The Intimidating TBR Tag

And now it’s time for the walk of shame. The beautiful and brilliant Renay has tagged me to talk about my TBR list, and I hang my head woefully and confess my TBR sins.

1. What book have you been unable to finish?

Future Crimes, by Mark Goodman. I started it a while back, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t into it, but you know how if you kept getting lice as a kid because that one girl in your class had a crunchy granola mother who I guess didn’t believe in Nix Shampoo and wouldn’t do anything about her daughter having lice so everyone in fifth grade kept getting it over and over again, you know how to this day if you talk about lice your head starts itching even though you know it’s psychosomatic and everything’s fine?

No? That’s just me? (My head itches right now y’all.)

Well, anyway, reading Future Crimes got too stressful for me. It made my brain itch. I’ll go back to it sometime! Swearsies!

2. Which book haven’t you read yet because you haven’t had the time?

All of them? Can I answer “all of them” to this question? I’m giving the very specific answer right now of The Madwoman Upstairs, which I checked out with a regular (okay, largeish) bunch of library books and then a ton of electronic holds on new books arrived at once. With a shiny new Crooked Kingdom, Three Dark Crowns, Tessa Dare romance novel, and this sports romance novel by an author called Ruby Lang I only just heard about, the library books that are currently on their last renewal are falling by the wayside. Sorry, The Madwoman Upstairs! I’ll come back to you someday!

3. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s a sequel?

Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies. I got it at a book sale thinking “well I won’t like Wolf Hall for sure but maybe I’ll like this,” and then I tried reading Wolf Hall and really loved it. (Go fig.) So now I have this nice hardback of Bring Up the Bodies, and I haven’t read it yet because Anne Boleyn dies! And even though Mantel’s version of Anne Boleyn isn’t the world’s most ever sympathetic, still I do not want her to get beheaded.

Bring Up the Bodies

4. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s brand new?

All the Real Indians Died Off: And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans, by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker. I read Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous People’s History of the United States a few years back and thought it was terrific. I’m also trying to be more aware of indigenous American history and lives generally, and I’m hoping to read more from Indian authors in the upcoming year.

5. Which book haven’t you read yet because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

White Teeth and On Beauty, by Zadie Smith. I quite liked her essay collection, Changing My Mind, but wasn’t wild about her latest-but-one novel, NW. I am hoping that I’ll love her latest latest, Swing Time, and then that will ease the way for me to get back to reading these two earlier novels, which have been on my list for like a decade now.

6. Which book haven’t you read yet because you’re just not in the mood for it?

Happy Families, by Tanita Davis. Let me revise that: I am in the mood for it. I will always be in the mood for it. I loved her latest book Peas and Carrots, and I am confident that Happy Families will be similarly thoughtful, emotional, and great. But I have been saving Happy Families for some kind of feelings emergency, and even though 2016 has been terrible, there hasn’t been anything so cataclysmic as to merit digging into my emergency reserve of books that feel like hugs.

7. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s humongous?

Don Quixote, okay, I admit it. I asked for it for Christmas probably over ten years ago, received it from one of my beloved aunts, and to this day I still haven’t read it. There’s a part of me that’s hoping Alice at Reading Rambo will host a readalong one time, but honestly it doesn’t seem like the kind of book she’d be excited to read along with other bloggers.

(But Jenny, couldn’t you just host the readalong? I hear you ask. Okay, yes, probably I could do that. Alice is just so much betterrrrrr at it and she’ll definitely keep dooooooooing it and I’m so laaaaaaaaaaazy and I’m just like not a leader I am really more of a facilitator slash sheep. So.)

8. Which book haven’t you read yet because because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

Wow this is really specific. I don’t buy books based on the covers almost ever, because I want my library to be (I’m sorry to use this word but) curated. So I’ll do something closeish: I was very excited to read The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, because on paper it sounded perfect for me, all sciencey and accessible. But then I read a thing where apparently a bunch of scientists who study this stuff as their jobs do not think Mukherjee has a good handle on it at all. DILEMMAS.

9. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

My Uncle Napoleon, by Iraj Pezeshkzad, which is so intimidating it is now officially the oldest book on my TBR list. Not only is the book 500+ pages long, it’s also in translation, which is very intimidating to me. My track record with translated novels is not the greatest track record. Anyway, the good news is that in compiling this post, I discovered a super beautiful cover for the book that made me feel like three degrees less intimidated.

My Uncle Napoleon

10. Who do you tag?

Look, this tag made me dig deep into my TBR shame, and I don’t want to pressure anyone else to do that who doesn’t want to. Do the Intimidating TBR Tag if you wish! Maybe it’ll remind you that you should get off your butt and read My Uncle Napoleon already or else take it off your TBR list and admit it’s never going to happen.

  • I may be in the minority here, but I’d say skip The Madwoman Upstairs. I found it ridiculous, and not in a good way. But as I say, that may be just me…

    And I have Don Quixote too! I won it in a giveaway and was meaning to read it for the first time since high school (and the first time ever unabridged). Should we do a buddy read? But next year, i can’t handle it in 2016.

    • Have to agree on The Madwoman Upstairs. Loved the cover…but I found the book annoying.

  • Bring Up the Bodies is a wonderful book and you must read it soon, before you see the play, which is fabulous. I got to see Wolf Hall at a matinee at the wonderful old Aldwych Theatre in London, and since we had dress circle tickets because my mother was in a wheelchair, they let us sit in a box, which we were told was the box that Stephen Hawking had used just the week before. Anyway, Wolf Hall was fabulous, as I said, and then we came back for the evening performance of Bring Up the Bodies…and it was even better. I swear!

  • Kailana

    Oh, fun. I just saved this as a draft to maybe do myself. 🙂

  • Fun tag! I’d love to see a round-up of books by and/or about Indigenous communities, if you’re looking for ideas. 🙂

  • I have so many good books on my TBR that should have been read already and I have no excuse, except that other books just keep sneaking in ahead of them, either because they’re shiny and new or because they’re from the library and have due dates. It was fun hearing your stories/excuses for each book, though. The cover for My Uncle Napoleon is gorgeous – really making it much less intimidating. 😉

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    I’ve been trying to read the third volume of Proust, Guermantes Way, for somewhere around eight years now! Each time I begin it and each time I get stuck around the same place. My last attempt I thought for sure I’d be able to see it through since I was reading it with a couple other people but they all got stuck at the same place too!

  • ‘All of them’ is a very valid answer for Question 2!! And oh no, I didn’t know that The Gene didn’t receive good reviews. That’s a bummer. I’ve been saving it for when I am ready for a long audiobook listen.

  • JeanPing

    Ahahaha, I DID read Uncle Napoleon. It’s not scary at all, you can do it! Every single one of the books on your list is scarier than Uncle Napoleon (OK, except for the Happy Families one). Half of it is practically Three’s Company comedy–not that low, but all about the misunderstandings and the sex jokes–except it’s also sad. Also the cover is soooo pretty, you can look at it a lot.

  • Kristen M.

    I am going to cull some books from my TBR this weekend as I switch my top shelf from RIP to fall/winter reads. There are just too many books and I’m never going to get to them and there are always new ones. I need a TBR of about 50 books I think and right now it’s three times that. I don’t even know if I could answer these questions because some of the books are just so bland that I don’t have any of these thoughts about them. I’m not not reading them for a reason. There are just too many there.

  • I think I have Don Quixote lying around, too, but I think I’m probably more intimidated by the biography of Einstein. I’m also a little way into Vanity Fair but stalled quite a while ago. It was okay, but I suspect I share your feelings on picaresque novels. Plus, it was so hard to fit in around reviewing commitments.

  • I’m glad you mentioned An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, and to hear that you thought it was great, because I added it to my TBR list a week or so ago. 🙂 Part of me is interested in Happy Families, but another part of me is tired of authors outside the trans community using the “…but they had a secret that will change their lives” trope. And…I don’t know…something about the perspective makes me nervous. (But I’m adding it to the TBR list anyhow)

  • Nishita

    OK. Do read Bring up the Bodies. It’s simply awesome. And yeah, it’s sad that Anne Boleyn dies, but it’s still worth reading for all that. And now, I can’t wait for the next book where Cromwell dies. Yeah!

  • Aw. There is no shame of the TBR pile! You will get around to these…eventually, and in the meantime, you can enjoy how pretty they look on your shelf – virtual or real or borrowed.

  • Christy

    Catching up with my blogroll, and wondering have you reached for Happy Families yet?
    Also, I’ve read White Teeth. I liked it pretty well and especially Zadie Smith’s playful writing style. It’s the only book I’ve read by her.
    I enjoyed this post – I think lots of us can relate to the TBR struggle.