TBR 2.20

After an unexpectedly busy week, I’m far behind on blogging; here’s my monthly TBR to help me get back on track!

Every month for 2020, I’ll be setting my TBR with five of the books I expect to read throughout the month. I won’t mention extras even though I may pick up other things, and at the end of the month, finished or not, each five are barred from future 2020 TBR appearances.

This worked so well for me in January; I was able to read all five books on the list, plus pick up several extras, without feeling bad at the end of the month for anything I might not have gotten around to (a common issue for me with planned TBRs- I get too ambitious).

In that spirit, I’m hoping for an equally positive result this month, and once again have carefully curated my list based on various goals and commitments. The list:

  1. A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne. This is a library checkout, a group buddy read, and a previous Women’s Prize winner. It’s a literary mystery following a woman looking back on an upsetting crime and the events from her childhood in the 1970s. I’ve actually finished this one already! Review to come.
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. A romance classic set in 1800s England, featuring a trio of sisters and their adventures in love. This is one of only two Austen novels I have left unread and one of the titles from my 20 in ’20 list. This will also be great to read in preparation for my Spotlight post this month, which will focus on the romance genre.
  3. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This is an LGBTQ+ romance featuring the Prince of Wales and the son of the (female!) US President. I’m slowly working through my backlog of unread BOTM selections, and this title will also be great to read in conjunction with my Spotlight romance post.
  4. Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. Structured as a series of vignettes from around a Russian community, this is a novel about the mysterious disappearance of two local girls. It’s the only book I acquired in January that I haven’t read yet, it’s on my list of 2019 publications I should’ve read last year, and it was shortlisted for the National Book Award for fiction, so I’m eager to (finally!) get to this one!
  5. Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. This is a historical/contemporary fiction novel following a housewife who finds a cookbook in her home with notes written in the margins about its previous owner’s fraught marriage. It’s a library checkout for me and an anticipated 2020 release; I’m also hoping it’ll be a nice counterbalance to all the romance this month.


Last month I was hoping for 5 5-star reads from my TBR, and ended up with an impressive 3 5-stars and 2 4-stars; this month I’m less confident, but still hoping for at least 2 5-stars. I have some other hopeful titles I’d love to pick up this month, including some library checkouts that I’ll probably get to and some titles relating to Black History Month that I should get to, but I don’t want to muddle the TBR system this early in the game. I will of course review what I end up reading as I go.

In the meantime, here’s a list of February releases I have my eye on! These are not necessarily books that I’ll be picking up this month (though I’d really like to) or even at all (I ended up crossing two of my January releases off my TBR entirely); they’re new releases I’m interested in at the moment, and will be checking out reviews for throughout the month and am hoping to learn more about! Since my TBRs are limited this year I thought this would be a nice way to share the news of some upcoming books and perhaps put some great titles on your radar. These are the new titles I’ve got my eye on for February:

  • The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons. Supernatural romance in which a woman strikes up a relationship with a man who is dead. He’s not supposed to become involved with any living people while he waits to join the afterlife, which results in a string of bizarre consequences for the pair. Out Feb 4th
  • Things in Jars by Jess Kidd. Historical fantasy following a female detective in Victorian London who pursues the case of a kidnapped child rumored to possess supernatural powers that various “collectors” have taken an interest in.
  • Smacked by Eilene B. Zimmerman. Nonfiction autobiography/memoir of a woman discovering that her (now deceased) ex-husband was a high-functioning addict and workaholic- without anyone noticing the drug abuse until his death. Out Feb 4th
  • The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams. Historical fiction in which a school for young women is rocked by a mysterious illness; the single female teacher can advocate for the students only by confronting the male authorities in charge. Out Feb 11th
  • Weather by Jenny Offill. Literary fiction about a librarian woman who is also a fake shrink, called upon to answer a popular podcast’s influx of mail about the state of the modern world. Out Feb 11th
  • The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. LGBTQ+ historical fiction about a Norwegian storm and 1600s witch trials. Out Feb 11th
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor. LGBTQ+ literary fiction about an African-American man from Alabama at a Midwest university, where various encounters reveal “a lifetime of buried pain.” Out Feb 18th
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson. Nonfiction set in WWII Britain, following Churchill’s personal and political life. Out Feb 25th

Is there anything here you’ve read, or that catches your eye? I’d love to hear more thoughts! Tell me what you’re most excited to be reading this month!


The Literary Elephant

19 thoughts on “TBR 2.20”

  1. I’m very intrigued to read your full thoughts on A Crime in the Neighborhood, and to see how you get on with Disappearing Earth.

    I’m really excited about the release of The Mercies as well! It sounds SO up my street, and I’m going to be reviewing it for BookBrowse. 🙊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! My library *just* ordered a copy of The Mercies so I’ll definitely be reading that one before too long. I’ll look forward to your review!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Intriguing! I love that blurry line between the real and unreal in fiction. Things in Jars is actually one of the new releases I managed to get a library hold on, so I’m really hoping to be able to read it this month!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Things in Jars is all over the internet right now, so I’m surprised I haven’t seen any reviews yet. Looking around, though, I think fewer of my blog friends are focusing on new releases than they have in the past. It can be daunting to get ARCs all the time and miss out on anything this isn’t forthcoming.

    I’m exciting to read a Gothic novella by Doris Lessing called The Fifth Child. Here’s a brief excerpt from the synopsis: “Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong and violent, Ben has nothing innocent or infant-like about him. As he grows older and more terrifying, Harriet finds she cannot love him, David cannot bring himself to touch him, and their four older children are afraid of him.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve hardly seen anything online about Things in Jars! But then again I’ve not been on the internet as much as usual this week. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people I follow on social media seem to be setting goals to request fewer ARCs though… that’s an interesting trend. I wonder if that’ll shift as the year goes on or whether the book community is slowing become ARC-fatigued? I resigned myself to reading fewer backlist books this year because I was so excited by the new releases I saw coming up, what a strange year for attention to collectively shift to older titles.

      That sounds very intriguing; I’m especially interested in what the dynamic between the children must be like with four older siblings afraid of the youngest. I’ll look forward to your thoughts!


      1. What I’ve noticed with book bloggers is a lot of folks are so excited at first that they are given ARCs. Then, they start to realize that accepting an ARC is a responsibility, and not as informal as blogging can be when one has a job or school or family to care for. The ARCs start to pile up and become a source of anxiety rather than pleasure. I like to remind new bloggers that publishers get more out of a blogger’s review than the blogger gets for the “free” book they are sent (and oftentimes it’s an e-book or even a PDF, not a physical copy).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have noticed that trend as well, which is part of the reason I don’t really do ARCs. I find it interesting though that so many people at once seem to be pulling back on their ARC use! Of course, the corner of the book community I’m following is probably only a small sampling of all the readers and reviewers out there, so maybe it’s just my perception making it seem bigger than it is. The publication wheel keeps turning as usual, I’m sure!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I look forward to reading your review of A Crime in the Neighborhood. Its premise sounds so interesting, so I don’t know why it has got low-ish ratings on Goodreads. But on the other hand, because it’s giving me thriller vibes, I wonder if it would have won the prize today. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely not a thriller! I’m sad to say I’ll probably be adding to the low ratings for A Crime in the Neighborhood… it just doesn’t quite live up to its premise, which I thought sounded very interesting as well! I have lots of thoughts and I definitely think it could work better for other readers, so I’m looking forward to talking about it. I will hopefully manage to post it this week! I appreciate your interest! 🙂


    1. Thanks! I’ve heard such good things about Disappearing Earth and am excited to pick it up SOON! I’m so glad it’s a title you’ve got your eye on as well. 🙂


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