Can’t Talk, I’m Reading: TBR Pile Challenge Update

We’re three months in on the To Be Read Pile Challenge. How’s everybody doing?

The TBR Pile Challenge is hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader as a way to join all bibliophiles together! You select 12 books that have been gathering dust on your bookshelf for one year or longer and vow to read those books in 12 months time!

I love this challenge and how it focuses me on reading some of the books I already own. (We won’t discuss the rate at which I buy and/or borrow new ones, especially when returning from a writers conference where there’s a book fair.)

I’ve actually been ahead of the game with this year’s challenge, finishing book #5! However, I’ve been very poor in writing reviews. So to catch up for the third check-in of the year, here’s what I’ve been reading and what I thought of the books.

TBR Pile Challenge Book Reviews

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Truman Capote’s creative nonfiction book about a mass murder in Kansas has long been on my ‘to read’ list. The book has a very eerie nature, and is exceptionally well written, bouncing back and forth between the investigation of the Clutter family murders and what the killers who doing leading up to the crime night.

Truman Capote spent much time with the killers while they were imprisoned and in limbo with court appeal processes. It’s very likely they thought he was a friend considering how much trust he gained and how he helped with their case. That makes the title of this book all the creepier to me.

For fans of suspense novels, true crime, and creative nonfiction, I highly recommend this book. I was on edge as the gory details unfolded and we learned more and more about the killers’ early lives, odd jobs, and how they befriended one another. The writing is so good, you almost root for them. And that’s what I found so interesting. When all we know in a murder case is who did it, it’s easy to write off the killer as a menace. But when you know more about their life and the troubles they overcame, does it make you understand more, even if you still accuse?


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

After In Cold Blood, I needed something a bit lighter, so I dove into book 3 of the Harry Potter series.

Don’t shun me, I haven’t read the series yet. I’ve been slowly savoring it, reading one a year or so. But this title may make me speed up a bit. It has by far been my favorite and I enjoyed the first two.

In Harry’s third year at Hogwarts School, his life is in danger not just from “He Who Shall Not Be Named” but also from the most notorious prisoner in Azkaban, Sirius Black. And when you’re a teenager, it’s equally annoying that the biggest snob in school, Draco Malfoy, is picking on you and your friends.

Exceptional colorful characters and an action packed plot, I really enjoyed this one. There were so many characters coming into play throughout the book, but I loved every minute. Plus they’re distinct enough that it’s easy to distinguish who’s who. Made me really want to read book 4 right away.


The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle was always a title on the classics list we could choose from in school, so I was well familiar with the nature of its subject – the horrendous working conditions of early factories. It’s known for launching the creation and reform of many labor laws and unions. It rivals Uncle Tom’s Cabin for how much political influence it had!

I wanted to enjoy this book. And I did, parts of it. The book follows an immigrant family as they adapt to American ways and try to find work in the worst of conditions. The first half of the book I liked, and learned a lot about the life expectancy and injuries that happened in our workplace before labor rights acts. So many men and women died of blood disease from infections that began at work.

And this book will really make you want to be a vegetarian. It’s pretty disturbing. Sure, you’d expect that from a slaughterhouse, but it’s really the rats crawling over the meat that did me in. *shudder*

I would recommend this book for historical purposes or for those who like to read a classic now and again. But be forewarned, it gets very long, and I wouldn’t say the book has a happy ending. After awhile, it was difficult to read about so much trauma in one family, though I’m absolutely sure it was common for immigrant workers and even in families today.


Have you read any of these?
Are you doing the TBR Pile Challenge? If so, how’s it going?
It can never hurt to add more titles. What are you reading right now?






18 responses

  1. Just finished “The Painted Girls” and have now started “The Girl on the Train”. I’ve read “The Jungle”, although it was in high school and boy, that was a longggg time ago!!

    1. I’m hearing rave reviews about The Girl on the Train. It’s on my list. Need more time!!!!!

  2. I’ve read 4 off my TBR Pile Challenge list but I’ve had that many completed since mid-February. I haven’t felt like reading any of the others on my list lately. But at least I’m still on track as long as I read one per month after this!

    1. You got this Maren! And I have no doubt because you are a book reading fiend! You’ll probably read like 3 or 4 in one month. Hope the muse sticks with you so you get back to your list, but I know what you mean – the list always grows. 😛

  3. I have such good memories of reading the entire Harry Potter series. Our kids were little when we started with the first one, and I had to read to them. We were part of the just-one-more-chapter club until bedtime ended up being very, very late. I think by the third book they were reading on their own and we were sharing a book. I couldn’t wait for them to go to bed to I would get my turn! I don’t remember The Jungle quite so fondly. Such a depressing story.

    1. I do love the Harry Potter books. I feel a little left out that I didn’t hop aboard the bandwagon on that one right away. I’m a belated Harry Potter fan. I highly recommend the audiobook too. The narrator is the same as the gentleman who read The Night Circus. He has a great voice.

      And yah, The Jungle. It’s good…but sooooo depressing.

  4. I’ve read “In Cold Blood” and really liked it. Right now I’m reading “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle. He and his wife buy a house in Provence – just started, but so far, so good. If you like “In Cold Blood” you might want to try “No Country for Old Men.” Happy reading!!

    1. I like that movie. I loooooove Javier Bardem. Dare I add more books to my list?

  5. “In Cold Blood” was awesome, and I enjoyed the Harry Potter series (though years later, I can’t specifically recall which one was my favorite). Great reviews! I think you’ll blow past your goal by October and should easily reach 15 by year’s end.

    1. I hope so, but you never know what new title or series may sweep its way in and takeover. That’s part of why I’m cruising through it now.

  6. Every time you do this, I think “I WANNA DO IT TOO.” Then I forget and read another 20 “unimportant” books, as in whatever floats my boat at the moment. Go you!!

    1. At least you’re reading! Enjoy it, bookworm!

  7. I owe you a list, don’t I? I’m so far behind on everything. I want to get through my TBR pile, but I keep adding to it. 😀

    1. Oh yah, me too, Sister! LOL

  8. I have nominated you for the Creative Blogger Award! 🙂 See my post here

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