I used to keep my tbr in Goodreads. I liked to refresh this list and start over every few years. My list had blossomed to a crazy 1200 books. I deleted everything I had added before January 1 of this year and decided that I needed a better way to add books to this list. One that forced me to be more discerning. One that required more time and care. No more vaguely adding books that I might one day like to read.
I will be keeping the titles of books that I want to read here on the blog. Taking it a step further, I am going to have to write a little bit about where I found it, why I want to read it, and whether I have read something similar. The books that make it on my list will suit my current taste, and I’ll be more likely to read what I have selected. *crosses fingers that this will actually work*
BOOKS I’M ADDING TO MY TBR
TALENT BY JULIET LAPIDOS
I love books about college students, especially post-grads working on their thesis. Writing research papers was equal parts exhilarating and struggle for me, so I guess some part of me enjoys the vicarious thrill of looking over a character’s shoulder as they suffer the actual agonies. Talent concerns a 29-year-old postgrad who is stumped while working on an English thesis. She meets the niece of a famous (and now deceased) author and is galvanized into action when she discovers that when he died he was working on a new book.
THE CURRENT BY TIM JOHNSTON
I read Johnston’s first novel Descent, and loved the writing. It was the perfect literary suspense novel. I knew as soon as I saw that he had a new book coming out that I would read it. The Current begins when two friends are pulled from the river. One of them drowns but the other lives, and it quickly becomes apparent that what happened was no accident. The survivor sets out to find out what happened to her and if it is in any way connected to another young woman who died in the river 10 years before.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO FANNIE DAVIS BY BRIDGET M. DAVIS
I heard Bridget Davis speak about this book last fall and I immediately want to read it, but it wasn’t coming out until the end of January. Now the wait is over. The author shared an intriguing fact about how the abolishment of the lottery in the United States came about as a correlation to the number of slaves who played the game and bought themselves out of freedom with their winnings. I love these spectacular fun facts about history! The World According to Fannie Davis is her memoir about growing up with her mom, who was a successful female numbers runner in 1958 Chicago.
ALL THE LIVES WE EVER LIVED: SEEKING SOLACE IN VIRGINIA WOOLF BY KATHARINE SMYTH
I love books about writers, and people who decide to explore their lives through a particular novel or author. All The Lives We Ever Lived is part literary criticism, part memoir, and part homage to Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse.
AMERICAN SPY BY LAUREN WILKINSON
I have been so excited you this one since I heard that it’s a literary spy novel featuring a young black intelligence officer asked to join a shady task force. As part of her mission she becomes involved with the president of Burkino Faso. Even though she agrees with some of his efforts and policies, she still has a job to do and is torn between her heart and duty. It’s set in 1986 New York and Burkina Faso, and it’s based on a true story. I believe this is Lauren Wilkinson’s debut novel, and I’m thrilled to see a novel exploring black life in the CIA and its effects on African countries.
BOOKS I’VE READ, BUT WANT TO BUY
A Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley
I checked A Lucky Man the library and it had to go back because it was on hold, but I read the first story and I really loved the detail and Jamel Brinkley’s evocative language, and intriguing points of view.
Black Is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine by Emily Bernard
I loved these essays. Bernard is so honest about the questions that she faces in her life and I love the ambiguity and the compromise that she finds in some of her answers. Black Is The Body is an interesting read about a how a black woman (married to a white man) navigates predominately white spaces. I loved it and could identify with certain of her situations.
Time Was by Ian McDonald
I’ve already read Time Was but I loved the experience of reading it, and I want a copy for my library. I deeply appreciated the way the author trusted his readers and didn’t spell anything out. He uses the terminology and context of the area of England where the characters are from, and drops you straight away into the world of rare edition booksellers. The love story included time traveling, and there wasn’t one but two loves stories. Gayle and I just recorded an episode of go-to romance novels on The Readerly Report, but I hadn’t read this at the time so I have to remember to mention it on the next show.