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 25. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 868 books. Today it has 875. I have gone through 460 books.
#461. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Synopsis: Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle—yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
Comments: Did I learn nothing from reading Cloud Atlas? I’ve heard this heralded as a modern classic, and while I was studying epistemology and metaphysics in undergrad I’m sure this would have intrigued me; now, however, I don’t think I want to wade through the grit to get to what might or might not be gold.
#462. My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love by Amanda Barratt
Synopsis: Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.
Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.
Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.
With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.
Comments: Regardless of how realistic this may or may not be (and I honestly have no idea on that), this story sounds amazing. Definitely keeping it on the list.
#463. A Brother is Born by Angie Thomas
Synopsis: With a new foster kid joining Alex Carson’s family, everyone is prepared for changes. So when Benny slips into the tight-knit group with barely a ripple, the family is at once surprised and delighted.
But beneath the surface, deeper waters are stirred as Alex finds herself at odds with Jess over his jokes on the unsuspecting and gullible Benny. Will Jess’s teasing and her own insecurities separate Alex from her brother? Or can a surprising source teach them a needed lesson in love?
Comments: I remember adding this to my TBR list when it came out. Angie Thomas is an indie author who I have yet to read, but I know that several other book bloggers I follow enjoy her work. This one just doesn’t sound all that interesting anymore.
#464. Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Antsey
Synopsis: Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.
Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.
But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .
Comments: This book has potential, but not enough to stay when I’m trying to weed down my TBR list.
#465. Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Synopsis: Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
Comments: This sounds like a lovely (mostly) lighthearted summer read!
#466. Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Synopsis: For eighteen-year-old Shannon Lightley, life’s been an endless parade across Europe, following either her actress mother or her renowned journalist father. Paris, Milan, London—Shannon has been everywhere, but somewhere along the way, she realizes she’s really…nowhere.
Having graduated from high school and about to board yet another flight for yet another destination, Shannon is offered an alternative: stay in Portland, Oregon, with her parents’ close friend and help his law firm investigate a group of strangers living near the local university. A will with a substantial inheritance is being contested, and Shannon’s task is to gather information on the unlikely recipients of the money.
Using an assumed name and working as a waitress in a diner, Shannon finds herself entirely on her own for the first time in her life; and as the long summer days go by, she tries to sort out who she really is and what her future holds.
Comments: I’ve heard so many good things about this book. Eventually I want to read it, but it is not going to the very top of the list.
#467. Arms of Love by Kelly Long
Synopsis: The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.
Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish. Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.
Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.
When Adam withdraws from Lena, she’s forced to turn to his brother, Isaac, for support. Must Lena deny her heart’s desire to save Adam’s soul? And will life in this feral and primitive New World be more than this peace-keeping people can withstand?
#468. The Singing Quilt by Kathi Macias
Synopsis: Jolissa Montoya believes God is calling her to work with the disadvantaged children in her inner-city neighborhood. There’s only one problem: The children wouldn’t be able to understand her. Jolissa suffers from a speech impediment and has a thick accent because Spanish is her first language. Ridiculed through much of her youth, she is quite shy and reticent to speak. She is convinced that what God has spoken to her heart is impossible. Impossible, that is, until one day when she shares her concerns with a confidante who shows her a quilt–a quilt that depicts the life of a courageous woman. Can another woman’s courage move her to try the impossible to step out and follow God wherever He leads her? The Singing Quilt is set against the backdrop of the life of Fanny Crosby, who in addition to writing hundreds of songs was also a well-known public speaker and active in Christian rescue missions despite her disability. Readers will be inspired not to let fear or a disability prevent them from answering what they think is God’s impossible call.
Comments: This is the third book in a series, and the earlier books in the series do not appeal to me. I’m not going to jump in halfway through.
#469. Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson
Synopsis: In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
Comments: This sounds like the kind of story that I would watch as a two-hour movie, but not one that I want to invest a week or more of reading time with. Also, I think I added it while trying to find books for an Irish readathon, simply because it is located in Ireland.
#470. Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Save the World by Neil Gaiman
Synopsis: Drawn from Gaiman’s trove of published speeches, poems, and creative manifestos, Art Matters is an embodiment of this remarkable multi-media artist’s vision—an exploration of how reading, imagining, and creating can transform the world and our lives.
Art Matters bring together four of Gaiman’s most beloved writings on creativity and artistry
Comments: I do not like the things that come from Gaiman’s imagination, so why would I want to read what he has to say on the topic?
Ending number of books on TBR list: 868
Some wonderful-sounding books and some that are less intriguing to me this time around. What do you think about these titles?
Until the next chapter,