Down the TBR Hole: which books should I read?

I’ve seen this meme going around (started by Lost in a Story) as a way to edit a growing to-be-read list.  You take your Goodreads TBR list, sort by ascending date added, and look at the oldest 5-10 items on your list.  If I haven’t read them by now, am I likely to? Why or why not?

I was surprised to see that I started my Goodreads TBR list in 2011 – I thought it was much older!  There are 86 books on the list, which doesn’t seem like that much.  But that’s because I put my TBR’s in lots of places: my library wait list, my Amazon shopping list, and occasionally my physical bookshelves.  The Goodreads list represents books I want to remember to read, but I can wait until I see a sale or it comes in at the library.

The first items on my list are classics, so they are stayingLes Miserables, Bleak House, and Anna Karenina.  Sure, I haven’t gotten to these yet, but I’m making slow and steady progress on my Classics Club list, and these all seem worthwhile. 

The next few on my list are series books, and if I haven’t gone back to a series by now, it’s probably time to cut it loose.  One of those is The Magician King by Lev Grossman, which is the book that comes after The Magicians.  A lot of people loved The Magicians, but I was kind of meh.  So this one goes. 

Another series book is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  I feel like I should go back to this one, since everyone loves his books so much.  I liked The Name of the Wind, but I’m not sure epic fantasy is really my thing, and it’s been a while.  I’m undecided so it stays.

Next, The World According to Bertie, Book #4 in the 44 Scotland Street series.  You know how much I love all things Scottish.  This is a light, funny series with interesting characters, particularly precocious child Bertie.  Why did I stop reading?  I guess I tend to get bored with most series after a while, and funny light reads don’t really get me going.  Probably it wore thin after a while.  So it goes.  

whiskeyNext up is The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss.  Liss writes complex, dark historical novels set in the eighteenth century, mostly focusing on the economics of the time.  His novels are mystery/thrillers with a lot of detail — just the kind of books I like.  I’ve read several but looking at his books I realized I missed one of the Benjamin Weaver series, which begins with Conspiracy of Paper.  So I’m keeping this one and adding A Spectacle of Corruption.   

Then there’s The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman.  I really like red gardenAlice Hoffman although some of her books aren’t as good as others.  Hoffman is extremely prolific so she’s come out with plenty of books since I put this one my list, including Faithful, The Rules of Magic, and the Museum of Extraordinary Things —  although I do love a lot of her older works, like Blackbird House, and this one sounds similar. Leaning towards elimination.

ghostwrittenNext up are two older books by David Mitchell, Ghostwritten and Number9Dream.  I think I’ve read everything else by David Mitchell, and it’s all good.  So these two are staying.   

Finally, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is on the list because I’m a big Pratchett fan and my husband is a Baxter fan. long earth There was a lot of buzz about the book.  Still, I’m not sure that’s enough of a reason to read it.  Plus I’m skeptical about co-written works.  I’ve got more than enough science fiction to read.  So it goes.

That’s my first stab at whittling my Goodreads list.  This has been helpful in clarifying whether I really want to read something, and it’s also a reminder to check these older titles against my library list.  Have you read any of these books?  Any advice?   

  11 comments for “Down the TBR Hole: which books should I read?

  1. August 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I haven’t read any of these, though I’ve read some others by the same authors / in the same series. I didn’t like The Magicians and didn’t go further, and I also got bored with the 44 Scotland Street series. I’ve not been super impressed by the couple of Alice Hoffman I’ve read, but because she’s so prolific I should maybe give her another chance. What would you recommend? (Wait, this was supposed to help you cull your TBR, not me add to mine…)

    • August 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Happy to add to your list! My favorite Alice Hoffman novels have been The Dovekeepers and Blackbird House.

  2. August 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Im struggling through Bleak House for my classics club list.. i’m just getting lost with who is who…

    • August 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      I started Bleak House and found it a tough read, but I do want to go back to it. What are your favorite Dickens novels? Mine is David Copperfield, but I haven’t read many.

      • August 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        I love Great Expectations – such a good story – and Dombey and Son

  3. August 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I love 44 Scotland Street for calming reads, but if you’ve read one or two, you’ve basically read ’em all.

    • August 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Well, that helps! I did like those books, just don’t feel strongly about going back to them.

  4. August 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    You’ve just reminded me of how many classics I’ve got but haven’t read yet…..think I need to start picking some of them up!

  5. August 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Read Red Garden! lol I’m totally biased.

  6. August 21, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I am impressed with how disciplined you are! I have a long Goodreads to-read list but I tend to daydream in the library and end up with many items in my bag that were never on my list before I started reading them. But that’s ok. Without Goodreads I’d have NO chance of remembering the interesting book I just heard about in an author interview or saw reviewed somewhere.

    Good luck with the whittling.

  7. September 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    The David Liss has been on my shelf/TBR forever too. I keep forgetting that I have it. Oops.

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