Mount TBR 2016 discussion

47 views
Level 4: Mt. Ararat (48 Books) > Rebecca's First Climb

Comments Showing 1-34 of 34 (34 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Becky (last edited Apr 12, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) This is my first time ever entering a challenge like this. I feel like this might be too ambitious for me, as I'm a librarian and therefore read A LOT of library books. There's just too much temptation lol! But my personal library is getting out of control, and I need to focus on it this year. I own almost 300 unread books!

Books from my tbr shelf read in 2016:
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
3. Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce
4. Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce
5. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
7. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
8. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
9. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


message 2: by Sam (new)

Sam (buchflimmern) Good luck with your challenge, Rebecca! Mount TBR helped me reduce my tbr pile by a third this year. 300 is a big number, but don't give up and be patient. After all, this is about having fun :)


message 3: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Thanks! I'm hoping to make a dent, but it's hard, especially because with working in a library, I'm surrounded by temptation everywhere, and it's so easy to check out random books that catch my interest. But I'm determined to get somewhere in my personal library this year!


message 4: by Louise (new)

Louise I know the feeling Rebecca :-) Last year my book piles at home of unread books reached number 1000, so I really need to read them instead of getting new ones, going to the library etc.


message 5: by Bev (new)

Bev | 715 comments Mod
Good luck, Rebecca! It is definitely hard to work on the stacks with tempting tidbits at the library (especially when you work there!).


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Louise wrote: "I know the feeling Rebecca :-) Last year my book piles at home of unread books reached number 1000, so I really need to read them instead of getting new ones, going to the library etc."

I'm glad to see I'm in good company haha!


message 7: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Bev wrote: "Good luck, Rebecca! It is definitely hard to work on the stacks with tempting tidbits at the library (especially when you work there!)."

Everyday is an exercise is self control ;-)


message 8: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) It's almost time to start this challenge!


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) So I'm not exactly sure what other people do here. I figured I'll update my original post at the top with the list of books I've read from my TBR pile. In the comments, I'll leave a spoiler free review on my thoughts about each book.

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (5 stars)

Have you ever read a book that's so good, you're mad at yourself for not having read it earlier? That's how I feel about this book. I started it once or twice a long time ago, when it was at the height of it's popularity, but the first couple chapters are very slow moving and never gripped me, so I didn't bother with it.

I'm so glad I pushed through.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere between a quarter and halfway through the book, I was gripped. It was intense. I couldn't stop reading. I borrowed the audiobook from my library so that if there was ever a time I was doing something where I couldn't read the physical book, I could at least listen to it. The suspense was palpable in the book, and I just had to know what was going to happen as soon as I possibly could.

This book was so insanely popular that I'm not sure I need to say anything regarding the plot. But I did just want to mention that I very much fell in love with the characters, which I don't experience too much with mysteries. Usually I'm in it to find out what happened. But Blomkvist is such an interesting person, especially in his relationships to other people. And Lisbeth Salander. I'm not sure what I can say about her that probably hasn't been said before, but she's amazing. The scene in the basement - I felt her rage. Out of all the scenes in the book, that was the most intense for me, and it was solely because of Lisbeth.

Are you a fan of mysteries? If so, I'd highly recommend picking this up. Don't do what I did and ignore because maybe it doesn't start out with the most intense writing ever, or because you like to ignore books with a lot of hype around them (guilty as charged). Just pick it up and give it a go. This is one book that I honestly think you'll love.


message 10: by Jessika (new)

Jessika (jessika_56) Thanks for the review! The trilogy has been on my TBR for a while, but your notes make me want to bump it higher up on my list!


message 11: by Bev (new)

Bev | 715 comments Mod
You're doing it exactly right! Adding your reviews and/or links to books read and keeping track of where you're at on your climb is what your travel folder is for.

Great job getting your first step up the mountain!


message 12: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Jessika wrote: "Thanks for the review! The trilogy has been on my TBR for a while, but your notes make me want to bump it higher up on my list!"

It was so good! I spent today watching both the Swedish and the American versions of the movie lol!


message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 2. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1 star)

** !!spoiler alert!! ** I did not enjoy this book. It was my first Philip K. Dick book, and maybe I didn't choose a good one to be introduced to his writing style with. Or maybe I'm not smart enough for this book, and I didn't pick up on all the complexities or whatnot. I don't know. But man, all I feel after finishing this book is gratitude that it's over.

I found this book highly confusing. The politics were all over the place. People who were acting as spies would talk about their spying in front of other people who weren't aware (as far as I know) of the intelligence operations occurring. I couldn't figure out why Americans, who presumably were fluent in English, were speaking broken English. I understand that there was some fetishization of Japanese culture occurring. Were they trying to imitate the Japanese accent? I don't know. It was weird.

Also, the whole thing with the oracle at the end and the bit about his book being true or whatever? Is this some insinuation that the characters realize they're fiction and that the reality of WWII was something completely different?

What was the point of the Edfrank jewelry business?

Was Tagomi murdered by the same pen thing Joe was going to use on Abendson?

What was the point of Frank Fink or Robert Childan's characters? Did any of them do anything? I feel the only person who contributed to the story was Julianne.

I feel like the book in general was more of a snapshot of the lives of these characters. No real beginning or end to their story, they were just kind of there, showing what life was like. Julianne was the only person who I felt had an actual story in this book.

Maybe this was an awesome book. Maybe I just "didn't get it." But I found the story telling dry and boring, and the actual story itself almost nonexistent. I do not recommend this book.


message 14: by Bev (new)

Bev | 715 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "2. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1 star)

** !!spoiler alert!! ** I did not enjoy this book. It was my first Philip K. Dick book, and maybe I didn't choose a good one ..."


Philip K. Dick doesn't do a whole lot for me either. I've read both this and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which the movie Blade Runner was based on) and have decided that he just isn't really for me. As I noted in my review of Sheep, "the one really extraordinary thing that this book did for me was to lead to a really interesting conversation with my son. He watched Blade Runner when he was in high school and when I told him I was reading the book that the film was based on we were off and running discussing differences and themes....and, man, do I wish I'd had a recording device on me. The discussion was awesome--you're going to have to trust me on that."

I can see why some folks might like these books, but they're not my kind of science fiction.


message 15: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Apparently I am just not reading great books lately :(

3. Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce (2 stars)

I grew up loving Tamora Pierce. Alanna: The First Adventure was the first book I "accidentally" stole from a friend, and I read that book so many times that I'm now on my second copy because the first one fell apart. The entire Song of the Lioness quartet was fabulous, as was The Immortals. So I decided that I would make it my mission to read the rest of the Tamora Pierce books.

I regret this decision.

I still reread Alanna every couple years, and I still love those books. But now I'm wondering if I love them purely because of nostalgia, or if The Circle of Magic books are just subpar quality.

First of all, I didn't really care too much for the characters. I didn't feel there was a ton of character development. They four kids didn't like each other, but then they did, and there wasn't much there as to why. It felt artificial. I also didn't really care for the magic system.

And jfc that ending. Wtf? Can we say "deus ex machina"?

Random question too. Why is this called "Sandry's Book"? Every chapter was pretty much "snapshot of Sandry's day, snapshot of Briar's day, snapshot of Tris's day, snapshot of Daja's day." There wasn't really any focus on Sandry, except at the end she was suddenly petrified of the dark (despite this not being mentioned at all previous to the chapter it was actually important in!).

Maybe I'm reading to much into it, or analyzing a children's book to harshly. I know that, at 29 years old, I'm not the intended audience anymore.

I'm going to continue this series because I feel some sense of loyalty to Tamora Pierce and I am genuinely curious as to whether this gets better or not. But it's definitely not off to a strong start for me.


message 16: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Bev wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "2. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1 star)

** !!spoiler alert!! ** I did not enjoy this book. It was my first Philip K. Dick book, and maybe I didn't ch..."


I own Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I'll probably read that or A Scanner Darkly, since most of the comments (I read The Man in the High Castle for a group read in a different Goodreads group) mentioned those were two of his best books. So I figure I'll give him another shot. He's such a huge figure in the sci-fi world that there has to be something more to his books. I'm hoping that The Man in the High Castle just wasn't the book for me, but his other books will click.

Fingers crossed!

If not, well, at least it won't be a hard decision as to which books to clear off my bookshelf the next time I need more space!


message 17: by Leslie (new)

Leslie I found Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a much more interesting and compelling book than either A Scanner Darkly (which I didn't care for) or The Man in the High Castle (which I thought was more intriguing in concept than in execution). Just to add my 2¢ to the discussion...


message 18: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Leslie wrote: "I found Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a much more interesting and compelling book than either A Scanner Darkly (which I didn't care for) or The Man in the High Castle (which I thought was mo..."

I think Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? will be the next book I read by him. I enjoyed Blade Runner, so I'm hoping that will carry over to the book.

And yeah, The Man in the High Castle had a really interesting premise. Just, wow, could not handle the way that concept was carried out. :(


message 19: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 4. Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce (3.5 stars)

I was so disappointed with Sandry's Book that I wasn't looking forward to reading this at all, but out of loyalty to Tamora Pierce, I wanted to continue on and give the series another shot. And I'm so glad I did! This book was fun and exciting, and with Tris being one of my favorite characters (along with Briar), I was glad to see so much of the focus on her.

I loved the action of this book. From page one, stuff was happening, and we were just along for the ride. A big improvement over Sandry's Book, which was slow and mostly expository, it felt like. I also really liked Tris. As a big reader, she was the character I gravitated to in the first book anyways, and I came to love her even more in this book. And I really love the dynamic between Tris and Briar. They're hilarious and antagonistic, but still care deeply for each other. Easily the most fun and entertaining relationship of the books so far.

Also...geez the ending! In Sandry's Book, the climax felt very rushed and almost like a deux ex machina. This was was a GOOD ending. Once the final battle commenced, I was hooked and couldn't stop reading.

Although I had my doubts going in to this book, I'm very much excited to continue on with the series!


message 20: by Jessika (new)

Jessika (jessika_56) Good job this month!


message 21: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Jessika wrote: "Good job this month!"

Thanks! Gotta try and read those 4 books a month!


message 22: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 5. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (3.5 stars)

I quite enjoyed this collection of short stories! While not every story in the collection was amazing, a good majority of them were highly entertaining, and a few were stunners.

I've always thought Stephen King was master of the short story. Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, and Nightmares And Dreamscapes are amazing (and terrifying!), and his latter short story collections (Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales and Just After Sunset) were quality entertainment, although not quite as good as his earlier work in my opinion. The same holds true for The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. It's good, it's entertaining, it's compelling, I never wanted to put it down and not pick it back up, but it was slightly lacking when compared to earlier stories.

Maybe it's just because these aren't "horror" stories. I feel like much of what King has written lately doesn't really fit the horror genre. I'm a huge fan of horror, and King has a reputation, so I always go in expecting to be terrified, and am always slightly disappointed when I'm not. Anyways, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but just know going into this that you're probably not going to be scared much. You will enjoy the book though!

My favorite stories were Bad Little Kid, Ur (this one kept me pondering things long after I'd finished the story), and Obits. Obits was actually a very disturbing story! I also really loved Summer Thunder, which is a very depressing and disturbing story. I felt these four stories were brilliant. Ur is my favorite of the whole bunch and made me want to read on my Kindle again, although sadly there's no Ur options for me.

Mile 81 was the worst story, which I hate because it's also first in the book. It's bad though. It's the only bad story in the book, but it's bad enough that that story alone probably lowered the rating for the book by a whole half star or more. It felt like someone I'd read in a creative writing class, not like a published work of fiction by someone as prolific and talented as Stephen King.

Overall, though, a very solid read. I highly enjoyed my time amongst these stories, Mile 81 not included.


message 23: by Kendyle (new)

Kendyle | 70 comments Have this in my TBR pile also. Glad to hear it's worth the read. Typically I'm not a big fan of short stories and that's why this one has been languishing in the pile. Looking forward to picking it up soon now!


message 24: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Kendyle wrote: "Have this in my TBR pile also. Glad to hear it's worth the read. Typically I'm not a big fan of short stories and that's why this one has been languishing in the pile. Looking forward to picking it..."

I love short stories! They're great for the days when you're super busy and only have a little bit of time to read (which has been happening often lately, unfortunately for me). If you do read it, don't judge it by the first story. Everything else is SO much better.


message 25: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (3.5 stars)

I really liked this book! It took me quite some time to get through it. Although a fun read, it's dense and long. You can definitely tell this was written in a time when authors were paid for length.

I adored Marian Halcombe. She is probably one of my favorite heroines to date. She's intelligent and feisty, and she never let herself be intimidated by Fosco or Sir Percival. I think the one thing I'm most disappointed with in this book is that she wasn't allowed to be the one to bring Fosco and Percival to justice. I was so hoping she'd be the one responsible for their downfall.

Despite Marian taking a backseat in the heroics department during the last quarter of the book, I found this to be a surprisingly feminist novel. Wilkie Collins made sure to bash the reader over the head with the knowledge of how disadvantageous marriage was for women, and how easily that could be taken advantage of. And despite Laura making a perfect victim, I was astounded by Marian's character and how contemporary she felt.

I did not, however, enjoy how Collins tied up a woman's eligibility to her appearance. Laura is beautiful, but does little more than be pretty and be a victim, but she worth more because of her appearance. Marian is declared ugly from the beginning, and end's up the "old maid" at the end of the book, seemingly content to play governess to Laura and Walter's children. Only Fosco seems to value her and see how remarkable she is. While I'm happy that her value (beyond her appearance) is remarked on in the book, I'm disappointed it seems to have been disregarded by the protagonists.

Overall, a very good story, although drawn out in bits for obvious reasons. I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, and I very much loved reading the book that is widely acknowledged to have started that genre. Highly recommend this to mystery lovers everywhere.


message 26: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) Well, I'm going to have a fun time trying to catch up in March haha!


message 27: by Bev (new)

Bev | 715 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (3.5 stars)

I really liked this book! It took me quite some time to get through it. Although a fun read, it's dense and long. You can definitely..."


Marian is a fabulous character. I, too, was disappointed that she didn't get more page time.

My favorite Wilkie book so far though is The Moonstone. I've got a few others of his sitting and staring at me from the mountain range....


message 28: by Jessika (new)

Jessika (jessika_56) Rebecca wrote: "Well, I'm going to have a fun time trying to catch up in March haha!"

Best wishes!


message 29: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 7. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (4 stars)

This was an absolutely brilliant book. I didn't expect to love this book anywhere near as much as I did. And although I thought the collection started off somewhat weak - the first story, in my opinion, being the weakest of the collection (although still quite good) - it soon transformed into a stunning literary work.

Every story in this collection just radiates this sense of loneliness. It's the painful type of loneliness, of knowing that despite so many people around you, you're still so very lonely. That other people are happy, and that you aren't. It's the sense of going to bed at night and wishing you were home, only to realize you are home and that things aren't going to get better.

It's a painful book to read. It's a very emotional book. There's only nine stories in this book, and it took me about nine days to read this collection because more than one story a day just hurt too much.

This book made me cry.

I am so happy to find that Lahiri has written a few other novels since this collection was published. I hope she's as good a novelist and she is a short story writer, because I plan on devouring her other books.


message 30: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 8. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (3 stars)

I very much enjoyed this book. I thought it was an interesting look into femininity and what it means to be a woman, as well as the expectations society puts upon women (considering this book was written in the 1960s, it's surprisingly still quite relevant).

I thought using food as a metaphor for her sense of self, I think, was interesting. Food is central is so many people's life. It's a comfort, it represents culture and happiness, it encourages people to be social. So when Marian starts trying to force herself into the traditional roles a woman "should" take, she starts being unable to consume any food. Interestingly, this is because she starts seeing food for what it is. She can no longer eat meat because it's no longer food to her, it's a part of once living animal that was murdered. It's as if because she's hiding the truth that she's unhappy forcing herself into a societal norm (housewife, eventual mother), she has to see the unhappy truth elsewhere.

I think this book also succeeded mostly at being, just on the surface, an interesting story about a woman and her relationships. I will say I think the book dragged. The first couple hundred pages or so I found engrossing, but the last third of the book seemed to go on forever, and I found I had to force myself to finish the book (although the climax of the book made the story engrossing again).

I liked this book, and I can see much reread potential here. There were so many quotable passages and noteworthy ideas. It's the first time in a long time I found myself wanting to mark my book up because I wanted my own ideas recorded with the text.


message 31: by Jessika (new)

Jessika (jessika_56) Beck wrote: "7. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (4 stars)

This was an absolutely brilliant book. I didn't expect to love this book anywhere near as much as I did. And although I thought th..."


Ooh, I loved that one, too!


message 32: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) 9. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (4 stars)

I read this as part of the genrethon being hosted on Youtube by Under the Radar Books. The goal is to get people to read books in genres outside of their comfort zone and romance is definitely not something I read very often.

However, I did enjoy this book quite a lot. I think the issues Will and his condition present are very controversial, and something people tend to feel passionately about. I know that in this particular case, I do side with Will's point of view, and I feel strongly about it myself.

One of things I really disliked about this book was Lou's complete unwillingness to really consider things from Will's point of view. To step into his shoes and see what the world must really be like for him, especially in comparison to his previous life. I understood where she was coming from, and that in a way, especially near the end, she was in the midst of the grieving process. But it still really upset me.

But whoo-ey, this novel is definitely a tearjerker just like I was warned about. But honestly, I was glad the novel ended the way it did. I think it would have felt unauthentic had Lou managed to change Will's mind.

I am interested in reading more Jojo Moyes. I absolutely loved the relationships in this book, especially that between Treena and Lou. It really was exactly how a sibling relationship is, half love, half hate and resentment. I'm not sure I want to read After You, the sequel to Me Before You. I enjoyed this book very much, but I also felt like it ended at the perfect point and a sequel just has the potential to ruin it. We'll have to see on that.


message 33: by Natália (new)

Natália Lopes (silkcaramel) I feel the same way about Me Before You! Although I disliked Treena through most of the book,I ended up enjoying her and Lou's relationship towards the end. And I think the book ended on the right note, leaving the after to the readers imagination,so a sequel feels unecessary to me. I was expecting it to be a little bit more of a im-in-a-pool-of-tears kind of book,but by the end I had accepted already what was going to happen, so it was just sad,but not in the tearjerker kind of way. I did enjoyed a lot and can't wait for the movie!


message 34: by Becky (new)

Becky (becksnbooks) I found the middle-ish portions a lot more tearjerk-y than I did the ending. I agree that by that point, I'd just sort of accepted Will's choice And having had family members with terminal illness, I really felt like I understood where he was coming from too, so it wasn't a huge shock to me. I think I kind of expected it to happen from the very beginning.

And yes! Treena pissed me off so much through most of the book. She actually reminded me a lot of the type of parents I absolutely hate - those that pawn their children off on to other people and make other people suffer and sacrifice so they don't have to. I liked her relationship with Lou and though it was an authentic sibling relationship, but I never really liked Treena as a person. I really would have hated living with her.


back to top