Down the TBR Hole #4

Welcome folks to the fourth round of Down the TBR Hole. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my third roundmy second round or first round post or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • 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?

Let’s get going on the 10 books… 

1. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Why is it there? I haven’t had that much luck with the Brontes so far. I thought Jane Eyre was just ok (I enjoy the critical theory surrounding the novel more than the story itself) and I wasn’t a fan of Wuthering Heights. Even so, I have been frequently told that Anne Bronte may just be the Bronte for me so I’m willing to give her books a go. That being said, I think I’m going to remove this one from my TBR, just because there’s another Anne Bronte book that interests me more and if I don’t succeed with that one then there’s no point in keeping this one on there. I can easily re-add it later if Anne proves to be the Bronte for me.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Ditch

2. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Why is it there? North and South is one of my favourite novels and Gaskell’s work really intrigues me so I’m curious about this one. Kirsti from Melbourne on my Mind (one of my new favourite booktubers) always speaks so highly of this book that I have to pick this one of Gaskells up next. And considering I’m much more likely to read this than Cranford, I think this one definitely deserves to keep its place on my Goodreads TBR shelf.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Keep

3. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien

Why is it there? Because J.R.R. Tolkien did a translation of this from Middle English so obviously I was interested in something that clearly interested Tolkien. However, I’m past my obsessive Tolkien phase and now that I’m out of education and no longer in classes where we study Old and Middle English ballads… I’m not entirely sure if I’m actually still interested in reading this. Well, I am, if I had an infinite supply of books and was immortal I’m sure I’d get round to it but… as of right now? Nope, not any more, that ship has sailed.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Ditch

4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Why is it there? Because I suck at reading American literature and probably added this during one of those moments of realisation. However, there’s a reason why I haven’t read any Steinbeck… I’m just not that interested in any of the synopses I’ve heard of his work. Sorry??? I’m also past the point where I feel constantly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of the canon of American literature so… yeah I don’t see myself actually picking this up anytime soon. Oops.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Ditch

5. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Why is it there? See above answer re: Agnes Grey. I wasn’t a fan of Charlotte or Emily Bronte’s work, I just don’t get it aside from appreciating them as novels for discussion in terms of themes, context etc. etc. I’m trying Anne, though, because a lot of people say I’ll like her stuff – this novel seems like the obvious one to start with since I hear it is gloriously feminist. I’m all about that.
Do I own it? Y
Verdict? Keep

6. King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales by Thomas Malory

Why is it there? Much like Sir Gawain above, I went through a phase. Will I ever read any of the key Arthurian texts? I’d like to think so, as I’m sure I’ll enjoy them when I get to them, but… as of right now I can’t forsee me sitting down to actually read this anytime soon. And it’s kind of sad for me to realise that about myself.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Ditch

7. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Why is it there? Apart from the fact it’s a Virginia Woolf (whose novels’ style I don’t really get along with, well I didn’t with Jacob’s Room at least), I once saw an essay competition from Newnham College which I completely planned to enter but then never got around to it. The basis of the essay was focused around this text so I bought a copy and then promptly never actually read it past a few pages. I need to fix that because it’s really not very long and I’m sure it will be extremely good and very much my thing.
Do I own it? Y
Verdict? Keep

8. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Why is it there? Do you remember earlier when I was talking about having not read much American literature? This is another one of those. I’m sure I’m going to mostly hate Hemingway, a theory I have based on precisely nothing (I never said I was a rational human being, ok?)… however, this is one of his works that I may actually be interested in, given that it focuses around guerrilla factions in the Spanish Civil War. I studied Spanish for years at school and in my first year at university and I remain fascinated by that period in history. Considering that Hemingway drew on his own experiences during the Civil War to inform this novel, I think this could be very interesting to me.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Keep

9. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Why is it there? I went through a period of adding big books to my TBR. But, whilst adding this, I realised it wasn’t this book I was thinking of but The Count of Monte Cristo (I wish I was kidding, I’m so dumb)… and yet this book is still on there. I feel like everyone knows about The Scarlet Pimpernel from TV or film in some form or another, but I don’t actually know much about the original story. Colour me intrigued.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Keep

10. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

Why is it there? Whilst studying literature at university, I became really interested (and invested in) the early modern period, but was woefully versed in anyone outside of the usual suspects i.e. Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Edmund Spenser. My particular penchant for Shakespeare meant I didn’t stray enough outside of his plays to read some of the other brilliant early modern drama (I did briefly flirt with plays by Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe though, to my credit). Webster is one of those Jacobean playwrights who I should have read by now, especially since I own an MA in Early modern literature, but I haven’t yet so here we are.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Keep

Results

This round:
Kept – 6
Ditched – 4

Overall:
Kept – 25
Ditched – 15

Ok so that was the fourth round of my Down the TBR Hole project – I’m starting to see some rewards for my efforts now and that TBR is slowly getting whittled down to only books I’m interested in reading right now. But have I made a terrible mistake in ditching some of these titles? Or have I kept some that really aren’t worth my time? Let me know in the comments below!


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10 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #4

  1. mwgerard 14/06/2017 / 14:32

    If you get into Arthurian stuff again, you can try Morte d’Arthur. There are some abridged versions that are still pretty good, so you get the feel for it without getting too bogged down. I really like this idea of culling the TBR list. Now if only I could do that for the towering piles…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jillian 09/06/2017 / 21:19

    EAST OF EDEN is excellent, and Agnes Grey is historically courageous. But things must be deleted. We can’t read everything. :) Tenant is a good choice if you can’t read both. Anne is the best of the Brontes.

    Like

    • mwgerard 14/06/2017 / 14:31

      I was going to suggest Tenant of Wildfell Hall as well. Do give Anne a try if you have the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bookloverbabbles 09/06/2017 / 18:18

    This is such an interesting post! I don’t think I’ve seen this concept around before. Going to check out some of the books you decided to keep!

    Liked by 1 person

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