Thursday, December 30, 2010

The TBR Twenty

Emily of Telecommuter Talk held an "Attacking the TBR" Challenge last year which really helped me clear off some of the books I've had sitting on my shelves for a long time. I enjoyed my reading, and the numbers of books I read from my own collection increased.

So, even if she isn't running the challenge again, I am going to use the same idea for another year -- make a list of 20 books I want to read from the shelves I already own. It's a great way of keeping track of what is still on the shelves awaiting my attention. I'll also note the reasons I want to get to them this year.

The first few are titles from last year's list that I didn't quite get to - they will remain on the list for this go round.

1. Ursula, Under / Ingrid Hill

2. The Ballad and the Source / Rosamond Lehmann

3. Angel / Elizabeth Taylor

4. All the Names / José Saramago

5. Four Letters of Love / Niall Williams

6. Passing On / Penelope Lively

And newer ones:

7. The Invisible Mountain /Carolina De Robertis Received from the publisher last year -- after reading the first couple of pages I meant to get back to it; it sounds great

8. The Case of the General's Thumb / Andrey Kurkov I bought this one when I was in Kyiv -- a couple of years ago now -- and have been meaning to read it ever since

9. Waiting for Columbus / Thomas Trofimuk

10. Black Bird / Michel Basilieres

11. Confession / Lee Gowan

12. Dream Wheels / Richard Wagamese

13. Song Beneath the Ice / Joe Fiorito

All of the above are Canadian writers that I'd like to read for the Canadian Book Challenge -- I really don't read as many male writers as female, not by conscious choice, but I would like to give some of these authors a try, especially since they are languishing on my shelves currently!

14. The Deadly Space Between / Patricia Duncker I read Duncker's Hallucinating Foucault years ago and was really struck by it. This one, according to her website, is "is a disturbing psychological thriller about 18-year-old Toby Hawk and his mother's enigmatic new lover". And I've owned a copy for at least three years.

15. Dreams of my Russian Summers / Andrei Makine An award-winning novel written in French about a Russian childhood- there's a grandmother and a good dose of nostalgia and I really don't need to know much else to want to read it.

16. Excellent Women / Barbara Pym I 'discovered' Pym this fall and will read all her books sooner or later. I got a copy of this to read when I was sick, but recovered so quickly I never got to it! So I'll read it while I am healthy :)

17. The Postmistress / Sarah Blake Was gifted a copy of this in paperback last year and it looks like just the kind of war fiction I'd like to read

18. Translation of Dr. Appelles / David Treuer I can't recall whose blog I first saw this mentioned on, but I do recall that the author commented and he was charming. Then I came across a copy of the book in a sale, so had to buy it. Now I have to read it!

19. Exit Lines / Joan Barfoot A Canadian writer who I like, this particular book is set in a senior's residence and features a quartet of independent characters. One of them asks for a very particular favour...

20. Mystery Stories / David Helwig This one hasn't been on my shelves for long...I just received a copy from the publisher last month. But I love Helwig, and all of his other books I've read have been very enjoyable so this is one I don't want to let sit on the shelves for very long.

Alternates: I'll also throw in a couple of non-fiction titles for when I am more in the mood for that - I do have some to finally read this year:

1. Must Write / Edna Staebler A book about the writing life of an author better known for her cookbooks

2. The Arcanum / Janet Gleeson Slim history of the discovery of porcelain in the West.

3. The Paper Garden / Molly Peacock Fairly new to me, received from the publisher -- a small book about an English woman who started creating a botanical scrapbook with elaborate paper flower specimens in her old age. Gorgeous illustrations.

4. Chocolate Wars / Deborah Cadbury I love chocolate. My English great-greats worked for the Cadbury factory. Thus I wanted this book. Then I was sent a copy by Ron Charles of the Washington Post. What more can I say?

5. Pursuing Giraffe / Anne Innis Dagg The life of a female zoologist studying giraffes in Africa, in the 1950s. An unusual and personal memoir of a unique life.


  1. If it weren't for Emily's challenge last year the books I read from my own shelves would be an even more pathetic number than it turned out to be. I like you list for 2011. Excellent Women is great fun. But then I've yet to read a Pym book I didn't like!

  2. Treuer commented on my blog when I despaired over the lack of competent copyreaders--they'd allowed a horrible reins/reigns error in the hardback. He said he would definitely make sure it was corrected in the paperback, and it was!

    Wonderful book!

  3. stefanie - this challenge really helped me look at my TBR bookshelf and get it cleaned up a bit.

    SFP - it was your blog! I knew I'd seen it somewhere. It's great that he got it fixed for the pbk :)

  4. I really liked Angel when I read it earlier this year--and Excellent Women is really excellent, too. You have a number of books on your list that are new to me, so I am off to explore! I've got a list of a dozen or so books that I am going to try and read next year--all from my own shelves, too! Best wishes and happy reading in 2011! :)


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