Tag Archives: TBR pile

Books Read from TBR pile in Q1 2017

At the end of last year I decided to seriously tackle the physical pile of books that I had at home. Some books, such as The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa or The Spire by Wiliam Golding I had been meaning to read for years. These days I also have many similar books on my kindle and then there are many that I have wanted to read for years but don’t actually own. Well, this all sounds familiar to anyone that enjoys reading so I wont bang on about it but I felt it was time to actually do something about it. At the end of my first post of 2017 I included a photo of (most of) the physical books that I currently have at home (I started to discover more after I had taken the photo) and so I thought I’d just have a quick update on my progress. Although I started on this in December last year because I joined the GoodReads Group – Mount TBR 2017 challenge I will only include those books read in 2017. For the record I read Collette’s The Pure and the Impure and Theodor Storm’s Paul the Puppeteer in December which are missing from this list. Anyway here’s a list and photo of those read in the first quarter of 2017:

1. The Immoralist by André Gide
2. Betrayal by Marquis de Sade
3. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.
4. 88 More Stories by Guy de Maupassant
5. Something to Declare by Julian Barnes
6. Three Plays by August Strindberg
7. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
8. Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler
9. Vienna 1900: Games With Love And Death by Arthur Schnitzler
10. Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill
11. Don’t Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis

Physical books read from TBR pile in first quarter of 2017

The pile on the left hand side are those I’m currently reading; the Nigel Slater book is one I’m just going to read as the year progresses as it’s in a diary format. Since taking the photo I have also started reading Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus which I’m enjoying and is from the TBR pile. I have committed to read twenty-four books in the GoodReads group but at this rate I could probably read near forty by the end of the year. But this is one of the issues I have with setting a number on the books I’m going to read, and is why I usually avoid doing so, and that is that the temptation is to concentrate on shorter and/or easier books just to get the numbers up. You can see from the photograph that I have largely concentrated on shorter volumes so far so I’ve probably been a bit guilty of that myself.

My reading in March has been disrupted by an illness followed by an A&E visit which wasn’t much fun and which I’m still partially recovering from. But the book I was reading when I fell ill was Susan Hill’s Howards End is on the Landing, a book that I first read about on someone’s blog a year or so ago, and one that I felt I just had to read during this challenge as it is supposedly about Susan Hill’s attempt to read only books that she already owns. Although it was an interesting enough read I thought she veered off most of the time to just talk about the books she owned and the famous authors that she’d bumped into throughout her life. The blurb on the back says that she was to ’embark on a year-long voyage through her books, in order to get to know her own collection again.’ I took that to mean that she was doing what I was doing and reading books from her collection but what she is doing is rummaging through her collection to see what she has and what memories it evokes. This is why I initially found the list at the end of the book a bit confusing as it is not a list of the books that she read throughout the year but are those she would take with her on a desert island—strangely enough most of them are British authors with the occasional American thrown in for good measure; the only translated books were The Bible, The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Now, I’m not critical of the choice, just surprised as my list (if it existed) would have a lot of French, German, Russian etc. authors.

It’s probably not worth me trying to predict the ones that I will read in the rest of the year as I usually have to go with what I feel like at that moment but I would like to finally read The Spire and I would like to continue my reading of the Clochemerle books by Gabriel Chevallier. I also have more H.E. Bates books to read and I keep picking up, but not starting, Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual.



Filed under Fiction, Hill, Susan, Non-fiction

Reading Methods

Like most readers I’ve got a TBR list a mile long but I’ve recently noticed something about my reading methods that is slightly disturbing; I have an ‘ordered’ ‘To-read’ shelf on GoodReads and I’ve noticed that the top five books, the ones that I am supposedly most eager to read, has stayed static for weeks, months maybe. Now, I really want to read these books but others come to my attention such as a book I spot in a library/bookshop or a Book Group decides to read something I also want to read which results in this interloper leapfrogging my TBR list and into pole position. For example Lampedusa’s The Leopard has been sitting in the top five for ages.

My physical TBR pile. I've added a few since the photo was taken. Of course I also have an e-TBR pile and a 'library-TBR' pile and a 'To Buy' pile and and...

My physical TBR pile. I’ve added a few since the photo was taken. Of course I also have an e-TBR pile and a ‘library-TBR’ pile and a ‘To Buy’ pile and and…

Now, last year I read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time with a GoodReads group and I followed a schedule quite strictly, only deviating from the schedule occasionally. Before I started I wondered if I would be able to keep to such a tight reading regime, but I did, and I actually quite liked it. So, I’ve been wondering lately whether there is any sense in devising a reading plan for a period, say six months, and keeping to it; I mean I would have to include a bit of ‘wriggle room’ but it would be a schedule nonetheless.

My immediate objection to this approach was that I wouldn’t be able to read something if I just wasn’t in the mood for it; after all if I felt like reading some dry-as-dust non-fiction (and sometimes I do) then it would be no good having P.G. Wodehouse scheduled. But, it would surely be easy to plan around this by having, say, two quite different books scheduled to be read at the same time so that I could oscillate between them as the daily mood required. The most difficult thing would be saying ‘no’ to the new enticing book that comes along to distract me from the Grand Plan.

So, I’m interested to know how others plan their reading; do you devise a schedule as I’m suggesting here or do you just decide from book to book? Or is it more like my current method, consisting of a vague intention to read specific books? If you do have a schedule how easy is it to keep to it? And does reading to a tight schedule become boring? This would probably be my greatest concern, that reading to a strict plan would soon become a chore.


Filed under Uncategorized