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 19th. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 827 books. Today it has 836. I have gone through 230 books.
I’m skipping over what ought to be the next chunk on my Goodreads list because they are all by the same author (Gene Stratton-Porter) and there is no question that I want to read them eventually. The titles I am jumping over are Michael O’Halloran, The Magic Garden, Homing with the Birds, The White Flag, The Song of the Cardinal, Morning Face, Freckles Comes Home, and Music of the Wild.
#231. The Café by the Sea (Mure #1) by Jenny Colgan
Synopsis: Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.
But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and finds herself restoring a dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.
But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…
Comments: If there weren’t more compelling books on my list, I’m sure this would be a fine read. The setting sounds lovely, and the characters interesting. The plot just doesn’t sound amazing to me.
#232. The Bridge by Jill Cox
Synopsis: Meredith Sullivan has three goals:
Win the Beckett Scholarship to study abroad.
Move to Paris for a year.
Leave boy-next-door Drew Sutton (and her ridiculous heart) behind.
There’s only one problem: Pete Russell. Yes, he speaks French like a native, but he’s boorish and snarky with a penchant for unflattering nicknames. So when Pete shows up on her flight to Paris, Meredith starts to wonder if that scholarship covers a year in Antarctica instead.
But as the autumn leaves begin to fall in the City of Light, Meredith learns a thousand things about Pete she never knew. And to her surprise, she’s suddenly torn between the future she’d always imagined with Drew and a new path with the kindred spirit she never saw coming. Because sometimes, what you don’t know about a person has already changed your life.
Comments: I probably would have enjoyed this in my late teens. Paris is one of my favorite settings for a book, after all. Pete sounds terrible though, and I don’t want to meet him.
#233. The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody
Synopsis: After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?
Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.
He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.
And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.
Comments: I would love to see the Firebird from this book, but I’m not down for the ex-boyfriend’s plan.
#234. The Quilted Heart Omnibus by Mona Hodgson
Synopsis: Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace?
Comments: Sounds like it could be interesting, and I don’t think Missouri is one of the most common settings for something like this.
#235. The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Treasures of the Nile #1) by Mesu Andrews
Synopsis: Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.
When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.
As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?
Comments: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mesu Andrews and her books, but I have yet to read them for myself. Perhaps this would be a good place to start?
#236. Yes! On Demand: How to Create Winning, Customized Library Service by Kathy L. Middleton
Synopsis: When it comes to delivering the quality, personalized service your patrons expect, the staff is the most important resource in the library. It only follows then, that by empowering staff, breaking and fixing rules, cultivating creativity, and focusing on results, your library can meet and exceed patron expectations. To help you accomplish that and more, this book presents the “yes” model for customer service and explains how to use the model to build morale and grow a loyal, engaged, and highly satisfied community.
The book shows how techniques borrowed from successful retail models can be applied to every part of library service–from reference, circulation, and technology services to children’s and adult services. Beginning chapters describe the role of staff in transforming a culture of “no” into one of “yes.” Next are explanations of tools administrators can use to support changes that will lead to a more contented customer base. Finally, the book addresses how to eliminate “no” through personalized service and by defining and tearing down obstacles that often block use of library products and services. This approach not only will make for happier patrons but will build staff morale, foster support, and ensure that your library remains relevant for years to come
Comments: This book was recommended to me a few years ago by the leader of a workshop I attended. I think that my library had a copy at the time, but it was withdrawn before I got around to reading it. Now the only way I can find a physical copy is online, for around $50, which I am not about to spend. I’m sure the information is still good, but this is one that just wasn’t meant to be.
#237. At the Christmas Lodge (Christmas Collection) by Rebekah Morris
Synopsis: When Desirae Richey agrees to go home with some college friends for Christmas, she expects a small family gathering. Instead she is taken to the Christmas Lodge in the snowy mountains of Canada to a noisy, fun loving, adventurous group of family and friends who welcome her as one of their own. Everything seems to be going as planned until an unexpected snowfall occurs.
Comments: I love this author’s short stories! They’re always fairly light and quick, easy reads. This is here to stay.
#238. Home Fires of the Great War by Rebekah Morris
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Maria Mitchell, known to all as Ria, and her friend Lydia have been assigned to write a report on a hero or heroine of the Great War (World War I) for a school project. Instead of picking some well known figure, the two friends decide to search for someone forgotten or unknown. When asked to help, Emma Mitchell, Ria’s Mom, brings out old letters she and a cousin wrote during the war. The girls are sure the letters hold the key to their success of finding a forgotten hero! But will they? It that all that these letters bring to light? Join Ria and Lydia, Mrs. Mitchell, an old neighbor called Corporal, and others as they re-live the years of home life during the war.
Comments: While I just said that I love this author’s short stories, I’m not sure I could hang with the simplicity for a full-length novel, especially when the reviews mention that it is a slower pace than some. It could be a wonderful book, but the synopsis feels a bit juvenile; perhaps I would enjoy reading it to determine whether it is appropriate for a child in my life, but I don’t think it would be enough on its own for my current tastes.
#239. Corner Booth by Chautona Havig
Synopsis: A rushed lunch and a bold move “introduces” Carlie to a stranger–one who hardly acknowledges her existence as he sits across from her, sharing his booth to save her a wait in a long line.
What began as a random encounter becomes a weekly date in which Carlie chatters about her life to a silent lunchmate. Much about him interests her–his slightly Euro fashion sense, his commitment to the work he does as he eats his lunch week after week, and his evident attention to the running monologue she shares between bites of meals that he inevitably pays for.
Dean gets to know the woman across from him–looks forward to their lunches each week, learns valuable lessons about himself–but when the café is threatened, and then when she doesn’t show up one day, he suspects their unusual “friendship” means more to him than he imagined.
Comments: Ugh, this sounds way too sappy for me.
#240. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Synopsis: Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.
The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.
Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.
Comments: This does sound interesting, but it’s the kind of interesting that I might watch a 2-hour PBS special about, not the kind of interesting where I want to read a 400-page book about it.
Ending number of books on TBR list: 829
What do you think, Reader? Would you have made the same decisions that I did, or would you have kept or ditched different titles?
Until the next chapter,