I hope it’s not weird that I’m starting this in March. I just found a lot of cool library books in February, and I’m W E A K. (Which I ended up returning most of them unread so I could tackle something bigger, my TBR.)
If you’re not sure what Zero-By-2020 is, it is this new project I’m starting where I’m going to reduce my physical To Be Read pile to zero books by 2020. I’m going to make monthly TBRs, wrap-ups, perhaps participate in challenges and read-a-thons to help get my TBR to zero or at least a more manageable number. I am also planning on creating challenges that you can participate in too! Throughout my journey, I am going to share my struggles, my tips and tricks, and my thoughts on these books.
My physical TBR stands at around 200 books; I’m not sure of the exact number as I unhauled books and hauled more afterwards. Seeing as I only read about 34 books last year and about 28 the year before, I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this project. But, I am going to try my best to take a stab at it.
Without further ado, let’s begin with my TBR for March!
Book One: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (550 pgs)
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
I feel like I’m one of the only people in the book community who has not read The Book Thief yet. I’m really interested in the history of World War II and this book has a really cool concept, so I have no idea why I haven’t picked it up. In March, I will though!
Book Two: Bluets by Maggie Nelson (99 pgs)
Bluets winds its way through depression,
divinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting
along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol. While its narrator sets out to construct a sort of ‘pillow book’ about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. The combination produces a raw, cerebral work devoted to the inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache or grief.
Much like Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse, Bluets has passed between lovers in the ecstasy of new love, and been pressed into the hands of the heartbroken. Visceral, learned, and acutely lucid, Bluets is a slim feat of literary innovation and grace, never before published in the UK.
This book came heavily recommended by Jen Campbell, on YouTube. I was very intrigued by its small size and buttery cover. I’m so excited to dive into it!
Book Three: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (216 pgs)
Now that all the others have run out of air, it’s my turn to do a little story-making.
In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy—is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.
In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.
I really like Margaret Atwood and Greek Mythology so this is definitely a good mix!
For now, I’m just going to pick three books to read as I’m not sure how many I will get through in the month. Next month’s TBR is going to be pretty cool so keep an eye out for that!