Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bookfessions: The To-Read List

I have a confession to make.  I have somehow become a book hoarder.  I didn't set out to add this to my list of qualities, but I have an entire room full of books, most I've never read, a bin downstairs full of books I've never read, and a to-do list that has been over 1k for at least a year.

I decided to take action.  Okay, it's a slow action, and will only address thirteen of the books on my to-read list, but it is a start.  If I can do this more regularly, I might actually tackle the list instead of just adding to it.

When I log into Goodreads and look at my to-read shelf, the same twenty books stare me in the face until I search or sort them - the earliest twenty that I added as "to-read" and haven't switched over to "read" or "abandoned" yet. 

I had nine of them on hand already, and requested another six from  If the math seems wonky to make 13, well, I made the mistake of knowing I needed to read Mothers and Sons by Colm Tóibín but not realizing I already had a copy, so now I have two.  I also have another from that first page on its way to me via media mail, but didn't want to wait to take the picture.

Here's why: by the end of April, in nine days, I will have read at least the first chapter of every book you see in this pile.  I will decide at that point whether the book will be removed from my to-read list and traded off to someone else, or if I do indeed wish to read it.  Nancy Pearl says to give a book 50 pages, so if I'm feeling guilty I may go that far, but I have other books I want to get through this month.

Preliminary thoughts? I had planned to read Loving Frank for my Illinois pick this year, and doubt I'll decide not to continue.  Musicophilia was always a well-intentioned music/neuroscience read, but I don't tend to choose non-fiction when confronted with a stack.  The Hunting and Gathering book has no remembered pre-conceived notions, nor does Mothers and Sons, The Indian Clerk, or The Secret of Lost Things.  These I'm likely to easily discard if they don't grab me, because at this point I no longer remember why I wanted them in the first place.

Infinite Jest and Rabbit, Run are on my shoulds list so it will be harder to talk myself out of those, as well as The Golden Notebook.  Still, that doesn't mean I'll return to them right away.  I've already read the first chapter in Infinite Jest at least twice, and always end up deciding I'll wait until I have more time.  I never do.  I need to buck up and read it!  I think I've started The Little Stranger before too, and it was slow, but man is it on a lot of lists.  Perhaps people who have read farther know something I don't.

Beggars in Spain should be interesting.  I read the novella and liked it and then had a discussion-gone-wrong about it.  This might make reading it a bit cringe-worthy.  I haven't read Children of God yet because I loved The Sparrow so much, too much, and don't want to be done with that experience.  Silly reason not to read a book, liking something too much!

I am pledging to you to report back before I leave for Nashville on March 1!  Check back to see which of these books get second dates and which I don't return their phone calls....


  1. I love this idea!

    Usually when I can't remember why I added something to my TBR, I'll just take it away. I figure if I never come across it again it just wasn't meant to be.

    1. That's not a bad strategy! I'm just always sure I had a reason... I've started keeping better track in the personal notes to myself, that helps, just the earlier ones that don't have it.

    2. I've started keeping better track as well. But particularly back in the days when I wouldn't allow myself to DNF, I think I was much better off just knocking some of these off the list.

  2. I love that Emma Donoghue. I hope you make it past the first chapter. :) I also really like the Sarah Waters, although it is a fairly slow start.

    1. You know, I've tried Slammerkin as well, and there is something about the faux historical style that just makes me want to sleep. I love how readable Room is, but I'm not sure her earlier works are quite my style.

  3. I loved Children of God, and definitely understand what you are saying about not wanting to be done with that experience, because I miss it. I don't think you could make yourself stop at the end of the first chapter with that one, beware.

    Loving Frank was a gift from a friend and has been on my list for a while, perhaps we could encourage each other to read it together? Hm.

    I have not read any of the other books in the picture, but I have a similar problem with accumulating unread books! I am looking at my bookshelves with new eyes now that I need to decide what to leave behind and what to take with me!

    1. I tried Loving Frank last night and so far it is the only one to make it into my "definitely read" pile... it is easy to read and I'm eager to see what happens. I guess it helps that it is about sordid things with an interesting character. Ha!

      I'll probably leave Children of God last in the speed dating pile in case that happens, so thank you!!


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