Continuing on the “Down the TBR Hole” series I found on Bookmark Your Thoughts! Week five, here we go!
- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
- Read the synopses of the books.
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week
Book 1: The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twenty-First Century
The Blurb: The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century is a voyage into the labyrinth of modern music, which remains an obscure world for most people. While paintings of Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, and lines from T. S. Eliot are quoted on the yearbook pages of alienated teenagers across the land, twentieth-century classical music still sends ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, its influence can be felt everywhere. Atonal chords crop up in jazz. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalism has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward.
The Verdict: Keep! I doubt I’ll ever use this as more than a reference, but what a reference it is!
Book 2: Coriolanus
The Blurb: I couldn’t actually find a blurb for this, probably because it’s from ca. 1600, but it is a Shakespearean tragedy based on the life of Roman Emperor Caius Marcius Coriolanus.
The Verdict: Keep always.
Book 3: The Girl With All The Gifts
The Blurb: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.
The Verdict: Dismiss. I’m not actually a fan of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, or Neil Gaiman, so I don’t suspect I’ll really miss this.
Book 4: Duck Season: Eating, Drinking, and Other Misadventures in Gascony
The Blurb: A delicious memoir about the eight months food writer David McAninch spent in Gascony—a deeply rural region of France virtually untouched by mass tourism—meeting extraordinary characters and eating the best meals of his life.
The Verdict: Keep… I’d actually forgotten about this one, but it sounds cool, so we’ll keep it!
Book 5: My 31 Practices: Release the Power of Your Values for Authentic Happiness
The Blurb: This step by step guide helps to identify what is important to you (myValues), translates this into a set of behaviours (myPractices), and supports you to apply the approach every day (myExperiences)
The Verdict: Dismiss. Most self-help books end up being incredibly similar, so I’ll say goodbye to this one.
Book 6: Evensong
The Blurb: Margaret Maguire—a widow and grandmother, home from the hospital in time for Christmas—is no longer able to ignore the consequences of having married an imperious and arrogant man. Despite her efforts to be a good wife and mother in small-town Iowa, her adult children are now strangers to one another, past hope of reconciliation. Margaret’s granddaughter could be the one to break the cycle, but she can’t do it without Margaret’s help. It’s time to take stock, to examine the past—even time for Margaret to call herself to account. By turns tenacious and tender, contrary and wry, Margaret examines her life’s tragedies and joys, motivations and choices, coming to view herself and the past with compassion, if not entirely with forgiveness. Beautifully rendered and poignantly told, Evensong is an indelible portrait of a woman searching for tranquility at the end of her days.
The Verdict: Keep. This still sounds like a good read.
Book 7: The Mutual Admiration Society
The Blurb: Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life. A rich and charming tour de force, The Mutual Admiration Society showcases Lesley Kagen’s marvelous storytelling talents. Laced with heartwarming humor and heartbreaking grief, this novel is nothing short of magical.
The Verdict: Dismiss… nothing really seems to set this apart.
Book 8: Gachar Gochar
The Blurb: A young man’s close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes overnight. As they move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house on the other side of Bangalore, and try to adjust to a new way of life, the family dynamic begins to shift. Allegiances realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background. Things become “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase uttered by one meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied. Elegantly written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings—and consequences—of financial gain in contemporary India
The Verdict: Dismiss. Just not my type of novel anymore, unfortunately!
Book 9: The Gypsy Moth Summer
The Blurb: Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.
The Verdict: Dismiss. I just don’t really feel attached to it!
Book 10: The Evening Road
The Blurb: Meet Ottie Lee Henshaw, a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss, and on one day in the summer of 1930, an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful event. Meet Calla Destry, a young black woman desperate to escape the violence of her town, and to find the lover who has promised her a new life. Every road leads to the bedlam of Marvel, a town where lives will collide and be changed forever. Reminiscent of the works of Louise Erdrich, Edward P. Jones and Marilynne Robinson, The Evening Road is the story of two remarkable women on the move through an America riven by fear and hatred, and eager to flee the secrets they have left behind.
The Verdict: Dismiss. Again, just not attached to it.
This week’s tally: 4 stay, 6 go
Removed so far: 19
I feel like I’m just dropping the hatchet on so many books!! But one of the great things this has taught me is that tastes change and that’s okay! Just because I once wanted to read something does not mean I am never allowed to change my mind! Look for week 6 coming next Friday!