~ Goodreads TBR Cleanup 01/14/21 ~

There are two similar challenges: Goodreads TBR Cleanup and Down the TBR Hole that each take your TBR lists on Goodreads and you choose to either keep or toss. The main difference is how you choose your books as Down the TBR Hole has you start with the oldest additions to your TBR list and Goodreads TBR Cleanup uses a random number generator to choose a different place in your TBR list every time.

I decided to go with the Goodreads TBR Cleanup (created by @ Mega Bunny Reads) as the random selections from my 1000+ TBR list sounded like fun. These challenges can be done bi-weekly or weekly (or any other timeframe that suits you). If you’re interest in the other Down the TBR Hole meme, then you can check it out following the links. The meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story — she has a new blog though called Sunflowers and Wonder!

How It Works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.
  • Ask Siri (or any other generator) to pick a number between 1 and however many books are on the list.
  • Go to that book and look at it and the 4 after it, for a total of 5.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

For the number selection, I used an online random number generator.


  1. Stillicide
by Cynan Jones [Published November 17th 2020, 176 pages]

Water is commodified. The Water Train that serves the city increasingly at risk of sabotage.

As news breaks that construction of a gigantic Ice Dock will displace more people than first thought, protestors take to the streets and the lives of several individuals begin to interlock. A nurse on the brink of an affair. A boy who follows a stray dog out of the city. A woman who lies dying. And her husband, a marksman: a man forged by his past and fearful of the future, who weighs in his hands the possibility of death against the possibility of life.

From one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, Stillicide is a moving story of love and loss and the will to survive, and a powerful glimpse of the tangible future.


This book still greatly interests me and it’s well worth keeping especially since I won it in a Goodreads giveaway. Time keeps getting away from me or this one would have been read by now. An automatic Keep for me as I wanted to read it enough to enter the Giveaway and re-reading the description still sounds worth a Keep.

2. We Run the Tides

by Vendela Vida [Expected publication: February 9th 2021, 272 pages]

Teenage Eulabee and her magnetic best friend, Maria Fabiola, own the streets of Sea Cliff, their foggy oceanside San Francisco neighborhood. They know Sea Cliff’s homes and beaches, its hidden corners and eccentric characters—as well as the upscale all-girls’ school they attend. One day, walking to school with friends, they witness a horrible act—or do they? Eulabee and Maria Fabiola vehemently disagree on what happened, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola’s sudden disappearance—a potential kidnapping that shakes the quiet community and threatens to expose unspoken truths.        

Suspenseful and poignant, We Run the Tides is Vendela Vida’s masterful portrait of an inimitable place on the brink of radical transformation. Pre–tech boom San Francisco finds its mirror in the changing lives of the teenage girls at the center of this story of innocence lost, the pain of too much freedom, and the struggle to find one’s authentic self. Told with a gimlet eye and great warmth, We Run the Tides is both a gripping mystery and a tribute to the wonders of youth, in all its beauty and confusion. 


This novel is one of my 2021 anticipated reads. I never got around to requesting an ARC for this one though as I have many others and would never have finished it in a timely manner, especially as I strive to read them before their release dates. It’s still one that greatly interests me and well worth keeping on my TBR.

3. I Will Listen If You Tell Me Who I Am

by John McCluskey [Published Published March 13th 2019, 80 pages]

Collection of poetry and short fiction. Seventeen of these works have been published in reputable journals, worldwide.


I honestly have no memory of adding this to my TBR. It’s a short collection of poems and stories which makes it appealing to keep on my list. However, I doubt I will get to this story any time soon so for now it’s a toss, but maybe one day if I come across it again, then I’ll add it back on the list.

4. Identical Genius

by Tom Friedrich [Published Published August 1st 2020, 270 pages]

Kris is a highly accomplished and driven prodigy, a goal-oriented force of nature. Her sole focus is on becoming the world’s leading cybersecurity expert. That is, until she meets Max. He melts her heart and changes her entire world. But, a case of mistaken identity threatens to break Kris’s heart, and to thwart her one chance at true love. Kris’s twin sister Liz carves her own path. Liz is a polymath, good at almost everything, but her lack of focus keeps her in Kris’s shadow. Liz blooms later, but will her star shine as bright as Kris’s? Or, will the envy that results from Kris’s success doom Liz to a tragic and bitter end? In turns, the girls match wits with Dr. Reginald Hammond. Hammond is bitter and vain. He considers himself the smartest man in the room. Any room. And, he may well be. But is he the smartest person in the room? Or, has he met his match in Kris and Liz?


This one sounds fairly interesting still. For now, I think I’ll keep it. If I don’t get around to it in the semi-near future (even if that’s a year from now), then I will revisit this title.

5. An Imperfect Candidate

by Nao Hauser [Published Published August 16th 2020, 319 pages]

An idealistic law student thinks he knows where good and evil lie–and soon discovers he doesn’t, in this novel about crime and redemption, set in the midst of Chicago politics over a period of 20 years.

Just before he begins law school, with his ambitions set on running for office one day, Arthur Gorman marries the daughter of a construction magnate and alleged racketeer, Tolland Shenck. He believes he can follow a political path that will steer clear of Shencks’s corrupt Machine connections. But not long after the wedding and the start of classes, his prospects are cut off when his wife, Harriet, is kidnapped and held for ransom by those he believed shared his ideals.

Gorman is forced to drop out of school and restart his life, working in his father’s shoe store. Harriet is gone, having divorced him after her release and moved West. But after years apart, she returns, unwilling to give up forever on the love and ideals they had shared. She insists on going back to the poor neighborhood that had been the scene of the crime and to the community center that had attracted Arthur, as a beginning law student, to its good work and political prospects. On the night of the crime, Harriet had been on her way there to meet him—and the criminals had used this to entrap her. Still, she goes back there, daily, rather than give up what she had once believed in, and so, eventually, does Arthur.

When a Machine politician sets out to destroy the community center, Harriet comes up with a way to save it and enlists Tolland Shenck’s collaboration. In this way, Arthur’s onetime political ambition is resurrected when they insist he stick with what he once believed in and run against the Machine. But with his youthful ideals having yielded to harsh reality, Arthur knows his winning depends on his being an imperfect candidate.

The character of Tolland Shenck, crook and redeemer, towers over this novel, which begins in the year of Watergate and ends in the hopeful era of Clinton.

Nao Hauser lived in Chicago for 14 years, witnessing the politics of the Machine and the Left as well as the urban dynamic of gentrification that underpins An Imperfect Candidate. Her previous novels are Bronoff’s Rules, a comedy about playing the stock market; The Restaurant Reviewer, a drama about lovers, young and old, coming to terms with mortality and what a good man’s life means. set in New York City after 9/11; and The Branding of Wendell Dawes, a comic tale of a serious chef with a failing restaurant learning how to be a hot chef.


Similar to the other Toss novel on this list, I have my doubts that I will get around to reading this any time within the next year or two as other novels just keep coming up higher on the list and this one is bound to get buried. It still interests me so there’s a part of me that wants to label it as a Keep, but with over 1000 others on my TBR list that keeps growing by the day, I feel it’s best to Toss for now and add it again if I come across it in the future.

That’s it for my first TBR Clean-up week. It might change which version that I use, but the general concept remains the same. For now, I believe I’ll try to do this weekly, but that could change even by next week depending on the time I can dedicate to creating a list.

8 thoughts on “~ Goodreads TBR Cleanup 01/14/21 ~

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