Down the TBR Hole #16

Down The TBR Hole is a meme created by lost in a story that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.

The rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Picking up from where I left off:

1. Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi

Book cover of "Boy, Snow, Bird" by Helen Oyeyemi

I remember putting this book on my TBR because it is supposed to be a re-telling of Snow White, and I like retellings of fairy tales. However, I found the description to be really confusing to me and it doesn’t sound as appealing to me as it originally did, I guess.

What I do know is that the book tackles some pretty hefty topics, like race and racism. I have an idea of just how the author plans to introduce that into the story. It sounds a bit like another story I read once, though I can’t remember the title… But for me, this one is a pass, for now.

Verdict: GO

2. The Museum of Extraordinary Things – Alice Hoffman

Book cover of "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" by Alice Hoffman

My first and main reason for putting this book on my TBR is because it’s Alice Hoffman. I have read several books by her and one of which I love, love, love. She’s one of those authors who I look out for and if I see a new publication.

This particular story interested me because it’s about a young girl who is a “mermaid” in her father’s freak show on a boardwalk in New York, in the early 1900s. It sounds like a really magical book and it’s historical fiction, too! I have high hopes for it, and for Hoffman’s magical prose.

Verdict: KEEP

3. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book cover of "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

On the one hand, I like the mystery surrounding the world of books. Rare-book collectors protecting copies of books the world has forgotten sounds really cool! On the other hand, this book is incredibly long and, according to one of my friends who has read it, doesn’t treat female characters very well and many of the male characters are “abusers” who then also get redemptive arcs.

This story seems very much in the vein of “the chosen one” narrative, which I don’t always pass on, but in this case, I think I will, just because I don’t feel strongly enough about the book to delve into it with some of these hurdles.

Verdict: GO

4. Rooms – Lauren Oliver

Book cover of "Rooms" by Lauren Oliver

This is one of those books that were published with much hype and I put it on my TBR because it features a house with ghosts…

Well, I’ve read over the synopsis again and I’m not sure I’ll get exactly what I’m looking for when I read that the book has ghosts living alongside living people. It seems much more like a family drama to me now rather than a “haunting” story. If you’ve read it and can recommend it on more that what I’m getting from the description, please let me know in the comments! Otherwise, I think I’ll skip this one…

Verdict: GO

5. Queen of Hearts: The Crown – Colleen Oakes

Book cover of "Queen of Hearts" by Colleen Oakes

From what I can tell from the description, this is a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, but from the Queen of Heart’s perspective.

It also seems like the kind of book that is attempting to give a sympathetic backstory to the villain of the story. Which I don’t necessarily mind. I think that’s even why I might have put this book on my TBR. But in all honesty…I don’t really care for Alice in Wonderland or any iteration of this book (not even the Disney movie!). Most likely I was intrigued by the idea of this book, reading the slow descent of a character into villainy, but my interest has waned in the years since I put this on my TBR.

Verdict: GO

6. Blood & Beauty – Sarah Dunant

Book cover of "Blood and Beauty" by Sarah Dunant

Basically, from what I can tell of the summary listed on Goodreads, this book tells the story of the Borgias. You know, that family that bought the papacy and basically messed around with Italy. I’ve had a passing interest in this family, but I don’t know if I should read a book that is a fictionalized telling of the family when, from what it sounds like, it often seems less novel and more non-fiction being pressed into a fiction mold.

My interest probably isn’t strong enough to pull me through on this one, though I would love to see a book that focuses on maybe just one of these figures, rather than the whole family. Like a book just from Lucrezia’s perspective?

Verdict: GO

7. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date – Katie Heaney

Book cover of "Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date" by Katie Heaney

This book is strictly on my TBR because I relate to this situation immensely. Now you know a lot more about me than you did at the beginning of this post!

This is the memoir of a girl who hasn’t had any luck in the dating department. I read the summary of this book when I first saw it in a Target a few years ago and I felt so seen, I was like, “I am definitely reading this book! Maybe I’ll learn a few pointers!”

I still have yet to read it, but it’s a short, sweet memoir, I’m thinking, so I don’t think I’ll give up on it just yet…

Verdict: KEEP

8. A Better World – Marcus Sakey

Book cover of "A Better World" by Marcus Sakey

Finally, a sequel on my TBR of a series of which I read the first book! This is the sequel to Brilliance, a book which which my friend highly recommended to me. And it was good! It’s the story of a world where 1% of the population has special gifts (kind of like mutants) that allow them to do things like be invisible or read peoples minds. But all the gifts are done in an unusual way. It’s hard to explain, but I definitely recommend reading the first book!

As this is a sequel, I found the first book interesting enough for me to want to read this one. I have a vested interest in what will happen to the main character, Nick, and his family.

Verdict: KEEP

9. Katherine the Queen – Linda Porter

Book cover of "Katherine the Queen" by Linda Porter

My interest in the Tudor history of course extends to Henry VIII and his wives. This is a biography of Katherine Parr, Henry’s last wife. I’ve read a book about Queen Elizabeth that mentions Katherine a bit. It mostly deals with the fact that her husband, Sir Thomas Seymour, had a thing for Elizabeth, her step-daughter. It was totally creepy, to be honest.

So I’m definitely interested in reading more about Katherine herself, both before she was married to Henry and after.

Verdict: KEEP

10. Jane Seymour – Elizabeth Norton

Book cover of "Jane Seymour" by Elizabeth Norton

Thus continues a trend. Clearly I was down a Tudor rabbit hole, here, and I was on the hunt for biographies of Henry’s wives. My interest in Jane Seymour stems from the fact that she’s considered Henry’s “favorite” wife since she provided him with the one thing he wanted: a son and heir.

Since there is little written about Jane Seymour and this is the “first” biography about her, I can see from reviews that there’s a bit of speculation that goes on from the author, since there isn’t much directly from Seymour’s own mind. That can be both great and not great when it comes to biographies. I’m not sure that I have as much faith in this one.

Verdict: GO


Kept: 4

Discarded: 6

It’s always fun to come across a series of books on my list where I can tell I was clearly in a thematic mood, like with these Henry VIII wives’ biographies. But otherwise, this was an odd assortment of books. Clearly I’ve grown out of quite a few of them, this time!


So, what do you think? Any books I cut that you wouldn’t? Any books that I’m keeping that aren’t worth my time? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you. See you next week for another meme post.

One thought on “Down the TBR Hole #16

  1. The Shadow of the Wind is a good yarn but what makes it enjoyable is the gothic atmosphere of the setting in Barcelona. I don’t honestly remember the male characters being abusers – I’m not saying its not there but it didn’t figure very largely


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