Down The TBR Hole: Week One

Down The TBR Hole is a weekly meme created by the lovely Lia which is done in an attempt to clean out our TBR pile. As a bookworm, that ever elusive Tbr pile haunts our nightmares and it can seem very daunting to cut down the books we want to read. I myself have close to 4000 books on my goodreads to-read list so I thought that doing this meme would be the perfect way to a least make my to be read shelf just a tiny bit slimmer.

So it works like this

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre 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?

1. Picture Perfect By Jodi Picoult

I’m pretty this is one of the last books I haven’t read read by Picoult so I definitely am going to read it soon.

Verdict: Keep

2. Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult Samantha Van Leer

The plot isn’t super appealing to me but it’s by Jodi Picoult and I’ll read anything she writes so I definitely want to get to this eventually

Verdict: Keep

3. Leaving Home by Jodi Picoult

I lowkey had no clue what this was but apparently it’s like a collection of three short pieces and let’s be honest I’m probably never going to read it.

Verdict:Go

4. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Goodreads is weird because I just added this one today but it’s in my oldest to-read books?? Anyway I’m so excited to read this. It’s about Martha Gellhorn and I absolutely adored her other book about Hemmingway’s 1st wife?( or second I can’t remember. Hemingway was a hoe) so I’m going to be getting to this one soon

Verdict:Keep

5. 172 Hours On The Moon By Johan Harstad

I added this back when I had just discovered booktube. Ariel Bisett and Raeleen Lemay loved this book but I don’t think it’s something I’m ever going to seek out. Also space is terrifying so I think I’m going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go

6.Winger By Andrew Smith

This is another book that booktube was obsessed with way back when and while it doesn’t seem like a bad book, I don’t know if it’s something that would appeal to me. I have a feeling that Andrew Smith just wouldn’t work for me.

Verdict:Go

7. The Program By Suzanne Young

This is one of those books that I know I would have loved four years ago but at this point in my life I really can’t see myself reading and enjoying it. It just seems really predictable and not that interesting.

Verdict:Go

8. Let The Sky Fall by Sharon Messenger

After reading the synopsis, I realize that I knew absolutely nothing about this book and tbh it doesn’t seem like my thing. Another one that past me would have enjoyed but not anymore.

Verdict:Go

9. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

This is the second book in The Name of the Star series which I remember really enjoying. I don’t know exactly when I’ll get around to it since I don’t own them but it’s a series that I definitely want to continue one day.

Verdict: Keep

10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

I know this is only 100 pages long but I’m probably never going to read it. I mean it sounds interesting and like if I had to read it for school I would probably enjoy reading it but I’m probably never going to read it willingly

Verdict:Go

11. Tiger Lily By Jodi Meadows.

While I do enjoy retellings I’m just not a big fantasy fan and while a Tiger Lily story could be interesting I would much rather read about it from an Indigenous author.

Verdict: Go

12. Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik

I have absolutely no interest in ever reading the book or watching the book and I can’t even really remember a time where we did so I’m not sure this is here but yeah just doesn’t seem that interesting. Also am I not breaking the first rule of Fight Club right now?

Verdict: Go

13. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S King

A.S Kings books are either really beautiful or really weird and I think that this one might be the latter. Also plus it’s about pirates and I’m not a huge fan of pirates.

Verdict: Go

14. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

I’ve tried to read this book but it was sooooo boring that I just gave up. Maybe I’m just not big on alien invasions but this book really didn’t do it for me

Verdict: Go

15.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I know it’s super short and lots of people love it but it doesn’t seem that appealing to me. I’m probably have to read it eventually for school but I’d rather not read it willingly.

Verdict: Go

16. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

A straight love story about a world where love is illegal? Yeah no I think I’ll pass

Verdict:Go

17. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonnasson

I’m tempted to keep it simply because of that gloriously long title but I think I’m going to have to pass on this one. This may sound weird but I really don’t like translated books for the most part

Verdict:Go

18. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I still haven’t read a Melina Marchetta book and I desperately want to. I’m praying that I’ll find in a used bookstore one of these days.

Verdict:Keep

19. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizinni.

I watched the movie and I really enjoyed it and I really want to read this book one day. I think it’s a particularly interesting book about depression to read if you go into it knowing that the author killed himself.

Verdict:Keep

20.Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Another one that younger Hannah would have loved but I don’t think I’d particularly enjoy.

Verdict:Go

Stats

Keep:5

Go:15

So that was a lot easier than I thought. I guess it’s because I created my Goodreads account 5 years ago and my reading tastes have changed a lot since then. I bet it’s only going to get harder.

What Did You Think of My Decisions? Are There Anyone’s That I Discarded That You Love? Anyone Ones That I Kept That You Disliked? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

Bridge Of Clay By Markus Zusak Book Review

Goodreads Summary: The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. 

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. 

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Reading a new book by your favorite author is honestly one of the most nerve wracking experiences a reader can go through There’s obviously the intense excitement and anticipation that lead up to the release date but then there’s the apprehension that always manages to creep its way into your happy thoughts. What if I don’t like it? What if their other books aren’t even that good and I only thought they were good because I was young and hadn’t read many other books? All these feelings and many more accompanied me as I nervously anticipated the release of Bridge of Clay. I have a lot of favorite authors but Markus Zusak is definitely my number one. I first read The Book Thief when I was in grade seven, and that was really the book that made me realize the power that words have. Before that books were always about the story but The Book Thief made me realize how beautiful words could make even the mundane magical. I then read his other books and fell in love with every single one of them. And once I was done, I found out that he was working on a new book: Bridge of Clay. It said that the book was supposed to come out in 2011: this was in 2012 so I thought to myself ” Cool! The release date was postponed but it’s definitely going to come out soon. ” Flash forward six years, and I can finally say that I’ve read Bridge of Clay. I’ve never waited that long for a book and after thinking about it for a while, I really think that it was worth it.

The first thing that I think is important is that you can’t compare it to The Book Thief. That’s one of the things I love about Zusak: his books stand on their own and they’re all unique and different from one another. You can’t go into any of his books with preconceived notions which is a really hard thing to do as a reader. Obviously if you love an author for certain things that they do, you’re going to expect them to do those things. With Jodi Picoult I expect great multiple perspective novels that discuss complex moral issues.With Becky Albertalli I expect cute fluffy contemporaries. With Kate Morton I expect dramatic plot lines involving rich people. But with Markus Zusak, I have learnt to expect the unexpected. It definitely wasn’t as good as The Book Thief but that’s pretty hard to do so that doesn’t bother me. But nonetheless Bridge of Clay combined all the things I love about Zusak into a breathtaking 500 page novel. There were times where I asked myself: “why on earth did it take him 13 years to publish this after The Book Thief” but I guess I understand. The Book Thief was such a huge success and it’s really difficult to live up to that. I mean sure he could have profited off that success, and published a book every year knowing that people would buy or no matter how shitty it was but he didn’t. That’s one of the things I admire about him: he takes writing very seriously and I think it’s remarkable how he wanted to give his readers only the very best. He’s my role model and if I could even be a quarter of the author he is, I would be extremely happy with myself.

So getting into the actual novel. Bridge of Clay is one of those books that you read the summary and you can’t quite grasp how it’s going to play out. I love books like that. I never thought that I’d fall in love with a book about a boy building a bridge but Markus Zusak just knows how to make even the most random of plots somehow work. I absolutely adored the way it was told. The book jumps around in time in a way that could’ve been super confusing but instead kept me on the edge of my seat. Everything is slowly revealed and though that’s something that doesn’t always worked, it was done really well. None of the stories were boring and they blended together in such a beautiful way. I was constantly expecting the worst and Zusak definitely delivered on that front. He sure knows how to rip your heart apart.

My favorite thing as with all of his books were the characters. They were all so precious and beautiful and I love the way they’re portrayed. Zusak is really great at creating multi-faceted characters with complex emotions. I didn’t exactly like all of the characters, but I loved each and every one of them as though they were my own. Clay is obviously at the centre of the book and while he is absolutely precious and beautiful, I can’t pick a favourite character because each and every one of them is beautiful in their own way. I’m very mad at Markus Zusak for the things he puts his characters through. I am not someone who cries because of books but he had me in tears multiple times. A book that makes me cry is usually a fantastic book.

A good Zusak book isn’t truly complete without a gorgeous writing style. His images are so precise and odd but it somehow works? I’ll read a sentence like “the pictures just out of the toaster” and if anybody else had written that I would’ve been like what the fuck but instead I instantly know what he’s talking about. His images aren’t confusing and though they’re simple they’re absolutely beautiful. He has such a wonderful grasp on language and the way he explains really simple things is truly something else. I love reading his books because it gives me a chance to see the world through his eyes for a couple of hours and there’s really nothing else like it.

What About You? Have You Read Bridge of Clay? Are You Going To? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below.

Are Holocaust Books Still Important?: Discussion Post

img_4188

As I finished yet another holocaust novel, I couldn’t help but wonder if we have reached a point where everything that has been written about the holocaust has already been written. Did I mention the book I had just read?  Yes: The Tatooist of Aushwitz was a touching story that had me captured until the very end but I couldn’t help but feel that everything written in this book I’ve heard before. Maybe I’ve become desensitized to the subject. After all I’ve been reading books like these since I was in the third grade. These stories are my people’s history  and it’s important not to forget the atrocities that were committed. I have read countless of books that feature Jewish people during the Holocaust but I struggle to come up with titles that feature Jewish characters that don’t live during The Holocaust.  yes we sufferred and that’s a huge part of our culture but there’s so much that so few people know about.  Jews are so much more than victims of the Holocaust. We have a rich culture filled with beautiful traditions and I just wish that literature would portray that more. I want to see the secular  Jews! And the religious ones!  And everyone in between!

So should authors stop writing Holocaust Fiction? Honestly I don’t know. I think they’re super important in reminding the Goyem about the atrocities that were inflicted on the Jews.  I personally really like them even if I do oftetimes feel like they’re formulaic and blend together. It especially rubs me the wrong way when non-jews write about it. I know that they probably don’t intend it that way but it sometimes reads to me as profitting off of the suffering of Jewish people.  I think that there’s some really interesting things that could still be done with jews during the Second World War. This is really evident with Katherine Locke’s  The Spy With The Red Balloon. This beauty of a book features two Queer Jewish siblings who kick nazi ass and are just so amazing and it’s set during  WW2 and it’s just so great. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for #ownvoices World War 2 fiction.

Another thing that angers me about Holocaust fiction and World War 2 fiction in general is the trope  of people falling in love with “good” Nazis. There’s no such as a good nazi, they’re all trash  and for anybody to make them anything less than that is disgusting.  Why do people feel the need to find the good in someone who is not good at all.

So really I think that it depends on who writes it but all in all I’m not tired of Holocaust Fiction per say but more the fact that it’s the only rep that Jews get.  Give me fantasy with jews in them. Some historical fiction that isn’t set during ww2 that finish jewish characters. Then maybe I won’t mind so much.

What Do You Think? Are You Tired of Holocaust Fiction? What’s Your Favorite Non-Holocaust Book That Features Jewish people?

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson Book Review

37638198

Goodreads Summary:I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.

Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I don’t exactly know why the “girl is stuck in her house due to a mental or physical  illness and falls in love” trope is so popular but  I was pleasantly surprised by Paper Girl.  One of my main worries with books like these is that the love interest will try to “save” or “fix” the MC which is just such total bullshit. Love can’t save you, it can help you but it can’t save you. So while there was a  swoon worthy romance, it was really important for the main character,Zoe, to go out of her comfort zone by herself. I really appreciated the fact that she recognized that there were some things she needed to do by herself to really get better.

There were some really serious issues that were addressed in this book like alcoholism, anxiety, agarophobia, and homelessness. I thought that they were all handled with an incredible amount of tact.   While I did appreciate Zoe’s depiction of anxiety and found it to be very realistic, I would’ve just appreciated just a little more buildup to what led her to be agarophic. I think  flashbacks could’ve been utilized really well  for this novel.  besides that, I really loved seeing Zoe’s gradual development and really liked the fact that her therapist was a big part of that. So often in YA novels there’s a certain amount of disdain associated with therapist but that sentiment wasn’t present in Paper Girl which was refreshing.

I always love when characters have unique interests and this book really delivered on that front. Zoe creates these artworks out of paper and the way that it was described was absolutely breathtaking and fascinating.  Also both Zoe and her love interest, Jackson, were interested in chess which I thought was really interesting.  Writing characters with unique interests make the characters and book in general much more enjoyable.

I really like the chemistry between Zoe and Jackson. I thought it was very realistic and sweet and loved how it developed. At times I felt there were aspects that were a little too unrealistic but I allowed my suspension of disbelief because it was so cute. I do think that  there could’ve been a little more backstory to their story. We are told that they both had a crush on each other before the story even started but we only get like one scene and I feel like one flashback could’ve really helped in solidifying the foundation of their relationship. ( idk if you can tell but I love flashbacks)

All in all Paper Girl was a touching story that tactfully addressed a trope that so often goes wrong.

 

Have You Read Paper Girl? Do You Want To? What’s Your Favorite Book That Is Similiar  To This One?