Amanda Salisbury

Fiction, Life, Opinion, Art, Non-fiction

Consuming the TBR List

In this year of ambition, I’ve been posting far less and working far more. I’m preparing to query a novel that I’ve overhauled, rewritten, and revised eleventy bajillion times. I’ve also been reading.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow took about six weeks of reading between tucking kids into bed and falling asleep while nursing separated ribs. Don’t worry! I did not break my nose with the book falling on me. After that, I consumed every book like candy. I binged and read more words more quickly than usual.

I’m sixteen books in for the year and deep in the last half of the last book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have one more book in my possession that are TBR (to be read), but after that…I need to sell my manuscript so I can go buy more books from my WTR (want to read) list. Meanwhile, to the library! Did you know you can get diversely written, illustrated, and cast books there for FREE for a little while? True story. And then you know just which ones to buy / add to your wish list for other people to buy for you.


A breakdown of this shelf of recent reads:

  • All but the LOtR trilogy and Trials of Apollo were recent Christmas gifts, which is why they were next on my TBR pile.
  • three were re-reads: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • one made me feel good about the world and gave me the best night’s sleep: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
  • three I immediately pressed into the hands of others: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (made me feel innocent and hopeful), The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (because everyone has a personal legend), and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (the best demonstration of third person omniscient point of view I’ve read in a long time)
  • one I disliked on a narrative level (read here: the writing style and I are not friends): Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • five dealt with difficult subject matter, some being both delicious and biting but nutritious, like the very best sour gummy vitamin; others being less of all three things (left to right on the shelf but not in order of preference): The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • one was a pure candy read following the big biography: Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
  • one sat on its shelf taunting me while I consumed Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and digested it while reading Trials of Apollo, because I made a stupid vow to myself not to read it until I finished the biography because, apparently, I am most unkind to myself: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  • one (not pictured) was on my TBR pile and I began it but sensed it might be too dark for my mental state at the time, so I set it aside, but the conceit remains fascinating: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Next up is Kindred by Olivia E. Butler!

A note about Book Camp 2018:

Next week we will host Book Camp 2018 at our house with our three boys and my two nieces. It’s my favorite time of year. We missed 2017 due to the move (ugh), but we’re back on track. This year we will study adaptations, using Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton the musical, and Hamilton: The Revolution as our primary examples and baking as our experiments and applications. Over the course of the week, each of us will adapt some poem or story from the public domain into a new format. I am super pumped! [Do people say pumped anymore? These tweens/teens will tell me next week. I’ll report back.]

Salisbury / Hsieh Book Camp 2016: Craft

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About Me

Writer. Lawyer. Relative. Friend.

Curious. Detailed. Occasionally funny.


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