Category Archives: Book Haul / TBR

November Book Haul

My 5 book goal is going to be a bit of a wash for the rest of the year, I think. I haven’t been doing very well about sticking to it the last few months (or ever, really), and I don’t have high hopes for sticking to it in December. Merry Christmas to me. 🙂 But there’s always next year, right? I have some serious book goals for 2018 in the works, but as long as it’s still 2017 and I’m failing anyway, might as well buy all the books. These are the new titles on my shelves this month:

  1. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. This was my BOTM selection for November. This one’s narrated through letters and/or journal entries, if I’m remembering right, which sounds unusual and interesting. I like books that are narrated in uncommon formats. It’s also an end-of-the-world story, which I haven’t read in a while so it must be time to try that again. It was the only selection I hadn’t heard of in BOTM’s November list, so it caught my interest.
  2. Artemis by Andy Weir. An extra BOTM pick for me. This is the first BOTM selection I regret buying, and I haven’t even read it yet. I’ve seen some negative reviews for this book (and some positive ones, but I fear I won’t be one of those), and I think I was just so busy at the time I picked it that buying new books was a stress-reliever and I just didn’t have the time and energy to actually look into it properly before I made my choice. In the end, I think what I actually wanted to read was The Martian, which was also an extra BOTM selection this month, but I chose Artemis instead because it was new.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir. After seeing yet another bad review for Artemis, I realized that what I really wanted to read was The Martian. So I decided to go ahead and buy a copy of the one I actually wanted, to boost my book-buying spirits. I’m much more confident about enjoying this one, but I might still read Artemis first; if it’s newness is the only thing propelling me to read it, I better utilize that while it lasts because I do still want to check it out for myself and not leave it unread on my shelf forever. Also, I like to save the best for last.
  4. Death Note: Black Edition Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba, Yuki Kowalsky, and Takeshi Obata. I needed a graphic novel for my reading challenge this year, and I ended up choosing Saga. I don’t read much that’s full of pictures. It’s just not my preferred medium. But I am willing to try something different every now and then, and I did like Saga, so I bought a manga that looked promising from my initial list of potential graphic novels. I got the black edition, which is actually the first two volumes in one book (I always choose more story in one book, when that’s an option), and I’m excited to check it out. I think there’s even a TV series.
  5. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. This is the sequel to Sleeping Giants, which I bought last year and still have not read. It’s at the top of my list for 2018, and the covers are so cool that I couldn’t resist. I’ve read the synopsis a few times, about a girl who finds a giant hand and people realize it’s only part of a whole, and the whole book is narrated through interviews and other unusual mediums for a novel, which again, sounds right up my alley. And Pierce Brown blurbed the first book. And the covers are so neat. So when Black Friday sales rolled around, I picked this one up. (It never seems to be cheap enough, otherwise.)
  6. Pines by Blake Crouch. Another Black Friday grab. This one is part of a series that I want to read in 2018. Crouch’s Dark Matter was one of my favorite reads of 2017 from way back in January, and I wanted to try another one of his books in 2018 as a result. I’ve heard this one’s weird and thrilling and completely mysterious, which sounds perfect. I think the main character is some sort of journalist or investigator who gets trapped in a strange town where nothing makes sense and death might be the only means of escape.
  7. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This one’s a thriller/mystery about reincarnation, I believe. I read the synopsis so long ago, so I barely remember the details of what it’s about. But it’s been a while since I’ve read about reincarnation, and that’s an interesting topic in itself. I’m cautiously hoping North hits the mind-bending side of it and not the cheesy “let me try this same thing over and over again because my life only has so many possibilities and this is the one thing I can change” tactic. But it seems more promising than the usual tropes.
  8. Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I picked up one of the Pelican editions with the cool covers around Black Friday discount time. I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan, and I probably wouldn’t have bought this if it wasn’t the play I wanted to read for my 2017 reading challenge. I forgot to hunt for the Shakespeare anthology at my library, and as the end of the year approaches I was suddenly unsure of when I would be back to get it and whether that would leave me with enough time to read it. (And whether I wanted to lug a giant Shakespeare anthology around while I was Christmas shopping.) So I bought my own copy, just to make it easier to pick up the story whenever I have a moment to fit it in. If I like this one, I might branch out and try a couple more with the covers from this collection. And it’s nice to have at least one book on my haul list that I know I’ll be reading soon.


I’m really excited about this list. I know I won’t get to much of it before 2018 because my December TBR is already pretty crazy, but I’m setting some great reading goals for 2018 that I think will really help me clear some unread books off my TBR shelves. Almost every one of these books is from a genre I don’t read super frequently (Sci-fi, a play, a graphic novel), which is exciting. I’m ready to step outside of my comfort zone. I want to be surprised.

Have you read any of these? What should I pick up first?


The Literary Elephant


December TBR

This is another overly ambitious list, but it’s my final chance to fit in the remaining books I wanted to read in 2017 and I’m going to TRY. SO. HARD. There were so many more books that I just know I’m not going to end up getting around to before the end of the year, but here are my top priorities for December reading:

  1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. This is a book for my reading challenge. I’ve already started this one, as it was on my November TBR as well, but November was just too busy for me to finish everything I wanted to. I should be able to wrap this one up pretty quickly in December. It’s about a psychologist (or “alienist”) trying to catch a murderer at the turn of the 20th century.
  2. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. Another book for my reading challenge. I’ve only read Donoghue’s Room, so I’ll be interested to try another of her books. I believe this one takes place in Ireland, and there’s a girl who’s a miracle… I don’t remember much, but the synopsis did catch my eye at the end of 2016 and I’m glad I found a way to fit it into my reading challenge.
  3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. A book for my reading challenge. If I get really desperate, this one could fill two categories for me, so I want to get to this one soon just in case I can see that I’m not going to make it through my list by the end of the month and need to count this one twice. I don’t actually have my hands on a copy yet, but I’ve got a hold at the library so I will have it in my hands soon.
  4. The Iliad by Homer. A reading challenge book, carried over from my November TBR. I’m ashamed that I haven’t gotten around to this one yet, since it was also my classic of the month for November. I was so busy though, and home so little, and I didn’t want to be carrying around the giant edition of this book that I own, a collection that also includes The Odyssey. I miss Greek mythology from my Latin classes at school, and I have read part of this story before so I think it’ll go much faster than it looks once I get started.
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Here’s my December classic of the month, which also fulfills a slot in my reading challenge. And also, it’s almost Christmas. I want to be reading a Christmasy book. You can’t go wrong with the ghosts of Christmas, right?
  6. Some Luck by Jane Smiley. I had to amend one of the categories of my reading challenge slightly, and this is the book that will fit the edited slot. I don’t know much about this one other than that it’s the first novel of a trilogy about a family in Iowa. And I once had the opportunity to meet Jane Smiley but I failed.
  7. Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Another book for my reading challenge. I had better get to this one within the month because I ordered my own copy just to make it easier to pick it up after I forgot to hunt for a copy at my library. I mean, I did get it on sale, but I really only bought it to help me through this reading challenge. And surprisingly, I know very little about this play. I believe there are witches? I’m going to find out.
  8. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. Here’s the final book for my reading challenge. I might not actually read this one. I’m not in the mood for WWII historical fiction, and I know it’s going to be iffy whether I’ll actually get everything done for my reading challenge anyway. And if I count The Color Purple for two categories, as I mentioned above, I don’t technically need this one. It feels like the lazy/cheating route out of completing my reading challenge, so we’ll see how it looks toward the end of the month. I will try to get around to it if I can, but I don’t even have a copy of the book in my ownership right now.
  9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I made it my mission to read all of Cassandra Clare’s books this year, and I’m so close. I have two left, and I already own a copy of Lady Midnight. If I don’t get back to the library to check out a copy of Lord of Shadows this month (I’m waiting to buy my own copy until the matching paperback comes out), I do want to at least get through this one before the end of the year since it’s already on my shelf, and because it was already published when I decided to read all of Cassandra Clare’s books this year. Lord of Shadows was not, so I’m willing to give it a pass until 2018.
  10. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve read the entire Grisha trilogy earlier this year, and Six of Crows more recently. I enjoyed them all, but Six of Crows was definitely my favorite, and I’m dying to read the sequel. If it wasn’t for my reading challenge, I would have read it already, but here we are. I really want to wrap up this duology before the end of the year, because it’s nice to wrap things up in December (except I’ll still want to read Bardugo’s Language of Thorns in January) and also because I must find out what happens next!
  11. Aesop’s Fables, by Aesop. I’m not entirely sure when I started reading this, but I think it’s been about a year now. I was just reading a few of the fables every day, but at some point I got too engrossed in whatever novel I was reading to keep going and now I’m still only halfway through the collection. I just want to wrap it up because it’s December and I want to start 2018 fresh instead of in the middle of things. This one’s a lower priority but I am planning to get back to reading a few fables every day to see if I can finish it pretty easily within the month.
  12. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. I started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series this year without big hopes of finishing it in 2017, so when my fall work schedule got so busy I paused this one to come back to it when I had a better chance to give it my full attention. I was really liking it before I put it down, but I lost momentum by setting it aside and now I’ve got so many other things to read before the end of the year that I just haven’t picked it back up. If it’s at all possible, I do want to get back to this one in December, and back to the Game of Thrones TV series as well.
  13. The Power by Naomi Alderman. This was my BOTM pick for October, right in the midst of my busy fall schedule and my sudden realization that I might not make it through my reading challenge if I don’t work harder at that. I’ve got a little stack of BOTM books I haven’t gotten around to yet, but neglecting this one threw me off for November as well, and who knows what I’ll do about December’s selection. I want to read all of my BOTM books (I’m considering making January a BOTM catch-up month because I’m planning to do another year of BOTM and I don’t want to keep falling behind), but this one’s at the top of the stack and I feel like reading it will get me unstuck. Also, the story sounds so intriguing: a change in the power dynamic of the world as women discover they have the power to physically shock other humans with their hands. I’ve seen it compared to Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which I enjoyed, so I’m looking forward to it.


So there we have it. Thirteen books sounds unlikely, but not impossible, so we’ll see what happens this month. Your guess is as good as mine, at this point. If you’re interested in my reading challenge progress, you can check out my last update, and/or stay tuned for the final results, which I’ll post at the end of December or early January. In the meantime… happy reading!

What are you reading in the last month of 2017?


The Literary Elephant

November TBR

As the end of 2017 approaches, I’m keeping a closer eye on my reading challenge progress. I have a comfortable number of challenge books left for these last two months, except for the fact that I keep picking up new releases and other books from farther back on my TBR. So at this point, it’s possible that I can finish my reading challenge, but only if I actually stick with the books on my list. For that reason, I’m filling this month’s TBR with about half of the books I have left (and a couple extras). Even if I end up picking up some additional titles, this list should help keep me on track. These are the books I’m aiming to read in November:

  1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is the sequel to Six of Crows, which was one of my reading challenge books. Even though Crooked Kingdom doesn’t count for that, I’m hooked on these characters and I must find out how it ends after the heist-gone-awry from book one. This is quite possibly the best YA fantasy series I’ve read all year, and the books themselves are as gorgeous as the story within.
  2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Although this one also doesn’t count for my actual reading challenge, I set myself a goal back in January to read/reread all of Cassandra Clare’s published books this year. I only have two left now, and they’re the two I was most excited for when I started my Shadowhunter quest, so I’m planning to read this one in November, and Lord of Shadows in December to meet that goal. I think these two follow Emma Carstairs and her adopted family, which I’m eager to see more of after their appearances in City of Heavenly Fire.
  3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. This book is a reread and one of my reading challenge books (a book from my childhood). I haven’t read this in such a long time, but once upon a time it was one of my all-time favorites. I’m interested to see whether a reread after several years have passed will change where I stand with this one, or whether it will still qualify as my favorite Dessen novel, even after I haven’t enjoyed Dessen’s latest releases as much.
  4. The Lover by Marguerite Duras. One of my reading challenge slots is “a book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t.” I don’t technically have any books that fit in that category because reading homework was my favorite kind of homework. But this is a short novel I only had to read half of for a class in college, and I liked the first half enough that I always intended to read the rest, but just never got around to it. So I’ll be reading the entire book this month for my reading challenge. It’s a romance about a young French girl and an older man that I believe meet on a ferry in a foreign land. If I remember right, it’s a sort of star-crossed relationship, and the writing is full of unmet dreams. I remember it being kind of dark but beautiful.
  5. The Iliad by Homer. This is my classic of the month for November, and also a reading challenge book. I started reading this once in college just for fun, but I had a borrowed copy that I ended up having to return before I finished. Now I have my own copy, and as the year wraps up I’m in a finishing mood, as well. I’ll probably start the story over, but it’ll feel good to finally make it all the way through. I’m also hoping to follow it up by reading The Odyssey at some point. I’ve also read excerpts from that one, but not as much, and I do think that is the one that will interest me more.
  6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Here’s another reading challenge book, but it’s the first in a series (and an unfinished series at that), so I’ve been a little hesitant to start it while I’m still in the middle of other reading endeavors. I’ve heard this is a great YA fantasy, and I don’t know anything other than that, but I’m ready to give it a go and see how much of this series I might want to read sooner rather than later. I believe three books have been published so far, so I might come back to those sequels in early 2018 once I’ve wrapped up some more 2017 things.
  7. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I came across this book as an extra from Book of the Month, and it’s set around the late 19th / early 20th century, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about. It’s a sort of mystery/thriller, I believe,  and an early psychologist searching for a dangerous murderer. So that sounded intriguing enough, and then I realized it fulfilled a slot of my reading challenge that I had been having difficulty filling, so it’ll be doubly great to get through this one. It’s been on the back burner for a few months now, and it’s time to pick it up.
  8. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I am not reading this one for any particular reason– I saw it on the new books shelf at my library, and it had caught my attention when it first came out, so I checked it out and now I have to read it. I wish I would’ve found it a little sooner and read it in October, which is a great month for thrillers, but I think I’ll enjoy it just as much in November. I love a good scary read, even if Halloween is passed.  I don’t remember anything from the synopsis of this one, which is how I like to go into thrillers.

november tbr

(Please excuse Lady Midnight‘s absence from this TBR pic, I acquired it mere hours after taking the picture, and the lighting was no longer sufficient for a redo.)

And that’s a wrap. I know I’m still going to be unusually busy for a while in the beginning of November, and there are other books I also know that I want to be reading, but these are my highest priorities right now. I really do want to try meeting as many of my yearly reading goals as I can, and I know that November is the time to work hard on those because otherwise I’ll be too swamped in December. I’m not giving up yet, anyway.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading in November?


The Literary Elephant

October Book Haul

I didn’t try very hard to stick to my 5 book goal this month. It was a stressful time and books make me feel better so I bought some books. Not too many (is there such a thing for a bibliophile?), but enough to fail my goal. No regrets, as usual. Here’s what’s new:

  1. The Power by Naomi Alderman. This is my Book of the Month Club selection for October. It’s about a change in the power dynamic of the modern world that occurs when women discover they have the power to zap people with electricity through their hands. It’s a strong new feminist book that’s already won awards and it’s Halloween colored. I’ve been wanting to read this so badly all month, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m planning to read it in early November.
  2. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. This was an extra I added to my BOTM box in October. I wanted to read a Stephen King book this month, and again, it didn’t happen. I had other horror books in my TBR, too. But I like to own the thick King books that I want to read because it makes me feel less pressured to read them in a hurry, which actually helps me get through them faster. This one’s about what happens to the world when women start falling inexplicably into a cocoon-wrapped sleep and can’t be woken. It sounds great and I really want to dive in, so I’m glad it’s on my shelf ready to go whenever  I am.
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay. This is the illustrated edition of the third Harry Potter book. I don’t have a full set of matching Harry Potter books, and I’ve decided that I want this set to be my full set, when they’re eventually all published. So I added the third one to my collection as soon as it was released, and I’ve looked at all the pictures already. (I’ve read the text several times previously, so I think that counts as having read this one.) I do want to do another reread of the entire series at some point, maybe just of the three illustrated books to start with, but it might have to wait until 2018. There are so many books left on my 2017 TBR as the end of the year is approaching that rereads are not a top priority.
  4. Paper Princess by Erin Watt. I’ll go into more explanation about this one in my monthly wrap-up. For now I’ll just say that this YA/NA romance has been on my radar for about a year and I finally decided kind of on a whim that I had to read it right away, so I bought it and read it immediately. It has some mature themes for a book marketed as YA, although the story is rather Gossip Girly, so it reads like a bunch of spoiled rich kids with some absurd problems that they address with illegal activities and inappropriate relationships. I had a lot of thoughts about this one that you’ll see tsoon in my wrap-up, since I didn’t post a full review.
  5. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. I found a signed copy of this one on sale, and I snatched it up. It’s a beautiful book, and I want to read it really soon, but first I’m planning to finish the Six of Crows duology by reading Crooked Kingdom. Hopefully I’ll get to both CK and TLoT in November. Buying The Language of Thorns inspired me to finally start Six of Crows, and I LOVED IT. But hopefully soon I’ll be starting The Language of Thorns, which is a collection of short stories set in the Grishaverse. I believe it’s a set of legends/fairytales that our Grishaverse characters would be familiar with.
  6. Broken Prince by Erin Watt. This is the sequel to Paper Princess, and my thoughts on this one will also appear in this month’s wrap-up because I’ve read this one too. I waited until I had read the first book in this series to buy books two and three, but otherwise I did not try to restrain myself from these rather impulsive purchases. I was having a bad month. Again, it’s a YA/NA romance, with surprisingly adult themes. The main characters are high schoolers, and I would’ve been okay with reading this at that age, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for that age group. Especially this second book, but I’ll explain more in my wrap-up.
  7. Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. And here is the third book in the Royals (Paper Princess) series. I think there are actually four or five books and maybe some novellas, but I think I only want to read the first three novels. After that the secondary characters become main characters of their own stories, so it’s sort of a continuation with other characters after Twisted Palace and I’m not into this series enough to commit to all those extra perspectives. I haven’t read this one yet, but the first two went really fast for me and I want to wrap up this “trilogy” before I’m completely out of the mood for it.
  8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This one has been on my radar for over a year, and I’ve been on the fence about buying it because I wanted the UK cover, which was more expensive for me to buy. In the end, I decided I wanted to read it badly enough that I settled for the US cover, and I’ve decided that if it becomes one of my favorite books I’ll consider buying a second copy so I can have the cover I wanted, and I’ll donate this one. That seems like a lot of extra work, but I normally don’t care about the cover enough for that to affect what I buy, so I’m going to read the story the cheaper way before I worry any more about how it looks on my shelf. It’s historical fiction set in Russia (I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read set in Russia), and I’ve heard great things about Towles’s writing. I’m hoping to read this one before the end of the year, as well.octoberbookhaul
  9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This is the first of my last-minute book haul additions. I unexpectedly went book shopping just after I thought I was safe to take my haul picture for the month. I’ve been planning for months to read this one in November, but I’m so busy right now and was just starting to wonder how/when I was going to be able to get a hold placed through the library and go pick it up. And then I found this one on sale, in the edition I wanted, and it seemed like a sign. All I know is that Emma Carstairs and her adopted family are back in this first book of the new Dark Artifices series.
  10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I really like historical fiction, especially when it’s not set around WWII. This one involves a character-driven quest to build a cathedral. It sounds unique and unexpected, and I hear that it’s written well, which is really all a good book needs. It’s set in 12th century England, and follows the lives of the people building the cathedral and/or affected by its construction. I’m really intrigued to see whether it lives up to it’s 4.29 rating on Goodreads, but I’m confident enough about its ability to suck me into a dramatic story that I also picked up:
  11. World Without End by Ken Follett. Here is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. There’s a third book published now also, but it’s not in a nice matching paperback format yet, and while I was brave enough to buy a second book without having read anything by this author previously, I wasn’t brave enough to buy the third yet. I’ll try these two and see how it goes. I have high hopes.


Those are my October books. I’m sad that I haven’t read more of these already, but I overpacked my October TBR and I’ve been really busy working. I want to read several more of these in November, and I’m optimistic about the chances of that happening.

Have you read any of these books? What’s new on your shelves this month?


The Literary Elephant

September Book Haul

I *almost* stuck to my 5-book goal this month. It wasn’t until this last week that I gave in and checked out a sale, and we all know how that ends. I might have still considered myself within the goal if those extra books hadn’t arrived yesterday, but they did, so I’ll admit to their existence on my shelf and add them to this list where they belong.

Check out my new September books:

  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I choose this novel as my Book of the Month for September (have I mentioned yet this week how much I love Book of the Month Club? I feel like I’m saying it all the time, but they really do have great books and I can’t restrain myself). This was the book I was most looking forward to reading in September, so of course I didn’t get to it. I’ll be aiming for October with this one because I’ve heard good things and I’m still really excited about it.
  2. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. Here’s a second September selection from Book of the Month. I told myself I was only going to buy one this month, so of course I ended up selecting the maximum number of books (three) for my monthly box. I was highly intrigued by the blending of fact and fiction in this thriller’s premise, and it was the shortest of my BOTM choices (thus easiest to fit into my schedule), so I’ve already read and reviewed this one. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it did put me in the thriller mood for October.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. A couple of years ago I discovered how much I love Margaret Atwood’s books, so of course when I saw this one added as an extra to BOTM’s September list, I had to have it. It looks pleasantly thick, and the prospect of a story within a story sounds perfect for me. But I’m currently in the habit of reading one Atwood book per year, in January, so unless I suddenly find 300 fewer books or so on my Goodreads TBR, I probably won’t be picking this one up for a few months. But I’m excited for it. So excited.
  4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. After reading Pride and Prejudice (and it’s modern update Eligible) this month, my interest in reading all of Austen’s novels has been renewed. This is the only one of her six major works that I didn’t own yet, and I think it’s the one I want to read next, so I found a cheap copy that’ll work for me and I’m looking forward to reading it. It probably won’t happen in October because I already have a crazy TBR planned, but I’m hoping to read it within the next few months while my Austen appreciation is still fresh.
  5. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I became addicted to Gabaldon’s Outlander series about a year and a half ago, which has mostly faded, except for my interest in the TV show. The third season just started a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to watch all of its episodes, so I picked up this new season-3-cover-edition of Voyager to peruse my favorite parts during the season (I read the whole book last year). I’ve also got the first two books with the TV show covers, so this one matches and I’ve been intending to buy it for months, which means it wasn’t an impulse buy.
  6. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This one, however, was an impulse buy. I always have more Stephen King books on my radar at this time of year than usual, and this is one that I’ve been vaguely planning to read for years. I found a 10th anniversary edition and picked it up even though I don’t know when exactly I’ll be reading it. King is a fantastic author and I’ve heard great things about this book, but it’s probably not scary like his novels, which I’m more inclined to reach for in October. Still, I’m glad to have this one on my shelf and am looking forward to reading about King’s writing experience.


And that’s all I’ve added to my shelves this month. Even though I didn’t quite hit the 5-book mark, I’m happy with the new books I’ve picked up this month. Two of them I’ve already read, and at least one I plan to be reading very soon, which means I’m not adding a ton of extra clutter to my TBR shelf. I think I made some solid choices.

Have you read any of these books? Which titles did you pick up in September?


The Literary Elephant

October TBR

Just a heads up: this TBR is going to be out of control. There are a few series I want to continue, as well as some progress with my Book of the Month backlog, but mainly I’ve been saving up spooky books and now I have more than I can handle. I know that my schedule is going to be different this month, and I’m not sure yet what that will mean for my reading time; so instead of trying to judge how much I’ll read and shorten my TBR to match, I’m going to list all the books I’m considering reading this month and then I’ll pick and choose throughout October. Here are my choices:

  1. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. This one shouldn’t be scary, but I like a little fantasy mixed in with the thrills and chills of fall. I’m in the midst of a Shadowhunter marathon, and this is the next book (technically it’s a collection of short stories) for me in that endeavor.
  2. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. This is book three of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which I’m reading while I watch all of the Game of Thrones episodes. I’ve already started this one. It’s more political than creepy, but again, I like some fantasy in fall– otherworldliness in every sense of the word.
  3. Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Here’s another series continuation; this is the second book in Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling trilogy, which I started this summer and loved, but for some reason never got around to following up with the second book. This is an adult fantasy series, so I’ll probably pick it up if I decide I need a break from thrillers and horror later in the month.
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. One last series book: I read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy earlier this year with the intent of reading the Six of Crows duology right after, but I put it off. And now I’m ready for a fantasy heist with morally gray characters, so maybe I’ll make time.
  5. Saga: Book One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I’ve heard good things about this series, and I needed a graphic novel for my 2017 reading challenge. It doesn’t have anything to do with October really, other than it’s a fantasy story, but I’m borrowing it so now’s the time.
  6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I chose this book as my September Book of the Month selection, and even though I don’t think it’s spooky, I do want to read it before my October selection arrives in the mail. I think this is a sort of family drama, but the cover makes this book look perfect for fall: dark and subdued, with the implication of flames.
  7. The Girl Before by Rene Olsen. And now to start with the creepy books. This is a thriller I picked up last year and for some reason never got around to. I count thrillers as “spooky” books, mostly because of the tension and the inevitable death threats. I don’t even remember what this one’s about, but that’s how I like my thrillers and I can’t wait to find out.
  8. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Every month I read at least one classic, and I thought October was a great time for the quintessential vampire novel. I saw a film of this book a while back, but I don’t remember much and am entirely prepared to be sucked (no pun intended) into a wild Transylvanian ride of love and death and monsters.
  9. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I’m hoping to go the extra mile with classics this month by also picking up the quintessential haunted house novel. I know even less about this one than I do about Dracula, but I expect to be terrified appropriately. I’m hoping it’ll be Stephen King-esque and make up for the fact that I probably won’t get to visit any haunted houses myself this year.
  10. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. Speaking of King, it wouldn’t be October without a Stephen King title. This is a brand new book that’ll soon be making it’s way to me. I believe the women in the world of this book are falling into coma-like sleep in cocoons, which is an intriguing concept. I love Stephen King’s writing, and I’ve been meaning to read something by Stephen King’s other son (Joe Hill), so this one will give a good balance. I’m sure it will be as creepy and unusual as I suspect.
  11. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. Here’s a mysterious sort of suspense novel related, I believe, to The Phantom of the Opera story. The phantom is a great villain, and I’m hoping for some great villains this month. I believe this one’s also a historical fiction work, so I’m not sure how spooky it’ll be, but there’s definitely a mystery and masks and that seems like the right fit.
  12. Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I thought it would be a good idea to broaden my horror horizons by adding some creepy YA books to my October list. This first one is a YA thriller about a girl who may have committed suicide–or may have been murdered. It should be a quick read and a nice change of pace while still falling into the “unsettling” category.
  13. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. This is my other spooky YA book for the month. I believe this one follows a girl who’s investigating her father’s death. She’s probably also going to find herself in danger as she’s uncovering his secrets, so it should be thrilling and spooky and everything I’m looking for.
  14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I can’t even tell you what genre this book technically fits into, but I’m think it’s a story about the narrator’s past with a creepy girl who’s dead now and I can’t wait to find out more.
  15. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. Back to the thrillers. I’ve never read anything by Karin Slaughter, and I didn’t know exactly where to start so I’m going with this first-in-a-crime-series book. Again, I don’t like to know anything about thrillers going in, so I’ve conveniently forgotten the premise since I acquired this one.
  16. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. Here’s another thriller that I know slightly more about: it involves a death at a bookstore, eerily desecrated books, and some sort of conspiracy. It sounds like the book lover’s perfect thriller, but I haven’t looked at any reviews yet.
  17. Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I must read some Schwab this month. I think this one’s a sci-fi fantasy about some college kids who are trying to become superheroes, or something of that sort. I’ve recently discovered that I love Schwab’s writing style, and although her books don’t seem horrifying, per se, they seem to have a good amount of thrill and tension and extraordinariness that’ll fit well with my other reads this month.
  18. Rooms by Lauren Oliver. I picked this up last November and have been waiting almost a full year to read it because it seemed perfect for October. I no longer remember exactly what it’s about, but I think it’s full of separate stories that all explore different facets of one haunted house.
  19. The Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre. Here’s one more thriller that’s been on my radar a long time and again, for some reason I’ve not gotten around to actually picking it up. It’s about a self-proclaimed serial killer (I think) who’s locked herself in her apartment and eliminated direct contact with most of the outside world to keep herself from harming anyone. Until she decides she needs to kill another potential murderer.
  20. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve heard this is one of those ultimate fantasy novels, full of magic and mystery and a deadly carnival. What better time to read it than the month when disbelief is most suspended? This’ll be one to reach for when I need a break from murderers and ghosts.
  21. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I nearly forgot this classic Gothic novel that I bought after reading Jane Eyre earlier this year. I think there’s some romance in this one as well; all I really know is that the main character marries a man whose wife has died, and the dead first wife is somehow meddling (threatening their lives?) from beyond the grave.
  22. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This is the coup de grace of my October reading list. I did watch the corresponding film several years ago, but I’ve forgotten enough detail that I think this book will not only horrify me, but surprise me all over again. It’s a creepy serial killer story about an ingenious and infamous man who (if I remember correctly) takes the skin of his victims. I’d love to watch the film again after reading this one.


So that’s my list. Unsurprisingly, I do not have the tiniest belief of being able to read all 22 books on this list within the month, and who can say if I’ll end up picking up something different even with all of these stellar choices to peruse. (I’ve probably even forgotten something I meant to add to this list.) I’ll learn the October Book of the Month selections on the first of the month, and depending on my choice’s spookiness, I may add that to my TBR as well.

What are you reading in October? Do you have any more creepy suggestions for me? Which of these books should I reach for first?


The Literary Elephant

August Book Haul

I didn’t try very hard to meet my 5-book goal this month, but I’m satisfied with my choices nonetheless. Book Outlet had a great sale, Book of the Month Club had great selections, and I think I’m prepared now for a month full of spooky reads in October. It’s crazy that it’s almost fall here already, but there it is. At least I’ll have plenty of reading material to get me through the colder weather.

And now for the new books:

  1. Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. A Book of the Month choice from the August selections. This one’s a suspenseful psychological thriller about a mother and her young son stuck in a zoo after hours as a murder spree is under way. I’ve already read and loved this book.
  2. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. Here’s another fresh Book of the Month selection that I’m also really excited about and hoping to get around to reading early next month, before my Sept BOTM box arrives. This one’s been described as a speculative modern Western, which sounds like nothing I’ve ever read and I’m eager to see for myself what this book is doing. The premise reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, which I loved.
  3. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. This is the third book in the Kiss of Deception trilogy, which I have been waiting to read until I got my hands on this third book. Now I can start any time. I don’t know anything beyond the premise of book one (a runaway princess is chased by her betrothed and an assassin, and the reader doesn’t know which is which), but I’ve heard good reviews about the entire trilogy, so I’m taking a chance on enjoying the whole thing. At least the matching set looks nice on my shelf.
  4. The Once and Future King by T. H. White. This is a classic fantasy book about the legend of King Arthur, and I’ve heard the title and other versions of the tale, but I’ve never read this book. Since I’ve been reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ve been more interested in epic fantasy, and I’ve always been fascinated by King Arthur’s story, so I’m really excited about this one.
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been getting into a few of Gaiman’s stories this year and generally enjoying them, so I keep picking them up. I found this mass market paperback size for $2, and I think this will be my next Gaiman read. It’ll be a good fit for October, I think, because as far as I remember this is a creepy story about someone dead and their spooky childhood adventures. Or something like that. I’ve also heard this one described as a modern classic, which is appealing to me.
  6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I saw the film of this story several years ago, but I’ve forgotten almost everything about it. I remember being impressed by the story, and I think it would be a great plot to read about before re-watching the movie. It’s about serial killer Hannibal Lecter, his disturbing habits (I think he’s the guy who takes his victims’ skin), and his penchant for escaping justice. It’ll be another great horror tale to read around Halloween.
  7. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. This is a book of King’s short stories, complete with commentary on his ideas for and writing of each of them. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, but many of his books are very long and it’s been a couple years now since I last read one (it was 11/22/63, one of my all-time favorite King novels). A book of short stories seemed like an easy way to get back into the mood for a long and disturbing King novel. I’m also a big fan of a great short story, and I’ve let my reading of those fall behind, as well, so it’ll be nice to get back to that medium as well.
  8. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I’ve been reading even more thrillers than usual this year, but I’ve never read any of Slaughter’s books. There were several that caught my interest, but I found a cheap mass market size of this one and I picked it up to get me started. I don’t remember the premise of this one at all, but I think it’s one of those usual thriller-series books that follows the detective’s perspective through creepy crimes. I just wanted an easy introduction to the author’s writing, and I like the creativity of the crimes in those sorts of series, like in James Patterson’s 1st to Die.
  9. The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin. Here’s a classic full of shorter pieces. I’ve read a couple of Chopin’s short stories in the past and loved them, and The Awakening has been on my TBR for ages, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a copy on my shelf to be prepared for when the mood strikes me. Her stories are generally empowering and impactful, and the writing is engaging to read. They’re not creepy stories, exactly, but I remember a sense of foreboding pervading her pieces that I found very compelling.
  10. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. I haven’t read much YA of the horror/thriller/mystery sort (the most recent probably being Eileen Cook’s With Malice), but this one intrigued me. I think it’s about a girl looking into her father’s suspicious death and finding more danger than she bargained for. I’ve seen some good reviews and I think it’ll add variety to my creepy October reads to have some scary YA mixed in there with the classics and thrillers and Stephen King novels.
  11. Ruined by Amy Tintera. I have a weakness for YA fantasy. I don’t read them as often as I’d like, but I can’t resist picking them up. I believe this one’s also got a bit of romance in it, but I’ve heard good things about the world-building and the fast-paced plot, so I’m hoping there are plenty of those fantasy elements in here as well. I think this one’s a story of revenge, with maybe a royal marriage and some murder and political intrigue. That’s all I know so far, and all I want to know going in.
  12. The Muse by Jessie Burton. I still haven’t read Burton’s The Miniaturist, but I’ve heard such good things about this author and both of her books, and they both sound like my type of lit fic, so I’ve picked up this one to match the other on my shelf and I’m hoping to get around to both of them in the not-too-distant future. This one follows two time lines and a painting, and the cover is gorgeous.
  13. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve only read two of Austen’s books so far, but they’ve convinced me that I need to read them all. I’m only short a copy of Mansfield Park now, I think. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility may be the last Austen book I read this first time around because I’ve already seen a film adaptation of it. I’ve been trying to save the movies for after the books, but I failed on this one so I’m trying to forget as many details as I can before picking it up. But now I’m prepared for that day.


So those are my new books. I’ve only read one of them so far, but I’ll be ready to pick up The Blinds any day now, and a bunch of these look great for October. Most of these look like books I could see myself picking up within the year, which is what I’m going for in my book hauls even if I can’t limit myself to five. Better luck next month, I hope. It’s the sales that get me every time.

What new books did you pick up this month?


The Literary Elephant