Down the TBR Hole #6

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

It’s time for another TBR post!

So, last week we got down to 728 books and I’m now at 723 which is excellent as it means I managed to remove 5 during the week – two of those were books I read and so got off the list, and I deleted a couple more books. I actually ended up getting rid of two historical fiction books I kept in previous weeks (I kept them due to owning them, but I decided to donate my copies instead)

Anyway, as you all probably know by now, this tag was started by Lia  and the rules are:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Now, this week isn’t going to be as exciting as the rest because it turns out the next five books on the list are all classics and so I’ll be keeping them all as part of my goal to read more classics.  This means I won’t be doing my usual “Keep/Remove” part as it’ll basically be the same each time. Instead, I’ll just show you the five books that I’m keeping.

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These are:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I’ve read a couple of Dickens already and always meant to read more. It’s one of my “one day I’ll read this” books.

The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer – I have a really cool old copy of this and so I need to get myself a modern version to actually read (because I don’t want to damage my copy)

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – Another of those classics that everybody knows that I just haven’t got around to reading.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – This is the third book in the Sherlock Holmes collection as I read the first two years ago and adored them. I think I didn’t have the third one at the time and then I just forgot about reading more. Shall definitely need to change that as I really enjoy them!

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens – Another Dickens. I think I might read this one before Great Expectations as I’ve seen the film and adored it.


 

So, as you can see my TBR list remains at 723 but it’s slowly going down due to my pruning the middle of the list. I’m going to stop removing books from it now except for this tag as I no longer feel as much pressure and my goal of reading books to get them off the list has been very effective so I think I’m going to focus more on removing books by reading rather than deleting them. Because of this, I’m thinking of doing a feature on Sundays where I post about the books I read that week and mention any that I read thanks to doing this tag. I figure since I read so many books that I can’t discuss them all in detail at my monthly wrap-ups, a weekly wrap-up will make more sense, especially as I don’t always review all the books I’ve read and this gives me a way to talk about them.

Have you read any of these classics? Which would you recommend I read first? Any other classics you think I should add to my list?

Book Review – Imperium in Imperio by Sutton E. Griggs

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Self-published in 1899 and sold door-to-door by the author, this classic African-American novel—a gripping exploration of oppression, miscegenation, exploitation, and black empowerment—was a major bestseller in its day. The dramatic story of a conciliatory black man and a mulatto nationalist who grow up in a racist America and are driven to join a radical movement dedicated to the creation of an all-black nation in Texas, Imperium in Imperio had a profound influence on the development of black nationalism.

Review:

This was the first book I read from my list of five free books by black authors and I’m very glad I chose it as it was a very good, very engaging read and a fascinating insight into the views of Sutton Griggs at the end of the 19th century. I also feel it is a very important novel regarding Black History, and would definitely recommend it as reading for Black History Month.

As the synopsis says, the novel follows the story of two men from childhood as they grow up in the American South. Belton is the son of a poor mother who recognises the importance of education and ensures that he attends school and learns as much as he can. One of his classmates, Bernard, is the son of what appears to be a single mother but is later revealed that his father was white and for appearances sake, can not acknowledge his wife or son however he uses all his resources to help him succeed. The two children are both incredibly intelligent and upon graduation, Belton goes to Stowe College while Bernard attends Harvard. The two eventually meet again when Belton gets into some legal troubles and again when he invites Bernard to join the Imperium in Imperio, an organisation dedicated to supporting their fellow black citizens and attempting to better their lives.

Throughout the novel, both characters have to deal with a lot of racism, both institutional and personal. It’s particularly noticed when Belton is in Louisiana where they are even more racist than his home as he is ejected from the first class carriage on the train that he was riding. The novel addresses issues that face those that are educated as they are blocked from most jobs requiring a degree due to the colour of their skin, but they can’t take menial labour jobs as they are too educated as it would be seen as throwing away their education. The themes of this novel are very strong and both characters have very strong views on the empowerment of their race although they differ on how this equality is to be achieved.

The story alone is an enjoyable read and the writing is very good, however the underlying messages and ideas are incredible and I really enjoyed the emphasis it placed on the importance of education. This is definitely a fantastic and worthwhile read and I would definitely recommend it to everybody.