Tackling the TBR List #1

Hello, Readers! Today I’m doing a type of post that I have seen several other bloggers do: I’m taking a hard look at some of the books that have been on my to-read list for a long time, and deciding whether or not I want to keep them there. Hopefully, this will cut my list down a bit and help me remember what I want to read. As a bonus, maybe you will see something on my list that you want to read, regardless of whether or not I do!

I use Goodreads to keep track of books I want to read, which makes this kind of project very manageable! From my account I went to my To-Read list and organized it by date added. Today I’ll go through the first ten books on my list, and see where we stand after that.

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Starting Stats

Number of Books on My Goodreads “Want to Read” List: 639

I’m not going to comment on how many books are on my list, I’ll just note that I officially started this list in 2013, but it existed intangibly long before that. Now, for the ten books that have been on my list the longest:


7 by Jen Hatmaker cover1. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Goodreads Synopsis: 7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

Comments: Either my mom or I bought this book years ago on super clearance from a local Christian bookstore. We still have it, and it sounds interesting, so I’m not taking it off my list.

Verdict: Keep


2. 1984 by George Orwell

Goodreads Synopsis: The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia”—a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

Comments: This is a classic that I have tried to read a couple different times, but the library never has it in when I want to read it, and it’s not one that I am willing to buy without knowing for sure whether I like it or not.

Verdict: Keep


3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Goodreads Synopsis: This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?
     Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.
     Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.
     You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions.
     This is a mystery story, not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.

Comments: I’m afraid this is going to be a trend with this first TBR round, but again, it’s a philosophical classic that I eventually want to read, but haven’t gotten to yet and I won’t buy it until I read it.

Verdict: Keep


4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Goodreads Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

Comments: Most people I grew up with read this in middle school, but somehow I never had a class that did! I have heard a lot of people praise it, so I do hope to find out what the fuss is all about someday.

Verdict: Keep


The Originals by Cat Patrick cover5. The Originals by Cat Patrick

Goodreads Synopsis: Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up believing they were identical triplets.

Then they learned the truth…and no one else can know.

Now, to the outside world, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one seventeen-year-old daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, pursuing extracurriculars, and even dating.

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, the one person who can help her realize she’s not a carbon copy of the others – she’s an individual with unique dreams and desires. Digging deeper into her background and her mother’s role in her life, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created. 

Comments: While this isn’t the kind of thing that I read a lot of anymore, it still sounds interesting to me. Also, it looks like it wouldn’t take to long to read, so maybe I’ll try to read it at the end of this year after I reach all of my goals for the year. Or I might hold it until I need something quick to finish up a challenge. Either way, it’s staying on this list for now.

Verdict: Keep


6. Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer

Goodreads Synopsis: It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers’ adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on–and the runners are playing for keeps.

Comments: This is another one that my mom bought with the intent that both of us would read it. I think I have started it twice, and either ran out of time or motivation to finish it. The synopsis sounds like something I should be interested in, but I’m just not sure. I guess I will leave it for now, since it’s still in the house and would be easy to pick up on a whim.

Verdict: Keep


7. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Goodreads Synopsis: In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

Comments: Sigh. This is a classic I have been meaning to read for much longer than I have had a formal TBR list. Someday I will mark it off. Today is not that day.

Verdict: Keep


8. Waking Kate (Lost Lake #0.5) by Sarah Addison Allen

Goodreads Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen comes Waking Kate, a haunting and luminous short story about a young woman who soon will face an unforeseen change in her life. One sticky summer day as Kate is waiting for her husband to come home from his bicycle shop, she spots her distinguished neighbor returning from his last day of work after six decades at Atlanta’s oldest men’s clothing store. Over a cup of butter coffee, he tells Kate a story of love and heartbreak that makes her remember her past, question her present, and wonder what the future will bring. A magical story on its own, Waking Kate is also a short fiction tie-in to Allen’s 2014 bestseller Lost Lake.

Comments: I don’t know where to find this story but I desperately want to read everything by Sarah Addison Allen, so on the list it stays.

Verdict: Keep


9. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

Goodreads Synopsis: What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming. 

Comments: We’re on book 9 and I haven’t gotten rid of anything yet, so I tried with this one…but my library has it. So, I’m not removing it from my TBR, but I will try dilligently to read it before the end of the year. If I haven’t read it by January, I will reconsider.

Verdict: Keep (for now)


The Help cover by Kathryn Stockett10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Goodreads Synopsis: In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women, mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends, view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t. 

Comments: Another classic that I eventually want to get to read.

Verdict: Keep



Ending Number of Books on TBR: 639

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Is this how it’s supposed to work? I didn’t get rid of anything this time, but at least I am reminded of what I have on my TBR! Even if the number doesn’t go down every time I do this, it is still beneficial to have a reminder of the books I mean to read…eventually. Anyways, maybe there is something on my list that you want to read, and you’re reminded about it by seeing it here on my list, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of it!

Is anyone willing to share how many books are on your TBR? Are any of these also on your list?

Until the next chapter,


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