Taking another dive into my TBR list today! I have gone through so many books already, but my list is still unbearably large. Looks like there are some classics in today’s batch, as well as some children’s books and at least one that I have no idea what it is. Read on to find out more!
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 June 29th. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 686 books. Today it has 692. I have gone through 110 books.
#111. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Synopsis: Where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. There you’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.
Comments: A classic that I really do need to read. I wonder if my nephews are old enough to enjoy this?
#112. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Synopsis: Little orphan Heidi goes to live high in the Alps with her gruff grandfather and brings happiness to all who know her on the mountain. When Heidi goes to Frankfurt to work in a wealthy household, she dreams of returning to the mountains and meadows, her friend Peter, and her beloved grandfather.
Comments: This classic has been on and off of my TBR list for many years. Of course, I’ve heard wonderful things about it, which make me want to enjoy it myself. Conversely, it sounds like the kind of book which I would have loved in elementary school, but I’m not sure that I would actually enjoy it now. I would most likely appreciate it, but not necessarily enjoy. Seeing as my TBR is so long these days, I think it’s safe to remove it. It’s not like I can’t change my mind in the future!
#113. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Synopsis: “Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”
So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.
This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.
Comments: This is a book which I feel like I already know, and may have read at some point in my childhood, but I cannot pinpoint when I read it. Someday I would like to rectify that.
#114. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Synopsis: Harriet the Spy has a secret notebook that she fills with utterly honest jottings about her parents, her classmates, and her neighbors. Every day on her spy route she “observes” and notes down anything of interest to her:
I BET THAT LADY WITH THE CROSS-EYE LOOKS IN THE MIRROR AND JUST FEELS TERRIBLE.
PINKY WHITEHEAD WILL NEVER CHANGE. DOES HIS MOTHER HATE HIM? IF I HAD HIM I’D HATE HIM.
IF MARION HAWTHORNE DOESN’T WATCH OUT SHE’S GOING TO GROW UP INTO A LADY HITLER.
But when Harriet’s notebook is found by her schoolmates, their anger and retaliation and Harriet’s unexpected responses explode in a hilarious way.
Comments: Honestly, this is a title that I have long believed I want to read, but the synopsis sounds terrible. Harriet sounds like a terrible person, even if she is just a child. Why would I want to read this?
#115. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Synopsis: Scarlett O’Hara, the beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner, must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Comments: Gone With the Wind is another classic that, eventually, I hope to read. The length makes it rather intimidating though. Maybe I’ll listen to the audiobook someday during my commute, after I catch up on the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.
#116. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Synopsis: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.
Comments: I’m really not sure that this is one I will end up reading, but given its cultural and political importance, I am not ready to remove it from this list.
#117. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Synopsis: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.” His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation
Comments: There really isn’t any question about this one. It’s on my 2020 Read or Donate Shelf, and on my TBR list for 15 Books of Summer.
#118. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Synopsis: An adventure story for children, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a fun-filled book that shows life along the Mississippi River in the 1840s. Written by Mark Twain, the book shows masterfully-done satire, racism, childhood, and the importance of loyalty and courage- no matter the cost.
Comments: Oh, look, it’s another classic that I theoretically should have read by now! Again, I don’t know if will ever get to this, but given its classic status and the impact Mark Twain had on American literature, I don’t want to take it off.
#119. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerny
Synopsis: With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.
Comments: Sometimes I wonder if there is a gremlin inside of Goodreads, going around adding books to unsuspecting people’s TBR lists. I don’t remember ever even hearing about this book before, and I have no desire to read it.
#120. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Synopsis: Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
Comments: Gilead was assigned in one of my last undergrad classes, but the professor ended up cutting it. I’ve wanted to read it ever since, even though I really haven’t paid much attention to what it is about. Now, reading the synopsis, it sounds like a perfect follow-up to reading Noble’s Disruptive Witness.
Ending number of books on TBR list: 689
What’s one book on your TBR list that you are excited to read? Of the books I looked at today, I think I am most looking forward to reading Gilead.
Until the next chapter,