Down the TBR Hole #9

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Born to Darkness (Fighting Destiny, #1)

Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann
Fiction; Paranormal; Romantic Suspense
Added December 26, 2011

In the near future, as America endures its second Great Depression, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, only to be plunged into a strange world where mild-mannered scientists can kick his highly skilled ass. These “Greater-Thans” undergo rigorous training to master unique abilities—including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process—by accessing untapped regions of the brain. But for the rich and reckless, there’s a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than—for a lethal price.

Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie is determined to end the scourge of Destiny. As one of OI’s crack operatives, she’s learned to wield her powers responsibly. But she’s knocked for a loop when she meets the new test subject: Shane, the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. Mac’s got reasons to keep her distance from him—and reasons that are just as strong to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now, in the midst of the ultimate war on drugs, she must face sacrificing her heart.

Verdict: Keep

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

Verdict: Remove

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Plan B by Anne Lamott
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott’s faith as well: turning fifty; her mother’s Alzheimer’s; her son’s adolescence; and the passing of friends and time.

Fortunately for those of us who are anxious and scared about the state of the world, whose parents are also aging and dying, whose children are growing harder to recognize as they become teenagers, Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair. It shares with us Lamott’s ability to comfort, and to make us laugh despite the grim realities.

Verdict: Remove

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett & Amanda Pressner
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world in The Lost Girls.

Verdict: Remove

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers’ culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking.

Verdict: Keep

Removed 3/5 this time around; new total 29/45.

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #8

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
December 19, 2011

Phoebe Sanders runs her own vintage dress shop. But while she stitches and repairs couture suits and glorious dresses, there is something in Phoebe’s own past that she cannot restore, and which is stopping her searching for love.

Verdict: Remove

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

From failure to fusilli, this deliciously hilarious read tells the story of Giulia Melucci’s fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out.

From an affectionate alcoholic, to the classic New York City commitment-phobe, to a hipster aged past his sell date, and not one, but two novelists with Peter Pan complexes, Giulia has cooked for them all. She suffers each disappointment with resolute cheer (after a few tears) and a bowl of pastina (recipe included) and has lived to tell the tale so that other women may go out, hopefully with greater success, and if that’s not possible, at least have something good to eat.

Verdict: Keep

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinn’s transformation as she moves through the school’s intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her “wretchedly inadequate” French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the city’s street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail.

Verdict: Keep

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
Nonfiction: Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

Lunch In Paris is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs–one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world’s most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate souffle) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.

Verdict: Remove

Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

A small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria, going for the price of a dodgy second-hand car. Annie Hawes and her sister, on the spot by chance, have no plans whatsoever to move to the Italian Riviera but find naturally that it’s an offer they can’t refuse. The laugh is on the Foreign Females who discover that here amongst the hardcore olive farming folk their incompetence is positively alarming. Not to worry: the thrifty villagers of Diano San Pietro are on the case, and soon plying the Pallid Sisters with advice, ridicule, tall tales and copious hillside refreshments

Verdict: Remove

This week I removed 3/5, for a total of 26/40… a little more than half so far.

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #7

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

The Love Goddess' Cooking School

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate
Fiction; Food; Chick Lit
Added: December 19, 2011

Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy.

But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam…and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

Verdict: Keep

Always Something There to Remind Me

Always Something There to Remind Me by Beth Harbison
Fiction; Contemporary; Chick Lit
Added December 19, 2011

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she’d already found the love of her life: Nate Lawson. Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything–dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever. The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive and left her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.

Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, maneuvering a successful and exciting career, and raising a great daughter all on her own. So why would the name “Nate Lawson” be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot. The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.

Verdict: Remove

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park

My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added December 19, 2011

A down on her luck woman goes on an Austen-inspired journey of self-discovery in Jones’s middling debut. After Lily Berry loses her mother, gets dumped by her boyfriend, and is fired, she finds in her passion for all things Jane Austen (Jane, indeed, is Lily’s imaginary friend) an escape route: she travels to England to participate in a Jane Austen re-enacting festival. Full of enthusiasm—but not acting talent—Lily is not embraced by many of the Janeites, but this doesn’t prevent her from meeting a charismatic actor, contending with an impossible roommate, and struggling with dark family secrets, all while trying to find the courage to be the protagonist of her own story.

Verdict: Remove

The Icing on the Cupcake

The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross
Fiction; Food; Chick Lit
Added December 19, 2011

In Ansley Waller’s world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn’t just important—it’s the ultimate goal. So when her fiancé, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding, Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprise move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she’s never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.

The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes—Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she’s opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan’s eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley’s nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone’s got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley’s new life. It’ll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.

Verdict: Keep

The Accidental Bestseller

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax
Fiction; Contemporary; Chick Lit
Added December 19, 2011

Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at their very first writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, survivors of the ultra-competitive New York publishing world. Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose bestsellers support a lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason is a single mother juggling two jobs, two kids, and too many deadlines. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of inspirational romances: no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once-promising career is on the skids-and so is her marriage. Her sales are dismal, her new editor detests her work-and her husband is cheating. Barely able to think, let alone meet her final deadline, Kendall holes up in a mountain cabin to confront a blank page and a blanker future. But her friends won’t let her face this trial alone. Together they collaborate on a novel using their own lives as fodder, assuming no one will ever discover the truth behind their words.

No one is more surprised than they are when the book becomes a runaway bestseller. But with success comes scrutiny and scandal…as these four best friends suddenly realize how little they’ve truly known each other.

Verdict: Remove

This week I removed 3/5, with an overall total of 23/35… not bad!

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #6

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman

Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

“In many ways, I was an independent woman,” writes Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Alice Steinbach. “For years I’d made my own choices, paid my own bills, shoveled my own snow.” But somehow she had become dependent in quite another way. “I had fallen into the habit of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me.” But who was she away from the people and things that defined her? In this exquisite book, Steinbach searches for the answer to this question in some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world: Paris, where she finds a soul mate; Oxford, where she takes a course on the English village; and Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married.

Verdict: Remove

A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure

A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena DeBlasi
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

They had met and married on perilously short acquaintance, she an American chef and food writer, he a Venetian banker. Now they were taking another audacious leap, unstitching their ties with exquisite Venice to live in a roughly renovated stable in Tuscany.

Once again, it was love at first sight. Love for the timeless countryside and the ancient village of San Casciano dei Bagni, for the local vintage and the magnificent cooking, for the Tuscan sky and the friendly church bells. Love especially for old Barlozzo, the village mago, who escorts the newcomers to Tuscany’s seasonal festivals; gives them roasted country bread drizzled with just-pressed olive oil; invites them to gather chestnuts, harvest grapes, hunt truffles; and teaches them to caress the simple pleasures of each precious day. It’s Barlozzo who guides them across the minefields of village history and into the warm and fiercely beating heart of love itself.

Verdict: Remove

The Wishing Year: An Experiment in Desire

The Wishing Year by Noelle Oxenhandler
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

One New Year’s Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a year’s experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasn’t easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

Verdict: Remove {though I almost want to keep it for that cover}

On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town

On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

Susan Loomis arrived in Paris twenty years ago with little more than a student loan and the contents of a suitcase to sustain her. But what
began then as an apprenticeship at La Varenne École de Cuisine evolved into a lifelong immersion in French cuisine and culture, culminating in permanent residency in 1994. On Rue Tatin chronicles her journey to an ancient little street in Louviers, one of Normandy’s most picturesque towns.

With lyrical prose and wry candor, Loomis recalls the miraculous restoration that she and her husband performed on the dilapidated convent they chose for their new residence. As its ochre and azure floor tiles emerged, challenges outside the dwelling mounted. From squatters to a surly priest next door, along with a close-knit community wary of outsiders, Loomis tackled the social challenges head-on, through persistent dialogue–and baking.

Verdict: Remove

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Nonfiction; Biography
Added December 19, 2011

Based on the extraordinary final lecture by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, given after he discovered he had pancreatic cancer, this moving book goes beyond the now-famous lecture to inspire readers to live each day with purpose and joy. Photos of Randy and his family and friends are included.

Verdict: Keep

This week I removed 4/5 from my TBR, bringing my new total to 20/30. I think that’s good progress so far!

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #5

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

The Search of My Life: A Memoir

The Search of My Life by Norma Garcia
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

“The Search of My Life” is the true story of Difference, a girl who begins searching for happiness at a young age, the moment she senses something is missing. The second youngest of four girls who must live with their strict aunt when their mother remarries, Difference struggles to find her perfect place in the world. As she grows older, she is unable to decide what she must do to discover true happiness; neither her children nor her loves can fill the void in her life. As a result, she begins to grow weary, saddened by failure. Her life is a journey of mishaps and rough experiences that leave her feeling hopeless and empty. One day, as Difference is driving, the answer finally comes to her, and her life is changed forever. But in order to receive the gift that is presented to her, she must let go of what she loves in her own life. Will she make the change, or will she reject what she’s been desperately searching for and play it safe? “The Search of My Life” offers an honest, no-holds-barred story of the life changes Difference experiences when she allows God into her life.

Verdict: Remove

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
Nonfiction; Self Help
Added: December 19, 2011

There are 168 hours in a week. This is your guide to getting the most out of them.

It’s an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. We tell ourselves we’d like to read more, get to the gym regularly, try new hobbies, and accomplish all kinds of goals. But then we give up because there just aren’t enough hours to do it all. Or if we don’t make excuses, we make sacrifices- taking time out from other things in order to fit it all in.

There has to be a better way…and Laura Vanderkam has found one. After interviewing dozens of successful, happy people, she realized that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting the daily grind crowd out the important stuff, they start by making sure there’s time for the important stuff. When plans go wrong and they run out of time, only their lesser priorities suffer.

Vanderkam shows that with a little examination and prioritizing, you’ll find it is possible to sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, take piano lessons, and write a novel without giving up quality time for work, family, and other things that really matter.

Verdict: Keep

A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books

A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz & Rob Kaplan
Nonfiction; Writing
Added December 19, 2011

“When I have a little money, I buy books. And if any is left, I buy food and clothing.” — –Desiderius Erasmus — Those who share Erasmus’s love of those curious bundles of paper bound together between hard or soft covers know exactly how he felt. These are the people who can spend hours browsing through a bookstore, completely oblivious not only to the passage of time but to everything else around them, the people for whom buying books is a necessity, not a luxury. A Passion for Books is a celebration of that love, a collection of sixty classic and contemporary essays, stories, lists, poems, quotations, and cartoons on the joys of reading, appreciating, and collecting books.

Verdict: Keep {of course}

The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classic Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded

The New Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Faidman & John S Major
Nonfiction; Reference; Books
Added December 19, 2011

The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition offers a much broader representation of women authors, such as Charlotte Bront%, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton, as well as non-Western writers such as Confucius, Sun-Tzu, Chinua Achebe, Mishima Yukio and many others.

Verdict: Remove

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week)

The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 19, 2011

Within a single week in 2009, food journalist Robin Mather found herself on the threshold of a divorce and laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune. Forced into a radical life change, she returned to her native rural Michigan.

There she learned to live on a limited budget while remaining true to her culinary principles of eating well and as locally as possible. In The Feast Nearby, Mather chronicles her year-long project: preparing and consuming three home-cooked, totally seasonal, and local meals a day–all on forty dollars a week.

With insight and humor, Mather explores the confusion and needful compromises in eating locally. She examines why local often trumps organic, and wonders why the USDA recommends white bread, powdered milk, and instant orange drinks as part of its “low-cost” food budget program.

Verdict: Keep

Updated stats: this week I eliminated 2/5 for 16/25 overall… and a long way still to go!

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #4

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness

Slow Love by Dominique Browning
Nonfiction; Self Help; Memoir
Added November 7, 2011

I have come to dislike anything that demands constant attention, whether it is dogs, dishwashers, or finally men. I like things that are independent, and that need you only because they want you, not because they’ll have a breakdown without you.

Verdict: Remove

Prince of Ravenscar (Brides, #11)

Prince of Ravenscar by Catherine Coulter
Fiction; Historical Romance
Added November 7, 2011

In April 1831, her grace Corinne Monroe wants her widowed son, Lord Julian, to marry her best friend’s daughter, Miss Sophie Wilkie. Julian last saw Sophie when she was twelve years old, silent, skinny, and always staring at him. However, his mother is nothing if not persuasive, and Julian reluctantly accompanies her to London to meet the young lady.

And he knows that whatever happens isn’t going to be good.

Lord Devlin Monroe, Julian’s nephew, is very fond of his intriguing reputation in society: he delights, he frightens, he brings on delicious shudders. He’s enjoying an extraordinarily pleasant bachelor life until Miss Roxanne Radcliffe and her niece, Miss Sophie Wilkie, appear in London society, and he finds himself wondering how he could have enjoyed midnight alone.

Julian and Devlin must discover what really happened three years earlier when Julian’s first wife, Lily, was found dead. If they don’t find out the truth, their lives could be ruined. And there is another, even more perfidious, danger that lurks in the shadows, waiting.

Verdict: Remove

Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added November 7, 2011

After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she’s crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.

Verdict: Remove

Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness and More

Your Playlist Can Change Your Life by Galina Mindlin, et al
Nonfiction; Self Help; Music
Added December 19, 2011

Unlock the power of the songs in your pocket

Maybe you blast the speakers when you need to get pumped up. If that’s all you do, though, you’re not taking full advantage of the way music can help you. Listen to a slower track first and the one-two punch of the playlist can push you even higher. Overflowing with easy-to-use tips like these, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life is the first book to offer scientifically proven methods for using your favorite music to enhance your life.

Verdict: Remove

A Watershed Year

A Watershed Year by Susan Schoenberger
Fiction; Women’s; Contemporary
Added December 19, 2011

Two months after the death of her best friend Harlan, Lucy remains haunted by the things she never told him including her deep love for him. Then she begins receiving emails he’d arranged to be sent after his death, emails that will change the course of her life. One email in particular haunts her — he tells her he is certain she is destined for motherhood. Thus begins her watershed year. It is said that out of despair comes hope and in her grief, Lucy finds that the possibility of adopting a child offers her a new chance for a fulfilled life. When she travels to Russia to meet four-year-old Mat she sees in him a soul that is as lonely and lost as hers. Slowly they learn to trust one another and each begins healing. It is when Mat’s father comes to America to reclaim his child that a truth about Mat’s past is revealed, a truth that might shatter Lucy’s fragile little family forever. A Watershed Year is a powerful story of love, loss, redemption, and what it means to be a mother, proving that out of despair can come joy and the beauty of second chances.

Verdict: Keep for now

As promised, there were a couple of fiction books this week.

Current stats: 4/5 for the week, 14/20 overall

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #3

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Nonfiction; Self Help; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

I would try to find one person to thank each day. One person to whom I would write a thank-you note. By the end of the year, I would have used up the stationery. I would have written 365 thank yous.

Verdict: Remove

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
Nonfiction; Books; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On the hundreth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon became evident that neither wanted to let go of their storytelling ritual. So they decided to continue what they called “The Streak.” Alice’s father read aloud to her every night without fail until the day she left for college.

Verdict: Remove

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world–a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us–along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews–her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

Verdict: Remove

Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages

Forgotten Bookmarks by Michael Popek
Nonfiction; Books
Added November 7, 2011

It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people’s bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?

Verdict: Remove

My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself

My Life as Laura by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added November 7, 2011

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson needed to know-was connecting with her lifelong heroine the key to knowing herself? She decided to find out. Kelly donned a prairie dress and retraced the pioneer journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder. From Wisconsin to Minnesota, South Dakota to Missouri, she explored Laura’s past and her own. Part travelogue, part memoir and part social commentary, My Life as Laura shows how a relationship with a pioneer girl who lived in little houses long ago can give a sense of purpose for today.

Verdict: Remove {Though as I was getting my links together, I discovered this title is available through Kindle Unlimited, so I might still read it}.

Wow, this week I ended up removing all 5 books! I think that will probably happen now and again, especially with these older books. And for those of you who may be wondering, there will be some fiction coming up! Most of the older books still on my Goodreads shelf are nonfiction, so as I work through the older stuff {remember over 3000 books} you’ll start to see fiction more and more.

So current stats… 5/5 this week, 10/15 overall

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #2

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession

Cleaving by Julie Powell
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added May 9, 2011

Her marriage challenged by an insane, irresistible love affair, Julie decides to leave town and immerse herself in a new obsession: butchery. She finds her way to Fleischer’s, a butcher shop where she buries herself in the details of food. She learns how to break down a side of beef and French a rack of ribs–tough, physical work that only sometimes distracts her from thoughts of afternoon trysts.

Verdict: Remove

Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness, and the Man Who Found Them All

Buddha or Bust by Perry Garfinkel
Nonfiction; Travel; Spirituality
Added September 17, 2011

Why does an idea that’s 2,500 years old seem more relevant today than ever before? How can the Buddha’s teachings help us solve many of the world’s problems? Journalist Perry Garfinkel circumnavigated the globe to discover the heart of Buddhism and the reasons for its growing popularity—and ended up discovering himself in the process.

Verdict: Keep

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie

The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

Wendy McClure is on a quest to find the world of beloved Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder-a fantastic realm of fiction, history, and places she’s never been to, yet somehow knows by heart. She retraces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family

Verdict: Remove

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

Poser by Claire Dederer
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

Poser is unlike any other book about yoga you will read—because it is actually a book about life. Witty and heartfelt, sharp and irreverent, Poser is for anyone who has ever tried to stand on their head while keeping both feet on the ground.

Verdict: Remove

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added September 17, 2011

But the question remains: What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar?
From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow’s flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate.

Verdict: Keep for Now

So this week I eliminated 3/5 for a total of 5/10 so far. In two weeks I’ve eliminated half of the books I’ve revisited, I think that’s pretty good progress so far. It looks like the first several weeks are going to be a lot of nonfiction, with the occasional fiction work thrown in.

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #1

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Bossypants

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Non-fiction; Humor; Memoir
Added May 9, 2011

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

Verdict: Keep

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
Fiction; Humor; Women’s; Short Stories
Added May 9, 2011

Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman kicks up her heels and commits a small act of liberation. What would you do if you could shed the “shoulds” and do, say—and eat—whatever you really desired? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want? Start a dating service for people over fifty to reclaim the razzle-dazzle in your life—or your marriage? Seek comfort in the face of aging, look for love in the midst of loss, find friendship in the most surprising of places? In these beautiful, funny stories, Elizabeth Berg takes us into the heart of the lives of women who do all these things and more—confronting their true feelings, desires, and joys along the way.

Verdict: Keep

A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller

A Year in the World by Frances Mayes
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added May 9, 2011

A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes—a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to readers. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savored by all who loved Under the Tuscan Sun, A Year in the World is travel writing at its peak.

Verdict: Keep for Now

The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes
Nonfiction; Poetry
Added May 9, 2011

Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible “field guide” to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers.

Verdict: Remove

Greek Expectations: The Adventures of Fearless Fran in the Land of the Gods

Greek Expectations by Frances Mayes
Nonfiction; Travel
Added May 9, 2011

The night before Frances Mayes left Edinburgh to come to Greece for the first time, her old school comrades at their 30 year reunion named her ‘Shirley Valentine’. Frances fulfilled that role by finding a new enthusiasm for life, and a number of jobs, from teaching English, to caretaking an estate, to working for a holiday villa company. Encouraged to write by the good reception for her work on the local English language paper, Frances relates this first part of her memoir, which covers her life in 3 very different Greek places, and adventures ranging from hilarious to hair-raising.

Verdict: Remove

This week is all nonfiction and mostly travel memoirs {ok, mostly Frances Mayes}. I read a lot of travel memoirs, so it’s hard for me to let go sometimes, but I think I did a decent job this week, even though I only eliminated 2 so far.

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Posted in TBR