My 2019 TBR goal is to read all new books I acquire by the end of the following month. Which means that I’m listing my March books here, which will double as my April TBR. This tactic has had a lot of ups and downs for me so far, but this month I’m excited: I’m pretty sure I’m going to succeed in April, with reading time to spare!
Part of the reason for this excitement is that I’ve already read a few of my March books before April is even upon us. Short books only, but I’m still encouraged.
I’ve already read:
- The Victim by P. D. James.
- Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall.
- A River in Egypt by David Means.
- Mr. Salary by Sally Rooney.
- Terrific Mother by Lorrie Moore. These first five are titles from the Faber Stories collection, a set of individually-bound short stories that I’ve been adoring. These are only about 40-80 pages each and so quick to read, but I’ve found them very thought-provoking and worthwhile. Here are some brief reviews if you’re interested in learning more: (part 1, part 2).
- Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden. I picked this one up because of its placement on the 2019 Women’s Prize longlist, which I’m trying to read in its entirety before the shortlist announcement; as that is only a month away, I did make an effort to pick up a couple of the titles in March. This one was disappointing for me (full review here) so I’m a bit bummed that I resorted to buying a copy, but it wasn’t available to me any other way and I did at least have a discount code.
- Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn. Another Women’s Prize longlister; this one I don’t regret buying at all. I’ve just finished reading it, so my review is still upcoming, but this was a captivating little gem.
Which leaves ->
To read in April:
- Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. I picked this one up for half price in the Barnes and Noble book haul sale at the end of February, but it arrived early in March. It’s a historical fiction novel with magical elements that I’ve had my eye on for a while.
- Lot by Bryan Washington. This was my Book of the Month selection for March, a collection of connected short stories set in Houston that is said to read like a novel.
- When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry. A BOTM extra from March; they’ve had quite a few new YA and non-fiction extras the last couple of months, and I might pick up more extras when I’m more caught up, but for March I limited myself to this one title that was already on my TBR. It’s a sci-fi story about a group of friends who maybe witness a flying saucer crashing down in Ohio.
- Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton. Another Women’s Prize longlist book. This one is historical fiction set in Philidelphia, featuring a freed slave trying to rewrite her own story to save her son.
- Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott. Another Women’s Prize longlist book. This one is fiction based on a partially-written Truman Capote book that was meant to expose the lives of real women who had trusted him.
- Come Rain or Come Shine by Kazuo Ishiguro. This title and the following five are more Faber Stories. I had been limiting myself to 3 of these per batch, but I had a coupon code early in March and decided to just go ahead and pick up the titles I was most interested in, to save a bit of cash later on.
- The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes by Alan Bennett.
- The Country Funeral by John McGahern.
- The Forester’s Daughter by Claire Keegan.
- Sonny Liston was a Friend of Mine by Thom Jones.
- An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah.
It looks like a long list, but eleven of the eighteen books I picked up this month are short stories from the Faber Stories Collection; they’re so quick and engaging to read that they’re basically negligible. Of the eleven books here on my April TBR, six of them are those single short stories (I might even read a couple more this weekend before April begins), which leaves only 5 full-length books. I can definitely read more than 5 books in a month. Which is good, because I also have library holds on the two Women’s Prize titles that I haven’t accounted for yet (Ordinary People and Lost Children Archive). And as always, there’s no telling how the month will actually go.
But for the first time all year, I don’t have any doubts or exceptions already in mind before the month begins; I’m pretty sure I will actually read all of these books. The stack looks so manageable, a nice change, and it reflects my current reading priorities: finishing the Women’s Prize longlist, and catching up with my BOTM selections. I hope this TBR will help me stay on track. I will report back at the end of the month.
And in the meantime, I’ll be posting my March wrap-up on Monday, which will reveal how well I did with my Feb haul / March TBR.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
The Literary Elephant