Down the TBR Hole #2

Image: hjl

Down the TBR Hole was started by Lia over at Lost in a Story.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

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
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I will be repeating this process every week until I’ve filtered out my entire TBR.  I currently have 588 books on my to-read shelf.  Yes, that’s right, the mountain got bigger.  However, it was because I finally added some books that I own.  It would have been one book larger, but I moved a book to Currently Reading, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

This week’s five books:

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee – KEEP.  As I mentioned in last week’s “Down the TBR Hole”, I love books about books.  Though I’ve had this one on my TBR and wishlist for a long time, it’s only because I prefer to buy books about books in either paperback or hardback.  I avoid buying them as ebooks if I can, but I haven’t found a physical copy of this one yet.

Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan – KEEP.  This one is a keeper for the same reason as the one above.

Sixpence House by Paul Collins – KEEP.  I already own this, and there is no way I’m not reading it.

Ruined By Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz – KEEP.  Again, I hope to own a physical copy of this one someday.

Book By Book by Michael Dirda – KEEP.  This is another one that I already own, but, unfortunately, it’s an ebook.  I think I gave up on the idea of finding a physical copy.  Regardless, I’m definitely going to read it.

So, my to-read shelf remains at 588 books and I’ll be starting off next week with book #31.

Down the TBR Hole #1

Image: hjl

I saw one of BrenhinesBooks Down the TBR Hole posts and thought, “What a neat idea!”  It was started by Lia over at Lost in a Story.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

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
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I will be repeating this process every week until I’ve filtered out my entire TBR.  I currently have 584 books on my to-read shelf, but I’m sure there are several books I already own that haven’t made it onto the list yet, and I know several of the books I’ve stacked on Litsy aren’t on my Goodreads.  So, the mountain may get larger before it diminishes.

This week’s five books:

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – KEEP.  This is a definite keeper since I’ve read and loved the first two books.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – KEEP. I already own this as an ebook and the synopsis is still interesting enough to not send it to the archive unread.

The First Pillar by Roy Huff – KEEP.  This is another one I already own as an ebook and am still interested in reading at some point.

Prisoner of the Daleks by Trevor Baxendale – KEEP.  I’m very much a Whovian, and David Tennant is one of my fave Doctors.

The Slitheen Excursion by Simon Guerrier – KEEP.  See above.  Enough said.

I’m not even going to list the next 5 books because they are all Doctor Who, and I’m keeping them.  It’s the same with the next 15 on the list.  Apparently, I went a little Doctor Who crazy on Goodreads when I discovered there were books 🙂 So, my to-read shelf remains at 584 books and I’ll be starting off next week with book #26.

#ShelfLove – My Oldest Books


For March and April, the Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge participants are discussing the oldest books on our shelves.  I knew I had some books on my shelf that had been there for several years, but I was a little shocked when I realized the book I’ve owned the longest and still haven’t read has moved from place to place, country to country with me since 2005!
  1. “The Holy Barbarians” by Lawrence Lipton – This book was mentioned in an episode of Gilmore Girls.  It wasn’t an easy book to find at the time, especially since I was living in Korea, but I tracked a copy down through a used bookseller that didn’t have a problem shipping to an APO.  I was a bit obsessed with the Beat Generation and majorly obsessed with all things Gilmore Girls; otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of finding it.

  2. “Memory Mambo” by Achy Obejas – After my Abuelo passed away, I began finding and buying any book that might bring me a little closer to the Cuban part of my family.
  3. “Skin Trade” by Laurell K. Hamilton – I bought the hardcover when it first came out in 2009.  I was only a book or two behind in the series at the time.  Now there are 25 in the series (“Skin Trade” is #17), with the 26th due out in June of this year.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

    Jess is disappointed in me.
  4. “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne – This book, and the next three, were bought free on my brand spanking new first generation Nook right before I deployed to Iraq in 2009.
  5. “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert
  6. “The Hunchback of Notre” Dame by Victor Hugo
  7. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins 
  8. “Book Lust” by Nancy Pearl – Always a fan of books about books, as soon as I saw this offered on Nook, I snatched it up.
  9. “Hiking Alone” by Mary Beath – I purchased this while on a road trip in 2011.  I had stopped for the night in Albuquerque, NM and when I got up the next morning, I realized my hotel was just across the street from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
  10. “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens – I bought this from a little independent bookstore and coffee shop in Utah during that same road trip.  Their largest cup was “The Hagrid” and I’ve wished that coffee and tea shops everywhere offered “Hagrid”-sized drinks ever since.

It is now a goal of mine to clear these off my TBR this year.  What are some of the oldest books on your shelf?

#ShelfLove: Mid-Year Check-In

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

A lot has changed in my life since I started this year’s Show Your Shelves Some Love challenge.  I got a full-time job.  I moved to a new apartment.  I began to truly focus on my health.  With all of those changes, I’ve come to realize quite a bit about myself that I didn’t previously know, and books have become an even more important part of my life as a result.

For instance, I realized I have to work for the sake of my mental health, not just my bank account, but I also have to have a job or at least be doing or working towards doing something I’m passionate about.  After I was offered the job, I was so excited to finally be working full-time again, but the excitement quickly wore off because my job is 1) not challenging and 2) has nothing to do with books.  So, my game plan has changed a little bit.  It’s no longer “I want to eventually go to grad school to become a librarian.”  It’s now “I’m taking the steps to go to grad school as soon as possible.”

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My TBR shelf before I moved.

That doesn’t have much to do with #ShelfLove, other than the obvious (books, of course), but my recent move to a bigger, but very differently configured, apartment made me greatly appreciative of this challenge’s existence and the lovely women hosting it.  I’ve discussed many times before how my book collection has caused quite a few problems when it comes to moving.  There’s the back-breaking weight, the cost of packing materials, and then the process of unpacking and reorganizing.  Ok, that last one is kind of fun.  Alright, a lot of fun.

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Only 2 of my book boxes before I moved. The other 5 or 6 were in storage.


For the first time in nearly seven years, I finally cut down my collection and moved to a place big enough to have all of my books in one place and easily accessible.  No longer do I have to drive out to my storage unit and dig through boxes to find that *one* book I want to read or loan to the Boyfriend.  Granted, not all of those books are on shelves, thanks to my shelves still being in storage until we have the money and time to shut down the storage unit for good, but all my pretty lovelies are READily available 😉 and that makes me a happy gal.

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My TBR shelf now. Though it doesn’t appear to be any different, it really is.

Though the main purpose of this challenge is to read the books we already own, and I’m definitely doing that, it has also made me rethink the books I choose to keep.  I was holding onto a lot of books I knew I would probably never read, but the pressure to read them because I bought them was causing me unnecessary stress.  I finally decided to take them to the used bookstore.  I thought letting go of these unread books would be difficult, but I didn’t shed any tears, and those books are better off in the hands of someone who will actually read them.  So far, I’ve made over $50 off those books and I’ve got another box that is halfway full.  Since my job hasn’t made me rich, that extra money means that I could afford to buy myself some exercise clothes that actually fit and are cute and comfortable so I’m more likely to get off the couch.

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The remaining books after the purge.

What does concentrating on my health have to do with #ShelfLove?  It means I’m reading more.  Not only am I setting aside time every night to read as a form of self-care, I’m also reading while I exercise.  Whether I’m reading a book on my Kindle while I’m on the treadmill or listening to an audiobook while I’m walking during my breaks at work, I’m getting through my books much faster than I did last year.  I’m already at the halfway point of my goal of reading 51 books off my TBR pile.  Last year I was about five books behind.  Of course, I was still in college and taking Summer courses to finish my degree faster, but I wasn’t making as much time for exercise, either, and there’s nothing I’d rather do more while I sweat than read.

Overall, the changes in my life have improved my relationship with books and reading.  I didn’t believe that was possible, especially since I was sure my new job, moving, and exercising more would all cost me valuable reading time.  Instead, the opposite has happened, and maybe this challenge has something to do with that.  Perhaps my determination to stick with it has made me come up with workable solutions.  All I know is that before #ShelfLove, and before I started blogging, I was barely getting through half the books I now read in a year, despite owning double the number of books I own today.

24 Hour Take Control TBR Readathon!

Take Control TBR Pile Read-a-thon
*Edited to correct the fact that the readathon isn’t until next Saturday…Sorry for any confusion.

Kimberly over at Caffeinated Book Reviewer is hosting the #TakeControlThon as part of the March Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge.  Anyone can participate, though, so if you haven’t heard about it yet, you should join in!  The only real rule is to read books from your TBR that were published before March 1st of this year.

I’ve known about this readathon for about a month, but my life got busy, and I completely forgot about it until I looked at my calendar late last night.  So, I don’t have a pile of books already stacked and ready to go yet.  I’m winging it for now.  However, I do know that my 1st book will be An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon since I was already in the middle of reading that before I got sidetracked by other books.  When I get to the point where I need a break, I’ll randomly pull a book off my shelf.  Or, maybe I’ll have my book life back in working order by next Saturday and will have a TBR list to add to my kick-off post.

I will also try to stay up as long as possible during the readathon, but I know I won’t be doing the entire 24 hours.  There is supposed to be a Twitter chat and some challenges, but I don’t know when or what, so I may or may not participate in those.  However, I will be posting an update or two.  Again, I’m winging it.

Are you participating in the #TakeControlThon?

Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

Take Control of Your TBR Pile

The Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge is entering its fourth year, but this is the first year I’ll be participating.

The Rules:

For the entire month of March, read books in your TBR pile released before March 1, 2016. They can be eBooks, physical books, or audiobooks.

My Goals:

  • I will read nothing but physical books I already own.  That means no borrowed books, whether from the library, a friend, or the Boyfriend’s bookshelves.
  • I’ll update my progress in my weekly “Monday’s Minutes” posts, and write a final wrap-up post at the end of the month.
  • I’ll also write a review for every book I read.
  • I will participate in the 24-hour TBR Readathon on March 12th.
  • I will try to participate in the Twitter party on March 16th.


As you all know by now, I have an entire floor to ceiling bookcase full of books I’ve never read.  Thanks to the Boyfriend and giveaway winnings, I haven’t cleared out any space yet this year.  While I also haven’t run out of space again, that needs to change because we’re moving in March, and I’d love to have at least one box of books headed to the used bookstore before then.  While I don’t have any specific books I plan to read during the challenge, I do plan on attacking the paperbacks I’m pretty sure I won’t want to keep after I finish them.

Feel the Paper Love February: My TBR

2015-12-29 11.54.22

Yep, that’s right!  The photo above of my bookcase is my TBR mountain for Feel the Paper Love February.  Why?  Because, with the exception of three books I want to read this month, I don’t have a plan.  It depends on the weather, my mood, and how quickly I get through the other three books.

What are those three books?

  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon – I started it on the 1st of the year but kept getting distracted by other books.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith – I borrowed this from the Boyfriend’s Mom’s Husband when we went to visit for Christmas.  I don’t know how it will work out, but the plan is that we will exchange books when the Boyfriend’s Mom comes down to Austin every couple of months.  Since I don’t know when she’ll be in town next, I want to have the book finished, a note with my thoughts about it written, and a book of mine ready to send with it.
  • Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio – This is an ARC that I’ve had on my shelf for far too long.

One thing I did decide is that, since I’m choosing to read nothing but physical books this month, but I usually listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car, I’m going to catch up with the ridiculous number of podcasts I’ve been neglecting instead.  They’re not books, so I’m not breaking my commitment to the printed page.  I’ll return to my audiobooks next month.

Sunday’s Sundries: TBR Jars

Sundries - Dominic Hartnett
Image: Dominic Hartnett

Felicia at The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog has been working on a project to get her books in order.  Her updates on her progress inspired me to finally get my book life more organized, too.  I scanned all of my physical TBR books into Goodreads and then worked on getting all of my books (including my ebooks) into a spreadsheet.  I chose to do that instead of manually adding most of my ebooks, which aren’t Kindle books (Goodreads has an option to add all your Amazon book purchases without having to look them up one at a time).  It still took most of a day, since I copied and pasted the information from my order histories into a spreadsheet and then had to straighten it all out.

I was shocked to discover how many ebooks I have.  I figured that I had maybe 150 or so, but I found out I have over 400 ebooks that I’ve never read.  Over half of them were free, and 100 of those were bought within the past 12 months.  In fact, from the very first ebook I’ve ever bought, up to today, I’ve acquired more free ebooks in the past year than I have at any other time.  I’m certain that’s because I’m participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge.  I can’t pay money for books, but I can get all the free books I want.  Apparently, my brain took this to mean I was in a book famine and therefore I had to hoard all.the.books.

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Since I can’t see my ebook collection in the same way as my physical books, I decided to make a TBR jar for them.  I also did the math on how long it would take me to read all those books and decided to unsubscribe from the daily emails I receive full of free ebooks being offered.  If I continue to read 65 books a year like I did last year, it will take me over six years to finish my mountain of a TBR pile.  If I also continue adding 100 new ebooks every year, that mountain will continue to grow.  The phrase “When I die, I’ll be found next to a stack of books I was meaning to read” is very fitting to this stage in my book life.

I also made a TBR jar for my physical books, but for a different reason.  Do you ever stand in front of your TBR pile/shelf undecided about which book to read next?  I spend at least 10 minutes waffling between books I know I’m likely to send to the used bookstore and books I’ll probably want to keep forever.  The TBR jar takes the question out of what to read next.  Whatever comes out of the jar is what I’m reading.

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I don’t know where I got the image that I used for the labels, but I used “Algerian” font and named them “The Hobbit’s TBR Library” because the boyfriend nicknamed me Hobbit ages ago.  I used sticker printer paper to make the labels but then had to use a bit of clear tape on each end because it apparently doesn’t like sticking to acrylic.  I then spent hours cutting up the printed spreadsheet pages into strips so they would look like shredded newsprint.  I probably spent way too much time on these, but I figured they’re going to be in my life for at least the next six years so they might as well be pretty.

Do you have a TBR jar?  Leave a link to a picture of it in the comments.

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile


Take Control of Your TBR pile is back for its third year, but this will be the first time I’m participating.  For the month of March I’ll read books in my TBR pile that were released before March 1, 2015.

The Rules:

  • Link-up!
  • Make a Goals/updates/Results post (can be combined).
  • Begins March 1st, 2015 and ends March 31, 2015 at midnight.
  • Read/listen to books from your TBR pile.
  • ALL books must have been published before March 1st, 2015.
  • Post a review and then link it to the Rafflecopter for an entry.
  • You can combine events, challenges, etc. (I’m combining this with all of my current challenges.)
  • No novellas.
  • The rafflecopter will only allow two books to be entered per person per day, so update as soon as you finish a book.
  • Earn an extra entry for adding the Take Control Button to your blog with a link-back.
  • Use hashtag #TakeControlTBR
  • There will be a Twitter Party and a read-a-thon (To be announced).
  • The Rafflecopter will close on April 2, 2015 at midnight and a winner will be chosen within 72 hours. The Prize is a new 2015 release valued up to $20.00.

My Goals:

  • I’m going to try to finish 4 books.  I’ve already chosen 3 of them:
  • I’ll include updates in my Monday’s Minutes posts each week.
  • I’m going to do my best to participate in the Twitter Party and the read-a-thon, depending on when they will be.


No Book Buying Challenge: TBR List


There’s no way I could possibly list every single book on my TBR bookshelf and all the ebooks I have in my 1st gen Nook (thankfully, Kindle links to Goodreads).  Even just randomly listing the amount of books for the level I chose (Black Belt: 51+ books) is daunting.  Since I signed up for this challenge, I’ve been very slowly adding books I already own onto a newly created TBR shelf on Goodreads, but those are only a drop in the bucket.  So, my TBR for this challenge is a weird combination of lists and photos:

To start off, I’ll be reading my review books:

  1. The Kingdom Lights by Steven VS
  2. Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley
  3. The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott
  4. The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
  5. Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes
  6. Onyx Webb: Episode One: The Story Begins by Andrea Waltz
  7. Feast of Fates by Christian A. Brown
  8. Walking the Labyrinth by Lisa Goldstein
  9. Tommy Black and the Staff of Light by Jake Kerr

Then, I’ll be clearing out as many of my ebooks until March 6th, which marks the end of COYER.  These are the ebooks I’ve managed to get listed on Goodreads:

Foreign Correspondences Lesley Krueger
Little Boy Lost (The Librarian, #1) Eric Hobbs
The Princess of Dhagabad Anna Kashina
Ren of Atikala (Kobolds, #1) David  Adams
Turn of the Tide Margaret Skea
The Uncanny Valley: Tales from a Lost Town Gregory Miller
Lights Out Holly Black
Birth Of The Monster Shane K.P. O’Neill
The City of Worms (Everville. #2) Roy Huff
Everville: The Rise of Mallory Roy Huff
The Magic of Highland Dragons (The Clan MacCoinnach, #1) Kella McKinnon
Vigilante of Shadows (Novel 1 of The Scarlet Rain Series) Miranda Stork
The Final Formula Becca Andre
A Sea of Shields Morgan Rice
Gods & Dragons: 8 Fantasy Novels Daniel Arenson
The Lord of the Plains (Mixed, #1) Sarah Chapman
Fell’s Hollow A.J. Abbiati
Penny Dreadful Multipack Vol. 3 Robert Louis Stevenson
A Tide of Shadows (Chronicles of Llars, #1) Tom Bielawski
A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer’s Ring, #1) Morgan Rice
Mad Tinker’s Daughter (Mad Tinker Chronicles, #1) J.S. Morin
The Great Darkening (Epic of Haven Trilogy) R.G. Triplett
A Shadow of Lilies (The Last Savior) R. Moses
The Sibyl Cynthia D. Witherspoon
Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) Garth Nix
The First Pillar (Everville, #1) Roy Huff
The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen

After COYER ends, I’ll move over to my physical TBR shelf.  Here are the 3 I’ve added to Goodreads:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1) Catherynne M. Valente
The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin

And here are pictures of my bookshelf, sans knick knacks, with the books I’ve already read, and decided to keep, blacked out:

first shelf

second shelf

third shelf

As you can see, I have way more books to read than I will get through this year, and it doesn’t include the 136 books I have on my Nook.  I would be ashamed if I didn’t know that I’m not the only one with a major book buying addiction.