Quarterly TBR | Jan-Mar 2020

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Okay, I'm a little late with this one but I thought I'd share my quarterly To Be Read list. I try not to have a TBR set in stone as my mood can change. I can have a book that's burning a hole through my TBR but then I finish my current book and suddenly the burning desire to pick up that book has dwindled and I go to something else instead. Also, this year I'm trying to read more manga as there are series I really want to finish, so I'm tossing a lot of those into my TBR list.

So when you read this, please keep in mind that these books could or could not be exactly what I read. I also plan on reading more than just these ten books in the three month period, but I like to give myself some wiggle room. So here we go.

Note; The word is pronounced mah*n*gah not main*gah. Come on gaijin, get it right.

The Books


Let's start with the book so anyone not interested in manga can move onto something else.



The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes

Tippy the Triceratops is a detective. He was also once the imaginary friend of a little girl. When the girl's father dies, Tippy finds himself in the Stillreal, the place where once beloved imaginary friends go when they're no longer needed. Tippy sets himself up as a detective and things go well, until one day when he stumbles upon something that shouldn't happen. Tippy stumbles across a nightmare who can kill an idea permanently, something that should never be able to happen.

This is one of the books I'm currently reading. It was my pick for my first book of the year. It seemed right up my alley but so far it's mediocre at it's best moments. Time will tell if it can save itself.

UPDATE: Since writing this post I have DNFd this book. I like the idea, I think it's very clever. But it's just so slow and hard to get through. Also there's a subplot of transgendered issues and acceptance that doesn't come across well. Tippy, at times, is too concerned about getting characters pronouns right that instead of being an example of how to act, it makes him seem like it's a joke, which it shouldn't be.



Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (Book 3 of The Reckoners)

I won't talk about the premise of this book since it contains huge spoilers for the first two books. Instead I'll move onto my thoughts. This is a book I had started near the end of last year but put it down temporarily in favor of my first book of the year. I loved the first two books in The Reckoners series and thought book two was better than the first. So I was hoping that the 3rd would be even better than the last. So far it's been just as good, but not better.



Family Outing: What Happened When I Found Out My Mother Was Gay by Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson was 8 when his mother was outed by her lover at the time and let's just say that the early 80's wasn't a time where people were very “woke.” This revelation affected Troy and shaped his early years. Now, as an adult, Troy is more aware and acknowledges that he handled the situation poorly. Despite it possibly reflecting poorly on him, he wrote this candid memoir where he admits to his negative thoughts and reactions to the whole thing.

I've picked this book up already and am questioning it. The Troy Johnson I'm familiar with now is a food blogger and friend of Guy Fieri. He's kind and funny and a joy to watch. The Troy who wrote this book may be the same person, but I get a different vibe from it and so far, I'm not liking it. I still think it's brave of him to admit what his adolescent self thought but his brash words in the book tend to put me off. We'll see if I can finish it.

UPDATE: This is another book I've tried and decided to DNF (for now). I like what Troy is trying to do. He's admitting that as a kid he wasn't very “woke” and is being honest about it. He's not parading it. He's not saying he's proud of it. He's being honest which takes balls in today's world of cancel culture. But it's just so cringy that I had trouble reading it.



On The Shoulders of Titans by Andrew Rowe (Arcane Ascension book 2)

This is the continuation of the story started in Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Just like with the Brandon Sanderson book, I'm not going to talk about the premise for this one as the first line of the official description is a spoiler for a big question in book 1.

Update: I have since finished this book and it was quite good. I'll write a review later.



Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

It's been several months since the 2016 presidential election and “Uncle Joe” Biden is puttering around his house feeling lost and adrift in an America that doesn't make sense anymore. When his favorite Amtrak conductor dies in a suspicious accident, Joe feels a familiar desire to serve and leaps into the role of amateur sleuth with a little help from his old friend President Barack Obama. Together they'll dive deep into this investigation that takes them deep into the heart of America's opioid epidemic.

This book just sounds so fun and goofy. Obama and Biden had become so beloved by about half the country that it seems fitting that someone did the equivalent of political fanfiction.



The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (Hitchiker's Guide book 2)

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle through space powered by pure improbability and desperately in search of a place to eat.

I read the first book a while back and never continued with it. So I figured it was time to pick it back up. By putting this on my TBR I'm hoping that I won't need to reread the first one to remember what's going on.



Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance, now a fledgling New Republic, presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. Hero piolet Wedge Antilles is trapped on a Star Destroyer high above Akiva, one of the last bastions for the Empire. Down below on the planet's surface, another rebel piolet, Norra Wexley has returned home to see her family, only to intercept Wedge's distress call. She realizes that her time as rebel isn't quite finished yet.

I've been on a Star Wars kick ever since I saw Rise of Skywalker and this was the first book released in the new canon. It's no longer the first as far as the timeline goes, but I figured it'd be a great place to start. Just like the old canon, the Star Wars stories jump around in time so it'd be a fool's errand to try and read them all in chronological order.



The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Goodreads Premise: When Carrie Fisher discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved. Plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naivete, and vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

I'm actually ashamed it's taken me so long to pick this up. But now is the time.

The Manga


I want to read a lot more manga this year. I used to read a lot. I used to be a huge weeb. But those days are behind me. But even though I'm not a con going anime super nerd anymore, that doesn't mean I'm not interested. So 2020 is the year I want to "kind of" get back into it.



20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

In 1969, a group of young boys build a secret base, and inside that base they come up with an idea. An idea to save the world. But to save the world they have to know how it's going to end, so they figure out the best way for a villain to try. It's now the 1990's and the boys are men with their own families and lives of their own. One of them, Kenji, finds a letter sent to him by one of his old group. A letter he sent before taking his life. The letter leads Kenji to believe his old buddy didn't kill himself and instead it's tied to a mysterious cult leader calling himself Friend. Friend and his cult use a symbol, a symbol Kenji and his group came up with as children. This cult starts implementing a plan to take over the world, a plan that's very familiar to Kenji. This mysterious “Friend” is one of his old crew. Who is it? And can Kenji save the world before Friend becomes too powerful?

Doesn't that sound awesome? At one point in my life I had almost finished this. What stopped me? I was reading this as it was coming out in Japan and caught up entirely. Instead of reading chapter by chapter as it was released by scanlators, I decided to wait until the whole final book was out to read it. The problem? It took so long that I forgot. Now I don't remember enough to pick up where I left off. So it's time to read the whole thing again.



Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Come on, you know what Naruto is about, right? You don't? Really? Okay, here we go with a BASIC premise. Naruto Uzumaki is a young ninja student rejected by his village for having a terrible demon sealed within him. Naruto must work harder than others to overcome his disadvantage in his dreams to become a Hokage, the leader of the village.

There's so much more to the manga (and anime) than that, but it's hard to say any more without some pretty substantial spoilers. This manga has about 700 chapters spread over 72 volumes, so I can only give the most basic premise.

I don't forsee myself finishing 20th Century Boys this quarter, but if I do, Naruto is my next manga. Just like with 20th Century Boys, I started reading (and watching) this when it was new and just fell behind and eventually gave up. I want to finish it. I want to know how it ended. I know a bit about it, like the couples that ended up together, but not much else.

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