At just over a month into the TBR Dare
, I am, for the most part, loving it. As you may recall
, rather than reading from my full TBR pile of some 300+ books, I decided to narrow the dare down to the 42 books in my nightstand. Since I had such a wide range of books in my nightstand, I have been actually having a great time focusing on them. I also have the added satisfaction of moving through some titles that I have been avoiding or have been slow to warm to. With the exception of the Henry James and one book that I decided not to continue with, I have enjoyed even the ones that were previously hard to get into. It can sometimes be rewarding to be “forced” to read certain books.
This morning I was perusing my library and was struck by all of the books that I want to read. It was the first time since beginning the dare that I really had the desire to read something off limits. As I sometimes do, I started to leaf through 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. In doing so, I realized that I have read two more of the 1001 since the last time I leafed through it (War and Peace and The Golden Notebook). I also began to notice just how many of the books in my TBR pile were also in the 1001 book. I have never consciously purchased books with the 1001 list in mind, so it is particularly interesting that so many of them are on my shelves. And thankfully 11 of the 42 in my nightstand are in the book. So instead of getting frustrated while leafing through the 1001 book, I realized just how good my nightstand TBR is and how it should be a cinch to get to April 1st without failing the TBR Dare. Plus, just think how many more titles in the 1001 book I will get to check off come April 1st.
I couldn’t post about this without noting that, like all lists, the 1001 book is by no means perfect. They have a pretty good cross section but it is heavily 20th century, I guess critics don’t read many classics. And in some cases I think they highlight some authors a little too much. Although I like Ian McEwan I think they list too many of his books especially when some great authors aren’t included at all. And does any list really need that much D.H. Lawrence? Of course it has all the ones you expect by Lawrence, but it also has several I had never even heard of. I also think it has too many Amis, pere et fils. I understand the list/book keeps getting updated since my 2006 edition, but I am not going to try and keep up with that. I am certainly not going to buy a new copy.
So, in a nutshell I am really finding the TBR Dare to be quite satisfying.
Of these books (my nightstand TBR pile), the following are listed in the 1001 book:
The Amis, Bowen, Cather, Coetzee (Petersburg), Eliot, Le Carre, both McEwan, both Mitford, and the West.