Weekend Reading / TBR project

As a couple of you might know, I’ve decided to try to do the whole spreadsheet tracking thing this year.   Part of the setup is entering your total TBR books, a number I lost control of a couple of years ago during the Great BookLikes Crises.  Having been on crutches the last three months, I haven’t been able to walk around and count them, either, and it seemed way too cheeky to ask MT to do it for me, not to mention the TBR range spans across at least three rooms.

I’m still on crutches, but with more energy, and I’m bored to tears with seeing the books on my bedside TBR bookcase, so this weekend I decided to tackle the counting in stages and at the same time incorporate some swapping of the stock, so to speak, in the hope that some “new” titles next to the bed will re-invigorate my reading.  I started yesterday with the medium sized bookshelf located in my lounge room.  This room is down a small set of floating stairs from the rest of the house so I only get to spend time in it when MT is here.  I’m good on the crutches, but it seems like a Very Bad Idea to tackle floating (highly varnished) stairs when I’m alone in the house.

I pulled the books off and re-arranged them, setting aside the ones that made me go “ooh” or “hmm”.  The set-aside pile came to 26 books:

A couple of these are ‘read-in-a-day’ reference type books I can easily process off the pile, and in fact, I’ll be posting a review of the first one after I finish this post.  Of the rest, 2 immediately caught my attention, and I started reading them yesterday:

VenomVenom
by Eivind Undheim, Ronald Jenner
isbn: 9781486308378
Publication Date: October 1, 2017
Pages: 208
Genre: Natural Science, Science
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

A fully illustrated guide to venom, its evolution in different animal groups, its effects and its treatments.
When we enter the world of venom, we enter the realm of one of the most diverse, versatile, sophisticated and deadly biological adaptations ever to have evolved on Earth.

Since it first appeared in ancient jellyfish and sea anemones, venom has proved so effective that it has since evolved independently in dozens of different animal groups. The authors reveal the many unique methods by which venomous animals deliver their cocktail of toxins and how these disrupt the physiology of the victims.

Jenner and Undheim also consider how humans have learnt to neutralise venom’s devastating effects, as well as exploit the power of venom in innovative ways to create new drugs to treat a variety of serious conditions. Fully illustrated throughout, this illuminating guide will appeal to all those with an interest in the wondrous world of venom.


One Day: The Extraordinary Story Of An Ordinary 24 Hours In AmericaOne Day: The Extraordinary Story Of An Ordinary 24 Hours In America
by Gene Weingarten
isbn: 9780399166662
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Pages: 375
Genre: History
Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Gene Weingarten explores the events of a random day in U.S. history, offering a diorama of American life that illuminates all that has changed—and all that hasn’t—in the past three decades.

On New Year’s Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day—chosen completely at random—turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing.

That Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling.

One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human.


One Day I’ve only read as far as the introduction but was completely absorbed by what I was reading – I’m expecting to enjoy it, especially as I like these snap-shot looks at history; Venom is going to be a bit of science-candy, I think; the introduction feels like it’s aimed at the more urban reader with less practical experience with the venomous side of life, but it’s fully illustrated and seems like a good warm-up to tackling the slightly more in-depth Venomous by Christie Wilcox, also in that pile.

This morning, I pulled 20-ish books off my large bed-side TBR bookshelf and MT will haul those into the lounge to take residence on the medium sized shelf.  They’re still titles I want to read, but I’m so used to seeing, my eyes glide right over them.  The stacks above will take their place in the bedroom, doing their bit to shake up my visual field.  I’ll also tally up the books on both shelves for my spreadsheet, which will leave me only with 2 smallish shelves in the library, of mostly MM Paperbacks, and then I’ll finally be able to more accurately track my efforts to whittle down my TBR.  I hope.

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