Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winter TBR Recap, and Spring's Intended Stack!

So I've been making these quarterly/seasonal TBRs for nearly a year now. Truthfully, they've brought me some of the best books I've read since I started formulating them. My reading has been good so far in 2014, but it seems a little lackluster in comparison to last year, and part of the reason might be this: I only read four of the 10 books on my Winter TBR! Gah! I blame this largely on the wedding and the holidays, but whatever the problem, I need to get back to my TBR!



I enjoyed Oracle Night, The Danger of Proximal Alphabets, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, and Monsters of Men immensely. In fact, I'd say Oracle Night and Weed are two highlights from the year. Further evidence that these lists work beautifully for me. 


Sorry for the slightly fuzzy pic! These are the choices on my Spring TBR (March 20 - June 20). 
  • Small Wonder: Essays by Barbara Kingsolver because I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I think this collection will give me a springy feeling. - DNF
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters because I can always count on Waters to blow my socks off, and everyone says this is her best. 
  • Sula by Toni Morrison because I'm still trying to diversify my reading and Morrison is just amazing. 
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray because I enjoyed The Diviners and this book has been on my stacks for an embarrassingly long time. 
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo because classics! And I'm super excited to be reading this one along with Jennifer (@BHoNeg on Twitter). - in progress
  • Kamouraska by Anne Hebert because this was part of the lovely package Lydia sent my way at Christmas and it looks amazing. See also: diversifying my reading. Oh Canada! 
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki because I bought the damn thing and haven't read it yet. It was a must-have-it-now purchase. 
  • Wise Children by Angela Carter because Carter is always a good idea. 
  • Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison because everyone needs to cry their eyes out sometime, right? 
  • The House Girl by Tara Conklin (not pictured) because I mentioned it earlier this week. Readalongs! - DNF
Whew! Will I be able to divide and conquer? I think I can, I think I can! 

Here's wishing you a kickass bunch of spring reading! 






32 comments:

  1. Good luck with your Spring reading! Ooh, I've been wanting to tackle Les Mis for awhile, but it's a wee bit of a chunkster.

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    1. Thank you! Les Mis is definitely intimidating. I just have to cut myself some slack and try not to get too antsy. lol

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  2. I read Les Mis a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed it but there is lots of filler stuff in there!

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    1. Good to know, Marg! I won't mind skimming a bit when the going gets slow. :)

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  3. Now that the wedding is over it is time to get down to business. Good luck with your list.

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  4. Congrats on the wedding! I love Toni Morrison and Sula is a wonderful read (and short). Funny, I was just talking to one of my memoir-writing students about reading Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina. I still remember some of Allison's vivid details about the mother character. Both great books!

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    1. Thank you! I love Morrison, too. I'm so glad you enjoyed Sula! I'm really looking forward to it. Also looking forward to Bastard Out of Carolina even though it will thoroughly rip my heart out, I'm sure.

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  5. Happy Reading to you! It helps to know that I'm not the only one that has must-read-it-right-now books that have gotten a little dusty. I like your quarterly stacks. I've been trying to do a monthly stack for the last couple of years, but I never can pare them down to a reasonable size and they become quarterly stacks. I think if I would just call it "quarterly" to begin with I might feel like I was making more progress. :)

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    1. Thank you, Susan! I'm so bad with the must-read-it-now books. They always end up languishing. Such a bad habit! lol I royally suck at monthly stacks. Too much pressure! Quarterly seems to be a nice balance for me to keep me motivated.

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  6. Wise Children is such a great book. My favorite Carter so far. I need to read more by her.

    Great list in general! I should try this technique of yours!

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    1. I don't know why I haven't picked up Wise Children yet. Maybe because it's not her usual fairy tales and I always expect The Bloody Chamber? We'll see. I know it'll be fab.

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  7. So I just posted on the 6th book in the Flavia series today. I just wanted to tell you that it's one of the best in the series. It's so disappointing where a series just gets worse with each new book and that's definitely not the case. I love Flavia.

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    1. Cool!!! I'm so glad the series stays awesome. Thank you, Melissa! David (my HUSBAND...haha!) just finished reading the third book, so I know I'll probably start it soon.

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  8. Les Miz is huge! I bought Bastard out of Carolina a year or two ago but haven't read it yet. The author is from this area and I think the setting is based on this area. I guess I should read it so I'll know for sure.

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    1. It IS huge. And it scares me. A lot. I think you're right re: the area. I know it'll be a tough read, but it sounds like it'll be worthwhile.

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  9. Your stack is fantastic, Andi! Bastard out of Carolina is such a good yet heartbreaking read. A Tale for the Time Being and Small Wonders are also amazing. Happy reading.

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    1. I love good but heartbreaking. A book that can involve me emotionally is the ultimate goal. I feel sure this one will do it even though it's totally gonna make me cry. And I'm glad someone else has read Small Wonders! I never hear anything about it.

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  10. I think your TBR reading lists are such a great idea! I've been doing the same, only less consciously. I really, really want to trim down my TBR because I vowed not to purchase anything if I still have a lot so I can't get any new titles. What I do is just pick a bunch from the TBR and plop them onto my bedside table until all of them are done. Sometimes I change my mind and get distracted and read other titles instead.. but I love your TBR reading list idea a lot..

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  11. A Tale for the Time Being - sooooooo amazing!

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  12. I like to plan ahead too, so I have my next few books planned out. I can't wait to see how you like you big beautiful stack of spring books!

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  13. Good luck with Les Miserables! And happy reading! :)

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  14. Yay for Les Mis!!! I read it the month before the movie came out. It does have some tedious details, but hey, the storyline itself is good. It was worth it. And of course, House Girl was good. Happy reading!

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  15. That is an impressive list! I can't wait to see how much you enjoy them!

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  16. I did the same with Tale for the Time Being - I had to have it, but haven't picked it up yet. One day...
    Good luck with Les Mis. I read it at the end of 2013 and I'm in the minority that didn't really like it. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

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  17. Fingersmith and Bastard Out of Carolina have been on my list for a long time! Looks like some great reading ahead of you!

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  18. Sweet stack! I hope you dig the Ozeki, I sure did. Hooray for Les Mis! It's absolutely worth the time. I count that as one of my happiest reading achievements and I think you will too.

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  19. How have you never read Fingersmith before??? I love that book!!!

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  20. Good luck with your spring list!!

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  21. I really like Kingsolver's essays and I keep meaning to re-read High Tide in Tucson, as I remember it was really, really good. I enjoyed Small Wonder (it was the first review I posted on my blog back in February 2006!). Here's a little summary, if you're interested:

    I discovered Barbara Kingsolver several years ago when I read her debut novel, The Bean Trees. I fell in love with her writing and since then have read everything she’s written, with the exception a nonfiction work entitled Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983 and a National Geographic coffee-table book (Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands). You might say I’m a fairly devoted fan, buying everything as it’s published. Yet when her second collection of essays was released in hardcover, I held off. I’d heard negative reviews and complaints of her overbearing political opinions, and decided to wait until the paperback was released. But even then, once I finally got around to buying a copy, it sat on a shelf for over two years. It wasn’t until this past winter when I was struggling to find something that would grab my attention and reading more nonfiction than usual, that I was tempted to give it a try. It wasn’t a quick read and I was tempted to give up a couple of times. In “What Good is a Story,” Kingsolver admits to being a demanding reader, granting a mere thirty pages to be impressed before tossing the unfinished book in to the donation box. Ironically, had I adhered to such a strict guideline, I never would’ve reached the second half of the book in which 11 (out of 23) favorite essays lay in wait. I would’ve missed gems such as “Letters to a Daughter at Thirteen” and “Letters to My Mother.” “Marking a Passage” and “Flying” resonated so much more than “Knowing Our Place” and “A Forest’s Last Stand.” It’s not that I don’t care about our country and environment. It’s just that right now I’d rather read about family and gardening -- things that bring me comfort rather than anger or fear. To quote Kingsolver, I’d found “words that might help me become a better mother, a wiser friend.”

    And, now to get to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which has been on my TBR list forever!

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  22. You mentioned The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets on my recap the other day and I don't think you would get notified of my comment if I replied, but I didn't really like it but I didn't really dislike it. I had to renew it 3 times from the library because I kept reading other things and getting busy with school, so I think dragging it out messed with the pace a bit. And sometimes she seemed overly braggy, even about bad things that happened. I don't know, it just wasn't a "me" book, but I'm glad I read it anyway!


    annnnd anyway, I hope you read and enjoy your TBR! I have Les Mis but I only got around 100 pages into it last year when I tried to read it, but I really want to read it all at some point! I've never read Kingsolver but I feel like I should. I didn't love the A Great and Terrible Beauty series, almost so much that I didn't read The Diviners. BUT a lot of people love it, so I think you'll have better results. Also, I will be excited to see your review of Fingersmith. I want to read it at some point, too. I'll be excited to see all the other reviews too!

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