Tackling the TBR #15 // November 16, 2020

Happy Monday! This promises to be a very busy week, with some activities that would usually happen next week pushed into this one in order to make room for Thanksgiving. I’m sure that four-day weekend will be worth it, though!

Today I’m taking another look through my TBR list. There are some interesting titles in this week’s section which I had forgotten about, and now am again looking forward to reading!

As a side note, sorry to anyone who may have seen a previous unfinished version of this post – I hit publish just a bit too soon!

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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 type of post was September 28. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 728 books. Today it has 749. I have gone through 140 books.

On the Road#141.  On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Synopsis: A quintessential novel of America & the Beat Generation: On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” & “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge & experience. Kerouac’s love of America, compassion for humanity & sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance. This classic novel of freedom & longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” & has inspired every generation since its initial publication.

Comments: Every so often this book sees a peak in popularity, and I think that I should read it to know what everyone is talking about. Someday, I think I will. For now, it sounds too much like Into the Wild, which is stifling my motivation.

Decision: Keep (tentatively)

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected#142.  The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken

Synopsis: How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?

The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.

Comments: Sadly, I’ve read a significant amount of criticism of this author, for example calling into question the veracity of a lot of the situations he describes. Since I have no way of verifying either side of this dispute, and because of the theological implications of some of the more detailed criticism I’ve read, I think it best to skip this one.

Decision: Remove (sadly)

Autumn (Seasonal, #1)#143.  Autumn (Seasonal #1) by Ali Smith

Synopsis: Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.

Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever . . .

Comments: I think I added this because the author is a blogger who I once crossed (digital) paths with, but I am not completely sure. It doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, though.

Decision: Remove

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1)#144.  Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1) by Kristin Hannah

Synopsis: In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate.  Inseparable.

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Laneis a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

Comments: Honestly, Firefly Lane is on my TBR list because sometimes I really do judge a book by its cover, and Kristin Hannah’s covers are always so beautiful and peaceful. The story sounds good too, in a rather middle-of-the-road, probably won’t require much attention sort of way. It sounds like one to save for when I need something simple and heartwarming to read.

Decision: Keep

Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart#145.  Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart by William Alexander

Synopsis: William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. There’s one small obstacle though: he doesn’t speak la langue française. In Flirting with French, Alexander sets out to conquer the language he loves. But will it love him back?

Does he succeed in becoming fluent? Readers will be as surprised as Alexander is to discover that, in a fascinating twist, studying French may have had a far greater impact on his life than actually learning to speak it ever would.

Comments: As someone who studied French for four semesters and still enjoys using Duolino, when I saw this book recommended by another blogger I immediately added it to my TBR. Unfortunately, as I’ve read a little more about it, I don’t think this is one that I would enjoy.

Decision: Remove

Perelandra (The Space Trilogy, #2)#146.  Perelandra (Space Trilogy #2) by C.S. Lewis

Synopsis: Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom. Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on a new planet: Perelandra when it is invaded by a dark force. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order and who must destroy an old and beautiful civilization to do so? Or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man? The outcome of Dr. Ransom’s mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet.

Comments: As strange as it seems, I am dedicated to completing this trilogy. There is no question about this one.

Decision: Keep

The Lost Crown#147.  The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

Synopsis: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand–first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together–sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht. But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia.

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined.

At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naïve and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of Imperial Russia. Impeccably researched and utterly fascinating, this novel by acclaimed author Sarah Miller recounts the final days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism and true compassion.

Comments: While I’ve never taken the time to do any serious research on the subject, I always enjoy reading stories about Anastasia and this era. My library system has one copy, so I should probably read this sooner rather than later.

Decision: Keep

I've Loved These Days (Abigail Phelps, #1)#148.  I’ve Loved These Days (Abigail Phelps #1) by Bethany Turner

Synopsis: “The very first time you met me you knew that he would never be the same again, didn’t you? For the record, I was never the same again either. And while times have changed and opportunities have been lost, I still know in my heart of hearts that I never will be. But we can’t go back, and we can’t undo. What’s more, I don’t really want to. While my life is not perfect, it is uniquely, ridiculously mine, and I would not trade it.”

Abigail Phelps has written her memoirs, but the world has never heard of her. So why should anyone care? Perhaps no one would, if the letter in which Abigail reflects on changing times and lost opportunities weren’t addressed to Jacqueline Onassis, and the man who would never be the same weren’t John F. Kennedy Jr.

Put aside all you think you know and jump into the greatest love story the world has never known.

Comments: I literally only added this book because it has ice skates on the cover. There are not enough good books about skating and skaters.

Decision: Remove

Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)#149.  Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Synopsis: The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Comments: I have no idea where this one came from, or why I would have thought it is something I want to read. Dark fantasy is so not my thing.

Decision: Remove

Wishtree#150.  Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Synopsis: Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

Comments: The children’s librarian at a library I used to work at used this book to create beautiful children’s programs. It’s not a high priority read for me, but eventually I would like to check it out.

Decision: Keep

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Ending number of books on TBR list: 744

Have you read any of these books? If you keep a list of books you want to read, how do you organize it?

Until the next chapter,


5 thoughts on “Tackling the TBR #15 // November 16, 2020

Add yours

  1. I’ve read On the Road- I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. Very evocative of 1950s America and the changing values and tastes- yes I would keep it in a TBR list. My tbr list is a mess- several random pages in various notebooks- but I am tackling it, one of the few benefits of lockdown has been no charge for reserving books at the library and being able to keep them for longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is awesome to hear that your library is adapting! My tbr was chaotic for years, but now that I use Goodreads it’s relatively manageable. Thanks for sharing your take of On the Road!


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