Tackling the TBR #4

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and then it didn’t end up fitting in my posting schedule at the time. Now that I have a place for it, the numbers don’t exactly line up anymore. However, they were accurate when I wrote this post, and I intend to write another edition soon, so I am not going to alter anything. Without further ado, here is the fourth installment of my Tackling the TBR project.

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Explanation: It has become apparent that my TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I have decided to do a post featuring ten books from it approximately every other week. As I go through the list, I will evaluate each book and decide whether or not it still belongs. Who knows, perhaps as my list (hopefully) shrinks, you will find a few books to add to your own! filligree page divider

The last time I did this kind of post was December 11. At the end of that round, my TBR sat at 658 books.

I am starting this round with 665 books. Today’s starting point is #31, organized by the date the books were added to the list.

31. Clues in the Shadows: A Molly Mystery by Kathleen Ernst

Synopsis: Molly still does her her patriotic duty to help America win World War Two, but in the spring of 1945 she’s weary and troubled. Dad is home safe . . . but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap she’s collecting for the latest wartime drive. Who is the intruder: Ronnie, her own brother Ricky–or a prowler she spied in the night?

Comments: The Molly American Girl books were my absolute favorites while I was in elementary school. I added this one out of nostalgia, but I don’t think I am going to get to it in the near future. If I ever work with young children again, I’m pretty sure I’ll remember this book without it staying on my official list.

Decision: Remove

32. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly’s astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

Comments I only vaguely remember seeing this book before, and I have a feeling the pretty cover had as much to do with my adding it as the content. It does sound like the kind of thing I might’ve been into at one point, but not so much anymore. There are plenty of other books that I really want to read, so this one is leaving the list

Decision: Remove

33. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Synopsis: I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

Comments: I definitely still want to read this one.

Decision: Keep

34. Lady of the Limberlost: The Life & Letters of Gene Stratton-Porter

No synopsis given on Goodreads.

Comments: This is a book that I own, thanks a hundred times over to my Grandmother. I started reading it a few years ago, but had to put it down when school picked up. Someday I need to get back to it.

Decision: Keep

35. Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Synopsis: Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

Comments: Definitely the kind of thing I would have gone for in high school (nice, lonely girl finds quirky friends and does something important, probably while falling easily in love). It’s not something I still want to read, though.

Decision: Remove

36. The Day of Doom by Michael Wigglesworth

Synopsis: Religious poem describing the Day of Judgment, on which a vengeful God judges and sentences all men.

Comments: I know I read this as an undergrad. I can even tell you which professor I read it under. I cannot, however, tell you hardly anything about the poem.

Decision: Remove from this list and add “read” date

37. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis: Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque’s job is finding them for the retail market. But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her. Along the way he’s drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue – a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he’s ever seen, ads for products that don’t exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.

Comments: This sounded so edgy and fun when I first heard of it. Unfortunately, that was quite a few years ago – and definitely when I was in a different mindset. Now, it sounds too busy for my taste.

Decision: Remove

38. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis: Darcy Patel is afraid to believe all the hype. But it’s really happening – her teen novel is getting published. Instead of heading to college, she’s living in New York City, where she’s welcomed into the dazzling world of YA publishing. That means book tours, parties with her favorite authors, and finding a place to live that won’t leave her penniless. It means sleepless nights rewriting her first draft and struggling to find the perfect ending… all while dealing with the intoxicating, terrifying experience of falling in love – with another writer.

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, the thrilling story of Lizzie, who wills her way into the afterworld to survive a deadly terrorist attack. With survival comes the responsibility to guide the restless spirits that walk our world, including one ghost with whom she shares a surprising personal connection. But Lizzie’s not alone in her new calling – she has counsel from a fellow spirit guide, a very desirable one, who is torn between wanting Lizzie and warning her that…


In a brilliant high-wire act of weaving two epic narratives – and two unforgettable heroines – into one novel, Scott Westerfeld’s latest work is a triumph of storytelling.

Comments: Again, Afterworlds is totally something I would have eaten up as a high schooler. Now, I’m not so sure. Darcy’s story sounds fun, but without much depth if it needs another story woven into it. And Lizzie’s story is a genre that I know I wouldn’t enjoy, so, as much as I love Westerfeld’s writing, I don’t think this book and I are a good fit for one another.

Decision: Remove

39. The World Between Two Covers by Ann Morgan

Synopsis: A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author’s year-long journey through a book from every country.

Following an impulse to read more internationally, journalist Ann Morgan undertook first to define “the world” and then to find a story from each of 196 nations. Tireless in her quest and assisted by generous, far-flung strangers, Morgan discovered not only a treasury of world literature but also the keys to unlock it. Whether considering the difficulties faced by writers in developing nations, movingly illustrated by Burundian Marie-Thérese Toyi’s Weep Not, Refugee; tracing the use of local myths in the fantastically successful Samoan YA series Telesa; delving into questions of censorship and propaganda while sourcing a title from North Korea; or simply getting hold of The Corsair, the first Qatari novel to be translated into English, Morgan illuminates with wit, warmth, and insight how stories are written the world over and how place – geographical, historical, virtual – shapes the books we read and write.

Comments: I’m not sure which came first: my desire to read this book, or my following Ann Morgan’s blog. Either way, the idea of this book made me look more closely at my own reading habits and really think about how I choose the books I read. Eventually, I hope to read The World Between Two Covers. I don’t think it will be very soon, but I’m going to keep it on my list to remind me.

Decision: Keep

40. Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life by Nancy Sleeth

Synopsis: Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside.

It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. Building on the basic principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth shows readers how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and getting back to basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives that result in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God.

Comments: This book may have been my first foray into Minimalism. I picked up the book on a whim while on a break from school, but I also picked up several other books at the same time, and eventually this one got returned to the library unfinished. I’ve always wanted to go back to it and reread it, but so far I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m not ready to give up on “someday” yet.

Decision: Keep


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Ending number of books on TBR: 659

I intended for my list to shrink more quickly than it is, but at least I am going through and keeping it accurate! I have come across so many more books that sound good recently, that I can’t help adding more to my list!

Have you read any of these books? Care to argue against my decisions to keep or remove any particular book?


Until the next chapter,


3 thoughts on “Tackling the TBR #4

Add yours

    1. Oh no, I don’t own all of them! I own very few, actually. This is just from a list I keep of everything that I want to read! I can’t imagine actually owning 600+ unread books!


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