The Great TBR Purge: Revenge of the TBR (Part 1)

Most book bloggers like to start off the year with lists of books they want to read in the coming months. But not on Maggie’s Musings. Nope, here we talk about all of the books I don’t want to read in the new year.

I’ve sort of accidentally made a tradition of doing a purge of my “to-be-read” (TBR) books every two years – I did it for the first time in 2017 (read Part 1 and Part 2) and then again in 2019 (Part 1 and Part 2), and now it’s 2021, so I guess it’s time to dust off the old TBR list again.

But before I begin, I did want to mention three books that got kicked out automatically because they already survived one round of this and I still didn’t read them: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan (2017 Part 1), Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (2017 Part 2), and Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (2019 Part 1). A few other old ones are still around, but they’re on thin ice.

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2020: Year In Review

Well friends, here we are.

I know the new year doesn’t really mean anything – changing the year from 2020 to 2021 won’t magically make all of our problems go away. I gotta say though, it is nice to hang up a new calendar on the wall, to start a new bullet journal, and at least symbolically put the last year behind us.

I don’t want to diminish the hardships and tragedies that everyone endured this past year, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for the good things that happened this year. We can all grieve and still remember the moments that made us smile, too.

So, as is tradition, here is my Year in Review for 2020!

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October 2020 | Month In Review

You know, I’ve been writing these “life update” posts for quite a while now, and I think I’m starting to run out of interesting things to say at the beginning of them. Maybe I should start sharing fun facts instead? I don’t have anything this time, but stay tuned for next month and maybe I’ll have something interesting to share.

Anyways, I wrote two blog posts this month, so make sure you check those out if you missed them!

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September 2020 | Month In Review

It’s fall. It’s cold. It’s dark. You know the drill. But hey, at least you have my blog posts to keep you company!

I know it’s October as I write this, but here’s my September wrap up, starting with what I blogged about:

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Book Blurb Wishlist

Do you ever just look at stuff that you wrote years ago and think, “Wow, what on earth was I talking about?”

I have that experience pretty often. I’ve had this blog for almost five years, you know. But this post isn’t about how cringeworthy I might have been when I first started this blog – in fact, it’s actually about one of my favorite posts I wrote in the early days of Maggie’s Musings.

Even as a high school student, I had a bone to pick with story tropes. Not much has changed in that regard, at least. I wrote a post about my “Book Blurb Blacklist,” 15 things that would immediately turn me off from reading a book. It was a delightfully snarky post, and looking back now, I still agree with pretty much all of it.

However, there’s a question that has gone unanswered for far too long: What are the things – tropes, phrases, whatever – that make me actually want to read a book?

I aim to answer that today.

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July & August 2020 | Month(s) In Review

I did many, many things these past two months. And no, I wasn’t just playing Animal Crossing all the time. It was things like service trips, dogsitting, moving, starting new jobs…

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

July and August were sort of scattered months for blogging (I mean, I did miss my July Month in Review post…), but here’s what I wrote about:

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10 Books I Want to Read Before I Collapse from Exhaustion at the End of 2020

In 2020, I set a goal to read 65 books. I set it a bit higher than my previous reading challenges, which were usually in the 45-50 range, but I knew I would be able to meet it.

The thing is… I wasn’t really expecting to meet it so soon.

Since I no longer have my big reading goal looming over me, I want to be more intentional about what books I read throughout the rest of the year. This is for two main reasons:

  • I still have some smaller reading goals to complete, like reading #OwnVoices diverse books and nonfiction books.
  • I may or may not have gone on a book shopping spree the last few months, and now I have several books on my shelves that I should read before I buy any new ones.

Charmaine did a list like this at the beginning of July (which makes a lot more sense, since she still had half a year to work with), so I stole it felt inspired by it and decided to make my own reading commitment for what’s left of the year.

So without further ado, here are 10 books I want to read before the end of 2020!

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June 2020 – Month In Review

I am decidedly at the point in my life where I’m just like “you know what, I’m too tired to do anything other than rearrange the furniture in my Animal Crossing house right now.” And that’s okay. I’m pacing myself.

Anyways, I know everyone else has been saying it already, but I cannot believe that it’s July already. It took me three days to remember to change my wall calendar to the next month. But hey, look at us! We’ve made it so far already! That’s definitely something to be proud of and thankful for.

When I wasn’t losing track of time this month, I was blogging about:

Once you’ve checked out those blog posts, read on to hear about the rest of my month!

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Making My Own Bookish Figurines

It seems like everyone and their weird uncle has started a new hobby lately. Some people are baking bread, making soap or candles, or learning a new language.

Me?

Well, I’ve also started a new “quarantine hobby.” It was a terrible idea, not because I hate it, but because I’ve become practically obsessed with it over the past few weeks and I can’t make myself stop.

I started making custom figurines.

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May The Odds Be (N)ever In Your Favor

Here’s your hot take for the week: We don’t understand The Hunger Games.

“But Maggie,” I hear you say, “How could we not understand The Hunger Games? It was the biggest teen movie franchise since Twilight! Don’t you remember reading about how well the movies performed commercially? Didn’t you give a presentation on the cultural impact of dystopian fiction on young adults?”

I did indeed give such a presentation, but that doesn’t debunk my claim right off the bat. There are plenty of readers and viewers of The Hunger Games who looked beyond the hype and saw the message of the story – we wouldn’t still be talking about it otherwise. But in general, our society has missed the point.

Let’s get one other thing out of the way: The Hunger Games is not my favorite book or film series, not by a long shot. If you asked me to name my top ten books of all time, I doubt it would make the list. That’s not to say it’s a bad book though! I think it’s an excellent read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to better understand young adult literature. Personally though, I’m more interested in how The Hunger Games is (or maybe was) a cultural phenomenon.

For those reading this who missed out on The Hunger Games or just did not care, here’s the premise: a futuristic and dystopian nation known as Panem holds an annual “Hunger Games” in which 24 “tributes” between the ages of 12-18 are selected to participate in a televised fight to the death. The heroine, Katniss, volunteers for the Games to take the place of her younger sister Prim. Fair warning, there will be plenty of spoilers as we keep going!

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Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her sister’s place in the Hunger Games.

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