Hello lovelies! I’ve really been wanting to tidy up my Goodreads shelves recently so I’m finally diving into this meme! I’ve seen so many people doing ‘Down the TBR Hole’ and it always intrigues me, so hopefully you won’t mind me joining in with it 😀
I’m going to format these posts in the same way as I do my anticipated releases for the month because I really like that setup!
Here are the rules:-
- Go to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!
The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry
Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
This is one of those classics that I feel like I should have read as a child. Sadly, that time is long-since past but I’d still like to read this book at some point and see what it’s all about.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.
This is another one of those classics that I absolutely want to read at some point – particularly as this is a mental-health related title. I feel like I’m the only person in the world that hasn’t read The Bell Jar and that’s something I want to remedy.
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
The distinctive storytelling genius of Neil Gaiman has been acclaimed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. Now in this new collection of stories–several of which have never before appeared in print and more than half that have never been collected–that will dazzle the senses and haunt the imagination.
Miraculous inventions and unforgettable characters inhabit these pages: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail in a second-hand store…a frightened little boy who bargains for his life with a troll living under a bridge by the railroad tracks…a stray cat who battles nightly against a recurring evil that threatens his unsuspecting adoptive family. In these stories, Gaiman displays the power, wit, insight and outrageous originality that has made him one of the most unique literary artists of our day.
I fully intend to read everything Neil Gaiman has written. It’s just a case of when. I’m taking part in a Gaiman readathon in November so maybe I’ll pick this one up if I’m in the mood for some short stories.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.
I pretty much know the story of this one thanks to the fabulous musical soundtrack. And I’ve heard that the book itself isn’t actually that great. I think I’d rather just go see the show.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outside a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank’s mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric’s escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother’s inevitable return – an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly.
The Wasp Factory is a work of horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all. A novel of extraordinary originality, imagination and comic ferocity.
I don’t know why I ever added this. Maybe the mention of a psychiatric hospital? But honestly, it sounds kind of horrific. Add to that all the negative reviews and I don’t fancy it.
Let The Right One In by John Adjvide Lindqvist
It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….
I’ve heard mixed things about this author but since this is a classic of the genre, I think I’ll let it stay (for now).
The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband’s murder –and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.
The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.
But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.
I don’t remember adding this one but I can tell from the first line of the synopsis why I did. Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus? Sounds made for me. This one can stay.
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.
That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?
The Book Thief is one of my all-time favourite books and I’ve always been intrigued by Zusak’s other books. Plus I own a copy of this one. I just need to get to it at some point.
Collected Folk Tales by Alan Garner
The definitive collection of traditional British folk tales, selected and retold by the renowned Alan Garner.
Following on from the fiftieth anniversary of Alan Garner’s seminal fantasy classic, THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN, here are collected all of Alan’s folk tales, told with his unique storytelling skill and inimitably clear voice. Essential reading for young and old alike.
Among the stories collected here are:
• Kate Crackernuts
• Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree
• Yallery Brown
I don’t think I’d ever pick up a full collection like this and read it cover to cover. It’s probably more of a reference book that you would dip in and out of at times.
Mental Health Matters: A Reader by Tom Heller
Mental Health Matters is an innovative, interdisciplinary collection of texts which challenge traditional understandings of mental health, emphasising the perspectives of mental health service-users. Combining classic writings about mental health practices and problems from psychiatry, sociology and psychology with specially commissioned new articles, it considers theories and debates in mental health and distress; the social and historical dimensions of mental health; involving users in mental health services and practically improving those services.
This is a book that I acquired during my psychology degree. I still own it and would use it for references at times but it’s not really the kind of book that needs a place on my TBR.
Prudence by Gail Carriger
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
I really enjoyed Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and I would love to try this spin-off series about her daughter at some point.
Imprudence by Gail Carriger
Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.
Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.
I’m making it a rule to only keep first books in series on my TBR shelf, as a placeholder for the series as a whole. If the time comes, I can add this back.
Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
A haunting Victorian ghost story of love, loss and the mystery of death from the bestselling author of THE THIRTEENTH TALE.
A childish act of cruelty with terrible consequences.
A father desperate to save his daughter.
A curious bargain with a stranger in black.
And Bellman & Black is born.
I read The Thirteenth Tale many many years ago and remember enjoying it. This one is languishing on my backlist but since I own it, I plan to get to it. One day.
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Inside the abbey of a Benedictine monastery on tiny Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.
Jessie Sullivan’s conventional life has been “molded to the smallest space possible.” So when she is called home to cope with her mother’s startling and enigmatic act of violence, Jessie finds herself relieved to be apart from her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but on Egret Island-amid the gorgeous marshlands and tidal creeks-she becomes drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is mere months from taking his final vows.
What transpires will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, as Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, she will find a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right.
What inspires the yearning for a soul mate? Few writers have explored, as Kidd does, the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists.
The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about the passions of the spirit and the ecstasies of the body; one that illuminates a woman’s self-awakening with the brilliance and power that only a writer of Kidd’s ability could conjure.
Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees is another of my all-time favourites. I also really enjoyed The Invention of Wings. I’m a completionist so I obviously want to read this one.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.
I’m one of those people that loves epic poetry (Paradise Lost is a favourite). I’d love to get to this one day but I don’t currently own it and it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. If I ever acquire a copy, I’ll add it back.
The Gates by John Connolly
Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out…
Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?
Bursting with imagination, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.
John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we’ve all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.
I added this because I love The Book of Lost Things but I had forgotten about it. It sounds great though so I’m letting it stay. Anyone else get Good Omens vibes?
The Book of Flying by Keith Miller
In Keith Miller’s debut novel, our hero is Pico, a poet and librarian who is forbidden to pursue the girl of his dreams – for she has wings, and Pico does not. When he discovers an ancient letter in his library telling of the mythical Morning Town where the flightless may gain their wings, he sets off on a quest. It’s a magical journey and coming-of-age story in which he meets a robber queen, a lonely minotaur, a cannibal, an immortal beauty, and a dream seller. Each has a story, and a lesson, for Pico – about learning to love, to persevere, and, of course, to fly. A gorgeously poetic tale of fantasy for adults, The Book of Flying is a beautiful modern fable and daring new take on the quest narrative.
Another one that I can’t remember adding – I think it came up as a Goodreads recommendation? I’m honestly not sure what to do with it. It sounds decent so I’ll let it stay for now but I may remove it if anyone convinces me otherwise!
Nocturnes by John Connolly
From #1 internationally bestselling author John Connolly comes Nocturnes, a dark, daring, utterly haunting shot story anthology of lost lovers and missing children, predatory demons, and vengeful ghosts.
Connolly’s collection of supernatural novellas and stories echoes the work of some of the masters of the genre while never losing his own distinctive voice. In “The New Daughter,” a father comes to suspect that a burial mound on his land hides something very ancient, and very much alive; in “The Underbury Witches,” two London detectives find themselves battling a particularly female evil in a town culled of its menfolk. And finally, private detective Charlie Parker returns in the long novella “The Reflecting Eye,” in which the photograph of an unknown girl turns up in the mailbox of an abandoned house once occupied by an infamous killer. This discovery forces Parker to confront the possibility that the house is not as empty as it appears, and that something has been waiting in the darkness for its chance to kill again.
I love John Connolly’s writing and definitely want to read this one. I actually own a copy of the second part, Night Music, and I’ve been holding back on it until I get my hands on a copy of this one.
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly
Soter is a man who has been haunted by World War I. But when he’s sent to investigate the disappearance of Lionel Maudling, the owner of a grand country house whose heir may be accused for his death, he encounters a home that will lead him to nightmares he could have never imagined.
Maudling’s estate houses countless books of every sort—histories, dramas, scientific treatises. But none seems to offer Soter any hint to Maudling’s whereabouts, until he’s led to an arcane London bookseller where the reclusive scholar made his last purchase. What Soter finds at the end of a twisted maze of clues is a book like no other, with a legacy that will put everything he knows in danger…
An inventive horror novella from internationally bestselling author John Connolly, this is a story of madness, of obsession, and of books’ power to change the world.
Apparently, I just added everything John Connolly has ever written. But that second volume of short stories I mentioned? This novella is apparently featured in it. So I can remove this as a separate entry.
The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository by John Connolly
Mr. Berger has spent thirty-four years keeping his life as empty as possible. His job title as a closed accounts registrar doesn’t spark much interest, and his cautious flirtation with a woman at his company was cut short upon her engagement to another man. This doesn’t bother him, however, as he much prefers the company of books to that of people. When a series of fortuitous events leads to an early retirement in the English countryside, Mr. Berger is content to spend the remainder of his years nestled comfortably between the pages of a book. But fate has other plans.
His serene life turns strange when he witnesses a tragedy chillingly reminiscent of Anna Karenina as a woman flings herself before a train. When he rushes to the scene, she has vanished, leaving no body on the tracks. Berger’s investigation into this event leads him to Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository, where the line between fiction and reality becomes blurred beyond comprehension.
Another one that can be found in a short story collection. Plus what on earth is that cover? Goodbye.
Books removed: 8
New TBR shelf count: 369
Do you participate in ‘Down The TBR Hole’? What do you think of my decisions? Want to try and change my mind on any of them? 😀