TBR Pile Cleanse #3!

It’s been a little while since I posted the second entry in my “TBR Pile Cleanse” project, introduced here. This week, I’m taking a look at another 10 books on my 2,200+ TBR Pile, in order to determine the books I will KEEP and the ones I will let 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: Georgia Boy by Erskine Caldwell

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I do not remember adding this book. I saw both the title and the author and couldn’t recollect anything about either one. I do, however, notice that there’s another Caldwell book on my TBR list, titled Tobacco Road; that book has higher ratings, more compelling reviews, and seems more like something I would appreciate, based on the synopsis. So, I’ll keep the one Caldwell and get to it eventually. If I love it, maybe I’ll add more to read in the future. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None.
  • Verdict?: GO 

Book #2: The Italian by Anne Radcliffe

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: This one is on my TBR list intentionally. It’s Radcliffe. I should read it. I want to read it. I’ve only ever given one Radcliffe novel a try, though: The Mysteries of Udolpho. I had to set that one aside after, I don’t know, 80 pages? (Out of 600-ish?) It wasn’t gripping me at the time, but I do want to finish it at some point. Interestingly enough, I was first introduced to Radcliffe via Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which is a parody of the Gothic Romance genre which owes so much to Radcliffe. This one’s about 200 pages shorter than Udolpho, so maybe I should start here. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #3: Stories from El Barrio by Piri Thomas

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Here’s another book that, if you mentioned the title or author to me, I would respond that I had “never heard of it/him.” I imagine there are probably hundreds of circumstances like this on my TBR list, now that I’m digging through it. I’m loving the fact that I’m being re-introduced to books that, at some point, looked really interesting to me. This one seems to have some fervent fans, and the description is interesting (as is the fact that he’s a Cuban-Puerto Rican street writer). I want to keep it on my list if only to make sure that I might some day stumble across it again and give it a try, but is that  really enough to continue listing it? Nah. If fate wills it, we’ll meet again. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: GO

Book #4: The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I’m almost certain that I’ve read something by Kevin Brooks, yet in reviewing my Goodreads list and his author page, I don’t find anything reviewed. I do also have a couple of his other titles, such as The Bunker Diary on my list. I was totally ready to remove this one because I imagined that I was just in a mood for crazy YA/MG dystopia whateverness on that particular day; but, then I read this in the blurb: “Cole, 17, is a dark-eyed devil who doesn’t care if he lives or dies, while Ruben, 14, is a strange child who sometimes, inexplicably, experiences sensations above and beyond his own. This is the story of the boys’ journey from their half-gypsy home on a London junk lot to the ghostly moors of Devon, where they hope and fear to find the truth about their sister’s death.” Come on. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #5: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I’m fairly certain that I added this one after reading Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks. Du Bois was a leader in the black protest movements of the late-1800s and early-1900s, often standing in direct opposition to Booker T. Washington, whose philosophy tended toward slow change and accommodation rather than “radical” demands for equality. I’m fascinated by the history of race in America, so this is, I know, a must-read, particularly as its publication resulted in a deep polarization between the conservative and progressive black liberation wings, something we’d see again with Dr. King and Malcolm X, and something we’re likely close to seeing again. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #6: The Postman by David Brin

  • Date added?: Oct. 21, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: Remember what I said up there about how many times I’d probably have that “huh?” moment with these titles and authors? DING! Here we are again. I have no idea why I added this book or how I heard of this author. In reading the synopsis, I get nothin’. It’s apparently a sci-fi/apocalyptic tale about a guy who wears a Postman’s uniform to stay warm and discovers it has other powers (“as a symbol of hope,” they say?) How weird. It’s almost unique and strange enough to make me want to give it a try. I mean, seriously, a postal uniform as rallying flag? That’s ballsy. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project Lists: None
  • Verdict?: GO

Book #7: Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I do remember adding this short story collection to my pile, but only because of the cover image. I don’t recall the title or the author, though. That said, in reviewing the blurb, these stories of Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, of children with the will to survive in even the harshest conditions, sound interesting and informative. Has anyone read this one? I’m actually considering moving it up on my list. 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project Lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #8: World’s Fair by E.L. Doctorow

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I must have added this one sometime after reading Homer & Langley. I’ve also since read Ragtime. I really enjoy Doctorow. He’s a special kind of writer, and the historical aspect to his novels adds just another delightful layer to his excellent storytelling, at least for someone like me who loves history almost as much as literature. This one, from what I remember, is about a boy in 1930s New York, when everyone was in awe about the wonders of the world as seen through the lens of the World’s Fair. I’ve got to get to this one sooner than later. And I’m also remembering that I haven’t yet read Billy Bathgate or Andrew’s Brain yet, either. Maybe I should have a Doctorow month! 
  • Do I own it?: No
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #9: Roughing It by Mark Twain

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I fully intend to read everything Mark Twain has ever written. I absolutely adore him, as a person and as a writer. One area of his canon I’ve neglected is his journalism and travel writing. I don’t think I’ve really read any of it; in fact, the only non-fiction I’ve read from Twain, I think, is his autobiography. I’m actually not sure how much of Roughing It can be considered non-fiction, but I know its based on his travels around Nevada, California, and over to Hawaii. I’m sure it’s filled with his typical fire-brand style of social commentary, satire, and whatnot. I look forward to it. 
  • Do I own it?: Yes
  • Project lists: None
  • Verdict?: KEEP

Book #10: Story of O by Anne Desclos (Pauline Réage)

  • Date added?: Oct. 27, 2009
  • Why is it on my TBR?: I’ve heard an awful lot about this book. I’m not the biggest fan of erotica (especially of the heterosexual kind) or straight-up romance, but as a student/scholar of gender and sexuality, I can’t not be intrigued. Here’s an excerpt from the synopsis: “How far will a woman go to express her love? In this exquisite and taboo novel of passion and desire, the answer emerges through a daring exploration of the deepest bonds of sensual domination. “O” is a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer, determined to understand and prove her consuming devotion to her lover, René, through complete submission to his every whim, his every desire.” I can’t say I’m not intrigued. This also reminds me that I need to hurry up and get to my collection of works from the Marquis de Sade. They’ve been sitting around for, oh, fifteen years? Oops. 
  • 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: 2,228 (uh… funny how this ain’t workin’ at all!)

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8 thoughts on “TBR Pile Cleanse #3!

  1. I read The Story of O way back when in my 20’s, but I should think it’s a KEEP! I’ve never forgotten it.
    Good luck with the rest of your cleanse – I hope you find it as cathartic as I found my recent dump of several half-read books that were never going to be finished 🙂

  2. I shudder at the mention of Uldolpho.I did read further than you – magically survived the boring meanderings around the mountains in France and even got as far as the Italian section. But the bits where she is in the castle which are meant to be the most sinister never got my heart rate up one beat. So I abandoned it. like you I got to it via Northanger Abbey.

  3. I’ve been doing something similar on the down low on my Goodreads account. It’s kind of liberating to be like, “I’m never going to actually read this.”

    On another note, good luck with Story of O. I tried it a couple of years ago and I was pretty scandalized. And that doesn’t happen to me often. It was just too much for me.

  4. I also own Roughing It and also Letters from Hawaii which I bought while I was in Hawaii years ago, as I felt I should make a literary connection while on the trip. I read about 5 pages sitting outside in the Botanical Garden and haven’t touched it since, other than packing it and moving it from house to house. I hope to finish one or both of them before the next move.

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