TBR Pile Cleanse #2

It’s week 2 of my “TBR Pile Cleanse” project, introduced here. This week, I’m taking a look at another 10 books on my 2,200-titled TBR Pile, in order to determine which books will STAY and which ones will GOThe titles have been sorted according to the books I added first to my TBR list, so these have been lingering the longest.

Book #1: Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I have no recollection of adding this book to my TBR. I had no idea what it was about until I looked it up, just now. I must have read it after finishing Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I did enjoy a great deal. This title still sounds interesting, but not like something I’ll be interested enough to pick up any time soon. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None.
  • Verdict?: GO 

Book #2: Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I’ve been fascinated by Hermann Hesse for a long time. I read Narcissus and Goldmund 10-15 years ago and was absolutely transfixed by it. In graduate school, I attempted to work with Hesse from a critical theory perspective (for a literary theory and criticism course), but the professor was unfamiliar with him and was thus not very encouraging about my project, so I ended up pursuing something else. A stupid decision, in retrospect (professors don’t know everything!) Anyhow, what’s more interesting is I’ve never been as captivated by anything else I’ve read by Hesse. I keep trying, and keep thinking… “well, okay.” Still, I think I do want to read this one at some point. I’m not ready to give-up just yet. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #3: A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I absolutely love Anthony Burgess. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him, including A Clockwork OrangeThe Wanting Seed, and Nothing Like the Sun. The latter is a fictional account of the life and death of Shakespeare; similarly, Dead Man in Deptford tells the story of Christopher Marlowe. I don’t know why I haven’t read this one, yet, honestly. I’m intrigued by Marlowe and that whole period, and especially the circumstances of Marlowe’s death. And I love the way Burgess thinks and writes. So, what am I waiting for? 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #4: The Buffalo Tree by Adam Rapp

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I must have added this one after reading 33 Snowfish or Little Chicago. Adam Rapp writes some super interesting and bizarre stuff, which is right up my alley. His are also quick reads, psychological disturbing a lot of the time. All of this, in my opinion, works in my favor, because it’s the kind of stuff I like. This one also won a School Library Journal award… I don’t know when I’ll get to it, but I know that I will get to it. So why remove it? 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #5: Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I think I’ve added everything by Palahniuk to my TBR list. I’ve read quite a bit of his work and I tend to enjoy it (he’s weird, transgressive, postmodern — that’s what I like). Still, this one isn’t really speaking to me right now. I remember adding it and thinking, “I’m not sure this is one I’ll actually ever get around to.” So, nearly 10 years later, I think it’s safe to remove this one, at least for now. I’m in no danger of forgetting about Palahniuk, so if at some point I decide I want to read another of his books, I’ll go look ’em up and decide then. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: GO

Book #6: The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain

  • Date added?: Oct. 21, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Here’s another one that I have no recollection of adding to my list. I’m guessing it was a “quick click” — a book that came up as a recommendation when I searched for and/or reviewed something else. It’s historical fiction about the history of the Holy Grail, which sounds like something I’d be interested in (I do love a good Arthurian tale). Still, right now, it’s not speaking to me, even though it is very highly rated on Goodreads. If I go through another Arthurian fantasy phase sometime in the future, I’m sure I’ll stumble across this one again. For now, it’s not appealing enough to remain on the “TBR.” 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project Lists: None
  • Verdict?: GO

Book #7: First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Turgenev is an important Russian author, an important presence in the “classic literary canon,” for whatever that’s worth. I’m sure I added this one when someone else was reading it and/or when it popped-up in the “based on what you’ve read” suggestions. I’ve actually never read anything by him, which is probably a shame. But, when I do, I know it won’t be this collection (it will  likely be Fathers and Sons). If I read Turgenev and decide that I want more, then I’ll come back and add more.  
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project Lists: None
  • Verdict?: GO

Book #8: Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Gogol is another classic writer whom I haven’t read, yet. I’m not surprised that I have this one and Turgenev added on the same day; I might have finished reading some other Russian author, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, perhaps, that day and then started clicking away, as one does. Unlike the Turgenev text above, though, this one by Gogol is a text that I think about quite a bit and that I do want to read sooner than later. I’ve read that this is like a Dickensian-Russian novel, a “comic masterpiece,” which would be an interesting new perspective (I’ve read mainly Russian tragedies).  
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #9: Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Surprisingly, I’ve not yet read everything Hemingway’s ever written. Do I plan to? Why, yes, I do. I do, indeed! Certain valid critiques aside, I love Hemingway. I love reading Hemingway. Even when I don’t particularly like a certain story (The Sun Also Rises, for example), I still find something of value in the writing, and I haven’t yet regretted reading any of his works that I’ve managed to get to so far. Green Hills is also non-fiction/travelogue based on Hemingway and his wife’s safari near Mount Kilimanjaro; I’ve read less of his non-fiction, so this would be an important addition. 
  • Do I own it?: Yes
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #10: Angel Time (Songs of the Seraphim #1) by Anne Rice

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I think this is the most difficult decision of the week for me. I’m not the biggest fan of Anne Rice. I tried reading Interview with a Vampire many years ago but couldn’t get into it. Then, I read Out of Egypt (Christ the Lord #1) and loved it. The plot of this one both repels and compels me. I’m just not sure what to do! I think this is one that I would like to give a try, simply because of the part of its premise that pertains to 13th-Century England and the bizarre and evil things that happen there. If I don’t like it, fine, I won’t continue the series. But if I remove this one, I might not remember it… in which case, I might have missed something fun? 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Books removed this week: 4 out of 10 (40%)

TBR Pile Count at Start of Project: 2,170

TBR Pile Count Currently: 2,191 (something’s gone wrong!) 

10 thoughts on “TBR Pile Cleanse #2

  1. This is a great idea–there are many books on my GoodReads TBR list as well as physical shelves that I have no recollection of. Purging 4 out of 10 is not bad!

    1. I’ve eliminated about 90% of my physical library as well… went from owning a few thousand books to just a couple hundred (and was able to get rid of an expensive storage rental unit!)

  2. I read Steppenwolf recently and it was OK. I’m still struggling to ‘get’ Hesse, but I really want to read the Glass Bead Game so I’ll keep trying.
    Dead Souls is funny, but in a really really Russian way. Footnotes help with the humor. 🙂

  3. I don’t really understand your need to purge your GR shelves but the Kundera book is excellent. I’d keep it. ☺

  4. I’m glad I am not alone in forgetting why I added books to the wishlist. I’ve now tried to make a habit of noting the reason in the comments field as I add into Goodreads. That way I don’t have to rely on my awful memory

  5. A recommendation regarding Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Start with Book Three, The Queen of the Damned, then go back to the beginning. That’s what I did (partly because I didn’t realize the book was part of a series when I first read it in the late 80s). It remains my favorite book. I’ve read it four times. Of course, the series still might not be your cup of tea, but just in case. 🙂
    I still have not read either of the Songs of the Seraphim books, nor the Christ the Lord books. I still haven’t finished the Vampire Chronicles (and she is now writing more books to continue the series…yikes!). Also, have not read The Wolf Gift series (I started Book One). There are some stand alones of hers that I have not read. I don’t read her erotica (genre is not for me AT ALL). What I have read (besides some of the Vampire Chronicles) is The Mummy…excellent. The Mayfair Witches Books One through Three (the series continues and converges with The Vampire Chronicles later down the line), also excellent. The first Mayfair Witches book, The Witching Hour, is probably one of Rice’s best. It’s one of my favorites.
    Obviously, she’s my favorite author, which makes it even more shocking that I’ve not read ALL of her books. So many books, so little time.

  6. Wow – 2200 books on your TBR! I read Angel Time a while back and really liked it. I definitely haven’t loved everything by Rice that I’ve read – in fact, this may be the book I liked the most by her. I haven’t read the rest of this series though.

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