Adding to My TBR

Despite reading everything I can get my hands on, my TBR list continues growing apace. Here’s just a few of the books I’ve added recently. Which should I read first?

Recent fiction adds to my TBR

The Diviners, Libba Bray – I read Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty in high school and was ambivalent about it. But this tale of a young woman moving in with her crime solving, occult-obsessed uncle reminds me of The Girl is Murder, albeit with a supernatural twist.

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith – Considered a classic since its 1948 publication, the novel centers around Cassandra, a young woman living with her family in a ramshackle English castle. Young love, growing up, all that good stuff.

The Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller, Shane Kuhn –Interns are invisible. That’s the mantra behind HR, Inc., an elite “placement agency” that doubles as a network of assassins-for-hire, taking down high-profile executives who wouldn’t be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it.” They had me at “assassins-for-hire.”

The Night Gardener, Jonathan Auxier – Creepy, crumbling English manor. Abandoned siblings. Ghosts, mysteries, curses. What’s not to love?

Recent adds to my TBR list

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha, Jolie Kerr – I followed Kerr’s “Ask a Clean Person” series on Jezebel and loved her no-nonsense approach to cleaning. Especially the weird stuff.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast – A graphic novel memoir focusing on the last few years of the author’s parents’ lives, as the family works through the challenges of aging. Promises to be both humorous and heartfelt.

Losing It: How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Last 80 Years, Kate Monro – A collection of stories gathered by author Kate Munro, who asked, “How did it happen for you?”

The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown – The Andreas sisters love each other, they just don’t like each other much. So when they all show up at home to take care of their ailing mother, the situation can only be described as tense. Can they overcome their long-buried family secrets?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I've Never Read(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.)

Looking at my main TBR list is a little overwhelming, so at the beginning of each year I like to make a separate, much shorter list of books to tackle. Here’s some of the books from that list I’d like to read this spring.

  1. Born to Kvetch (Michael Wex) – A book about Yiddish culture and language.
  2. Huntress (Malinda Lo) – I read Ash way back in 2011, and apparently Huntress is a prequel of sorts. I really enjoyed Lo’s world building, and want to get back into it.
  3. The Convenient Marriage (Georgette Heyer) – Been awhile since I read a Heyer, and I’m jonesing for some of her great humor and storytelling.
  4. Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela) – For the Reading Outside the Box Challenge, and also because I just want to know more about Mandela’s life.
  5. Hadassah (Tommy Tenney) – I’m obsessed with the film One Night With the King, and lo and behold it’s based on a novel (and The Bible, obviously). I’m in!
  6. Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (Avi Steinberg) – Who wouldn’t want to read this?
  7. Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre – How We Dignify the Dead (Sarah Murray) – Stuff like this just fascinates me (see also my love of Mary Roach).
  8. Miss Manners Minds Your Business (Judith Martin and Nicholas Ivor Martin) – All about manners in the work place. I geek out on things like this.
  9. May I be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind (Cyndi Lee) – I’ve been doing yoga for a little over a year, and am now doing it more as part of my CBT. I’d like to learn how it’s helped other people, and maybe get some ideas for getting more benefit from it myself.
  10. The Interestings (Meg Wolitzer) – Every bookish person I know has recommended this, so I’m planning to give it a try.

What are you planning to read this spring?

TGIF: Back to School Reading

TGIF(This meme is hosted by Ginger of GReads. Click the image to head over and participate in the Q&A fun!)

Today’s question is: Which books would you like to see in today’s high school Literature classrooms?

This was a tough one. There’s lots of books I think high schoolers should read, but they’re either A.) not all necessarily for literature/English classes, or B.) are already on so many required reading lists that it’s redundant to include them. But I think these three deserve to be here.

Lucy A modernization of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this time revolving around genetic experimentation and the first human-ape hybrid.

Lies My Teacher Told Me Not only an important look at history, but also the politics of history textbook publishing. Students need to learn how to think and research on their own.

The Epic of Gilgamesh One of the world’s oldest stories (the oldest version is from 1700 BC) containing some surprisingly modern themes. It’s an amazing portrayal of how an ancient people decided to look at life, death, and life beyond death.

What would you add to this list?

Book Blogger Confessions: Choosing Books

(Hosted by Karen at For What It’s Worth and Tiger at All Consuming Media, the purpose of this twice-monthly meme is to discuss the nuances of being a book blogger. Join in anytime!)

June 4th: Choosing your next book. How do you decide which book to read next? How do you balance “review” reading with “fun” reading?

Let me answer the second question first, since it’s a bit easier. For me, there’s not really much difference between “review” reading and “fun” reading — if I read it, I review it.

The only exception is some of the psychology texts I read. About a year ago I wrote a post about reading “sex books” and how I don’t review them often — mainly because it’s a polarizing topic and I’m a bit embarrassed and afraid of what people will think of me, but also because they’re tough books to review in the context of a blog post; such books require conversation, and I don’t often find people as enthused about the topic as I am. If you’re dying of curiosity, though, you can check out my reviews of Sex at Dawn and The Mistress Contract to see what kind of stuff I read (slightly NSFW text).

When deciding what to read and review next, like most bloggers, I have a process:

When I first hear about a book I’d like to read, it goes onto my TBR list. At the beginning of the year I pull anywhere between 50 and 60 books from that list into a separate, private list, and then try to select only books from that second list. It may seem kind of clunky, but it’s the only way I can focus and actually do some reading, instead of staring at my full TBR until my eyes glaze over. I’m always adding books to my TBR, but I can only read so much, so it’s likely the books I add this year won’t be read until 2013.

Beyond that, though, I graze. I go to the library with a list of books I want, and check out what I can. I tend to glut myself on certain genres or series before getting bored and moving onto something else; the only time I’m very specific in what I’ll be reading is during Non-Fiction November, or when I’m participating in any reading challenges (check out my 2012 reading challenges).

Your turn to confess. How do you choose what book(s) to read next?

Solve This One, Mr. Holmes

I’ve always loved a good mystery book, but for some reason I never got that much into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. I recall reading “The Speckled Band” in high school and not being that impressed; something about the story just felt stuffy and…well, British. And after reading ten of the stories in quick succession last month, I still feel pretty much the same.

I’m not sure why I’m disappointed. Watson and Holmes are fantastic characters, the mysteries are genuinely mysterious, and there’s a good amount of action. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was even a bit frightening, with scary things going bump in the night.

So, a quick question for you guys. For which of the following reasons do you think I was underwhelmed by Doyle’s stories?

  1. They’re short stories, which have never been my favorites. I should try reading one of the novels, like A Study in Scarlet.
  2. They really are dry and stuffy.
  3. I’m a troglodyte who wouldn’t know a good story if it bit me on the ass.

Discuss.