Good morning, Readers! I hope you’re having a good week. My week has brought a few interesting things, although they are largely mundane and might sound kind of silly. For example, I used my crock pot for the first time this week! This was a housewarming gift from my sister, and one that I am very excited to use often. I checked out a large stack of cookbooks from the library, many which contain crock pot recipes, and on Monday made a recipe from one called Clean Eating Freezer Meals. The sweet and spicy scent filled the room when I got home, and it was wonderful to have dinner ready and waiting! I hope to start making meals like this at least once a week, since I can make relatively large dishes with little effort and store the leftovers to eat later in the week.
In today’s Tackling the TBR post, we reach #100 of my TBR list! This is an interesting milestone – 100 is a pretty large amount of books to think about, but not anywhere near the total!
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!
The last time I did this type of post was May 18th. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 681 books. Today it has 687. I have gone through 90 books.
#91. Paper Towns by John Green
Synopsis: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
Comments: I added this book to my list when I first realized just how obsessed with John Green the YA world is (was?). Despite that, and to my slight surprise, the synopsis does sound promising, so I’m going to keep it here!
#92. Blind by Rachel DeWoskin
Synopsis: When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she’s about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why – in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.
Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma’s darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin’s brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the listener into the life and experience of another.
Comments: This one made its way onto my list after I read and enjoyed another book about a teen who loses her eyesight (Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings). Blind sounds a bit too gritty for my current taste.
#93. Faulkner and the Great Depression: Aesthetics, Ideology, and Cultural Politics by Ted Atkinson
Synopsis: Faulkner is no proletarian writer, says Atkinson. However, the dearth of overt references to the Depression in his work is not a sign that Faulkner was out of touch with the times or consumed with aesthetics to the point of ignoring social reality. Through his comprehensive social vision and his connections to the rural South, Hollywood, and New York, Faulkner offers readers remarkable new insight into Depression concerns.
Comments: Faulkner is one of my favorite authors I was introduced to in college. For a while, I wanted to dive into significant research about his writing and philosophy, but that time has passed. I would still like to learn more about Faulkner, but I think I would need to work back into this level of study.
#94. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
Synopsis: After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.
A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.
Comments: The beginning of this synopsis had me thinking “Nope! Not for me!” but I got drawn in as I read more. The mystery could be really interesting. I just double checked whether my library has a copy, and there is one in the system, so I think I will keep this one on my list for now.
#95. Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
Synopsis: Italicized. Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.
Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again.
Comments: I love the unique angle of a character with a passion for furniture and a furniture story, but I don’t think this is a story that I would enjoy.
#96. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Synopsis: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Comments: Well, of course I eventually need to read To Kill a Mockingbird!
#97. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Synopsis: The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
Comments: We’ve already mentioned that I like Faulkner’s books, and this is a classic that I have heard a lot about.
#98. Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling
Synopsis: A 1988 play about a group of women in Chinquapin, Louisiana, who learn to draw upon their underlying strength and love to meet the challenges of life.
Comments: For some reason none of the versions I looked at on Goodreads have a real synopsis. But, I know the only reason I added this is because I knew people in high school who really like the play. Since I don’t have any more information than this and haven’t heard about it since then (that I can remember now), it isn’t worth keeping.
#99. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Synopsis: The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.
Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.
Comments: This is a rare example from my life of “I saw the movie, but I haven’t read the book.” Because I have seen the movie, I know the ending – and the lessons and whatnot that may come from the story are not worth going through what I know about the ending.
#100. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Synopsis: Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a young Jewish girl with a turbulent home life, one boy in particular becomes an unlikely friend. Anton relates to Patty in ways that her mother and father never can. But when their forbidden relationship is discovered, will Patty risk her family and town for the understanding and love of one boy?
Comments: I don’t know what to say about this one, except that I don’t remember adding it and it doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy.
Ending number of books on TBR list: 681
At least I broke even with my last Tackling the TBR post!
What are you looking forward to this week, readers?
Until the next chapter,