TBR Declutter! – Down the TBR Hole #35


It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so I thought I should get back to it and declutter my shelves! I’m finally under 600 books on my Goodreads TBR shelf, so these posts have definitely helped me clear my bookish mess up a bit!

Credit, as always, goes to the wonderful Lia @ Lost in a Story for this decluttering idea! I’m far, far into my TBR now… find out how many books I’ve removed, so far, below!

The aim is to declutter your tbr shelf. To do this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Synopsis: London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.


This has got some pretty great reviews, plus it’s historical fiction, but I’m not that interested in it. I think it’s got something to do with the romance elements in the synopsis that are putting me off.

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Dissolution by C. J. Sansom
Synopsis: Henry VIII has ordered the dissolution of the monasteries and England is full of informers. At the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control with the murder of Commissioner Robin Singleton. Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer, and his assistant are sent to investigate.


I’m not really sure what this book is even going to be about but the ratings for it are really good and that has me intrigued! So it’s staying for now.



Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross


Add the unflappable Julian Kestrel to the ranks of great sleuths of ages past. He’s the very model of a proper Beau Brummell–except for his unusual willingness to plunge headlong into murder investigations. And an investigation’s hard to avoid when, luring an elegant weekend at a friend’s country estate, a murder victim turns up in his bed. With the help of his Cockney manservant, Dipper, Kestrel sets out to find the killer among the glittering denizens of 1820s London’s social stratosphere.


Eh, I’m not feeling this one. I can’t even imagine why I added it to my TBR, it really doesn’t sound very exciting.

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Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr

Synopsis: Described by various reviewers as hellish and obscene, Last Exit to Brooklyn tells the stories of New Yorkers who at every turn confront the worst excesses in human nature. Yet there are moments of exquisite tenderness in these troubled lives. Georgette, the transvestite who falls in love with a callous hoodlum; Tralala, the conniving prostitute who plumbs the depths of sexual degradation; and Harry, the strike leader who hides his true desires behind a boorish masculinity, are unforgettable creations.


I definitely added this one to my list because it was a banned book, and I’m always interested in bleak, disturbing novels, however this one isn’t taking my fancy anymore.

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The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
Synopsis: A harrowing story that follows the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II, The Painted Bird is a dark story that examines the proximity of terror and savagery to innocence and love.


I’m conflicted on this book. It’s got some really great reviews, but other people are saying it’s just too dark and grotesque to get through. I’m keeping it for now as I’m kind of intrigued, but I may remove it at a later time.



The Nix by Nathan Hill

Synopsis: Meet Samuel Andresen-Anderson: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of an online video game. He hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, since she walked out when he was a child. But then one day there she is, all over the news, throwing rocks at a presidential candidate. The media paints Faye as a militant radical with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother never left her small Iowa town. Which version of his mother is the true one? Determined to solve the puzzle – and finally have something to deliver to his publisher – Samuel decides to capitalize on his mother’s new fame by writing a tell-all biography, a book that will savage her intimately, publicly. But first, he has to locate her; and second, to talk to her without bursting into tears.

As Samuel begins to excavate her history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s to New York City during the Great Recession and Occupy Wall Street to the infamous riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, and finally to Norway, home of the mysterious Nix that his mother told him about as a child. And in these places, Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother – a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she kept hidden from the world.


Bleh, I started this book and just couldn’t get into it! I hate reading books more than 400 pages on my Kindle, and this one is 640! I could probably read this one if I got my hands on a physical copy.

The amazing reviews for this one keep me interested in reading it though!



The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter by John Pipkin

Synopsis: In late-eighteenth-century Ireland, accidental stargazer Caroline Ainsworth learns that her life is not what it seems when her father, Arthur, throws himself from his rooftop observatory. Caroline had often assisted her father with his observations, in pursuit of an unknown planet; when astronomer William Herschel discovered Uranus, Caroline could only watch helplessly as unremitting jealousy drove Arthur to madness. Now, gone blind from staring at the sun, he has chosen death over a darkened life.

Grief-stricken, Caroline abandons the vain search, leaves Ireland for London, and tries to forget her love for Finnegan O’Siodha, the tinkering blacksmith who was helping her father build a telescope larger than his rival’s. But her father has left her more than the wreck of that unfinished instrument: his cryptic atlas holds the secret to finding a new world at the edge of the sky. As Caroline reluctantly resumes her father’s work and confronts her own longings, Ireland is swept into rebellion, and Caroline and Finnegan are plunged into its violence.


I definitely added this one because I wanted a good historical fiction to read, but now I’ve changed my mind about it. The synopsis doesn’t grab me!

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Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini

Synopsis: John Wilkes Booth, the mercurial son of an acclaimed British stage actor and a Covent Garden flower girl, committed one of the most notorious acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

The subject of more than a century of scholarship, speculation, and even obsession, Booth is often portrayed as a shadowy figure, a violent loner whose single murderous act made him the most hated man in America. Lost to history until now is the story of the four women whom he loved and who loved him in return: Mary Ann, the steadfast matriarch of the Booth family; Asia, his loyal sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who adored Booth yet tragically misunderstood the intensity of his wrath; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow entrusted with the secrets of his vengeful plot.


I can see why I would have added this one back in the day, but I’m now not that interested in it. Plus, some readers are saying it’s very over-detailed and dry.

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The Disappeared by Roger Scruton

Synopsis: The Disappeared is a story of our times, of kidnap and rescue, of abuse and healing. It is the story of Stephen, a teacher whose love for the pupil who shares his dreams brings him face to face with ruin; of Sharon, the child of a feckless stepmother, and her criminal abusers; of Laura, the investigative high-flyer, now faced with rape and sexual slavery; of Justin, environmentalist and Heavy Metal fan, whose obsession with Muhibbah, rescued from forced marriage, spells disaster for them both.


I’m really drawn to this book by the incredibly striking cover art, but it sounds to poignant to be my kind of read, so I’m not so sure I want to give it a try anymore.

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The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Synopsis: Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.


I actually already have this book, but it’s the hardcover and it’s absolutely mammoth that I’ve never felt inclined to pick it up. I do really like the sound of the story though.


6 book removed this time around! I’d say that’s pretty good going! I’m down to 591 books on my TBR shelf now, still a hell of a lot of books, but better!

Books analysed // 353
Books removed // 147

How many of these books do you know and want to read? Do you disagree with any of my verdicts? Let me know!

6 Replies to “TBR Declutter! – Down the TBR Hole #35”

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