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Saturday Clean-Up: TBR Declutter #3

July 1, 2017

 

I'm back for another round of TBR declutter! Last week I removed like three books, which felt pretty great. Of course since then, I've added like 5 or 10 back to it, so...

 

Anyhow!  Credit goes to Lia @ Lost in a Story for this idea! 


Just tuning in? The aim is pretty simple: to declutter your TBR shelf. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.

  • Order on ascending date added.

  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.

  • Read the synopses of the books

  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Last time I did 10, and I’m going to do it again.


Current TBR tally: 270
Oldest book added: 2012

 

Here they are:

 

Morning In The Burned House by Margaret Atwood

 

 

These beautifully crafted poems - by turns dark, playful, intensely moving, tender, and intimate - make up Margaret Atwood's most accomplished and versatile gathering to date, "setting foot on the middle ground / between body and word." Some draw on history, some on myth, both classical and popular. Others, more personal, concern themselves with love, with the fragility of the natural world, and with death, especially in the elegiac series of meditations on the death of a parent. But they also inhabit a contemporary landscape haunted by images of the past. Generous, searing, compassionate, and disturbing, this poetry rises out of human experience to seek a level between luminous memory and the realities of the everyday, between the capacity to inflict and the strength to forgive.

 

Plead your case: I love Margaret Atwood, and definitely want to read this book of poems.

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

 

Including the earlier collections A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Golden Apples, and The Bride of the Innisfallen, as well as previously uncollected ones, these forty-one stories demonstrate Eudora Welty's talent for writing from diverse points-of-view with “vision that is sweet by nature, always humanizing, uncannily objective, but never angry” (Washington Post).​

 

Plead your case: I've read a lot of these stories, I feel, but I still want a copy of this book.

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

Alice Munro: Selected Stories

 

 

Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In her Selected Stories, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever. To read these stories--about a traveling salesman and his children on an impromptu journey; an abandoned woman choosing between seduction and solitude--is to succumb to the spell of a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.Home for the summer in Alabama, Rhoda Manning seems blessed: her daddy is very rich, she is newly slim, and all of her friends adore her. But the passionate, independent Rhoda begins to realize that life is more than her comfortable, secure existence would suggest. As Rhoda strains against the confinements of home and family, she becomes reckless, flinging herself on a rebellious course toward destruction.

 

Plead your case: Another master of the short story. I love Alice Munro so much, but why do I have so many collections of the selected or altogether collected short stories on this TBR?

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan

 

 

When a deep-rooted memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child: April's mother, Adele, drove with her two young daughters deep into the woods where she killed first them and then herself.

 

Elizabeth, now a mother herself, tracks down everyone--Adele Cassidy's neighbor, her psychiatrist, her sister--who might give her the insight necessary to understand how a mother could commit such a monstrous crime.

 

Elizabeth's investigation leads her back to herself: her compromised marriage, her demanding children, her increasing self-doubt, her desire for more out of her own life, and finally to a fearsome reckoning with what it means to be a mother and wife.

 

Plead your case: I don't remember ever adding this book? I have one friend who did write a rave two-sentence review for it, so I guess I must have just added it then. It sounds like a super tough read. I think I wanna keep it for a while.

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

 

 

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 they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.

 

Plead your case: Yes, yes, yes. Read, read, read.

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

The Golden Apples by Eudora Welty

 

Welty is on home ground in the state of Mississippi in this collection of seven stories. She portrays the MacLains, the Starks, the Moodys, and other families of the fictitious town of Morgana. “I doubt that a better book about ‘the South’-one that more completely gets the feel of the particular texture of Southern life and its special tone and pattern-has ever been written” (New Yorker).

 

Plead your case: I’m pretty sure I’d go to hell for removing Eudora Welty from this list. Please tell me this gets easier?

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

Plead your case: How did this even end up on my TBR?

 

Should it stay or should it go: Go

 

Snow White, Blood Red by A Slew Of Folks

 

Once upon a time, fairy tales were for children... But no longer.

You hold in your hands a volume of wonders -- magical tales of trolls and ogres, of bewitched princesses and kingdoms accursed, penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day. But these are not bedtime stories designed to usher an innocent child gently into a realm of dreams. These are stories that bite -- lush and erotic, often dark and disturbing mystical journeys through a phantasmagoric landscape of distinctly adult sensibilities... where there is no such thing as "happily ever after."

 

Plead your case: This has some real mixed reviews, but I still wanna read it.

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger by Lee Smith

 

Smith slips effortlessly into the voices of her funny, smarter-than-they-look characters in her latest collection (after News of the Spirit), containing a handful of new works among some old favorites. In Toastmaster, a family's dinner outing is parsed from the point of view of a brainy 11-year-old who sees through the motivations of his flaky mother and demonstrates his powers of observation when a group of joking, drunken men enter the restaurant. Similarly, Big Girl allows an overweight wife who has sacrificed everything for her awful husband to tell her story while attaining the ultimate emancipation.

Each tale is beautifully honed and captures in subtle detail and gentle irony the essential humanity of characters who might initially strike the reader as superficial or unsympathetic. House Tour, for instance, finds a cynical wife and mother contemplating her possible alcoholism when her house is overrun by an endearing group of similarly life-worn but irrepressible women who mistake her house for one on their home tour. Other tales about indomitable wives and mothers will be familiar to Smith's fans and round out this thoroughly enjoyable collection.

 

Plead your case: This sounds so good, but will I actually read it? This is too hard.

 

Should it stay or should it go: Go? Something has to go.

 

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order" (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.

 

Plead your case: I loved Housekeeping and know I need to read this one. But when??

 

Should it stay or should it go: STAY

 

 

This one was really tough. I knocked 2 off but I don't know how I feel about it.


Have any thoughts about what I’ve kept around what I’ve given the boot? Please let me know! 

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