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!
The last time I did this type of post was April 27th. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 686 books. Today it has 683 (yes, it finally actually went down!). I have gone through 80 TBR list books.
#81. Stars in the Night by Cara C. Putman
Synopsis: Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer’s sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her but instead must identify her body. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister. Could the killer be the man with whom she’s falling in love?
Comments: This author comes to me highly recommended, and I have enjoyed the few short stories I have read by her. This synopsis doesn’t grab my attention though – murder mysteries really are not my cup of tea.
#82. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
Comments: This classic has been very popular for several years now, and I don’t anticipate the popularity waning anytime soon. However, the more I hear about it, the less I think I would enjoy or even get anything valuable from this book.
#83. Island by Aldous Huxley
Synopsis: In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn’t expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and—to his amazement—give him hope.
Comments: This sounds like a classic I would enjoy! After reading Brave New World, I immediately put Island on my TBR list, but I haven’t thought about it in years. This is a nice surprise to find now.
#84. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Synopsis: Published in 1936, Absalom, Absalom! is considered by many to be William Faulkner’s masterpiece. Although the novel’s complex and fragmented structure poses considerable difficulty to readers, the book’s literary merits place it squarely in the ranks of America’s finest novels. The story concerns Thomas Sutpen, a poor man who finds wealth and then marries into a respectable family. His ambition and extreme need for control bring about his ruin and the ruin of his family. Sutpen’s story is told by several narrators, allowing the reader to observe variations in the saga as it is recounted by different speakers. This unusual technique spotlights one of the novel’s central questions: To what extent can people know the truth about the past?
Comments: I am that nerd who really enjoys Faulkner, even if I don’t always understand everything he is trying to do in/with his books. I tried to read Absalom, Absalom! one summer a few years ago, but it was too confusing and I ended up giving up. That was before I completed my English degree, and I think I probably would have better luck with reading it now. I also expect that it will take a lot of focus and brainpower.
#85. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Synopsis: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Comments: I have been intrigued by this synopsis since the first time I read it, but obviously not enough to actually pick up the book. This is something that I might want to read “someday,” but I really am not concerned if that someday never ends up coming. Given the size of my TBR, I think it’s best to cut this one loose. If I’m meant to read it, it will come up again at the right time.
#86. Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul
Synopsis: Many people react negatively to the word theology, believing that it involves dry, fruitless arguments about minute points of doctrine. Yet as Dr. R.C. Sproul argues, everyone is a theologian. Any time we think about a teaching of the Bible and strive to understand it, we are engaging in theology. Therefore, it is important that we put the Bible’s varied teachings together in a systematic fashion, using proper, time-tested methods of interpretation so as to arrive at a theology that is founded on truth.
That is precisely what Dr. Sproul does in Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. This book is anything but a dry discussion of minute points of doctrine. Dr. Sproul, demonstrating his trademark ability to make complex subjects easy to understand, surveys the basic truths of the Christian faith, reminding us once more of what God is like and of what He has done for His people in this world and the next.
Comments: I don’t remember exactly how many times I have started to read this book, but it is several. I simply do not enjoy the author and his writing style at all. I agree with the vast majority of the points made (although not all of them), but they are presented with arrogance, assertiveness, and antagonism. Still, I received a copy as a gift, so I cannot remove this from my list yet.
#87. Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David A. Livermore
Synopsis: More than one million people participate in short-term mission projects outside of North America every year — and millions more are involved in domestic cross-cultural missions right here at home. This is encouraging news. But the work is not done. There are weaknesses in our approach and practice. And these volunteers need resources to help them prepare for effective cross-cultural engagement. Serving with Eyes Wide Open helps Christians understand the changing face of Christianity and how that affects short-term missions. In three parts, author David A. Livermore will take a broad look at what the twenty-first-century church is doing on the mission field, the assumptions people make about Christianity, and what it takes to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts. Perfect for all who engage in short-term missions trips–either at home or abroad–Serving with Eyes Wide Open will equip readers to serve more sensitively.
Comments: This is another that I received while interning with the North American Mission Board a few years ago. It would have been interesting (and hopefully useful!) then, but at the time I was too busy to read it. I would hate to get rid of it without reading it, though.
#88. Sources of Light by Margaret McMullen
Synopsis: It’s 1962, a year after the death of Sam’s father — he was a war hero — and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father’s conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don’t quite fit in.
People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother’s artist friend, Perry, are in the South to “agitate” and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue — sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists — Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light.
Comments: I don’t remember this book, but it sounds good! I haven’t read anything from Mississippi yet this year.
#89. When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3) by Sarah Sundin
Synopsis: Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy’s newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.
Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.
But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?
Comments: A book by Sarah Sundin that I haven’t read (and isn’t brand new)? This will need to be remedied soon! I didn’t realize I hadn’t finished this trilogy.
#90. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Synopsis: In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.
Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.
Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost.
Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?
Comments: I definitely added this book without reading the synopsis because I mostly enjoyed the Divergent trilogy. It’s not at all the kind of thing I enjoy reading now.
Ending number of books on my TBR list: 681
Have a wonderful week, Readers!
Until the next chapter,