how I fared with my April tbr pool, my May tbr pool, and a plan to shrink the massive tbr mountain…

Oh that massive tbr mountain. I am very happy with all the reading I’ve been doing so far this year. But!!! I’ve noticed (because I’d have to be willfully ignorant not to) that with this increased amount of reading has come an increased amount of book buying. Not cool, Debra Anne.

According to LibraryThing, I have 1,505 unread books in my possession. (This number is not accurate, because I occasionally forget to add books I’ve acquired and forget to move books from the “unread” category when I finish them. But it’s close enough and it’s the number I’ll be using because it’s the best I’ve got.) I’d like to lower that number by 105 by the end of the year. Which means I’ve got to knock off 13 in each of 7 months and 14 in the remaining month. What I don’t accomplish by actually reading, I’ve to to make up for in culling. This, of course, means that if I continue to bring in more books (and likely even if I don’t most months), I will have to get rid of books unread. The inherent sadness of this thought is to my incentive to quit bringing so many books in and to start reading the books I already own. We’ll see how it goes…


So how did I do with sticking to my April tbr pool? If I counted correctly, I had 20 books in my pool. And I actually read 8 of them. I made progress in one. And I started but dnf-ed another. That left 10 books that I didn’t touch from my pool. I read 10 books that were not in my pool. So yeah, it seems as if I pretty much did a crap job…but it’s way better than I used to do, so I’m calling it a sorta win/sorta lose. Because who really cares, and I can call it whatever the hell I please.


What’s up for May? Yes, another way too big tbr pool. It’s inevitable, why fight it. And anyway, that’s why it’s a “pool” not a “pile.” There are at least 3 different readathons I’m considering participating in; I mention this because it does affect the books I pulled from the shelves. This Saturday, May 5,  is the Let’s Get Graphic 4.0 readathon hosted by Elena Reads Books. May 7-13 is BooksandLala’s Buzzword Readathon. And Bout of Books 22 runs from May 14-20. (I’ll talk more about them when I decided for sure if I’m going to participate.)

The pool:

  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Holdover from last month. For homeschooling; Gray already read it. I started it yesterday, though just barely.
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. My hold came in from the library. Also started this one yesterday. Again not far in, but really enjoying.
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Read the first 75-ish pages during Dewey’s Readathon and I need to get back to it.
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. Listening to audiobook on Scribd. Enthralled. More than half way through, so should have no problem finishing this one.
  • My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. A hold I need to pick up from the library.
  • One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg. Another hold I need to pick up from the library.
  • If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan. Yet another hold I need to pick up from the library.
  • The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks. Library book I have checked out.
  • SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki. Another library book I have checked out.
  • Fruits Basket, Collector’s Edition Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya. Yet another library book I have checked out.

Yikes! Out of all those I have started or need to read soon, only two will count towards my 13 books for the month. lol

  • Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat.
  • All Out: The No-Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell
  • An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao.
  • Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler.
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.
  • Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward.
  • Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.
  • Pandemic by Sonia Shah.
  • The Girls by Emma Cline.
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen.
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.
  • Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

April’s book pool…

Just a little bit (ha!) late in posting my potential reads for April. I’d started a post at the beginning of the month and then plum forgot all about it. Damn middle aged brain. Turns out I’m actually glad I hadn’t posted it though, because I heard about the most fun readathon/challenge yesterday, so I’ve adjusted the month’s book pool accordingly. More on that after I share the portion of my book pool not associated with said fun-ness.


*Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Why: Because I just bought it and am so bloody freakin’ excited to read it.

It begins: “Pick me.”

*The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie.

Why: Another I just bought. The first of the Miss Marple series, of which I’ve read none. Annie tells me this is a good one.

It begins: “It is difficult to know quite where to begin this story, but I have fixed by choice on a certain Wednesday at luncheon at the Vicarage….”

*Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

Why: Again, I just bought it, and am obviously keen to read it.

It begins: “I wasn’t prepared to meet a condemned man….”

*Dawn by Octavia E. Butler.

Why: Yep, keeping that theme going–I just bought it. Lilith’s Brood actually contains three books, the first of which is Dawn.

It begins: “Alive!”

*Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee.

Why: Okay, for the last time–because I just bought it. And yes that brings me to the end of the purchases made with my birthday gift cards.

It begins: “In college, I was a frustrated history major.”

*The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.

Why: Holdover from last month. Really want to finish some of the books that I’ve already got started.

It begins: “When the second of her two children turned thirteen, my sister decided that it finally was time to let their membership lapse in two familiar family haunts: the science museum and the zoo….”

*Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys by Rob Dunn.

Why: Homeschool. And it sounds interesting.

It begins: “The idea of this book came to me in the middle of the Amazon….”

*Remarkable Plants that Shaped Our World by Helen Bynum and William Bynum.

Why: Again homeschool. And again it sounds interesting.

It begins: I have no clue, because my hold has not yet come in at the library.

*The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

Why: Homeschool. And because frankly I’m ashamed of myself for not having read this book already.

It begins: “A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: ‘Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That’s all all right!”‘

*The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers.

Why: Ditto previous book.

It begins: “The town itself is dreary; not much is there except the cotton mill, the two-room houses where the workers live, a few peach trees, a church with two colored windows, and a miserable main street only a hundred yards long….”

And here is where things get super fun! I’m going to sit for my O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) exams. 🙂  Yes, thanks to the lovely Book Roast on youtube, we can all participate in a challenge (running from April 2nd through April 29th) based on the classes at Hogwarts. The link to her introduction to the readathon/challenge is here.  In a nutshell: Choose which exams you’d like to take, and read a corresponding book. To pass with an “acceptable” you must complete two exams, with an “exceeding expectations” you must complete three exams, and with an “outstanding” you must complete five exams.” There are 12 classes you can choose to sit for their exams. And if you’re at all interested in this challenge, I encourage you to go watch the intro post–she explains it all in more detail, including how there will be N.E.W.T.s later, but you must have sat for the O.W.L. exam in your chosen subjects to take them. Not only that, but her giddy excitement is just delightful to see. 🙂

I’m not sure how many I will end up completing. In a wonderful, all-you-have-to-do-this-month-is-read world, I’d complete them all. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but I think I’ve still got plenty of time to pass with a grade of “outstanding.” I have, however, chosen a book for each of the exams…just in case. The courses and their requirements are as follows (and are followed by my particular choice of book):

  • Ancient Runes–Read a book with a symbol on the cover.

I didn’t need to search out a book for this one, because one of the books already in my tbr pool qualified. (Bygone Badass Babes by Mackenzi Lee.)

  • Arithmancy–Read a book with a number on the cover or in the title.

For this one, I’m using Zone One by Colson Whitehead, which I’ll be reading as an audiobook.

  • Astronomy–Read a science fiction novel.

Already have this one covered with Dawn by Octavia Butler.

  • Care of Magical Creatures–Read a book that includes magical creatures or features a magical creature on its cover.

I chose The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente for this one.

  • Charms–Read a fantasy novel.

I’m choosing a reread for this one, The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.

  • Defense Against the Dark Arts–Read a book about/featuring a secret society/club.

I’m not 100% sure this fits the subject, but from my recollections of talk about it when first came out I think it does. The book is The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

  • Divination–Read a book featuring prophecies.

Finally! going to read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

  • Herbology–Read a book with a nature related word in the title.

Already have this one covered with Remarkable Plants that Shaped Our World by Helen Bynum and William Bynum.

  • History of Magic–Read a historical fiction.

I’ve chose A Mercy by Toni Morrison for this exam.

  • Muggle Studies–Read a muggle non-fiction book.

A good excuse to move a book from last month’s tbr pool over to this month, I’m going with Pandemic by Sonia Shah.

  • Potions–Read a book about or with alchemy.

I’ve chosen The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, which if I get to will be on audiobook.

  • Transfiguration–Read a book that deals with transfiguration/shapeshifting OR a book with a cat on the cover.

Glad she included that second option, as it allowed me to pick Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle which I’ve been meaning to read for years.


So there it is, another way too big tbr pool for the month. But thankfully, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon will be happening on April 28th, just in time to squeeze in some last minute books for the month.





my extensive book pool for March…

No, I do not actually believe I will read all of these books this month. I won’t even come close. But making this TBR pool is just for fun–not some kind of means of cracking the whip. I won’t even guarantee I’ll stick strictly to this list; if my moods take me in completely different directions, so be it.


(The couple not shown are ebooks.)

But this is a pile of books that are currently calling to me:

*Deadly Beautiful: Vanishing Killers of the Animal Kingdom by Liana Joy Christensen.

Why: Because I’ve already started it and am frankly enjoying the hell out of it.

It begins: “Personally, I always thought it was far more sensible to fear bees than sharks….”

*Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.

Why: Technically for homeschooling. But I’ve wanted to read it for quite some time. It will be my first of Levi’s books.

It begins: “It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944, that is, after the German Government had decided, owing to the growing scarcity of labour, to lengthen the average lifespan of the prisoners destined for elimination; it conceded noticeable improvements in the camp routine and temporarily suspended killings at the whim of individuals.”

*A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.

Why: It was years ago that this book came to my attention through Eva, and I knew it was a book I needed to read. I finally thought of it during a library visit, and searched it out.

It begins: As I drove the last half-mile of the road that leads to South Africa’s notorious Pretoria Central Prison, I felt a dread unlike any I had felt in my earlier visits….”

*Stage Fright by Ellen Hart.

Why: Because I read the first two in this series in February and am still quite keen to read more of Jane’s sleuthing adventures.

It begins: “Torald Werness was annoyed….”

*A Killing Cure by Ellen Hart.

Why: It follows Stage Fright in the series, and I happened to see it at the library so I grabbed it.

It begins: “It was just the kind of evening Charlotte Fortnum loved….”

*Eating Wildly: foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin.

Why: Impulse grab from the library shelves.

It begins: “I am walking along a secluded wooded path in a park in Brooklyn–my favorite place to forage for wild edibles in the city….”

 *Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.

Why: Bought this one this Christmas money, and I can’t wait any longer to read it.

It begins: “Writing an introduction to queer theory poses something of a challenge….”

*The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.

Why: I started this book years ago, and I was really enjoying it, but it got set aside due to other obligations. I’d really like to finally finish it. Luckily each chapter covers a different topic, so there won’t be any need for me to start the book over.

It begins: “When the second of her two children turned thirteen, my sister decided that it finally was time to let their membership lapse in two familiar family haunts: the science museum and the zoo….”

*Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah.

Why: Because I just love reading about infectious disease. And I loved Shah’s book The Fever.

It begins: “Cholera kills people fast….”

*Sula by Toni Morrison.

Why: Hanging my head in shame, I must admit that I have not yet read anything by Toni Morrison and that needs to be changed.

It begins: “In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood….”

*I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-Ha Kim.

Why: It’s on my list for the Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge, and I’m already a little behind on that.

It begins: “I’m looking at Jacques-Louis David’s 1793 oil painting, The Death of Marat, printed in an art book….”

*Food & Spirits by Beth Brant.

Why: I missed having a short story collection in my reading last month. And Beth Brant is one of my favorite short story writers in the world.

It begins: “Her face is wide, innocent, clear….”

*Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones.                                                                                         

Why: For Kristen’s #marchmagics event, which celebrates the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.

It begins: “I may as well start with some of our deep secrets because this account will not be easy to understand without them.”

*The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones.

Why: It’s the sequel to Deep Secret.

It begins: “I have been with the Court all my life traveling with the King’s Progress.”

*Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.

Why: Also for #marchmagics.

It begins: “This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn’t pretend to answer all or any of these questions.”

*The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women…From Someone Who Has Been Both by Juno Dawson.

Why: Just one of those books that I’ve wanted to read since I first heard of it on Simon’s youtube channel, SavageReads. It’s one of the books I bought this morning with the Barnes&Noble gift cards I got for my birthday.

It begins: “It was a balmy, sticky night in mid-July, the type of weather Yorkshire calls ‘close’.”

*Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

Why: It sounds so incredible, and I’m in the mood for some poetry.

It begins: “somewhere, a sun….”

*Good Bones by Maggie Smith.

Why: As I said, I’m in the mood for poetry. And I just received this from my dear friend Chris as a not-birthday gift.

It begins: “It’s only technically morning….”

*My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi.

Why: Because my library hold finally came in–yay!

It begins: “Here I am, twenty-eight years old….”

*So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo.

Why: Again, because my library hold finally came in–and again yay!

It begins: “As a black woman, race has always been a prominent part of my life….”

*11/22/63 by Stephen King.

Why: Okay, so I had totally planned to stop at 20, I really truly did. In fact, if I’d been able to pick up my library holds last evening instead of waiting for Rich to pick them up on his way home today, I would already have published this and not had a chance to add this one. (I haven’t because I want the first lines from those holds.) So what happens today–I discover a new-to-me book tuber (Liv J Hooper) whom I’ve fallen in love with so I’ve been doing a bit of a binge while I clean and type up some stuff for school. And despite the fact that I’ve had this book on my shelf since it first came out, listening to her talk about it was really the first time I’ve been tempted to actually pick it up. So what the hell, to the pile it goes.

It begins: “I have never been what you’d call a crying man.”

Yeah, guess I’d better get reading here…