vogel, Nancy
Date Added: 11/05/11

Verdict: Go. See note above. If after reading Twenty Miles Per Cookie I decide I want to try bicycle touring with my own children and I can’t find the info I need online, I’ll seek out this title.

Project List: n/a

Five more off the list for a total of 49 out of 160 (6.5% of the original 750).

Are there any of these that I kept that you would have jettisoned, or any that I jettisoned that you recommend I keep?

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