My Bucket List of Good Books to Read: The TBR Book Tag

#DailyWings:Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 Back in November, I saw that my good friend and fellow fantasy writer Sara Letourneau had posted the To-Be-Read (TBR) Book Tag on her blog. It was so much fun reading her post that I knew I wanted to do it, too! Who says you have to be tagged in order to participate in a blog tag? ;)

I don’t read as much as I should or want to. There’s not much time during the day for me to read for pleasure. Luckily, that’s what my lunch breaks at work are for. Right now, I’m re-reading “Fakebook” by Dave Cicirelli, a memoir about a social media experiment that inspired my senior honors thesis, “Behind the Blog: The Connection Between Online Social Media Personas and Reader Perspectives” (but that’s a topic for another day). I’ve been reading 15 pages a day, which I’m proud of. I hope to maintain this stride for a long time.

Reading, like writing, is an action for which you need to invest lots of time. But it’s worth it. There’s nothing better than getting transported into another dimension of time and space whenever you want to, even if it’s in your mind. You make new friends with characters and even the authors who create them. You can travel, fall in love and live a thousand lives when you read books. To me, that’s a priceless gift.

Today, I present to you my book tag Q&A:

1. How do you keep track of your TBR list?

Like many, I use Goodreads, a social media tool in which users can keep track of the books they’ve read and want to read. On Goodreads, you can rate and review books, follow your favorite authors and connect with other bookworms. Authors also use the website to promote their books with giveaways, quizzes and events.

In addition to the books on my Goodreads TBR list, I know I want to eventually read all of the classics (e.g. “Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo), plus every book written by my favorite authors, including Jodi Picoult, Khaled Hosseini, J.K. Rowling and John Green.

2. Is your TBR list mostly print or ebooks?

I’ve only gone through a couple of e-books, and while there are quite a few on my Kindle that I have yet to read, the majority of the books on my TBR list are print books (though I’m sure there are digital copies available).

Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something soothing about smelling paper, bending the spine of a novel and turning a page in between your fingers, knowing you’re that much closer to the end. As someone whose job consists of working with two computer screens for eight hours a day, I welcome any available moment that could be spent reading a real book.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR list to read next?

Honestly? It’s a spur-of-the-moment decision.

It’s such an exciting feeling to finally close a book after you’ve finished reading it, lay all of your emotions about that story to rest (after sobbing, jumping for joy or throwing things – depending on the book) and then pick a new book to divulge in.

When I choose a new book, I make sure it’s because I truly want to read it at that moment. Not out of obligation or because it’s popular.

Also, I tend to get bored reading multiple books from the same genre in a row. For instance, once I finish “Fakebook,” I’ll probably pick up an easy-to-read fiction novel like “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green. After that? Probably something a bit heftier like “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I like variety.

4. What’s been on your TBR list the longest?

Oh dear…most likely “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach or the last two installments of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I met Chad Harbach back in 2012 when he hosted a discussion on publishing at UNC and got a copy of his book signed. I’ve heard great things about the book, which took him nearly 10 years to finish; sadly, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

As for LOTR, I’ve read “The Fellowship of the Ring” at least twice, and “The Hobbit” four or five times. I never could get through “The Two Towers,” though. Someday, I’ll read all of them over again.

5. Pick a book you recently added to your TBR list.

I added “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn after hearing so many controversial opinions about the movie. “Gone Girl” is an insanely popular fiction novel all by itself, but the film’s notoriety has made me even more curious. I want to make sure I read the book before watching the movie (luckily, I bought it for an inexpensive price at the bookstore a few months ago).

6. Pick a book that’s on your TBR list strictly because of its beautiful cover.

book1Every so often, back when I was a student at UNC, the Bull’s Head Bookshop at Student Stores would host occasional book sales. It was at one of those sales that I picked up “Queen of the Road” by Doreen Orion.

Normally, books that are on my TBR list are there because I’ve heard of them many times or someone gave me a copy or they were written by a favorite author. I rarely buy a book solely for its cover. “Queen of the Road” is different because the cover gives away the plot in its subhead: “The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own.” The cover shows a solid green map of the United States, a dashed line in the form of a trail, a line of hot pink shoes, two shapely cats, the blue silhouette of a man and – you guessed it – a red bus.

I guess the words on the cover were mainly what attracted me rather than the illustrations, but that still counts, right?

7. Pick a book on your TBR list that you’re apprehensive about reading.

Believe it or not, I pick “Gone Girl” again. Like I mentioned before, there are a lot of conflicting feelings about this book. On one hand, some people think it’s a genius roller coaster of a book, albeit an emotional and dark one. Other people think it’s sick, anti-feminist and even horrifying. While I won’t go into specific details about the book here (I’m a no-spoilers consumer of entertainment), many of the scenes are gruesome. I’m afraid of not being able to handle those scenes, and also of confronting questions of morality that are, by default, difficult to answer.

Though I haven’t read it yet, I do have some respect for Gillian Flynn; obviously, she’s written a book that’s compelling enough to gain both devoted fans and strong critics as well as a film to boot. That has to mean something.

8. Pick an unpublished book on your TBR list that you’re excited for.

Anything John Green has not published or written yet, but will in the future. Simple as that. In the meantime, I will continue to spill tears over TFiOS and “Looking for Alaska.”

9. Pick a book on your TBR list that basically everyone has read but you.

I’m sure someone somewhere has yet to read the “A Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin, but at the moment (and especially when the television series came out) it feels like I’m the only one who hasn’t! I hear the books are incredibly long, which is the main reason why I haven’t read them yet.

10. Pick a book on your TBR list that everyone recommends to you.

The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood – or anything by her, really. Admittedly, I haven’t read anything by her yet, but I’ve heard this book is a really good dystopian read (much better than “Brave New World,” apparently).

It seems like every person I know who has read the novel loves it. Even now as I’m looking it up on Goodreads, most of my GR friends have given the book four or five stars. That’s a lot of high ratings, y’all.

11. Pick a book on your TBR list that you’re dying to read.

As twisted as it seems to the people who know my experience with the movie, I can’t wait to read “The Shining” by Stephen King. The movie, which stars Jack Nicholson as a father and husband who is driven insane by spirits to kill his family, kept me from sleeping soundly for an entire month back when I first watched it during my first semester of college. To be honest, I want to know if the book will freak me out as much as the move did; friends have told me it’s “much, much worse.” We’ll see if that’s true.

Other books I can’t wait to read include “Atonement” by Ian McEwan (the movie was beautiful and heartbreaking), “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (I got to see author Stephen Chbosky speak at a NYC Teen Author Festival panel about writing teenage characters in love) and “Fangirl” (because Rainbow Rowell is darling).

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

In total, 125 books. Most of them are classics, I believe. There are a handful or two of fantasy novels, a few romance novels, a couple of memoirs and even a Superman comic book. If you’re interested in seeing a full list of (hopefully) good books to read, check out my TBR shelf for yourshelf (Oh-ho!) here.

Tag Some People:

I tag Rebecca Jordan, Trisha at Word + Stuff, M. Pax, Damyanti Writes and Shah Wharton. I hope you all had as much fun with the TBR Book Tag as I did!

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What are you reading now, and what’s on your To-Be-Read list? Do you have any recommendations for books I should add to my own TBR Shelf?

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2 responses to “My Bucket List of Good Books to Read: The TBR Book Tag”

  1. Sara L. says:

    Ha ha, I love the idea of calling a TBR pile a “bucket list.” That’s pretty much what it is – especially as you add more and more books to it, and you don’t know if you’ll ever read them all! *lol* And I’m glad you decided to do the book tag! Thanks for linking back to me.

    Funny you mention The Book Thief. I’m reading that right now. It’s very good so far. It took a while to get used to Death’s narration style, but I love the characters, especially Liesel and her foster father Hans. I also read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower last year and thought it was adorable.

    A Game Of Thrones (well, the first book in the series) is all right in length, but the books do get longer as the series goes on. I’ve read the first four books so far and am planning to start the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, around the start of the show’s next season.

  2. Wendy Lu says:

    Not a problem, Sara! I’m glad you enjoyed my post :) Between your review and everyone else’s thoughts on the novel, I really need to read “The Book Thief” stat!

    And yeah, the length of “A Game of Thrones” is what’s mainly keeping me from reading the books. I’m a terribly slow reader, to be honest! I think the longest book I’ve ever read has to be one of the Harry Potter books – the one that’s around 800 pages! But we shall see… ;)

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