Category Archives: Book Haul / TBR

TBR 9.19

Another month, another book list! This one’s going to be a bit of a mess I’m afraid, so enter at your own risk.

My TBR goal for 2019 was to read all of the new books I’ve acquired by the end of the following month. This hasn’t really been working out for me, but I’m continuing to track the info. So I’ll show you what new books came to my shelves in August in the first half of this post (the books that my TBR goal says I *should* be reading in September), and then I’ll give a more general overview of my plans for the month.

New books I haven’t read yet:

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I really want to read this adult fantasy trilogy now that it’s complete (sometimes I prefer to wait until the end so I can read the books back to back), but I have two other series to catch up in before starting something new so I likely won’t be reading this in September. I only bought it this past month because I came across a good-condition hardcover for under $5 and can’t resist a book sale.
  2. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. I’ve been looking at this one longingly for months and I finally had a coupon and went for it. But I think I want to read Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World first (which I already own) because I expect to enjoy this one more and I’m a save-the-best-for-last kind of person. So I probably won’t read this in September either.
  3. Dark Age by Pierce Brown. This is the fifth installment in the Red Rising trilogy, which I have been enjoying since the beginning (though it’s been long enough since I read the first book that I’m increasingly curious to reread and see if I still feel the same). This is one of the series I would want to catch up in before starting something new, so I am planning to get to this one very soon.

New books I’ve read already:

  1. Three Types of Solitude by Brian Aldiss. This is another short story from the Faber Stories collection, which I am now only one volume away from completing! I’ll review this one in my final round of mini-reviews when I get ahold of that last volume, but I’ll mention that I found this one really weird and fun, though I didn’t take much away from the read other than some quick entertainment.
  2. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. I read this one in July (from the library) and found it so powerful and unique that I needed my own copy. Just… all the stars.
  3. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry. This was one of the Booker Prize longlist titles I was most excited about, so I purchased a UK copy in order to read it before the shortlist announcement, which comes a couple of weeks before this book’s US release date. Sadly the story didn’t quite live up to my high hopes, but the writing is gorgeous, at least.
  4. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson. This is actually my current read, but I have only about 60 pages left and I am loving it so much that I’ll certainly finish before the end of the month. I want to review this one before the shortlist announcement, so it’ll be coming up ASAP and will be gushy. You’ve been warned.


I’m pretty happy with this haul. I’ve read a good portion of it, I’m confident that I’ll be reaching for Dark Age probably within the next week, and I’m 100% okay with letting the last two books wait a little longer. I am planning to concentrate more in these last few months of 2019 on books I’ve bought this year and haven’t read yet, so there’s a good chance I’ll get to the Arden and Moshfegh before the end of the year as well.

And on that note… a little more on my plans for September.

First, the Booker Prize shortlist will be announced on the 3rd, and that might slightly alter my reading plans going forward. Right now I’m planning to read both¬†The Testaments and Ducks, Newburyport in September, but I’ll post more concrete info about the shortlist and my Booker progress and reading plans after the 3rd.

Second, my buddy read for Stephen King’s The Outsider got pushed back from August to September, so barring further complications I’ll be starting this one in the coming weeks. I’m also anticipating a buddy read of Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter, which I’ve got from the library and will probably start in mid-September.

Third, I have a very seasonal job right now, and fall is the busiest season. This is going to affect my ability to use the library, pick anything new up from bookstores, and stay as active as I have been on my blog. I will probably still have about the same amount of reading time, it will just be divided into littler pieces throughout the day rather than in one solid chunk at night, as has become my habit. For these reasons, coupled with the fact that my TBR system for this year has made it painfully obvious to me that I’m buying more books than I’m able to keep up with, I am planning to focus my next few TBRs on some of the unread titles I’ve bought earlier this year. I was particularly excited about my July haul / August TBR, which I didn’t end up having time for this month and still want to delve into.

Oh, and I’ve also got Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key checked out from the library!

All in all, I’ve got a weird mix of plans and anything could happen. I’m sorry I’ve been posting such unstructured TBRs the last few months, but I’ve discovered that if I plan my reading schedule down to the letter I feel too boxed in and also get really frustrated when reality turns out different and I have to readjust. So this is a general overview more than a strict list. Fortunately, I’ve still got a couple of weeks before my job gets real busy, so I’m going to cram in as much reading and blogging as I can in the meantime!

Happy September reading all around. ūüôā


The Literary Elephant


TBR 8.19

I have way too many reading commitments stacked up for August, so the books I acquired in July that I’m *supposed* to be reading next month are probably going to take a backseat for now. Nevertheless, since reading my newly acquired books by the end of the following month was a goal I set for myself this year, I still want to track my progress even though I’m expecting it to be an utter failure this time around. So I’ll do a quick run-through here of the books I’ve hauled this month, followed by an overview of other books I intend to read.

New (unread) books on my shelves this month:

  1. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. My July BOTM selection, a new nonfiction about female desire I’m very intrigued about!
  2. The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan. I picked this up in an excellent secondhand bookstore that I visited with a friend on her birthday; it’s one of McEwan’s titles I’m most curious about, and strangely unavailable at my local library and bookstore.
  3. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I’ve yet to read anything from this author (regrettably!) and fortuitously came across this one in the same secondhand shop.
  4. After Dark by Haruki Murakami. I read and loved Murakami’s Norwegian Wood earlier this year, and have been wanting to try more of his work. I found this one at another secondhand shop.
  5. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney. (There aren’t any secondhand shops close to where I live, so when I had the opportunity I went a little crazy!) Beowulf¬†has been on my TBR for ages, so this was a rather arbitrary time to pick it up, but perhaps having a copy on hand will give me the motivation to finally read it. This edition shows the full Old English text alongside the translation, which appeals to me because I studied Old English in college and want to see how much I remember!
  6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. My last secondhand grab this month. I included this title in a Top of the TBR post this month and have suddenly been itching to start in.
  7. Wilder Girls by Rory Power. A lot of attractive new releases came out in July, but this is one that fascinated me the most. YA usually goes quickly for me and the synopsis looks great; I expect to be reading this one soon!
  8. The Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller. This is a sequel to Miller’s The Philosopher’s Flight, which was one of the weirdest and most fun books I picked up from BOTM in 2018.
  9. Different Seasons by Stephen King. Barnes and Noble was having a B2G1 sale on SK material (plus discounts!) which I couldn’t pass up. This story collection includes “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body,” two SK stories I’m most excited to read!
  10. Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I know less about this story collection, but I do find it easier to read thicker books when I don’t have a library due date looming ahead, so have been waiting for a good opportunity to pick up a copy of this one.
  11. Strange Weather by Joe Hill. I’ve not yet read any of Joe Hill’s work, but given my appreciation for Stephen King’s writing (SK is Hill’s father) and the similarities in style/content that I’ve heard the two share, I really need to remedy that situation. I’ve had my eye on this one since it was released, and like the thought of starting with a set of shorter pieces. (This is a set of four short, related novels.)


I’d like to pick up as many of these new-to-me titles as I can, because I am pretty excited about this month’s haul list, but I do also have a few other reading plans in mind.

First, August is Women in Translation month, so I want to be sure I’m supporting some translated women writers in my reading and reviewing throughout the month. The titles I’m going to aim for picking up in August are:

  1. Human Acts by Han Kang. I bought this after loving Kang’s The Vegetarian last year; I expect I’ll love this one as well, and it’ll feel good to tackle an owned-unread book that I’ve neglected too long!
  2. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. This is another owned-unread book, though much newer. I was hoping to get to this one in July, but it just didn’t happen. This is the 2019 winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
  3. The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. I recently rediscovered this book on my TBR, and feel that it’s time to finally pick it up.

August is also prime time for the Booker Prize longlist; I don’t think I’ll be able to read the full roster, but I am expecting to pick up these titles within the month:

  1. Lanny by Max Porter.
  2. An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.
  3. The Wall by John Lanchester.
  4. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson.
  5. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry.

Additionally, as though I didn’t have enough to read, I’ve tentatively agreed to another Stephen King buddy read, which will necessitate my completing:

  1. Finders Keepers by Stephen King. This is the second book in the Bill Hodges trilogy. I own a copy, and enjoyed the first book, but have been slow to pick this one up.
  2. End of Watch by Stephen King. The third book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, which I also already own.
  3. The Outsider by Stephen King. A related follow-up to the Bill Hodges trilogy, and the actual title I expect to buddy read, if I manage to complete the others in time. They’re all of reasonable length, by King standards, and the first book was a pretty quick and immersive read, so I’m hoping I can fly through these pretty quickly.

And last but not least, I also have two books already checked out from the library that I was hoping to squeeze into the end of July, which didn’t quite happen.

  1. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. I’m actually planning to start this one today, and am really looking forward to it!
  2. The Need by Helen Phillips. This is a short thriller that looks pleasantly disturbing, and is a new release I was really excited for. I’m not sure I want to read these two thrillers back-to-back, but they will be due for return soon and I expect to finish them both within a week or so.

All in all… 23 books. There’s no way that’ll happen, so I’ll certainly have to prioritize some categories here above others. I managed to finish 9 books in July (and am expecting to finish a 10th tonight- my wrap-up should be coming up tomorrow!), so I’m realistically hoping to complete about half of this absurdly ambitious TBR.

Have you read any of these? Anything you particularly recommend?


The Literary Elephant


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-Leach.¬†I 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 Washington,¬†A 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