Down the TBR Hole (Week 8)

Week 8! Still going strong. So many books on my TBR list . . . This is a popular tag, so I thought I’d give it a shot! If you’re like me, your TBR list is so long that you’ll never get through them all. Here are 5 books on my TBR list. Have you read any of them? Are any of my keeps worth bumping to the top of my TBR list? Let me know!

blacktower
1. The Black Tower 
by Louis Bayard
Publish Date: August 26, 2008
# of Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 3.74

Description (from Goodreads): Vidocq. The name strikes terror in the Parisian underworld of 1818. As founder and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance to capture some of France’s most notorious and elusive criminals. Now he is hot on the trail of a tantalizing mystery—the fate of the young dauphin Louis-Charles, son of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI.

Hector Carpentier, a medical student, lives with his widowed mother in her once-genteel home, now a boardinghouse, in Paris’s Latin Quarter, helping the family make ends meet in the politically perilous days of the restoration. Three blocks away, a man has been murdered, and Hector’s name has been found on a scrap of paper in the dead man’s pocket: a case for the unparalleled deductive skills of Eugène François Vidocq, the most feared man in the Paris police. At first suspicious of Hector’s role in the murder, Vidocq gradually draws him into an exhilarating—and dangerous—search that leads them to the true story of what happened to the son of the murdered royal family.

Officially, the Dauphin died a brutal death in Paris’s dreaded Temple—a menacing black tower from which there could have been no escape—but speculation has long persisted that the ten-year-old heir may have been smuggled out of his prison cell. When Hector and Vidocq stumble across a man with no memory of who he is, they begin to wonder if he is the Dauphin himself, come back from the dead. Their suspicions deepen with the discovery of a diary that reveals Hector’s own shocking link to the boy in the tower—and leaves him bound and determined to see justice done, no matter the cost.

In The Black Tower, Bayard deftly interweaves political intrigue, epic treachery, cover-ups, and conspiracies into a gripping portrait of family redemption—and brings to life an indelible portrait of the mighty and profane Eugène François Vidocq, history’s first great detective.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: I have no idea why I added this book! It does sound interesting, but meh, I think this is an easy book to toss.

Verdict: Gone


thedeathandlifeofthegreat
2. The Death and Life of the Great American School System
 by Diane Ravitch
Publish Date: March 2, 2010
# of Pages: 283
Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Description (from Goodreads): A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education, The Death and Life of the Great American School System is a radical change of heart from one of America’s best-known education experts.

Diane Ravitch—former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum—examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril.

Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America’s schools:
*Leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen
*Devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should be learning
*Expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools
*Pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not “merit pay” based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores
*Encourage family involvement in education from an early age
The Death and Life of the Great American School System is more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: Since I have kids, public education is a topic I care a lot about. I’d still like to read this book, though I need to read it soon while the information is still up to date and relevant.

Verdict: Keep


frankielandau
3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 
by E. Lockhart
Publish Date: March 25, 2008
# of Pages: 345
Goodreads Rating: 3.83

Description (from Goodreads): Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer and possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: This book sounds so fun and interesting! Definitely a keeper!

Verdict: Keep


shipbreaker
4. Ship Breaker
 by Paolo Bacigalupi
Publish Date: May 1, 2010
# of Pages: 326
Goodreads Rating: 3.74

Description (from Goodreads):
In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life…

 

Why is this book on my TBR list?: This book sounds like an interesting read and seems like something I’d enjoy reading. I’m not doing a very good job of cleaning out my TBR list today, but I think I need to keep this one too!

Verdict: Keep



the knife of never letting go5. The Knife of Never Letting Go 
by Patrick Ness
Publish Date: 2008
# of Pages: 479
Goodreads Rating: 3.96

Description (from Goodreads): Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

 

Why is this book on my TBR list?: I’m pretty sure I added this book to my TBR list because of its unique cover. The description intrigues me.

Verdict: Keep


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