Sifting Through the TBR List #2

My TBR is currently sitting at 663 books. On October 15, when I did my initial TBR list post, I ended at 639. On their own 25 books may not sound like too many, but I have got to curb just how many books I add to my list! I would like to get it down around 500 in the next few months, but it isn’t easy when I work in the library and see new and new-to-me books all day, every day! I’m going to try, though.

This is my second time doing this type of post, so I’m starting at #11 on my To-Read List as organized by Goodreads, based on the date that I added the books to the list. I’m looking at every book individually, considering why I originally put it on the list, and evaluating whether I still want to read it and realistically see it happening. Hopefully this time I will actually get rid of something!

Starting with: 664 books

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11. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Synopsis: Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and—finally—a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too

Comments: I fell in love with Jennifer E. Smith’s writing while in college, when I read This is What Happy Looks Like. After finishing that book, I instantly added all of her other books to my to-read list. I think I have read most of them by now, but I no longer add her new books to my list without a thought. I still enjoy the writing, but I recognize that her stories are always relatively shallow. They’re fun and lighthearted and hopeful, but they are nowhere near realistic, and the writing itself is incredibly simple. There is nothing wrong with any of this, but my taste has changed a bit over the years. I still enjoy this kind of book from time to time, but not very often.

Verdict: Remove…at least for now


12. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Synopsis: A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

Comments: This is a modern classic that I added when I was optimistic about reading and loving every English classic in existence. I checked it out from the library once, but I really don’t remember anything about it, and I know I didn’t get very far into it. I’ve heard great things about it, but I don’t feel like I really know anything about it except that it is about the wife of a man who time travels. I’m sure that this one will come around again if I’m meant to read it.

Verdict:  Remove


13. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Synopsis: Shakespeare’s intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start–Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia’s father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon’s head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke’s wedding (one of whom is given a donkey’s head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.

Comments: It’s Shakespeare, is that enough explanation?

Verdict: Keep


14. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Synopsis: California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go. A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

Comments: There used to be so much hype about Francine Rivers and Redeeming Love. I’ve known for an incredibly long time that this is the Biblical story of Hosea retold, but I am not sure if I ever actually read the synopsis before today. I like historical fiction, and I like stories that are rooted in the Bible, but I’m not sure that I am ready for how dark Redeeming Love sounds. Maybe someday I’ll get around to this one, but not yet.

Verdict: Remove


15. Don Quixote by Michael Cervantes

Synopsis: Widely regarded as the world’s first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. 

Comments: This is a classic, but even if it were not, it sounds funny and interesting to me! I actually really want to read this relatively soon.

Verdict: Keep


16. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Synopsis: Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicolas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kelp beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.

Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.

More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.

Comments: Again, a classic. This is actually one that my sister owned for a while; I think she had to read it for a class. Apparently I never had that class though, as I never read it. I probably added it to my list while I was in my Pocahontas phase. I’m sure it could be interesting, but given how many other books I plan to read, I think I can let The Island of the Blue Dolphins take a back seat for a while.

Verdict: Remove


17. A Dream for Tomorrow (Homeward on the Oregon Trail #2) by Melody Carlson

Synopsis: Elizabeth Martin and her two children have made it through the easy part of their journey, but now their wagon train faces high mountain passes, dangerous river crossings, and decreasing supplies. Desperate circumstances bring out the best and worst of the travelers, including Will Bramford, the wealthy widower who is pursuing Elizabeth, and Eli Kincade, the independent and solitary guide who has stolen Elizabeth’s heart.

As the group reaches the Oregon Country, the emigrants part ways to find their new homes. Elizabeth and Will and their families have made arrangements to board a ship that will take them south along the coast. Will Eli change his plans and accompany Elizabeth to her new and permanent home? Or will his mysterious past continue to keep them from love?

Comments: Did I ever finish reading the first book in this series? I remember checking it out and starting it, but I thought I turned it back in without finishing it…so what is book #2 doing on my TBR list? I honestly don’t know.

Verdict: Remove


18. The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

Synopsis: After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother’s instructions don’t allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends–plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison’s job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay.
Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

Comments: I’ve loved Melody Carlson’s books for a long time. I checked out The Christmas Cat a few years ago in December, but I wasn’t very disciplined with my reading at that point, plus I was working on my degree, so I returned it to the library only about half read. Maybe I should try again this December?

Verdict: Keep


19. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur Clarke

Synopsis: On the Moon, an enigma is uncovered.

So great are the implications of this discovery that for the first time men are sent out deep into our solar system.

But long before their destination is reached, things begin to go horribly, inexplicably wrong…

One of the greatest-selling science fiction novels of our time, this classic book will grip you to the very end. 

Comments: I might not always like science fiction but I will always be drawn to stories about space. Somewhere deep inside this consummate English major there is an astronomy nerd who just barely peeks out once in a while. Also, this still counts as a classic, and sounds interesting.

Verdict: Keep


20. These Happy Golden Years (Little House #8) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

Comments: Now that I think about it, I can’t believe that I never finished this series! I’ll have to intentionally work on that (At some point…probably not in the very near future). I think that either my parents or sister still have this series, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get when I finally get to it.

Verdict: Keep

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Ending With: 659 books

Moving in the right direction this time! Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree, or disagree with my choices?


Until the next chapter,


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