Tidying the TBR List

I originally titled this post ‘Clearing out the TBR List’, but that’s actually just a small part of my annual TBR list review. Once upon a time I liked to keep the list under 100 books. Last summer, the list exploded and it’s been growing at a rapid rate since I got back into book blogging. Once or twice a year I like to comb through that list and remind myself of all the incredible books waiting for me. I also use that review time to make shelving adjustments (re-shelve books, create new shelves) and remove books I’m no longer interested in. I don’t mind having a big TBR list. I like to keep my choices open – sometimes I’ll start five dud books before I get to a really good one – and I don’t feel obligated to read everything on the list. But I do like to keep things tidy. After all, so many books, so little time! I realize this more with each passing year. I can afford to be picky about what’s on my TBR list. Factors for removal can include a book’s premise, reviews from friends or strangers, length, or any other arbitrary reason. A reason for removing one book might not be applied to another. I can be ruthless but I’m not too concerned. Even if I’ve mistakenly axed a great read, there are dozens more to fill its space. It’s almost frivolous to even bother with these removals but I like feeling that I made some effort toward getting the list under control 😉 I start with the books that have been on the list the longest and work my way through. Here are the books that didn’t survive the cut:

  1. Lolita – I tried it a couple summers ago, read maybe 50 pages, couldn’t get into it. I know it’s a great classic but that’s the only reason it’s on the list. I’m not at all compelled to read it, so good-bye. 
  2. The Great Reset – I bought this in an angry fit of book buying around the time it was first released (in 2010, the library had offered me three jobs but I couldn’t accept any of them due to scheduling). I regretted it immediately afterwards but have been holding onto it since then. Now it’s probably even less relevant to me. I’m finally going to pass it on. 
  3. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Another book on the list because I bought it, almost six years ago, from Shakespeare and Co. The premise sounds fascinating but a few times I tried to read it and it didn’t captivate me. Now after reading other reviews, I’m in no rush to read it. I’ll keep the book (it has a stamp!) but I’m taking it off the TBR list. 
  4. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber – Added last year on recommendation from a fellow WWOOFer. Doesn’t interest me much. 
  5. Internal Time – At one point I wanted to learn about this topic, but now I’ve improved my own sleep schedule so I don’t really care anymore 😛
  6. The Lusiads – A poem from the 1500s? How did this make it onto my list in the first place?! I think the story sounded good to me. I must not have noticed the form. 
  7. The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer – Not sure why this was on the list in the first place…I don’t really do letters.
  8. Corpalism – Recommended to me by a new-at-the-time Goodreads friend, I added it because I didn’t want to offend. Removing now cos it’s too long of a book for a story I have no interest in (and I’m no longer friends with that person :P) 
  9. Hawthorn and Child – After rereading the premise and the review that made me think I would like it, I no longer think I would like it much. 
  10. Sleep Donation – It looks okayyyyy, not something I’d usually read, but I think I mostly added it because of the cover. If perhaps there weren’t hundreds of other books I’d rather read, I’d give it a go. 
  11. The Three – I liked the premise but not the format. 
  12. Fangirl – John Green liked it and so did many other people, but I’m not sure why I ever added it to the list.
  13. Asleep – I tried reading it a few months ago, couldn’t get it into it, should have removed it then. 

So I didn’t clear out too many…Does it even make a difference if I only reduced the list by ~3%?! But at least I got to browse through all the books and remind myself of all the amazing looking stories I want to read! Have I made any big mistakes in axing these books? Do you ever clear out your TBR pile?

Upcoming Reading

September is here! I’ve already got some posts lined up.  I only finished two books in August, but I started a third yesterday that I’m blazing through. The list of books I want to start reading in the next month or two is getting a bit of hand, so I thought I’d make a blog post to keep track and show you what’s in store now that I’ve settled in a bit. These are all ebooks that I own.

  • The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charris Cotter- Everything in this book’s description appealed to me! The cover is cute as well. I started yesterday and I will probably finish it today.
  • July Crisis: The World’s Descent Into War, Summer1914 by Thomas Otte – This is a hefty book but it sounds like a really informative read.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – This is the book I won during the Summer Library Reading Challenge.
  • The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith – I’ve had this one for awhile, just need to get around to it.
  • Stripped: The True Story of Depeche Mode by Jonathan Miller – I’ve only read this book cover to cover once, maybe three or four years ago. I’m even more of a DM fan now and I really want to read it again so I picked up a digital copy to read here.
  • Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die  – I’ve joined a book club for the first time here because I think it will be a good way to socialize. I’ve never been interested in book clubs because I’m picky about what I read, but this book looks okay. 
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – The new Murakami book, available in English as of August! It’s sitting on my iPad, patiently waiting to be opened…
  • Blood & Gold (The Ferryman and the Flame 2.5) by Rhiannon Paille – I’ve finished book two and am ready for this in-between-er.
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I really need to start this one, but I want to give it my full attention. I don’t want to rush through it or read it when I’m distracted by living in Japan. You only get one chance to read a book for the first time; I want to do it properly! 😛 It may be a little while yet…

What’s on your reading list?

Summer Library Challenge: Book Haul #2 and Goals Check-in

In my first library book haul post, I picked up five books. I dropped three of them, but The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a five star read and I’m greatly enjoying Buddhism Plain & Simple so far. I had two more holds come shortly after that post – All the Birds, Singing and I Forgot to Remember. I read both and posted a few thoughts here.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve picked up a good number of library books, through planned trips, spontaneous browsing and hold requests. Here’s what’s sitting in the pile:

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As we’re just past the halfway mark for this challenge, I thought I would review how my goals are going.
  • Visit the library once a week
    • I forgot this was actually on my goals list! Oops…I haven’t been keeping track, but I think I have managed this anyhow. I’ve been stopping in lots to pick up books. I haven’t had any of those fun afternoons at the library yet, but now that I’m done school I hope to get in at least two before the end of the month.
  • Read 12 library books
  • Attend two library-hosted events
    • Halfway there! I participated in an Ideas Fair last month. Today I inadvertently found a clue for the library’s book hunt. Next time I visit I’m going to give it a try. After checking out upcoming events, I might attend an outdoor open mic reading session or a guided tour of a local park.

Have you visited the library recently? What’s in your library TBR pile?

Summer Library Challenge: Library Social, Ideas Fair + Book Haul #1

 This week’s challenge: “Find out what kind of social media your library uses and if it would be useful, follow them! Make a post, tweet, etc. about what you found useful!”

 My library uses the following social media:

I think that’s all of the accounts! I didn’t realize how many there are. I follow the library on Facebook and read the main blog. I recently discovered the Flickr account while completing my individual practicum project last semester at the head branch. I did not know about the YouTube account, so I just checked it out and there are videos about programs, recordings of events, and how-to tutorials. The account doesn’t appear to be utilized too much – prior to two weeks ago, the last upload was one year ago and then three years ago. But, the videos that are there look like good resources. The Flickr account has many photos and is frequently updated. I like to see what’s happening at the different library branches. I like the main library blog because the posts are always substantial and thoughtful. I particularly like the posts that discuss a subject and provide book reviews, such as this post about the history of cities. Does your library maintain a blog?

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This month my library is hosting Idea Fairs to gather feedback about what is important to library goers and their community, in order to “help shape the future of WPL!” I was excited to attend this fair at the main branch, especially because my class practicum project explored ways in which public institution can engage visitors and created our own installation at the university library to gather ideas about how the library can be more beneficial to users. The library had four interactive stations set up (as well as one station for children):

  1. Space – A poster board displayed eight photos of libraries. You received three stickers to place under the library setting you liked best. On another board, you could write a sticky note explaining why you chose that setting.
  2. Collections – Ten jars were labeled with different library collections (digital media, books, Aboriginal resources, etc.). You received ten tokens to deposit in the jars to indicate which collections in which you think the library should invest. Again, you could write a sticky note explaining why you chose those collections.
  3. Programs and Services – You received a paper with an alter ego and had to write how you thought the library could best meet that character’s needs. My persona was a budding young writer – this was easy as that used to be me!
  4. Community Involvement – A giant map of the city hung on the wall. You received a sticky note to mark your favourite aspect about your neighbourhood and how the library might become involved in that aspect.

The Ideas Fairs are put of a two month public consultation stage of the WPL’s strategic planning process called “Inspiring Ideas”. From the website:

“Input gathered during the public consultation process will be used to help shape the future direction of Winnipeg Public Library by helping set the development of a new five-year Strategic Plan that will include goals and actions for the Library to pursue.”

This strategic plan will not be revealed until the fall, when I will no longer be living here, but I’m eager to see what sort of changes might come from this process. Online, I read too much about libraries losing funding or shutting down completely, so it really is inspiring to see my library engaging in this process.

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After submitting my thoughts for the Idea Fair, I picked up some books. The last batch of library books I signed out were books I felt I should read and not books I was excited about at the time. So, this time, I focused on some ‘lighter’ reads that really piqued my interest. I didn’t mean to start reading them until I finished the three books I was already reading, but I kept peeking at The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender on the bus and now I’m halfway through! I hope to finish these five books and the other three I’m reading by the end of the month.