TBR Highs and Lows


My friend Emily @Embuhleeliest just did a post of this on her blog and it looked interesting. At first I thought I couldn’t do one of my own since I have only had a Goodreads account since September 2018 so I don’t really have any books to purge, since they haven’t been on my list for long and I still want to read them all. But the purge rule also has an alternative option, so that is what I went with.


  1. Link back to the original post at Howling Libraries
  2. Sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, ascending
  3. Find 5-10 (or more, if you feel ambitious!) titles to purge from your TBR (the “lows”)
    1. ALTERNATIVE OPTION: Find 5+ titles that are at the BOTTOM of your TBR—books you want to read someday, just not right now!
  4. Post those 5 books in the list, with a brief explanation
  5. Next, sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, descending
  6. List the last 5 (or more!) books you added to your TBR, with a synopsis or your brief summary of why you added it (the “highs”)

The Lows

As I said in the introduction, I am doing the ALTERNATIVE OPTION, which is to choose 5+ titles that are at the bottom of my TBR…well, I don’t keep my TBR in any sort of order, so I did what the rules said and sorted by Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, ascending, and took the first 5 on that list (with one exception that I had already recently written about in my For the Love of Lovecraft post). So, these are not truly at the bottom of my list (in terms of preference) though they are at the bottom in terms of Date Added.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I added this because the cover looked cool, and lots of people seemed to like it. It is also reminded me of a manga I read a million years ago called Alone in My King’s Harem by Lily Hoshino that had a chapter called the Night Circus which I enjoyed. Plus, I really like stories about circuses when they are done well.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Again, looked at this one because the cover is awesome and lots of people seem to like it. Then I found out it is about Koschei the Deathless (I adore Russian fairy tales) and immediately added it to my TBR.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Alternate history 1950’s America where a woman becomes the first astronaut? Yes. Please.

Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson

I came across this in a r/Fantasy thread recommending books for one of the bingo squares for r/Fantasy’s annual Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. (The square was Fantasy Novel that Takes Place Entirely Within One City, if you were interested.) I planned to read this book for that square but ended up reading Alice by Christina Henry first (and realized that book worked for the square too) and so this one languishes on my TBR list.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Of all the books on this mini TBR list, this is the one I am most likely to read soon. It was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites and the blurb sounds super intriguing.

The Highs

I actually have 2 TBR lists, one for books I don’t own yet and one for books I already own but haven’t read yet (obvs.). The previous “The Lows” list was from my don’t own yet TBR (since it has the first books I ever put on the TBR list on it). But this following “The Highs” list is from my physical TBR (as I call it, since I own the books).

Torn by Rowenna Miller

This has been on my radar for awhile, so when I visited a B&N recently, I decided to pick it up.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

In a time of revolution, everyone must take a side.
Sophie, a dressmaker and charm caster, has lifted her family out of poverty with a hard-won reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly embroidered spells. A commission from the royal family could secure her future — and thrust her into a dangerous new world.
Revolution is brewing. As Sophie’s brother, Kristos, rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement, it is only a matter of time before their fortunes collide.
When the unrest erupts into violence, she and Kristos are drawn into a deadly magical plot. Sophie is torn — between her family and her future.

Authority by Jeff Vandermeer

I finished the first in the series, Annihilation, and immediately had to pick up the next book. I need to know what happens!

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott

This is another book I got for the Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. It is for the Novel Featuring a Protagonist Who is a Writer, Artist or Musician (NOT: Kingkiller Chronicles) square. I had originally intended to read Dust and Light by Carol Berg, but had trouble getting into that story.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

In a land where art is prized above all else, the master painters of the Grijalva family stand apart from other artists. Theirs is an art that can alter Reality, a secret Gift passed down for generations and always used for the good of the kingdom. But now the most talented of the Grijalvas has decided to use his power for his own dark intentions–with results more devastating than anyone could imagine!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book was recommended to me by my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Band Sinister by KJ Charles

This book was recommended to my by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.

Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive.

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist…and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?

The end! I feel like this type of post will be more rewarding in the future when I might actually have books on my TBR that need purging.


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