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August 22, 2019


#TBR 2019 Challenge Finished!! 39/39

by N@ncy



  1. This is what I look like when I think of my TBR.
  2. When will I ever manage to read all these books?
  3. My first plan of action:
  4. List: books bought 2019 (e-book, paper, audio)
  5. Goal: READ these books in 2019. (no new books!)
  6. Start challenge: 08 July 2019
  7. End challenge: 31 December 2019


This is what I look like  TODAY.. I FINISHED  this challenge!!

UPDATE:…43 books 2019 TBR

4 books – DNF….just NOT going to read these books

  • Offshore – M. Gleeson (Boochani’s book was enought!)
  • Ultimate Guide to Poetry  – R. Bradford (layout on Kindle is unreadable…grrr!)
  • Pachinko – M.J. Lee (…sorry, not in the mood for a family saga)
  • The Gun – D. Kavanagh (CF…not in the mood)


  1. After non-stop reading…and mini-reviews
  2. Today I finished 39/39 books!
  3. I’m exhausted and cannot
  4. ….read one more poem …for many weeks!
  5. 22 Aug:  taking inventory of all books
  6. bought in 2018 and making new TBR list!
  7. This is the only way to reduce Mt TBR!



BOOKS BOUGHT IN 2019….  READ    39/39

  1. James Tiptree, jr. The Double Life Alice SheldonJ. Phillips – READ —  A
  2. Ghosts of the Tsunami R. L. ParryREAD — B
  3. We Can Make a LifeC. Henry – READ — C
  4. The Coddling of the American Mind G. Lukianoff, J. HaidtREAD — A++++
  5. The First CasualtyPeter Greste – READ — C
  6. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write S. Ruhl – READ — B++
  7. Indecent (play) – Paula Vogel – READ — A
  8. Astonished DiceG. Cochrane (short stories) – READ —  F (…sorry, New Zealand)
  9. From a Low and Quiet SeaDonal Ryan- READ  — F (…sorry, Ireland)
  10. The Heart’s Invisible FuriesJohn Boyne – READ — D (…sorry, Ireland…Boyne can do better!)
  11. The Best of NZ PoemsREAD ( …just too many poems to reveiw…just read) — C
  12. …only like poems by:
  13. Cilla McQueen
  14. Ashleigh Young,
  15. C.K. Stead,
  16. Selina Marsh
  17. Michele Amas.
  18. New Zealand….where is Therese Lloyd ? (…short list Ockham 2019!)


UPDATE: 21.08.2019

  1. Parang – Omar Musa – READ (27 poems)  STUNNING!

Parang – with a name like this (knife)
I expected blood, gore, guts.
I got insight, openness, much humanity,
at times a palpable joy.
No ‘Hippa to Da Hoppa’ rap beat
…only the beating of a true poet’s heart.


UPDATE: 20.08.2019

  1. Lemons in the Chicken Wire – READ
  2. Finished: 20.08.2019
    Genre: potry
    Rating: C-
    #TBR list 2109
    Conclusion:What can I say…poems are very personal.
    You like this one and I like that one.
    Collection: 50 poems and I like just 13 = 26%
    Blakwork ….is Whittaker’s a great, inpired collection of poems.
    Lemons in the Chicken Wire pales in comparison.
    C’est la vie.These were: very good
    Growing Soon -…loved the structure/symmetry
    Carry the One – …young girl’s thoughts at school
    AH -..young girl’s observations + “ I go by Koori time”
    Cinnamon Eggs – …young girl’s unexpected bike accidentThese were: goodEXT.INT. title = “ exterior” interior” thoughts as stage directions
    A Funeral …family around grandfather’s grave….
    Insider Knowledge …family knows more than you think!
    Preface: Another Funeral …family memories Great Nan’s death
    Whatcha glimpse in a of a young girl’s life
    The Sticking Place …time…, a limp carcass…soundless bubble
    Epilogue: A Funeral
    Do Ya?
    Chicken Wire Lemons


UPDATE: 19.08.2019

  1. Fast Talking PI – Selina T. Marsh (NZ poet) – READING
  2. Winner, 2010 NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry


UPDATE: 18.08.2019

  1. Cambridge Guide  Irish Poets – READ
  2. Finished: 19.08.2019
    Genre: non-fiction
    Rating: D
    #TBR list 2019
    This book is targeted for an
    audience who has a basic knowledge of
    Irish poets and wants to know just a little bit more.
    It is NOT a book for a poetry novice ….like me.
    I struggled with some of the first 10 poets
    (Goldmith, Moore, Mangan, Yeats, Ledwidge, Clarke….)
    to find some clear basic info.
    These essays are a forest of academic jargon.
    Read this book if you feel adventurous
    …otherwise basic info is better on Wikipedia.
    This is my LAST Cambridge Companion book…ever!


UPDATE: 17.08.2019

  • Cane – Jean Toomer – READ
Finished: 18.08.2019
Genre: stories, poems
Rating: C
#TBR list 2019
Fifteen poems, (good)
Six brief prose vignettes, (very good)
Seven stories (average)
a play (…not the best part of the book…skimmed it)—all about black life in the 1920’s.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part 1 and 3 set in rural Georgia
Part 2 takes place in Chicago and in Washington, D.C.
Women, particularly in the first part, are depicted as sex objects.
They manage not only to endure
…but also to prevail.



UPDATE: 17.08.2019

  1. Milkman – Anna Burns – READ
  2. Finished: 17.08.2019
    Genre: novel
    Rating: D-
    #TBR list 2019
    I’m taking the high road with the author Anna Burns and her
    prize winning Milkman.
    I realize that no one really will remember
    or care what I think.
    Let me just say…it did not make my 10 best books of the year
    ….not by a long shot.
  3. This book is in a class all of its own….
    just not the class I enjoy.
    But more power to Anna Burns for writing
    an opaque yet an unique book.


UPDATE: 17.08.2019

    1. My Name is Revenge – A. K. Blunt – READ



UPDATE: 16.08.2019

  1. Show Them a Good Time (8 short stories) – N. Flattery – READ



  1. The Barracks – J. McGahern – READ
  2. Finished: 06.08.2019
    Genre: novella ( pg 232)
    Rating: D –
    #TBR list 2019
    Sorry, this book was not what I expected.
    Swept away by J. McGahern’s breathtaking
    “All Will Be Well: A Memoir” (read this one!)
    ….I hoped his novel could reach the
    same level of excellence….unfortunately it did not.


UPDATE: 28.07.2019

  1. Wake in Fright – K. Cook – READ (…disappointment)
  2. 2019 Hip Marathon Wake in Fright index


UPDATE: 03.08.2019

  1. The Hate U Give – A. Thomas – READ
  2. Finished: 03.08.2019
    Genre: novel
    Rating: A+++
    #TBR List 2019
    Conclusion:Books may seem like small comfort.
    But in a time like this, when it’s hard to understand
    how American culture became so hate-filled,
    reading is probably the best possible option…
    …to get off the internet,
    …pick up a book, and
    …think about how the country has gotten here.
    #TheHateUGive is a good place to start!


UPDATE: 02.08.2019

  1. Tin Man – Sarah Winman – READ (..mèh)

Finished: 03.08.2019
Genre: novel
Rating: C –

This book is about loneliness.
I found the book to be an attempt to
paint loneliness with landscapes….
(sunflowers fill the frame,
swallows soar with heat on their wings (pg 210)
and not describe
the deep feeling of loneliness
…like a mould growing slowly around you.
Yes there are cries of the heart that evoke your emotions
…but all in all the book was too lyrical, too sugar-spin sweet
and just seemed to scratch the surface of the ache of loss.

I read both the winner of Costa Award 2017 and this shortlisted book for the same prize back-to-back. Then I compared the impact of both books on the subject of loneliness. The stark difference in approaching loss….probably was an big factor
that influenced my review of Tin Man.
After reading Gail Honeyman’s book “Eleanor Oliphant is Compelety Fine’ (winner Costa Award 2017)….Tin Man felt “tinny”.


UPDATE: 01.08.2019

  1. Driving Into the Sun – Marcella Polain – READ


UPDATE: 10.08.2019

  1. Exit West – M. Hamid – READ
  2. Finished: 10.08.2019
    Genre: novella/allegory
    Rating: D-
    #TBR list 2019
    Two lovers Saeed and Nadia meet in nameless Middle East City.
    They decide to leave and seek a better life.
    The couple manages to hold onto their love throughout moving to Mykonos, London, Marin California…..always hoping for salvation….always Exiting West.
    It took me a little while to realise that they were actually going from country to country by these doors. It felt very “Narnia’ -like to be honest!
    Conclusion: not an entertaining read but it’s not dark either
    …it was exhausting b/c Hamid’s writing style is characterized by long convoluted sentences.
    Sometimes I just lost interest


UPDATE: 04.08.2019

  1. Brother – David Chariandy  – READ
  2. Finished: 04.08.2019
    Genre: novel
    Rating: C-
    # TBR List 2019
    This is a very short read.
    Two brothers (immigrant backround) dealing
    with their place in society.
    Staying streetwise means survival.
    I never found it riveting.
    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it
    because it does have a powerful message.
    Score is based on my personal reaction…just not for me.


UPDATE: 31.07.2019

  1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  – G. Honeyman – READ  STUNNING !!
  2. 2019 Hip Marathon Eleanor Oliphant image


UPDATE: 01.08.2019

  1. The Shepherd’s Hut – Tim Winton – READ – Bah!
  2. Finished: 02.08.2019
    Genre: novel
    Rating: F –
    So glad to be done with this book.
    I’m amazed that it received so many 4 and 5-star ratings.To “call a spade a spade” is a figurative expression.
    It refers to calling something “as it is” without
    “beating about the bush”.
    Tim Winton can write ….read Cloudstreet for the proof.
    Tim Winton just wasted my reading time with this s**t.
    Sorry to be so blunt…but there it is!


UPDATE: 05.08.2019

  1. Aquarium – David Vann – READ  (…why in heaven’s name did I buy this book?)
  2. Finished: 06.08.2019
    Genre: novella (pg 272)
    Rating: F —
    #TBR list 2019
    Blurb: Elegant? Gripping?
    Please, I’ve read a recipe for a boiled
    egg that was better than this!


  1. Red Ribbons – L. Phillips –   READ (Irish profiler/psychologist Dr. Kate Pearson #1)
  2. Finished: 10.09.2019
    Genre: CF
    Rating: F
    #TBR list 2019
    Where do I start?
    I start and end with … comment.
    Taking the high road with this book!


  1. Crocodile Tears – M. O’ Sullivan – READ  (Irish Detective Leo Woods #1) STUNNING!
  2. Finished: 05.08.2019
    Genre: CF
    Rating: A+++++
    #TBR list 2019
    I could NOT put this book down!
    Did not have a clue who killed Dermot Brennan
    ….and finally after 97% of the book…the reader
    #Excellent ‘Who dunnit?


  1. Seeing Yellow  – E. Bourke – READ  shortlist Irish Times Poetry 2019   STUNNING!


UPDATE: 07.08.2019

  1. Insistence – Ailbhe Darcy – READ 18 poems (review)
  2. Wales Book of the Year Award 2019
  3. Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Wales)
  4. Pigott Poetry Prize 2019 (Ireland)
  5. Shorlist: T.S. Eliot Prize 2018
  6. Shortlist: Irish Times Poetry Award 2019
  7. Finished: 07.08.2019
    Genre: poetry
    Rating: D
    #TBR list 2019
    My thoughts are my own.
    Please take the time to read these poems
    …I’m curious what YOU think….and what I am missing.


UPDATE: 09.08.2019

  1. Are Friends Electric ? – H. Heath (Ockham NZ Award poetry 2019) – READ
  2. Finished: 09.08.2019
    Genre: poetry
    Rating: B
    #Winner Ockham New Zealand Award Poetry 2019
    My Thoughts


UPDATE: 11.08.2019

  1. The Twelve – S.Neville – READ  (Irish Noir)

  2. Finished: 011.08.2019
    Genre: CF
    Rating: D
    #TBR ist 2019
    No intrigue…no whodunnit
    …no story development
    just guns, blood, violence and some
    ’12 walking dead’.
    #IrishNoir I expected better


UPDATE:  12.08.2019

  1. Harbour Lights  (poetry) – D. Mahon (winner Irish Times Poetry Award 2006) – READ


UPDATE: 15.08.2019

  1. Now We Can Talk Openly about Men – Martina Evans – READ

I didn’t like it…
…but I didn’t hate it either.
“dilemme cornélien”

Finished: 15.08.2019
Genre: poetry
Rating: C
#TBR list 2019


UPDATE: 15.08.2019

  1. The Boys of Bluehill – E. Ní Chuilleanáin – READ  (40 poems, Irish poet)


UPDATE: 13.08.2019

  1. The Radio (32 poems) – Irish poet L. Flynn (shortlist 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize) – READ



Read more from TBR
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 22 2019

    Wow Nancy. All that since July 8??

    But, my question is, why read so many books that you rate C and below? I’d be giving up on anything that I didn’t feel was a B. With all those low ratings, I reckon you should have given Pachinko a proper go!! Haha! Seriously, but I know I’ve already given it a push, it’s far more than a family saga! Still, I know, we all have our likes. (I read very few family sagas but for me this had political meat to it!! I would call it a multigenerational story rather than a family saga.)

    However, while I haven’t read Parang, but I have heard Omar Musa do a poem live, and I’ve listened to many interviews with him. One day I’ll read one of his books. He is a wonderful truth-teller.


    • Aug 22 2019

      Oh, Sue, thanks so much for you comment.
      I know I should give Pachinko a chance….and I trust your judgement!
      Sounds like a book to read ‘post-surgery’ when I have a LOT of time to just sit!
      Yes, scheduled for a new hip in the beginning of September…so Pachinko is on the Kindle!
      I’m one of those readers…..must finish what I started. Only in desperate cases do I DNF.
      Counted my books bought in 2018 and I have 63 for next TBR. I’m NOT reading any poems for a while….have to give my ‘poetic battery’ chance to re-charge! 🙂


      • Aug 22 2019

        And thanks for accepting my comment in the spirit in which it was intended!

        I must say I finish pretty much all I start but I to try to be careful about what I start, probably because I really don’t get a lot of reading time in the day so I can’t afford to read things that aren’t worth it. And, maybe I’m less critical? Maybe I’m too soft on authors? Who knows?!

        Good luck with the hip op. I haven’t gone through that but a few friends have and I haven’t heard any complaints. Please don’t finish Pachinko if you don’t like it. Life is too short …


  2. Aug 22 2019

    Sue, I will give Pachinko “…the old college try!”
    Yes I agree wholeheartedly,….life is too short to waste time on a book that is not enjoyable.
    I think I’ll take the time today to do a 2nd sifting of my TBR on Kindle and just be brave enough to admit I won’t read a certain book….ever. I see new Australian long- and shortlists popping up for the 2020 awards season…and I would like to read a few!


  3. tracybham
    Aug 23 2019

    Very impressive, Nancy. You do read a wide variety of books.


    • Aug 23 2019

      Tracy, I really pushed myself this summer to reduce the number of books TBR on Kindle.
      It is the only way to tackle this problem: no new books — make list of books bought per year — put on your glasses and read! Retired and with time to spare…reading is my way of relaxing!



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