On Books & Reading: My TBR List – Some Progress is Better Than None, I Suppose


Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Since I posted about my To Be Watched (TBW) list for late January yesterday, today I decided to do a quick update to my current To Be Read (TBR) list for the same period. (I would have preferred to review Code-Name Downfall, but my brain balks at the prospect of doing that now.)

The Impediments to My Progress with the TBR Stack

By the time I snapped this photo of my mom in 2014, she could no longer read. See that newspaper on her lap? I would read both The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald in the morning (the latter first so I could read the English language newspaper at my leisure), then I’d give them to Mom because she’d get mad if I didn’t. She didn’t read them; by this stage in the process, dementia had robbed her of the ability to read. Judging from the presence of Margarita, the home health aide who was with Mom from 4 to 8 PM on weekdays, I’d say I took this photo around 7:30 PM.

Keep in mind that my reading habits have changed since I moved here from Miami, and before that, they had already been turned topsy-turvy by my mom’s failing health and eventual death in the half-decade between May 2010 and July 2015.

Back then, the challenge I faced was finding a balance between my caregiving responsibilities, the daily grind of running a household for the first time, and making time for self-care, rest, and recreation to maintain my sanity.

Here, the situation is less stressful and certainly not as demanding, but I still have not found a comfortable place to read that combines a nice place to either sit or recline with a book and the proper amount of ambient light.

It goes without saying that doing one recreational activity – in this case, playing Regiments – precludes doing another. (Game design elements are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse)

Add to that my bad habit of staying at my desk far longer than necessary and my lack of enthusiasm for going out to the park to read, so I can’t say that I am blameless in this “I don’t read as much as I used to” situation.

Regardless, I do try to get some reading done every day, just not in the same way I used to back in South Florida.

My Current TBR Stack

My real physical TBR stack is in the Florida room.

Since I last did one of these TBR-related posts (on December 29, 2022), I haven’t made much progress with my reading list except for the two books about Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese Home Islands that was scheduled to begin with Operation Olympic (the landings on Kyushu) around November 1, 1945 and were projected to end with Operation Coronet (the landings on Honshu near Tokyo) in March of 1946.

The invasion of Japan, thankfully, was canceled after the Japanese Supreme War Council, reeling from the twin shocks of two atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union’s entry into the Pacific War on August 9, 1945, agreed to surrender unconditionally after the Allies, led by the United States, guaranteed that Emperor Hirohito would not be dethroned or charged with war crimes. Japan’s announcement and a public speech by Hirohito on August 15 that it accepted the terms of the Potsdam Conference thus ended most of the preparations for Olympic, thus saving millions of American and Japanese lives that would have otherwise been lost.

Map showing the outline plan of Operation Downfall.

I have long been fascinated by Operation Downfall. So much so that I have four books (three non-fiction works by military historians, and one novel, The Burning Mountain) that cover the various aspects of the invasion that never happened.

(C) 1983 Simon & Schuster

I am not currently reading The Burning Mountain, which was written by Army Air Force veteran and novelist Alfred Coppel and published in 1983 (the year that I graduated from high school). However, since I acquired Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan – and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb by Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, and D.M. Giangreco’s Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 late last fall, I have from them almost every day.

In addition to the Downfall Duo, I still have two more books about military history on my TBR list, although I have not made much progress with either Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War, 1945-1960 by James D. Hornfischer and Peter Caddick-Adams’ Fire & Steel: The End of World War Two in the West. I do, from time to time, read bits and pieces from the former, but I’ve put the latter in the Florida room and almost always forget to read it. I might even have to start over since I don’t remember how far along I was in it.

(C) 1995 Simon & Schuster
(C) 2022 Bantam Books
(C) 2022 Oxford University Press
(C) 2019 Quirk Books

I’ve also read half of Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls, which is part of the author’s Pop Shakespeare series and reimagines Tina Fey’s script for Mean Girls (2004) as a five-act stage comedy written by the Bard of Avon in Elizabethan times. It’s funny, inventive, and witty, and it makes me appreciate the film, which was directed by Mark Waters and produced by Saturday Night Live creator/producer Lorne Michaels, even more.

(C) 2022 Del Rey Books/Lucasfilm Ltd.

It pains me to say this as a Star Wars fan, but I have not made a lot of progress with Mike Chen’s Brotherhood, a novel set immediately after Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and showcases the relationship between Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newly-anointed Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker at the start of the Clone Wars. It’s not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination; I just don’t make the time to read it, even though in theory I could.  At this point, I might as well start over with Brotherhood, just as I will have to do with Fire & Steel.

I am not planning to add any books to my TBR list soon; I am not doing so well with the current one, so why complicate matters, right?

Well, that’s all I have to say for today, so I’ll just close here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, healthy, and warm, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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