Tuesday, December 19, 2023

2023 TBR Pile Wrap-Up


Well, this is it. The last fling for Adam's The TBR Pile Challenge over at Roof Beam Reader. It was one of the first challenges I did when I started blogging and I had to do it every time Adam offered it. Well, Adam is hanging up his challenge host hat and has begun a new blogging adventure at the Contemplative Reading Project

So--how did I do on this last round? As always, I aimed to do all twelve of my original list as well as the two alternates. I almost made it--ending the year with thirteen read. I tried to read the Cohen book, but it just wasn't quite what I thought I was getting myself into and I decided that life was too short to finish it since I didn't absolutely have to have it to complete the challenge.

For an end of year wrap-up, Adam has asked us which book/s we loved and which book/s we hated from the list. Most of these earned a nice, middle-of-the-road three stars. Enjoyable books, but nothing extraordinary. The best of the bunch were Over Sea, Under Stone by Cooper and I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay by Ellison & Asimov. Cooper's book was delightful and I'm sorry I didn't discover her when I was young--I would have loved those books even more then. And Ellison & Asimov together are dynamite--explosive ideas and story line with terrific illustrations. When revisiting science fiction authors I loved as a teenager, I'm sometimes disappointed--but Ellison and Asimov never disappoint. 
Speaking of disappointments...Robert Silverberg was a favorite when I went through my big SF phase. But reading books by him that I added to the TBR stacks and never got round to until middle age has not gone so well. Last lines of the review for Tom O'Bedlam: I'm sorry, but I'm just not feeling this one. It took too long to get to the Crossing and then when we got there....it just fell flat and it seemed like there should have been something more. Very anticlimactic. Not the best Silverberg I've read (but then...I'm wondering what I would think now of some of the work I enjoyed so much back in the 80s). The other that made the least favorite list is Runcie's Sidney Chambers & the Perils of the Night. Verdict (from review): I wasn't all that excited about his debut when I read it two years ago, but I wanted to give him another chance. The most endearing thing about the man is he brings up Lord Peter Wimsey in the cricket match story. But, overall, my view of these stories still stands--the characters just don't grab me and I don't buy Chambers as an amateur detective.

My List:
1. It Walks By Night by John Dickson Carr (2/24/23)
2. Sidney Chambers & the Perils of the Night by James Runcie (3/11/23)
3. Tom O'Bedlam by Robert Silverberg (5/16/23)
4. Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt (4/23/23)
5. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (6/29/23)
6. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (1/23/23)
7. The Covenant of the Crown by Howard Weinstein (9/12/23)
8. Fatal Inquiry by Will Thomas (4/9/23)
9. I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay by Harlan Ellison & Isaac Asimov (7/5/23)
10. Garden of Deadly Delights by Cynthia Manson, ed. (2/7/23)
11. The War Come Home by Deborah Cohen
12. Beyond by Theodore Sturgeon (3/26/23)

1. The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox (3/29/23)
2. Danger at the Drawbridge by Mildred A. Wirt (4/10/23)


CLM said...

Well, I've read 4, 5, and 6 from your list although the Holt was in junior high so I don't remember it. I went back and reviewed all the Susan Cooper series not that long ago and I hope you have time to read at least book 2. I think the first two are the best.

Kate Morton has a big following but I prefer Susanna Kearsley who also writes those sweeping books that take the reader from present to past.


Bev Hankins said...

Yeah, I got The Distant Hours back when I saw a lot about her books in the blogging world. I wasn't as impressed with it as seemed to be warranted by all the reviews I saw at the time.