Tackling the TBR 22.16

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!reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

The last time I did this type of post was September 5, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 834 books. Today it has 839. I have gone through 560 books.

#561. Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies

Miracle on 34th StreetSynopsis: Generations of believers in hope and goodwill have made Valentine Davies’ Miracle on 34th Street a treasured part of their holiday traditions. Millions of copies of this award-winning story have sold since its first publication in 1947, delighting readers of all ages. A facsimile edition of the book is now faithfully re-created, offering a new generation–and fans of the original–the beauty of the classic 1940s design. Details of how the book came to be written, and made into a beloved film, are included in a brief historical note.

Comments: My mom loves this movie; we watch it almost every year, and I enjoy it quite a bit myself. I don’t think I have ever read the book that the movie is based on, but it would definitely sounds like a fun one!

Decision: Keep

#562. The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

The Library of Ever (The Library of Ever, #1)Synopsis: With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored—until she discovers a secret doorway in the library and becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.

In her new job, Lenora finds herself helping future civilizations figure out the date, relocates lost penguins, uncovers the city with the longest name on Earth, and more in a quest to help patrons. But there are sinister forces at work that want to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.

Comments: I wish I would discover a secret doorway in my library.

Decision: Keep

#563. Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel

Allegra in Three PartsSynopsis: Eleven-year-old Allegra shuttles between her grandmothers who live next door to one another but couldn’t be more different. Matilde works all hours and instils discipline, duty and restraint. She insists that Allegra focus on her studies to become a doctor.

Meanwhile free-spirited Joy is full of color, possibility and emotion, storing all her tears in little glass bottles. She is riding the second wave of the women’s movement in the company of her penny tortoise, Simone de Beauvoir, encouraging Ally to explore broad horizons and live her ‘true essence’.

And then there’s Rick who lives in a flat out the back and finds distraction in gambling and solace in surfing. He’s trying to be a good father to Al Pal, while grieving the woman who links them all but whose absence tears them apart.

Comments: This is probably a good and heart-rending book. I just don’t think that I am the target audience or that I would particularly enjoy it. I would read it if there were a distinct reason (like for a challenge or if someone directly asked my opinion on it), but not simply for pleasure.

Decision: Remove

Wind Chimes: Christmas Story Collection#564.  Wind Chimes: A Christmas Story Collection by Victoria Minks

Synopsis: Christmas is a day of forgiveness, love, God, and family, no matter where you live or when you lived. These stories will take you somewhere long ago, and yet much like today.

With a touch of humor and a family-loving gentleness, these stories carry all the hope of Christmas.

Comments: I had completely forgotten about this book and the author, to be honest. I don’t think it is likely I will ever read it.

Decision: Remove

#565. 142 Ostriches by April Davila

142 OstrichesSynopsis: When Tallulah Jones was thirteen, her grandmother plucked her from the dank Oakland apartment she shared with her unreliable mom and brought her to the family ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. After eleven years caring for the curious, graceful birds, Tallulah accepts a job in Montana and prepares to leave home. But when Grandma Helen dies under strange circumstances, Tallulah inherits everything—just days before the birds inexplicably stop laying eggs.

Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property, and deeply rooted dysfunction, threaten Tallulah’s ambitions and eventually her life. With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the fifty-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother’s death, her mother’s alcoholism, her uncle’s covetous anger, and the 142 ostriches whose lives are in her hands. 

Comments: This definitely sounds like nothing I have ever read before. I’m intrigued, but also cautious that it may be a bit darker than what I prefer. Also, the cover is really fun.

Decision: Keep

#566. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and LoveSynopsis: Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the “whole diet”—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

Comments: There is a definite part of me that still hopes to end up on a farm (at least a hobby farm, if not a full-scale community feeding operation) someday. I don’t know if it’s a realistic hope, but it’s there. This book sounds very enjoyable in light of that. However, my library doesn’t own it. I’ll keep it on the list for now, but not indefinitely.

Decision: Keep

#567. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

The Giver of StarsSynopsis: Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Comments: I heard about this book around the same time that I read the Librarians of Willow Creek series (which I enjoyed and reviewed most of – A Strand of Hope, I Love to Tell the Story, and Hearts on Lonely Mountain) and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (which I rated highly due to its quality despite not enjoying it – you can read my review here). At that point I was intrigued by the topic of the Pack Horse Librarians but also a little burned out from reading so much about them. Eventually I will likely come back to read this book.

Decision: Keep

#568. The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The Enchanted SonataSynopsis: Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.

Comments: I would read this book if my library had a copy, but as they do not, it’s not one that I will go out of my way to find.

Decision: Remove

#569. Oliver: The Cat Who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton

Oliver: The Cat Who Saved ChristmasSynopsis: Oliver the cat is a timid little thing, and rarely ventures from his home in the Foresters’ arms.

Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub kitchen and he is left homeless and afraid. But, with the kindness of the humans around him, he soon learns to trust again. And, in his own special way, he helps to heal those around him.

However, it isn’t until he meets a little girl in desperate need of a friend that he realizes this village needs a Christmas miracle…

Comments: I’ve heard good things about this book, but it sounds heartbreaking, and I don’t think I want to put myself through reading that.

Decision: Remove

#570. When You Were Mine by Alessa Martel

When You Were MineSynopsis: Michael and I used to be inseparable, but a summer party after high school graduation brought our relationship to a painful stop. I avoided spending winter break from my freshman year in college back in my small town, but summer is closing in, looming like a dark cloud on the horizon. Returning home means facing Michael and the ruins of our relationship, but my fearful heart still aches over the future I always assumed we would share.

When my younger sister reveals that Michael is rumored to be engaged, I realize that I’m not ready to give him up.

Comments: I’m a fan of this author (a mother-daughter duo using a pen name), but the synopsis of this book just sounds too juvenile.

Decision: Remove

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 834

What a great group of books this week! Have you read any of them? Have any thoughts you would like to share?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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