It’s two months in to the 2015 TBR (To Be Read) challenge, and of the fourteen TBR books on my list (twelve books plus two alternates), I’ve read five:
- God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet: More of a memoir than I realized – not a bad thing – but centered around the idea of “slow medicine.” The author makes a good case for allowing doctors enough time with their patients; a correct diagnosis can save a lot of money in the long run, which insurance companies would be smart to recognize.
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain: Also a memoir, one that takes the reader behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens. Bourdain is a writer with a great voice, and he’s got some tips readers would be wise to heed as well, in terms of dining out.
- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: This novel came highly recommended by at least two friends, and while it didn’t send me out into the streets to press copies into strangers’ hands, I did enjoy it. It was more of an ensemble cast than I first thought it would be, and each character is equally well-rounded, from baseball star Henry, to workhorse coach/player Mike, to lovestruck college president Guert Affenlight, to his daughter Pella who has fled a bad starter marriage.
- Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan: I adore David Levithan and a friend sent me a galley of Invisibility before it was published; by all rights I should have read it right then, but I didn’t. Like Levithan’s Every Day, Invisibility has a unique premise: Stephen is invisible, due to a curse from his grandfather. No one, including his parents, has ever been able to see him – until Elizabeth moves in to his apartment building. The two of them fall in love, and together – along with Elizabeth’s brother Laurie – try to break the curse. Chapters alternate between Stephen’s and Elizabeth’s perspectives.
- Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell: A friend at the publisher sent me a copy of this just before it came out, but I didn’t get around to it till I chose it for my book club for January. In a small Appalachian town, teenage narrator Kate dreams of getting out, and fears turning into one of the “wild girls” who go on dangerous rampages. Though the author made the connection between the powerlessness of girls and their rage, I felt that she could have delved more deeply into this issue. However, it was still an enjoyable read, with a great sense of place.
Aside from my official TBR list, I’ve also finally read a few books that have been on my unofficial TBR list for a long time, including Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, a galley of My Sunshine Away that I got at BEA last May, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth (recommended to me by at least two colleagues), Howards End (which has been sitting on my shelf for years), and This Wheel’s On Fire by Levon Helm. All of these were good, though the standouts were the nonfiction titles, specifically Breasts and Don’t Make Me Think. (The joke there just writes itself.)
Are you participating in a TBR challenge, officially or unofficially? Which books have made you say “Why didn’t I read this sooner?!” and which ones weren’t quite worth the time?