Category Archives: Book Haul / TBR

TBR 7.19

I set myself a goal for 2019 in which I aim to read all of the new books I acquire by the end of the following month. Recently, I’ve considered abandoning this goal, because my TBR for each month includes more than just the previous month’s purchases and it’s been disheartening to never reach the goal. But upon reflection, keeping track of which new books I read or don’t read right away is helping in the two areas I most intended it to: I’m more likely to resist buying books that I want to read eventually instead of immediately, and I am reading a higher percentage of unread books from my shelves, rather than ignoring my own books to borrow more from the library. Of course, I still buy books that I don’t end up reading immediately, and I still use the library, but I’ve decided to at least keep tracking this goal through the rest of the year even if I’m not sticking to it as closely as I’d hoped, because I do want to see my end stats and be able to set more realistic goals for next year.

So I’ll continue to post my book haul / TBR list for each month, but at the end I’ll include a list of what I think my reading for the month might actually include.

These are the new books added to my shelf throughout June:

  1. Daughters of Passion by Julia O’Faolain. This is a short story from the Faber Stories collection. It’s about an Irish woman on a hunger strike who loses track of what’s real and what’s not (as far as I recall). This is one of only 3 Faber Stories I still needed to complete my collection, but the other two are still too expensive.
  2. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, trans. by Marilyn Booth. This is the winner of this year’s Man Booker International prize, for literature translated into English. I believe this is a story about three sisters from Oman. I’ve heard mixed things, but I want to start making more of an effort to read current and past prize winners so I’m going to give it a try.
  3. Flight or Fright ed. by Stephen King and Bev Vincent. This is a short story collection about the horrors of planes and flight, which is a topic one of my friends is very interested in and I’ve also become a bit attracted to by extension. I originally bought this for her birthday, and then found out she had unknowingly bought it for herself  right after so I’ll keep this copy and find a replacement gift. I’ll probably save this for a spooky fall read, if I get around to it this year at all.
  4. The Phantom of the Opera and Other Gothic Tales by Gaston Leroux and others. I bought this leather-bound classics edition on sale from Barnes and Noble. It’s 800 pages of relatively short Gothic stories from a variety of authors, some I know of and some that will be new to me. I’ve been wanting to buy this since it was added to the B&N classics collection last year, and ended up buying it this month just because I could get it at a good price. I’ll probably also save this one for fall.
  5. Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-LeachI bought this from the same Barnes and Noble sale, a clean hardcover copy for only about $5. This book features a set of twins, one of whom is missing, and may be playing a game that only her sister can solve. This one’s been on my radar for a long time, and I finally decided to give it a go.
  6. Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash. This book features a woman who enters a “three-way relationship” with another woman and his girlfriend, but essentially I believe it’s about a crisis of identity. It sounds really weird and highly intriguing, but my library doesn’t have a copy so I bought my own. I’m really excited to pick this one up!
  7. Recursion by Blake Crouch. Here is my BOTM selection from June, which I’ve also been eyeing impatiently ever since it arrived, though I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with my June library books and my buddy read of Stephen King’s 1400+ page The Stand that I haven’t had time to dive into yet. This is the new sci-fi thriller from the author of Dark Matter, and it deals with memory. That’s all I know and all I want to know- I’m also really looking forward to this one!
  8. City of Omens by Dan Werb. I chose this nonfiction about the deaths of women in Tijuana as a BOTM add-on in June. I’m trying to incorporate more nonfiction into my reading this summer (and beyond), so I picked this up just because it was a new release that caught my attention, and I’m looking forward to learning more.


Those are all of the new books I’ve acquired this month. I haven’t read a single one yet, and I’m not even going to pretend to expect that I’ll read them all in July. From this list, I’m most expecting to read Daughters of Passion, Animals Eat Each Other, and Recursion. I’m less certain about but still HOPING to also read City of Omens, Celestial Bodies, and/or Dead Letters.

In addition, I’ll also have these library books for sure: The Farm by Joanne Ramos, Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, Again, But Better by Christine Riccio, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.

I should be finishing my buddy read of The Stand within the first two weeks of the month also, which will feel like SUCH an accomplishment and will also free up a lot more reading time for me, though of course until it’s done it will still occupy a good portion of my reading time.

Last but not least, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction longlist will be announced on July 24, which I hope to be reading again this year (though in a more timely manner than I managed last year). I have no idea what the nominated titles will be or how available they will be to me, so I’m not sure I’ll get to any of these at the end of July, but it’s certainly a possibility.

And so, even though I’m tentatively planning to read more than 8 books this month, I’m sure they won’t be the 8 new books I picked up in June. Which is okay.

My June wrap-up will be up next week, featuring everything I read this month, and a look at how closely it followed my May book haul / June TBR.

Happy reading, all!


The Literary Elephant


TBR 6.19

My TBR goal for the year is to read any new books I’ve acquired by the end of the following month. We’re not quite halfway through the year yet, but I am seriously considering throwing this goal out the window, which is an unusual stance for me in general and especially after May, which was the first month all year that I’ve succeeded with this self-challenge. But May has also been the first month of my new Top of the TBR series, which I’m enjoying a whole lot more than these book haul TBR posts. And May has also been the third month in a row for me of no 5-star novels, which is seriously putting me in the mood to just reach for whatever I think is going to break this weird reading funk I’m in and skip the plans and lists.

But I’ve decided to stick with this set-up for the month of June, at which point the year will be half over- a nice round number that seems opportune for reassessment. So here are the new books I’ve picked up in May that my TBR goal says I should be reading in June:

  1. The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler. This was my BOTM selection for May, and it’s at the top of my list for the nonfiction binge I tend to partake in this summer. (List of probable nonfiction titles I’ll be reading coming soon.) I haven’t read Hessler before and I don’t know anything more about this book beyond what the title suggests, but I thought a regional history of a country I’m not especially familiar with would be a great addition to my summer nonfiction stack.
  2. The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. This was an extra nonfiction title I picked up from BOTM in May. I just watched the first season of Mindhunter recently (on Netflix), which is related content. I’ve succumbed to a serial killer / true crime fascination and am looking forward to continuing down that path in my reading life as well.
  3. A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley. This is a collection of short stories that was shortlisted for the National Book Award in 2018, and the author was one of my TAs in the creative writing program at the University of Iowa. I’m also trying to read more short stories this year, and as I near the end of the Faber Stories collection I’m looking forward to getting back into other collections of short stories.
  4. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston. I believe this is a YA novel about a high school cheerleader who is drugged and assaulted at a party. I haven’t been reading much YA this year but I do still appreciate hard-hitting books from that age range. This also sounds a bit like Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, which turned out to be one of my favorite reads of 2018. The clincher was that this was only $1 on Book Outlet.
  5. Winter by Ali Smith. I own but haven’t read Autumn yet, though all signs point to me enjoying this seasonal quartet when I get around to it. I didn’t expect I would ever find it cheaper than I did this month, so I decided it was worth getting it now for my future self. I don’t really anticipate that I’ll be reading either Autumn or Winter this June, which means I’ve probably failed my TBR goal for the month before I’ve even begun. But who knows, anything could happen.
  6. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I actually read the titular piece from this book last year, and liked it enough that I wanted to pick up my own copy. This one matches my edition of The Waves (which I have not read yet). But it also contains a second essay, much to my surprise, so I will have to read that as well before I can count this as completed.
  7. Fever Dream by Samanta Scweblin. I was not expecting this one to be as small as it is, but I suppose that bodes well for my ability to get around to it right away. This one is the 2018 Tournament of Books winner, and I also remember it being described as something like a psychological ghost story? That sounds right up my alley. I will actually pick this one up soon. Probably.


Those are the books I’ve picked up in May and haven’t read yet. In the interest of inclusivity, I’m also going to mention that I picked up my own copy of An American Marriage by Tayari Jones for a good price this month, and am currently rereading it in preparation for a Women’s Prize shortlist wrap-up post (coming soon). I’m also working my way through another batch of Faber Stories that I’m pretty confident I’ll finish before the end of May- I’ve already read Akhil Sharma’s Cosmopolitan and will promptly be reading Samuel Beckett’s Dante and the Lobster and Djuna Barnes’s The Lydia Steptoe Stories (mini-reviews coming soon). All of these I’ve acquired in May but expect to finish before June begins.


Additionally, I’ve got a few library holds that have come in recently that I’ll be reading in the first half of June: Helen Hoang’s The Bride Test, Hanna Jameson’s The Last, and Melanie Golding’s Little Darlings.

Furthermore, I’m on a quest to finish reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (as much of it as is published so far); I’ve got a few episodes left to watch from season 4 of the corresponding Game of Thrones TV series, and then I anticipate that I’ll be reading A Feast for Crows in June.

And in case that wasn’t enough, I’ve also agreed to a buddy read of Stephen King’s The Stand, his longest novel (we’re reading the uncut 1400+ page version), starting on the first of June. Which we aren’t even expecting to finish until early/mid July. I’ll only be reading about 200-250 pages of this per week, which is typically less than half of my weekly reading, so I will be reading plenty of other books in the meantime, but there’s no use denying that this is a substantial commitment.

So as you can see, my reading is all over the place and there’s no way I’ll manage to fit everything in unless I suddenly learn to speed read this month. But there’s a lot I’m looking forward to, and I’m hoping something here will break my sad no-5-stars streak. I have been enjoying most of what I’ve been reading, and I haven’t stopped reading so I wouldn’t say I’m in a slump, but something just has not been right in my reading life lately. (May wrap-up coming soon.) So if there’s anything I’ve mentioned in this post that you really want to see me review, let me know in the comments so nothing gets lost in this month’s shuffle! I really have no idea how much of this I might be reading in June, or what to prioritize. Send help.

Have you read any of these books? What’s your top-priority read for June?


The Literary Elephant

TBR 5.19

The usual spiel: my 2019 TBR goal is to read all of the new books I’ve acquired by the end of the following month, which means that my official May TBR is comprised of books I acquired in April.

But April was a bad month for me this year, even though it was my birthday month and therefore predisposed toward greatness; somehow I managed to acquire only one book that I haven’t already read. It was:

  1. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, my BOTM choice for April. This is the only book that my TBR goal “requires” me to read in May. I believe this is a legal/courtroom mystery about a woman who may or may not have murdered her autistic son, but I know there’s a lot more to it than that. Miracle Submarines and such, which I’m intrigued to learn about. People have been raving about this one and I’m looking forward to picking it up this month.

I also picked up a few of my favorites from the Women’s Prize longlist that I’ve already read but thought I would like to reread if shortlisted. None of them ended up advancing (a damn SHAME) but I’ll probably reread them soon anyway, just maybe not in May. These titles are:

  1. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, a powerful novel unlike anything I’ve read before or since that deserved a WIN, not only a spot on the shortlist. This is the exclusion I’m most upset about. This is a book about a Nigerian person who struggles with identity; there are cultural African elements (ogbanje spirits), and a challenging look at gender and mental health. Don’t let the shortlist fool you, this is absolutely a book worth picking up.
  2. The Pisces by Melissa Broder. I was less certain about this one making the shortlist because it has been very polarizing, but I found it fresh and captivating, despite its more disturbing moments. It’s about a woman struggling with her thesis on Sappho, searching for love and stumbling across a merman. It’s absolutely weird, but I marked so many great quotes the first time around that I ended up losing right after I sent the book back to the library, so a reread has been a long time coming (and I’m not taking any chances on the quotes disappearing from my computer file again).
  3. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. I read this one only two months ago, but it’s so short and impactful that I’m already ready for another go… and I hardly ever reread, which is saying something. I wavered on buying this one because it’s rather expensive for a novella, but I love the artistic touches in this edition so I went ahead and bought it. This one’s about a teenaged girl whose family is taking part in an Iron Age reenactment that goes too far. It’s so atmospheric and horrifying and brilliant that I can’t recommend it highly enough.


And now I want to share a little about my reading/blogging plans for May, since this TBR isn’t giving much away. Right now, I have one library book checked out: Miriam Toews’ Women Talking; I have a couple more holds pending as well, but I’m not sure when they’ll come in. I want to catch up with some of my backlist BOTM titles, including Lot by Bryan WashingtonA Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, and When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry. At some point either in May or June, I want to reread Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage in preparation for a Women’s Prize shortlist/winner post. But primarily, I want to catch up on Game of Thrones. I’m seriously missing out on one of the biggest stories in pop culture because I’m one of those weirdos who needs to read the book first and I’ve only read two books so I’ve only watched two seasons. (Please, everyone who is caught up with season eight, remember that spoilers are cruel.) I want to read at least Storm of Swords (by George R. R. Martin) this month, and farther in the series if I can keep my momentum.


Since I’ll likely be starting with Storm of Swords, which will probably take me around a week (or possibly longer) to read, and I haven’t decided yet whether to post a full review upon completion (I’m not sure whether anyone would be interested in reading more than a few spoiler-free sentences in my month recap), this will probably affect my posts for the near future. I have two tags to complete and another round of Faber Stories mini-reviews coming up, but depending on how much time I spend reading Game of Thrones (and watching the corresponding episodes) I might be taking a bit of a hiatus from regular posts this month. I still expect to be perusing my feed, and I have a new weekly series in mind that I’m looking forward to starting, so I’m not going totally MIA.

Stay tuned for my April wrap-up (including the completion rate for my April TBR) which is coming up tomorrow.

Have you read Miracle Creek or any of the other titles I might be reaching for this month? I’d love to know what you thought in the comments!


The Literary Elephant

Book Haul 3.19 / TBR 4.19

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:

  1. The Victim by P. D. James.
  2. Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall.
  3. A River in Egypt by David Means.
  4. Mr. Salary by Sally Rooney.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes by Alan Bennett.
  8. The Country Funeral by John McGahern.
  9. The Forester’s Daughter by Claire Keegan.
  10. Sonny Liston was a Friend of Mine by Thom Jones.
  11. 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

Book Haul 2.19 / TBR 3.19

Two posts in one day, wait what? Who am I? Actually on top of things for once? Lol nope I’m still behind, but trying to catch up in the eleventh hour.

Fitting my TBR goal for the year, I’m making these new books hauled in February my March TBR. I’ve already read a few, but there are a lot left and I already know I won’t get to all of these within the month. I actually did better than in Dec. and Jan. but I’m really hoping I can commit to a downward trend in book buying because it would be nice to feel like my TBR is manageable for once. But until that time, here’s what’s new ->


Already read:

  1. The Running Man by Stephen King. I read this in The Bachman Books last fall, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Other contributing factor to purchasing = it was one of the few remaining Stephen King books in the 2016 Gallery editions that I needed to complete my collection. The main reason my book hauls have been so large lately is that I’ve been trying to get all of these paperbacks and I mainly find them on Book Outlet, where I then feel the need to add enough other books to my cart to get free shipping. But I’ve found 8 now out of (I think) 9, so I should be better able to reign myself in going forward.
  2. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I read this in 2016 I think, and it’s still one of my favorite mystery/thrillers of all time, primarily because of how well it thoroughly shocked me at the halfway-point twist even though I was looking for such a twist. I wanted a copy to lend and reread, as I originally borrowed it from the library.
  3. Paradise by Edna O’Brien. I ordered a few of these little books from the Faber Stories collection to get me started with that set, and I couldn’t wait until March to read them. I’m very happy with the stories I chose; you can check out my mini-reviews for more info. They also include:
  4. The Inner Room by Robert Aickman. And
  5. Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath. I had such a good time with these that I ordered another batch of three as soon as I finished, so expect those in March…

New to be read:

  1. The Dark Half by Stephen King. Another of the old Gallery paperbacks. I just grabbed it this month because I saw it was available and didn’t want to miss my chance. But I am trying to read my way through King’s oeuvre and this one looks interesting now that I know a bit more about King’s Richard Bachman pseudonym.
  2. Blaze by Stephen King. This one was available on Book Outlet when I was purchasing from there anyway.
  3. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Also was available on Book Outlet (I swear this is not an ad, I just like their prices). A friend recommended this title to me, so I am glad I grabbed a copy.
  4. End of Watch by Stephen King. The same friend has been nagging me (in a nice way) to finish the Mr. Mercedes trilogy (this is the third book), but since I bought Finders Keepers (the second book) last year it was harder to justify picking it up when I’m behind on my current TBR system already. Having this one on hand gives me an extra nudge to just go for it anyway.
  5. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. This is a YA contemporary with high ratings that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, so finding it on Book Outlet seemed like fate and I grabbed it.
  6. Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee. This is an adult contemporary about sisters and mental health that I’ve been wanting to read for ages and decided it was time to get around to. Also, free shipping…
  7. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. I’ve been interested in this one for a while because it was shortlisted for the Man Booker a couple years ago and also because I’m highly intrigued by the premise of four mutually exclusive stories packed into one narrative.  This one’s massive, but I’m trying not to let that deter me.
  8. Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. I picked this one up on a whim, as I remember wanting to read it back in 2016 when it started appearing as a nominee on several awards lists, but honestly it kind of fell off of my radar. I don’t remember anything about it other than that it was up for awards, so I have no idea what to expect and I probably should have looked into this a bit more, even if the shipping was free.
  9. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. This was my Book of the Month selection for February; there’s been an intriguing trend with dream/sleep novels lately, and I’m on board for that. I just read and adored The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (review up soon) and can’t wait to try this one as well.
  10. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. I added this as an extra to my Feb. BOTM box because it sounded so promising (and one is never enough). This is a family/cultural story with an Arab-American MC.
  11. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This one was recommended to me by another friend, who is currently rereading so we can talk about it together in March. I know literally nothing about it beyond the fact that she loves it and I’ve got a Murakami-sized gap in my reading life.
  12. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. I read O’Neill’s Asking For It last summer and was absolutely stunned by it. Also a bit traumatized. It was such a meaningful book that I’ve been wanting to try another title from this author but it’s taken me a while to get past how sad and horrified the last one left me. I think I’m finally ready to dive back in. This is a sci-fi dystopia, which I’ve been in the mood for lately, with feminist elements, which I’m always in the mood for.

And that’s all for now, folks. At 17 books total, this haul is still larger than I’m hoping will be normal this year, but it is a 10-book improvement from last month. I think I could actually read all twelve of these in March, the only exception being the Stephen Kings; one or two of his novels seems like enough to handle in one month.

But I also have 4 library books checked out, and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist will be announced on March 4th- I’ll want to read at least some (if not all) of those nominees as well. Plus I’m still finishing two books from my February TBR- one (The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo) I should finish tonight, technically before the end of the month, but the other (The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty) is a longer novel that’ll take me into March. So who knows what will happen with my TBR. It’s anyone’s guess.

And for anyone curious, when I post my February wrap-up tomorrow I’ll show a comparison with my Jan. book haul / Feb. TBR to see how many books I actually crossed off of this month’s list.

Any recommendations for me from the twelve books I *should* read in March? Let me know if you’ve read/loved (or hated) any of these!


The Literary Elephant


Book Haul 1.19 / TBR 2.19

My January Book Haul will be my February TBR, as per my 2019 goal of reading new books before the end of the following month. I did buy some books in January that I’ve already read previously though, so I’ll list those first and then get to the unread (TBR) list.

Books new to my shelves that I’ve already read:

  1. The Dead Zone by Stephen King. I’m on a mission to read all of King’s books, as you’ll notice in this haul… but when I get to the end of them I want to reread some favorites, like The Dead Zone. I didn’t actually get the edition that I wanted for this one, so I might try again for the right one later.
  2. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the Little House series as a kid but only own about half of the books. I’ve been wanting for a couple years now to finish out my collection, and I found the titles I was missing for a good price. So I also picked up ->
  3. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  5. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And
  6. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  7. The Magician King by Lev Grossman. I loved the Magicians trilogy in 2016, but the books always seemed so expensive. Last month I found The Magicians for cheap, and this month I found the other two, which means I also have ->
  8. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman.
  9. and 10. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman/Stephen King. This was my favorite story from King’s The Bachman Books, and it was available in the edition I’m collecting. I ended up with two copies because my first order arrived wrong and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get the right one anyway so I just kept it without complaint. In an unbelievable stroke of luck, the one I wanted came up cheap on Book Outlet soon after, so I got that and probably won’t keep the extra.

Before I move on to my February TBR books, here’s a look at my full haul this month, already-read books included:


And now, new (unread) books for February:

  1. Rose Madder by Stephen King. As I mentioned, I’m on a quest to read all of Stephen King. I found this one cheap on Book Outlet, so I just grabbed it without even looking at the premise. I like to go in blind anyway.
  2. Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King. This is a short story collection, which fits both my Stephen King aspirations and my goal to read more short stories in 2019.
  3. Christine by Stephen King. The 2016 Gallery paperbacks are the editions I’m collecting, so I bought this one basically just because it matched and it was available. I’ve had a hard time finding some of these covers because they’ve been out of print for a couple of years. Even though I don’t think they’re a big collector item (only 9 of King’s 60+ books were published in this edition that I know of), they seem a bit scarce. So part of the reason this haul is so large is that I’ve been grabbing these editions whenever they’re available on Book Outlet and then I just add on enough other books to get free shipping. I have a collect-them-all problem. I swear this haul is not an indication of how the year will continue.
  4. Thinner by Stephen King. Another one of the 2016 editions that I just grabbed because I was afraid I would never find it again. This one sounds sort of similar to  Elevation, so I am looking forward to comparing the two.
  5. Insomnia by Stephen King. The last of the 2016 editions (in this haul). I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever get my hands on this one, but I got lucky with a used copy. This one is about a man with increasing difficulty sleeping at night, who starts wandering around town and discovers some weird things going on out there in the dark. This one sounds very intriguing to me but it doesn’t have the best reviews.
  6. Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. This is a collection of four short novels/novellas by King; I’m planning to buddy read this one, so I went ahead and bought my copy even though I know I won’t be reading this in February.
  7. Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. There are so many classics I still need to read. I picked this one up this month because I wanted free shipping, but I am very interested in reading this story about Emma Bovary’s dysfunctional marriage and subsequent affairs.
  8. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Again, I just wanted free shipping. But I read two books by Jackson last year and a short story early in January, and found a lot to appreciate in her writing and general spookery.
  9. Scythe by Neal Schusterman. I want to read more YA and more sci-fi/fantasy this year (though not necessary a lot of YA sci-fi/fantasy), and this one’s been on my radar for a while. I know that the main characters of this book are teens in training as scythes, who control the world population. I’m on board for that.
  10. The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. Another I picked up cheap on my quest for free shipping. This one sounded intriguing (not that I remember any actual details about the premise, as usual), but it’s often promoted for fans of The Night Circus, which I haven’t read yet.
  11. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. This was my BOTM selection for January. Ideally, my monthly TBRs will not be this large every month and I will have time to read my BOTM choices within the month that I receive them instead of the next month. But it’s still early in the year, so I’m sticking with the system as much as I can so far. I believe this one is a historical fiction with magical elements, and it takes place in Malaysia.
  12. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I ordered this from Book Depository back in early November and it finally arrived a few days ago, along with my copy of In Our Mad and Furious City which, frustratingly, I no longer need and am not keeping. But I’m happy to have this beautiful paperback and I can’t wait to read it as I’ve heard such good things. All I remember about the premise is that it’s a family saga about Koreans in Japan.
  13. The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty. I just read The City of Brass and had to buy this sequel immediately. It’s an adult fantasy set in the Middle East and full of djinns.
  14. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I did say I wanted to read more YA this year… I half-watched this Netflix adaptation in December and found it amusing, and a friend who also wants to get into this series gave me the trilogy for Christmas. So I’ll give these a shot, even though YA romance was never my niche, even when I was primarily reading YA. We’ll see how this goes. I also have ->
  15. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. And ->
  16. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. The same friend also gifted me ->
  17. One Day in December by Josie Silver. This is an adult romance. I think the premise of this one is that a man and woman meet at a bus stop, and then don’t meet again until a year later when the woman discovers the man that she’s been thinking about for months is now dating her best friend. If I don’t get to this by the end of February, it’ll probably wait until next December.
  18. Revival by Stephen King. My friend also picked up a free (used) hardback of this title for me. I don’t actually know anything about this one, but the cover is very shiny and that’s important, right?

Here are the books that- in a perfect world- my 2019 TBR system would have me reading in February (plus Pierre, checking them out):


All in all, I’m hauling an insane total of 28 books for January, 18 of which I *should* be reading in February. Since the ultimate goal of this TBR system is to read all of my new books without adding to my “owned-unread” shelves, I’ve decided I’m going to keep a stack of any TBR books that I don’t get to within the proper month to catch up on throughout the year. This could be the start of me separating my read books from the unreads, which I’ve never done before…

What I’m actually going to read in February remains a mystery. For one thing, I’m certainly not reading 7 Stephen King novels in the next month. I foresee myself reading one or two per month throughout the year, so I’ll probably intentionally hold some of these back for later months- which leaves 13 books on my February TBR. I do intend to read as many of these books as possible, but I should have a couple (five) library holds coming in soon as well.

Stay tuned for my January wrap-up on the 1st, where I’ll recap my December book haul and see how many of those books I managed to read in January!

Have you read any of these books? Where should I start?


The Literary Elephant

Book Haul 12.18

So Christmas hit me pretty hard this year. Mostly in good ways, but I’ve been so exhausted the last few days and off of my usual routine. But I’m finally coming around and getting excited for the year’s wrap up and the start of 2019. This post ties in to both, as it shows the books I’ve acquired throughout the last month, which are also the books I’ll be reading in the first month of the new year. I set a 2019 goal for myself to read the new books I pick up within the next month, so this is basically my January TBR. There will be some exceptions, some of these I know I won’t read in January and also I’ll have some library holds coming up that I’ll prioritize. But let’s get to the book haul! Since there are so many (and I don’t remember a lot of the synopses) I’m not going to say much about them. I’m sure you have better things to do today. Without further ado, my final book haul of 2018!

What’s new:

  1. The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. This is an adult fantasy I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and finally found a cheap copy. This book and the next 13 came from a Black Friday haul from Book Outlet; everything was insanely cheap (which is why this list is so long).
  2. The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. I probably won’t read this historical/magical novel in January because I still need to read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street first.
  3. Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon. I heard great things about this lit fic all through 2018 but I didn’t end up reading it yet. I’m really looking forward to it.
  4. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. I was in a romance novel mood in Nov./Dec. and wanted to give this author duo a try. I read a different one of their books (Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating) in early Dec. through the library that didn’t impress me, but I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one more.
  5. Love and Friendship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen. I’ve been making a slow tour through Austen’s novels, and I want to read this bonus book of Austen material when I finish with the novels. (I have Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility left.) I probably won’t be reading all three of those in January.
  6. Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. I’ve been so intrigued to read this author and I want to get back into some short story collections in 2019 after my failed attempt at that this fall.
  7. Autumn by Ali Smith. I’ve been interested in checking out Smith’s seasonal quartet for a few months now and I’m looking forward to giving this first book in the series a go.
  8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve not read any Ishiguro yet and I feel like that needs to be remedied. There are several Ishiguro titles I want to pick up, but this was the one on sale so I’ll start here.
  9. The Mothers by Brit Bennett. I’ve heard good things about this one, and it was cheap. One of my friends is also going to be reading it soon, so it will be nice to chat about it.
  10. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. Purcell’s The Corset caught my attention in 2018, but I’ve decided to start with this earlier publication which sounds even more appealing to me.
  11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. I’ve seen the movie but never read the book, and I hear they’re pretty different. I’d love to compare them for myself, and there are several short works in this copy that will fit well into my short story reading efforts.
  12. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. I’ve never read any H. G. Wells, and due to my interest both in classics and sci-fi it seemed like a good time to change that.
  13. Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood. I’ve read this one! I love Atwood’s writing, and this modern take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest made me appreciate the original in a way I never did while reading the play. I wanted my own copy to reread and lend, I won’t be reading this in January.
  14. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Another I’ve already read- I loved this adult fantasy trilogy when I read it in 2017 and I do eventually want to won all three books, but I don’t like paying a lot for something I’ve already read, so I got the one that was cheap and I’ll get the others later. I won’t be rereading this one in January.
  15. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I actually picked this up as a potential Christmas gift for a friend who likes YA more than I do, but she got her own copy before Christmas so this one’s mine. I don’t mind, I’ve heard good things.
  16. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. Apparently I’m on a mission to read all of King’s publications. It’s going to be a slow trek over a span of years, but I’m starting to pick up more of his titles. This is a short story collection. I won’t read all of my new Stephen King books in January, but I would like to read this one as well as one of the novels.
  17. The Shining by Stephen King. I’ve actually read this one already but wanted my own copy. I also own the sequel, Doctor Sleep, which I haven’t read yet; I want to reread The Shining before I get to the sequel. No guarantees this will be a project for January.
  18. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. This sounds like one of King’s more psychological novels, which intrigues me a lot.
  19. In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne. Don’t even get me started on this one. It’s the final title I needed to wrap up my Man Booker longlist experience and I had a frustratingly difficult time getting a copy. This is not the edition I originally ordered, and it took way too long to arrive, but I did want to read it before the end of the year so I had to just go with what I could get in the end. I’m currently reading this one and do plan to finish before 2019. (Since it was on my nightstand instead of in my TBR box, I forgot to include it in the haul thumbnail. I have the yellow US paperback right now.)
  20. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. This is one of King’s fantasy novels, and one thing about King’s writing that’s intriguing me lately is how varied his writing. There’s something distinctly King-y about all of his work, but he has written in a wide range of genres and I want to check them all out. This one seemed like an easier place to start than his Dark Tower series.
  21. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand. I picked up this creepy YA fantasy on a Christmas sale, and am absolutely looking forward to picking it up ASAP.
  22. Fen by Daisy Johnson. I read Johnson’s Everything Under from the Man Booker longlist (and shortlist) this year and loved it enough that I wanted to read Johnson’s other publication. This is her short story collection.
  23. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. This one is invisible in my haul thumbnail (but it is there!) because I got a very tiny edition of the single short story. My mom’s been recommending this one to me for ages, and I do want to read more of Jackson’s work so I suggested she could give me a copy for Christmas. She found this binding of the single story, somehow. I do eventually want to read the entire The Lottery and Other Stories collection, but I guess I’ll start with this one. It should be an easy title to cross off my January TBR, as the story is only 16 pages long.
  24. Severance by Ling Ma. This was my December BOTM selection, and I am ashamed to say it is the only BOTM main selection that I haven’t finished within the year. I’ve gotten a couple of extras that are still waiting on my shelf and I haven’t entirely caught up with last year’s extras, but I did so well reading my main selection every month of 2018. Until now. It’s my own fault, for taking time off of reading and blogging to sleep and regroup these last few days. I am definitely looking forward to picking this apocalyptic satire up in January.
  25. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay. This was a December BOTM extra for me, which I knew I wouldn’t have time for in Dec. I am hoping to find time for this cultural lit fic also in January. It sounds like a good winter read.


I think that’s everything new. I think. I have a couple of backup Christmas gifts that I am holding on to for a final Christmas celebration with a bookish friend, and if she doesn’t already have the first-choice books I picked out for her then the backups will be mine. If she does, then I’ll keep the ones she has. I’ve learned this is the only way surprise book gifts work with her, especially when we do our gift exchange after Christmas. So I’ll have two of those backups as well as final Christmas books by the 31st, but I’ll add those to my January haul because this one is already looking a bit unmanageable and I’m ready to post.

My 2019 goal to read my new books within the following month is intended to stop the increasing of my owned-unread TBR every month. I want to read what I’m buying when I buy it, so the unread books I’ve hauled here are going to be top priority. I did buy 3 books I’ve already read, plus I’m reading a 4th, but 21 books is still more than my recent monthly averages. I have no idea which books will be left on this list at the end of the month, but I’m aiming to read the majority. Only future me can say how that will go. Stay tuned for my January wrap-up to find out!

Which books found their way to your shelves this December? Have you read any of these?


The Literary Elephant