I just made the TBR dare harder…

You may recall I decided to take up CB on his TBR dare from January 1 to April 1. I thought that with over 300 books in my to be read pile I would have no problem just reading from the pile for four months. But it seemed a little too easy. And some may think that my definition of what constitutes a TBR pile might be too broad. Essentially I consider everything in my library that I haven’t already read to be my TBR pile. But, as I said that just seems a little too easy.

So I have decided to limit myself to only the books that are in my nightstand. So until April 1st, this is my limited universe of reading material. It has a bit of everything so I shouldn’t get bored. But I do have the tendency to want what I can’t have so I am sure I will feel some pain. Now we will have to see how many I manage to finish.

click on photo to enlarge

Amis, Kingsley – Lucky Jim
Bennett, Alan – Untold Stories (nonfiction)
Boll, Heinrich – End of a Mission
Bowen, Elizabeth – The Last September
Braddon, Mary Elizabeth – Lady Audley’s Secret
Brookner, Anita – Providence (the last Brookner left for me to read)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson – That Lass O’Lowrie’s
Burkhart, Charles – The Pleasure of Miss Pym (nonfiction)
Carr, J.L. – A Month in the Country
Cartwright, Justin – This Secret Garden
Cather, Willa – The Professor’s House (this would be a re-read)
Cather, Willa – Shadows on the Rock
Coetzee, J.M. – Diary of a Bad Year
Coetzee, J.M. – The Master of Petersburg
Drabble, Margaret – The Pattern in the Carpet (nonfiction)
Eliot, George – Silas Marner
Fitzgerald, Penelope – The Beginning of Spring
Fitzgerald, Penelopoe – Offshore
Hesse, Hermann – Peter Camenzind
Jackson, Shirley – The Haunting
James, Henry – The Spoils of Poynton
Laski, Marghanita – The Village
Le Carre, John – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Mawer, Simon – The Glass Room
McEwan, Ian – The Child in Time
McEwan, Ian – Saturday
Meyers, Jeffrey – Somerset Maugham, A Life (nonfiction)
Mitford, Nancy – Love in a Cold Climate
Mitford, Nancy – The Pursuit of Love
Mueenuddin, Daniyal – In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Oliphant, Mrs – The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow (the only Persephone!)
Panning, Anne – Super America
Porter, Katherine Anne – Flowering Judas
Rugg, Julie – Buried in Books
Sarton, May – The Magnificant Spinster
Schlink, Berhard – Homecoming
Sitwell, Edith – Selected Letters (ed. Richard Greene)
Stadler, Matthew – Allan Stein
von Arnim, Elizabeth – Love (will work for Virago Reading Week)
West, Rebecca – The Thinking Reed
Wharton, Edith – The Demanding Dead
Wilde, Oscar – The Happy Prince and other stories

24 thoughts on “I just made the TBR dare harder…

  1. Frances January 8, 2011 / 12:47 pm

    You and I have quite a bit of tbr overlap here including Cather, Fitzgerald, Mawer, Mitford, Schlink. But that is quite the challenge tightener you are issuing yourself. Better start reading! :) And see you for a few of these hopefully. Am especially looking forward to The Glass Room and the Mitford novels.


  2. LifetimeReader January 8, 2011 / 1:22 pm

    You'll be fine with a fine list like that to choose from. I especially love that you have “Buried in Books” right on the top of your stack…


  3. Claire (The Captive Reader) January 8, 2011 / 2:35 pm

    What a fantastic list of books to work from! It seems like there's something to suit every mood which is just what you need when facing such a challenge. Good luck!


  4. Mystica January 8, 2011 / 2:40 pm

    You have a fairly wide choice of books here but what happens if you see something irresistible?


  5. C.B. James January 8, 2011 / 3:01 pm

    I thought about doing something similar, but there's no way I'd make it to April 1 if I did. I have decided to return all library books unread at this point. I'm still counting the three I on the wait list for as in my TBR stack, just in case I get them before April.


  6. Jeane January 8, 2011 / 3:24 pm

    Good luck! I'm hoping just make it through January on the Dare, ha ha.


  7. Paperback Reader January 8, 2011 / 3:33 pm

    We're quite similar in our approach to our TBR, Thomas; I don't even count mine as I have so many unread on my shelves (besides, I love knowing that there are an infinite number of books in the world for me to read -and discover- and a TBR that will never expire).

    I'd be inclined to join you as I have a similar number of books on/around my bedside table but I'm reluctant to restrict myself. Last year wasn't a great year for my reading (quality-wise it was, which is ultimately what matters) and I have learned that I need, at least for the time-being, more freedom and whimsy when reading. I'm not planning on buying any new books for a while so joining in with you on that level.


  8. Karenlibrarian January 8, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    I'm supposed to be reading from the TBR pile but I had three book groups this week, and I hadn't read any of the selections before the new year. Sigh. I'm not giving up though.

    And what great selections you have — The Professor's House is on my TBR pile as well. I have many of the same authors on my pile but mostly different books. I have resolved not to add anything new to my TBR list but your stack is so intriguing.


  9. martine January 8, 2011 / 5:14 pm

    Move ' A month in the country' to the top of the pile, you won't regret it:-)
    much love


  10. Vintage Reading January 8, 2011 / 7:39 pm

    My stress levels couldn't cope with that lot! I will be awaiting your Rebecca West review though.


  11. Farheen January 9, 2011 / 6:07 am

    Lucky Jim is the only book I've read from the pile! (I'm felling small and insignificant).
    I'm looking forward to your review on Somerset's biography.


  12. Kerry January 9, 2011 / 10:01 am

    Great collection to choose from, although I must say I feel you must have very large nightstands.

    My “TBR” pile is the same as yours – anything I own that I haven't read yet. Then, of course, there are all the books I'd like to read but don't own (yet?), which are written down on scraps of paper, in my iPod, on my phone, on my computer, in various journals and on scattered post-it notes throughout my house and office. It's very organic, you see.

    Best of luck with the challenge!!


  13. Darlene January 9, 2011 / 10:50 am

    Catching up on some of your posts, Thomas. My husband and I had a great time admiring your Christmas baking and Lucy. So lovely!

    You are a brave man to take on this challenge and I wish you better luck with it than I had. Three books purchased by Jan 4 is something I feel immense shame about…but I'll get over it.

    Loved The Village by the way!


  14. Thomas at My Porch January 9, 2011 / 12:06 pm

    Frances: I think we bought the Mawer and Schlink on the same day. Well the Schlink for sure. I have been delaying (savouring) my introduction to Nancy Mitford for years. Now is the time.

    Lifetime: I didn't plan the order of the books in the photo at all, yet how appropriate that Buried in Books was at the top.

    Claire TCR: There is a lot of variety. If I feel constrained at any point it can only be due to reader's block.

    Mystica: I will resist!

    CB: I will have to stay out of the library.

    Jeane: You can do it.

    Claire PBR: Sometimes the nightstand TBR can actually contribute to reader's block. I feel guilty for not reading from the nightstand which makes me reluctant to choose a book from the shelves. Silly I know.

    Karen: Thankfully I am in no bookclubs. The Professor's House is one of my favorite books of all time. Have you read it yet?

    Martine: I definitely want to get to that one soon.

    Vintage Reading: I don't plan on reading them all so hopefully it won't be too stressful.

    Farheen: I've only read one on the pile so don't feel bad.

    Kerry: The odd thing is I almost never write down titles of books I want to read. I only really add things to the pile if I come across them in the course of my browsings. And yes, my nightstands are quite large. I once did a post where I showed that were were about 200 books in one of them.

    Darlene: Oh, it will be fun. No bravery involved. I am looking forward to The Village quite a lot. I found such a great first edition of it (for cheap) when I was in London in November.


  15. Carolyn January 9, 2011 / 6:24 pm

    Nice list, I'm feeling happier with my reading when I can't request everything from the library either, although I'm not officially joining the TBR Dare (I've never officially kept a TBR list!) I read The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen last year and really liked it (review here)and Nancy Mitford is always enjoyable.


  16. Dorothy W. January 9, 2011 / 8:34 pm

    It looks like you have a nice selection there. I have about 300 unread books on my shelves too, but I'm not sure I'd stick to the dare even so! But if you give yourself a good range of things, the task seems much more doable.


  17. Susan in TX January 9, 2011 / 9:53 pm

    Ah, my TBR started at 226 as of 1/1/11, and I've whittled it down to a whopping 223. I'm taking the dare as well, although I'm such a weakling, I told myself until March 1. My kids don't think I'll make it that long, so I may have to hang in until April just to show them what “mama is made of!” ;) Good luck to you!


  18. Emily Barton January 10, 2011 / 6:24 pm

    Oh my, you are a very brave man. I failed miserably at my own TBR Challenge last year, but I am plodding along, continuing to read the books form the original list, and hope to finish before 2012.


  19. Inkslinger January 10, 2011 / 6:29 pm

    Oooh. . . I'm having the book equivalent of sugar shock (whatever that is). What a wonderful list! I'm going to steal some suggestions from it (despite my own toppling TBR pile and reading goals for January. *sigh* Goals were made to stay out of reach, right?)


  20. madbibliophile January 11, 2011 / 10:19 am

    That's a good idea and looks like a great list. If I were locked in my room for two weeks, I'd still have left over reading material!


  21. Kathleen January 11, 2011 / 3:41 pm

    You have so many good ones to choose from but I know I always hate the idea of only being able to read from a certain stack. You'll probably have withdrawals but you'll make it!


  22. fantaghiro23 January 12, 2011 / 8:06 am

    Wonderful books to choose from, Thomas. We share a lot of authors, though not the same books. I joined the TBR Dare, too. Initially, I planned to stick to it till Feb, but as it seems to be a breeze, I might go the whole way.

    Oh, and thank you for making me feel less guilty about the 177 books in my TBR, what with your 300. Though I still intend to whittle it down to half that number.


  23. Thomas at My Porch January 13, 2011 / 12:19 pm

    Carolyn: I think I am feeling happier as well. Something about limiting choice is good.

    Dorothy: It is turning out to be kind of fun.

    Susan: You can easily do it until April!

    Emily: I think you may taking a much more disciplined approach.

    Inkslinger: But not too far out of reach.

    Mad: Exactly.

    Kathleen: So far so good.

    Honey: I am not sure if I have a numerical goal in my mind. Maybe I should think about that.


  24. robertarood January 16, 2011 / 11:17 pm

    Thomas – I absolutely love your blog!! This is a great list; good luck with it. You have many enjoyable hours of reading ahead of you. BTW – Have you seen my blog posts on Somerset Maugham? I'm working on yet another one. I'm loving his writing so much, & Selina Hastings's bio is simply outstanding. Thanks for doing such a terrific job.


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