TBR List Declutter, Issue 28

Hi, there! How’s it going?

Things are great here, although “here” has changed recently. A couple of times, actually. It’s been exciting and tiring and kind of disorienting.

But now that things are settling a little bit, it’s back to decluttering my TBR!

I’m going to try to zoom through the declutter by doing 20 titles per post for a while. Perhaps I’ll include a little non-book-cover visual interest to mix things up a bit. Like this, from the passenger seat of my car in San Diego, California:


Now, on to the books!

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

Titles 271-290(!):

Title: The Art of the Novel
Author: Kundera, Milan
Date Added: 11/13/2012

Verdict: Keep. This is one I should probably scrap because I probably won’t actually ever read it, but the description of this as a sort of timeline of the development of the novel is so intriguing to me, I can’t bring myself to drop it.

Project List: none.

Title: Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace
Author: Max, D.T.
Date Added: 11/13/2012

Verdict: Go. I don’t want to read the biography of an author before I’ve read anything by the author. And maybe not even then.

Project List: n/a

Title: Le Grand Meaulnes
Author: Alain-Fournier
Date Added: 11/17/2012

Verdict: Keep. I don’t know why this is on my TBR, but it seems like it belongs here.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics?

Title: Collected Fictions
Author: Borges, Jorge Luis
Date Added: 11/20/2012

Verdict: Keep. I tried to read this a few years ago and it defeated me. I demand a rematch. I was tempted to try it when I found it in Spanish on the shelf in a rental apartment in León, Spain, but I was already overwhelmed by my first visit to a place where English not only wasn’t the first language, but wasn’t really spoken at all except by me and my travel companions. Picking up Borges in Spanish probably would have just made me too afraid even to leave the apartment.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics?

Title: The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics
Author: Toomey, David M.
Date Added: 11/28/2012

Verdict: Keep. I need to try to keep up with my twelve-year-old, who just wrote an analytical paper on The Singularity is Near and who’s always trying to help me envision the fourth dimension. She’s quickly learning that she has overestimated my intelligence.

Project List: none.

Title: The Rhythm of Compassion: Caring for Self, Connecting with Society
Author: Straub, Gail
Date Added: 11/30/2012

Verdict: Go. It’s a great idea, but it’s too much like self-help for me right now.

Project List: n/a

Title: Empty Cradle
Author: Walsh, Diana
Date Added: 12/7/2012

Verdict: Go. Reading this would be gratuitously inducing depression, I fear.

Project List: n/a

Title: A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Love Stories
Author: Faulks, Sebastian
Date Added: 12/11/2012

Verdict: Go. I think I added this when it was new in an effort to get myself to read new books. It’s no longer new, and I’m no longer interested.

Project List: n/a

Title: Because I Said So! : The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
Author: Jennings, Ken
Date Added: 12/11/2012

Verdict: Keep. I added this because I loved watching Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! and because this seems like a legitimately interesting and entertaining book that will hopefully help justify my laissez-faire parenting style.

Project List: none.

Title: The Snow Child
Author: Ivey, Eowyn
Date Added: 12/14/2012

Verdict: I just read this one! What a novel way to remove items from my TBR!

Project List: none.

Title: Stay Awake
Author: Chaon, Dan
Date Added: 12/14/2012

Verdict: Keep. I think I heard about this on on To The Best of Our Knowledge (radio show on NPR, although I’ve been listening on podcast for the past few years). It still sounds interesting. And I like depressing stories.

Project List: Short Stories.

Title: Giving Up the Ghost: A Story About Friendship, 80s Rock, a Lost Scrap of Paper, and What It Means to Be Haunted
Author: Nuzum, Eric
Date Added: 12/14/2012

Verdict: Keep. This is another I added after hearing about it on To The Best of Our Knowledge. Not only is it interesting (mental illness, a haunting (?), friendship), the author is from my family’s hometown.

Project List: None.

Title: The Mysteries of Glass
Author: Gee, Sue
Date Added: 12/17/2012

Verdict: Keep. This is supposed to be a story of love and identity set in a region on the border of England and Wales. No idea why I added this one to my list, but it looks interesting enough to keep.

Project List: None.

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Miller, Madeline
Date Added: 12/20/2012

Verdict: I read this one already! I first learned about it in the Phi Beta Kappa publication that comes in the mail every now and then, and I finally read it this fall while I was in Spain. (Side note: I kind of enjoy saying I did something while I was in Spain. It implies that I’m a world traveler and not that this one trip is the only time I’ve left North America.) (Side, side note: I’m very pleased that just the other day someone here in the United States thought I was from Europe, not just of European descent. No idea why she thought that, but it feels like a win of some kind.)

Project List: None.

Title: Testing the Current
Author: McPherson, William
Date Added: 12/26/2012

Verdict: Go. I really need to make notes when I add books to my TBR. I have no idea why I added this, and I worry that there was some compelling reason and I’m missing out by removing it from my list.

Project List: n/a

Title: When I Was a Child I Read Books
Author: Robinson, Marilynne
Date Added: 12/30/2012

Verdict: Keep. I love Marilynne Robinson’s fiction. I want to see if I love her essays, too.

Project List: None.

Title: A Kiss Before Dying
Author: Levin, Ira
Date Added: 12/30/2012

Verdict: Keep. This seems to be a twisted novel by the author of Rosemary’s Baby, which I loved both as a movie and as a book. Well, more as a movie, but enough as a book that I want to read this one by Levin.

Project List: None.

Title: A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership
Author: Berry, Wendell
Date Added: 1/4/2013

Verdict: Keep. This is the opposite situation to the one with Marilynne Robinson. I’ve read, and loved, Wendell Berry’s essays, and now I want to see if I love his fiction, too.

Project List: Short Stories.

Title: In the Presence of Fear
Author: Berry, Wendell
Date Added: 1/4/2013

Verdict: Keep. As I mentioned above, I love Berry’s essays. And reading about how to move through societal and cultural fear seems like a timely endeavor.

Project List: None.

Title: To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving
Author: Smith, Patricia
Date Added: 1/11/2013

Verdict: Go. I added this when I thought what I was experiencing was compassion fatigue. Since then I’ve found a reason for my symptoms that makes more sense (since I wasn’t actually doing all that much caregiving), and it no longer feels very important to keep this book on my TBR.

Project List: n/a

Seven more titles off the list for a total of 95 of 290 (12.67% of the original 750).

Any thoughts about which I kept and which I tossed?

Your turn! What's on your mind?

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