TBR List Declutter, Issue 48

Tangent: Missing, After Seven Months in California

Things I miss about Massachusetts:

  • Picking fruit throughout the summer and fall.
  • Snow sparkles.
  • Animal tracks in the snow.
  • The clean, sharp feeling of breathing in really cold air.
  • The first three times shoveling snow each winter.
  • Hiking through deciduous forests.
  • Our twice-monthly ecology classes at the wildlife sanctuary.
  • Being able to identify lots and lots of animals and plants.
  • Being only a seven-hour flight from Europe rather than twelve.
  • Our friends.

Things I don’t miss about Massachusetts:

  • Ticks.
  • Mosquitos.
  • Wearing thermal undergarments for six months of the year.
  • Driving everywhere.
  • Sharing the road with people who are very, very angry.
  • Finishing shoveling snow only to have the plow come by and push a two-foot-high wall of icy slush across the bottom of the driveway.
  • Humidity.

Visual Interest:

IMG_20171126_171452

Late afternoon in Cain, Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa, Spain

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

Books:

Titles 671-690:

7726131671
Title: Blame
Author: Huneven, Michelle
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Go. I’m not sure what led me to put this one on my list in the first place, but it’s not particularly grabbing me now.

Project List: n/a

26114135672
Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Greenwood, Bryn
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. I like books that amaze half of the people and offend the other half.

Project List: none.

22237161673
Title: The Sellout
Author: Beatty, Paul
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. 11/01/2016 must have been my day for adding titles that piss people off.

Project List: none.

26883528674
Title: Hot Milk
Author: Levy, Deborah
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. I’m not sure if I’ll like this one, but…*shrug*

Project List: none.

25694617675
Title: His Bloody Project
Author: Burnet, Graeme Macrae
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. Yeah, I think I’m just going to keep all of these 2016 Man Booker nominees on the list.

Project List: none.

23453099676
Title: Eileen
Author: Moshfegh, Ottessa
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. I recently read about this title and added it to my holds list at the library, only to discover that I’d added it to my TBR nearly two years ago. So, keep.

Project List: none.

26046318677
Title: All That Man Is
Author: Szalay, David
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep, B-list. On the one hand, like 98% of the literature written in English from Beowulf on, it’s a bunch of stories about heterosexual white men. On the other hand, these are stories about what it means to be a man written looking consciously and directly at manhood rather than written about men because men are the norm against which all the rest of creation is judged. So, it could be interesting, but I’m not sure it’s at the top of my list. Maybe my spouse and I can read it together (although he tends to enjoy novels written by women because he’s an enlightened 21st-century man).

Project List: B-list

27876415678
Title: Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Author: Thien, Madeleine
Date Added: 11/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. My son is intrigued by Chinese history, and he’s gotten me interested in it, too. But since he’s primarily interested in the Taiping rebellion and the Sino-Japanese Wars, I know much less about the Cultural Revolution onward. Maybe this book will help give me some context from which to talk with my son as his studies of China move further into the 20th century. And it looks interesting, too.

Project List: none.

18267395679
Title: Darkscapes
Author: Salzman, Anne-Sylvie
Date Added: 11/2/2016

Verdict: Keep. I added this one when I was deep into my attempt to find literary horror stories and novels. It still looks good, and it will be interesting to see how eerie stories read in sunny Southern California.

Project List: none.

23011925680
Title: The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings
Author: Slatter, Angela
Date Added: 11/2/2016

Verdict: Keep. Another scary one. Also a good chance to get a feel for the kinds of books Tartarus Press publishes.

Project List: none.

8576972681
Title: The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
Author: Jay, Francine
Date Added: 11/20/2016

Verdict: Go. I’m always struggling to find the balance between getting rid of stuff and getting more stuff, although the metaphor of a balance leaves me puzzling over a scale with nothing on one side and a whole lot of stuff on the other side. Where would I place the fulcrum to get it to balance? I guess it would have to be so close to the stuff that there would be little room for the stuff itself. Which I guess is the point. At any rate, I want to minimize, but at this point, I think I’d be better served finding my own minimalist path than reading yet another minimalist how-to.

Project List: n/a

145660682
Title: The Captive Mind
Author: Miłosz, Czesław
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep, with reservations. I can’t quite get a handle on what this one is about, but I suspect it’s valuable at this point in history to think deeply about how the intellectual class responds to a totalitarian government. Best to be prepared, I think.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics.

396931683
Title: The Origins of Totalitarianism
Author: Arendt, Hannah
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep. Likely even more urgent a read than the Miłosz book above.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics

21413849684
Title: Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
Author: Pomerantsev, Peter
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Go. I would find it very valuable to see how a government uses television to mentally, intellectually, and emotionally enslave a population for its own benefit, but this one seems heavier on personal anecdotes than on research. I’m not sure this one would be as helpful as a re-read of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Project List: n/a

384786685
Title: The Power of the Powerless
Author: Havel, Václav
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep. This appears to be yet another primer on how to gird ourselves against creeping totalitarianism.

Project List: none.

11990686
Title: The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt
Author: Camus, Albert
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep, but on the suggestion of a Goodreads review I’m going to read At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell for background first. So not only am I leaving this one on the list, I’m also adding another to supplement this one. Two steps forward…

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics

69882687
Title: Billiards at Half-Past Nine
Author: Böll, Heinrich
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep. I’ll probably regret populating my Classics list with so many books on totalitarianism, but at least this one’s a novel.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics

1108425688
Title: The Seventh Cross
Author: Seghers, Anna
Date Added: 11/29/2016

Verdict: Keep. Ugh. I want to get rid of another, but this, written two years before the US entered WWII, just seems like such a great addition to my Cavalcade of Classics.

Project List: Cavalcade of Classics

25852784689
Title: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Author: Desmond, Matthew
Date Added: 12/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. Pulitzer-winner, well-researched plus personal stories from both the landlords and those they’ve evicted. Crap, I’m going to keep this one, too.

Project List: none.

25489025690
Title: The Vegetarian
Author: Han, Kang
Date Added: 12/1/2016

Verdict: Keep. There are many reasons I might cut this one, but the description of this novel as “strange” by both those who love it and those who hate it really intrigues me.

Project List: none.


Three (three! I’m losing my edge. Or maybe I just got more selective as time went on) more titles off the list for a total of 261 of 690 (34.8% of the original 750).

Any thoughts about which I kept and which I tossed?

4 comments

  1. Oh I loved Eileen, glad it’s been kept on your list! You can read my review here if you’re interested https://ageofescapades.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/eileen/ Moshfegh is a brilliant writer!
    I keep meaning to get a copy of Hot Milk, I was excited to read it but after reading some reviews I’m a bit meh about it.
    And I haven’t heard of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things but the title is intriguing

    Like

    • Charity · August 19

      Thank you for sharing your review of Eileen! It’s one that’s high on my list and which gets some pretty intensely opinionated reviews both for and against it. Always a plus, in my estimation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori · July 24

    The humidity! It’s killing us today! A nice below 80F temperature outside, but the humidity makes it feel like 120! Why do we have to hide inside even in summer? Why?

    Like

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