Down the TBR Hole #6

Welcome folks to the sixth round of Down the TBR Hole. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my fifthmy fourthmy thirdmy second or my 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?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Why is it there? I’ve read classics, but my knowledge of modern classics is deeply lacking, especially when it comes to American modern classics – this is one of those. I was re-encouraged to keep this on my TBR by Liz, because she read it recently and said it had become one of her favourite books. That seems like reason enough to check it out.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Why is it there? Again, my knowledge of modern classics is lacking. I never did manage to finish 1984 but I really want to read some Orwell. Mercifully, Animal Farm is rather short, so it requires low commitment and it’s definitely one of those books that people say you should read.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne

Why is it there? Honestly? I have no clue. It’s an 18th-century classic so odds are good that, at some point, probably during university, I felt like I was missing out because I hadn’t read this. I don’t think that anymore because life is too short to read books you feel like you should have read but don’t actually know anything about.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Why is it there? Ever since I hear its opening line (“Call me Ishmael”) on my favourite childhood film, Matilda, I’ve been intrigued by this book. Now I have a pretty Penguin English Library edition with the waxy cover and I stare longingly at it every now and then. I know this is meant to be an amazing book, so I keep putting it off until I’m in the right frame of mind to tackle it. One of these days, I will read it – that’s a promise.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

5. The Trial by Franz Kafka

Why is it there? No idea, probably because I didn’t know a thing about Kafka and felt inadequate because I knew nothing. I know I should probably read it, but I don’t want to anymore… which is kind of the entire point of this game.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

6. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Why is it there? I’ve had not so successful brushes with Rushdie before, in the forms of Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Satanic Verses. The former was perfectly fine, the latter was enough to make me never want to pick up another Rushdie novel for as long as I live. I just did not get it, it made me feel like an idiot, and just so much of it went unappreciated because of my utter lack of comprehension. I doubt this one would be any better of a reading experience for me.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

7. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Why is it there? Once again (you’ll sense the theme), I was told this is a must-read book. I’m iffy when it comes to contemporary writing because I find a lot of it hit-and-miss. Without knowing much about this, or about Foer’s writing style, I have it in my head somewhere that I’m just not going to like him/it, so I’m hesitant to even try this now.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

8. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Why is it there? I’ve read very little Irish literature, and Joyce is a pillar of the modernist movement. The only problem? I don’t really enjoy most modernist texts I’ve tried – I tend to hate the stream of consciousness style – and I suspect that Joyce won’t be an exception to that rule of thumb. This was on my TBR because it seems slightly more manageable than diving in at the deep end with Ulysses but, even so, I’m not sure I’ll ever have enough drive to try this.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Why is it there? Again, another ‘book you should read before you die’ from an American author that I know next to nothing about. I hear the structure is a bit all over the place (purposely so) and like free-association in style, and it’s satirical and paradoxical and I just think it might make my head hurt by trying to read it.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

10. Dubliners by James Joyce

Why is it there? See reasons for 8. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. My reasoning for this is much the same, with the added caveat that I don’t really tend towards short stories so I have no idea what possessed me to put a short story collection on my TBR.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

Results

This round:
Kept – 3
Ditched – 7

Overall:
Kept – 34
Ditched – 26

Aaand that was the sixth round of my Down the TBR Hole project – 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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