Hello lovelies! I’m really enjoying the ‘Down the TBR Hole’ meme. It feels great to be cleaning up my online shelves 😀 I’ve had a slight break from it due to the festive period and new year but the time has come for round three!
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 Underground Man by Mick Jackson
The Underground Man offers a humorous portrait of the fifth Duke of Portland, a wealthy, eccentric nineteenth-century nobleman who constructed a vast network of underground tunnels from which he could escape to the world outside.
Short and sweet blurb there. I’m not at all sure what made me add this one – especially considering it was first released in 1997?! I can’t genuinely say I’m interested based on so little information so…
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.
I actually started to read graphic novels last year and I’ve been enjoying them, so this one can definitely stick around!
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.
Shock and horror. I know. I feel like this might be a good candidate for my ’30 before 30′ list? I really would like to get to it at some point.
The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.
As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.
So this does sound interesting. Especially with that mention of Hay-on-Wye, a place of pilgrimage for many bookstagrammers these days 😉 However, reviews are very mixed and I don’t think I’m intrigued enough to want to find out for myself. So many books, so little time!
Room by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
This is another of those books I’ve owned for far too long. I know it’s probably old news by this point but I still do want to read it.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
When Judas Coyne heard someone was selling a ghost on the internet, there was no question. It was perfect for his collection of the macabre: the cannibal’s cookbook, the witch’s confession, the authentic snuff movie. As an ageing death-metal rock-god, buying a poltergeist almost qualifies as a business expense.
Besides, Jude thinks he knows all about ghosts. Jude has been haunted for years… by the spirits of bandmates dead and gone, the spectre of the abusive father he fled as a child, and the memory of the suicidal girl he abandoned. But this ghost, delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box, is different. It makes the house feel cold. It makes the dogs bark. And it means to chase Jude from his home and make him run for his life.
Back in the day, I read a short story collection called 20th Century Ghosts and wanted to pursue the author’s work further. So I’m fairly sure I have a copy of this one somewhere on my shelves? I just never seem to get round to it. *hangs head in shame*
The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin
New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…
Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…
Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.
Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…
As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…
I feel really torn about this one. It sounds intriguing and like it could be fun. And I do own a copy. But it’s just not one that I ever gravitate towards. I feel like I should unhaul it but I don’t want to then acknowledge that I wasted money on it. I’ll let it stay for now but I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this one!
The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.
Yet another one I’m ashamed to have not read yet. I think because I got spoiled a long time ago so now I feel like what’s the point, you know? Someone please convince me to give this one a chance sometime soon!
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.
I must have been in the habit of adding books I’d bought to Goodreads because I seem to already own a lot of these. This is another one that I’m not sure I’m interested in any longer but as I have a physical copy, it can stay for now.
The Accident by C. L. Taylor
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …
I’ve read quite a few books by this author now but I’m not really bothered about going back to this very early one.
Those Above by Daniel Polansky
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.
Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.
Those Above is the first of an extraordinary new fantasy epic by the author of the acclaimed Low Town series that will sweep the reader into a wholly alien, wholly recognizable world of rebellion and revenge, of love and of death, of intrigue and pitiless war.
I must have been interested in this when I added it but, to be honest, it no longer sounds like my kind of book. I struggle with sci-fi books and though I do try now and then to push myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t feel like I would be inclined to pick this one up.
How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist by David Goldbloom & Pier Bryden
A humane behind-the-scenes account of a week in the life of a psychiatrist at one of Canada’s leading mental health hospitals. How Can I Help? takes us to the frontlines of modern psychiatric care.
How Can I Help? portrays a week in the life of Dr. David Goldbloom as he treats patients, communicates with families, and trains staff at CAMH, the largest psychiatric facility in Canada. This highly readable and touching behind-the-scenes account of his daily encounters with a wide range of psychiatric concerns—from his own patients and their families to Emergency Department arrivals—puts a human face on an often misunderstood area of medical expertise. From schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder to post-traumatic stress syndrome and autism, How Can I Help? investigates a range of mental issues.
What is it like to work as a psychiatrist now? What are the rewards and challenges? What is the impact of the suffering—and the recovery—of people with mental illness on families and the clinicians who treat them? What does the future hold for psychiatric care?
How Can I Help? demystifies a profession that has undergone profound change over the past twenty-five years, a profession that is often misunderstood by the public and the media, and even by doctors themselves. It offers a compassionate, realistic picture of a branch of medicine that is entering a new phase, as increasingly we are able to decode the mysteries of the brain and offer new hope for sufferers of mental illness.
This still sounds like an interesting read but I’m unlikely to buy it for myself and unless I found it at the library, I’d probably not go out of my way to get it.
Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawdon
This heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie’s Choice, Schindler’s Ark, and The Book Thief.
Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another’s blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. “Don’t be afraid, Jakob,” his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. “See the colours, my boy,” he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob’s Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and colour where there is no colour.
I love WWII fiction and this sounds heart-breaking and beautiful. Definitely a keeper.
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
It’s 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV and Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is young Leon.
Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, a belly like Father Christmas, and mutters swearwords under her breath when she thinks can’t hear. Maureen feeds and looks after them, and claims everything will be okay.
But will they ever see their mother again? Who are the couple who secretly visit Jake? The adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to take Jake away and give him to strangers. Because Jake is white and Leon is not.
As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.
Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we somehow manage to find our way home.
I still really like the sound of this one. I’d love to grab a copy and try it some day.
Movie Game by Michael Ebner
It’s been three years since Joe’s father vanished. Now seventeen, he is unaware that government agents are watching him in case his dad makes contact. Joe is too distracted by his secret girlfriend, midnight swims in the pools of strangers, free drinks from his buddies at the movie game and the glamorous college student, Felicity. But his movie-esque existence and addiction to fiction is set to collide with a heavy dose of reality this summer when he discovers everything is not what it seems: his secret girlfriend wants to be the real thing. His college fling may have ulterior motives. And the government agents want co-operation to catch his missing father. All this and the three year old death of Joe’s first girlfriend Alice are going to cause him to face some dark truths.
It’s no longer a movie game. This is his life and he wants to win.
I’ve seen mixed reviews for this one and I feel like it could go either way for me. But the mentions of an unlikeable protagonist put me off a little. I think there are many more books that are a higher priority for me to read, so I might as well get rid of this one!
The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water & the World by Eila Kundrie Carrico
The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World is a deep searching into the ways we become dammed and how we recover fluidity. It is a journey through memory and time, personal and shared landscapes to discover the source, the flow and the deltas of women and water.
Rooted in rivers, inspired by wetlands, sources and tributaries, this book weaves its path between the banks of memory and story, from Florida to Kyoto, storm-ravaged New Orleans to London, via San Francisco and Ghana. We navigate through flood and drought to confront the place of wildness in the age of technology. Part memoir, part manifesto, part travelogue and part love letter to myth and ecology, The Other Side of the River is an intricately woven tale of finding your flow…and your roots.
This sounds utterly stunning. Definitely appeals to the Nature Girl in me.
Down Station by Simon Morden
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through…and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf’s cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London – other people have arrived here down the ages – all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one – who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.
And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures,split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace, they realise they are in a world defined by all the London’s there have ever been.
Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.
I actually love the sound of this. I have always enjoyed books about other worlds and have read many about alternative Londons in particular. I would still be happy to read this.
Nettle Blackthorn and the Three Wicked Sisters: Part One by Winter Woodlark
Blackthorn Cottage dwells within the dark and sinister forest of the Forgotten Wilds; a forest inhabited by fanciful folk, kept hidden from the rest of the world. When Nettle’s family return to the cottage her father makes the children promise to never, ever enter the forest, but Nettle’s not the type of girl to heed those types of warnings.
Quite soon, Nettle embarks on a grand adventure that leads her to Olde Town, a strange village set at the top of a very odd hill. When she meets Claudine Balfrey, she knows she’ll be the perfect new wife for her father. Claudine and her sisters own the Three Wicked Sisters’ Tea House where a black cat sleeps by a cauldron, visitors gather to eat strange delectables and children nibble on faerie candy.
But is Olde Town all it appears to be? And just who are the Balfrey sisters? Soon enough Nettle finds herself embroiled in a mystery that began several centuries ago with the Accursed Lysette.
It’s a shame because this one sounds like it could be awesome but it has hardly any ratings on Goodreads and it seems part two never arrived. So I wouldn’t want to read part one and be left without answers!
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.
I know, I know. Feel free to shout at me. I realise what an important book this is and I’m ashamed I haven’t read it yet. But I do own a copy and I’m determined to make the effort! I think I’m just holding off because I know how emotional it will make me.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.
I read and enjoyed 1984 a few years ago and have been meaning to read more Orwell ever since. I definitely need to see what this one is all about.
Books removed in this post: 7
Books removed in total: 24
Total books analysed: 62
Do you participate in ‘Down The TBR Hole’? What do you think of my decisions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! x