I currently have 188 books on my goodreads.com to-be-read shelf. This is appalling and the equivalent of staring down a bottomless pit. Many of these reads were added to the list on a whim and so I have taken inspiration from Bookbum.co.uk and imaginaryplacesonpaper to do a bit of a spring clean!
The original challenge is this:
- 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?
To be a bit different, I am going to just talk about the books that must go today. If any of these books are worth keeping, please let me know if I am making a terrible mistake!
1. Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit: A Biography (Bruce Thomas)
I greatly admire Bruce Lee and I am eternally grateful for him sending me down the direction of Taoist philosophy years ago when I read The Warrior Within by John R. Little. I think if Bruce were alive today he would want me to move away from obsessively studying him alone. I have no guilt whatsoever removing this one.
2. Warlock (Legends West #1) (Oakley Hall)
I have no idea how or why this one made it onto my TBR pile. The synopsis reads:
Oakley Hall’s legendary Warlock revisits and reworks the traditional conventions of the Western to present a raw, funny, hypnotic, ultimately devastating picture of American unreality. First published in the 1950s, at the height of the McCarthy era, Warlock is not only one of the most original and entertaining of modern American novels but a lasting contribution to American fiction.
Maybe it’s the Wyatt Earp and Tombstone references listed in the Goodreads description…but another western series is not what I need right now.
3. The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War (Halik Kochanski)
I have no doubt that some fantastic historical research went into the writing of this book and I am pretty sure that I would love it. Some years ago I spent a week in Poland and visited Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan. I fell in love with the people and their proud fighting history. I had a very good tour guide in Auschwitz who described the Polish fight for independence as well as the atrocities that were inflicted upon the Polish civilians during this time. I went on to read Wladyslaw Szpilman’s harrowing account in The Pianist and Alexandra Ritchie’s fantastic study in Warsaw 1944. Any further reading on this subject would be just covering the same ground.
4. Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong (David Walsh)
I bought this on Kindle for 99p at the height of the Armstrong drugs scandal. This was after reading Armstrong’s own autobiography It’s not about the bike and listening to Tyler Hamilton’s side of the story in The Secret Race by Daniel Coyle. I was lucky to win tickets to the Irish premiere of the documentary The Armstrong Lie also and the author of the book did a Q&A after. Long story short…Lance is not a nice person, David Walsh is obsessed with the downfall of another man and I have had enough of this topic for now!
5. Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) (Robin Hobb)
I’m sorry Robin Hobb. I have no doubts that this series is brilliant and lives up to the hype but I can’t commit to a new series right now. Not after spending years reading all those Game Of Thrones and not getting a conclusion (yet!) Also, if I was to start a new and similar series I think that the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon would be more up my street. This is largely due to my love of all thing Scottish!
6. Hard Rain Falling (Don Carpenter)
Synopsis: Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary conﬁnement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class—married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.
Sounds good. Sounds very good. But I have so many classics like this to read already I am going to have to pass on this one!
7. The Face of Another (Kōbō Abe)
Synopsis: Like an elegantly chilling postscript to The Metamorphosis, this classic of postwar Japanese literature describes a bizarre physical transformation that exposes the duplicities of an entire world. The narrator is a scientist hideously deformed in a laboratory accident–a man who has lost his face and, with it, his connection to other people. Even his wife is now repulsed by him.
His only entry back into the world is to create a mask so perfect as to be undetectable. But soon he finds that such a mask is more than a disguise: it is an alternate self–a self that is capable of anything. A remorseless meditation on nature, identity and the social contract, The Face of Another is an intellectual horror story of the highest order.
Again, this sounds very intriguing and original but I have had my fill of Japanese literature for now. This could be one that I eventually get back to, but for now it is going back into the wilderness to take the pressure off me!
8. Notes on Blood Meridian (John Sepich)
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. To fret about reading a book about a book is too much for me at this current moment in my life. I would much prefer to reread Blood Meridian than get to this first. Some day I may turn to John Sepich for the answers…