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Ye Grande Olde TBR(e) Challenge!

June 30, 2008

It started, as so many things do, with mockery.

Specifically, as my friends were browsing my bookcases on Friday night (looking for books that they could borrow, I might add), they kept asking me for opinions, and I kept having to reply “I don’t know if it’s any good; I haven’t read it.” “How about this one?” “Dunno. It was recommended to me, but I haven’t read it.” “This one?” “Nope.” And then there was much laughter at me and my compulsive book-buying (even as they were reaping the benefits.)

So, yes, I have a bit of a problem with acquiring books. My local library has a phenomenal friends of the library booksale that has nice-quality stuff for $1 or less. BookMooch has also been a dangerous, dangerous place for me. I got my TBR pile down under 100 books by last Christmas, but then I got/purchased about 35 books over the holidays… and since then, no matter how much I read, my pile keeps growing rather than shrinking. Not that that’s a bad thing, per se – I shudder at the thought of waking up one morning and having nothing in the house that’s new to read. However, my list of unread books is currently at 171; should the zombie apocalypse come tomorrow, I would have almost a year and a half of reading material at my current rates. Methinks that’s a tad excessive.

Plus, my “about” page says that my TBR stack would be twice as tall as I am. Having nothing better to do tonight, I decided to see if that was true.

Now, you might say: “Well, that’s a lot of unread books, but it’s clearly not twice as tall as you are.” To which I reply: “Yes, but that’s only from one bookcase (the fantasy/young adult/science bookcase, for the curious).” Also not pictured are seven books, one because I didn’t pick up my currently-reading book from my nightstand, one because it’s on loan to a friend, and four because I didn’t manage to pick them up again after the fourth time the stack fell down. (Click on the pictures to see them bigger.)

So, I’ve learned two things from this little experience. 1) That many books falling on your head, even if they are paperback, hurts. A lot. Stupid fatty-fat fantasy books. 2) I really, really need to slow down my rate of book acquisition and read the books I *ACTUALLY OWN ALREADY*.

Hence, Ye Grande Olde TBR(e) Challenge! I’m currently at 171 books in the house that I own that need to be read. I’ve read 67 books in the first half of the year (actual book-books, I’m at 84 counting audiobooks). My goal is to get my unread stack of owned books to 120 by Christmas. That’s going to be tough, especially considering there are several books that are coming out this fall that I’m going to have to get from the library: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, Hawkspar by Holly Lisle, A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, and probably two or three others I’m forgetting. The trick is going to be a) not to request any *other* books from the library until 2009, and b) to stay the hell away from the booksale.

Can I do it? Want to join me? Count up your TBR books, pick how many of them you want to read between now and 2009, and let me know. If enough people are interested, I’ll make actual official little challenge graphics and stuff.

Alternatively, if you see something in my TBR pile that you think I should get to sooner rather than later, let me know. If it’s something you’ve reviewed recently, then I totally blame you for making it sound good enough to buy/mooch, and for all of the paperback-shaped lumps on my skull. (Just kidding. Mostly.)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2008 8:30 pm

    Oh my gwaa! That is a heap big stack-o-books! I wish you the best with this challenge. I’ve been thinking to myself that I have been buying a whole lot of books and they’re just piling up behind my ARCs. I joined the July Book Blowout. If I can wait until August, I may very well make a similar commitment to read what I have and to buy no more, with the exception of The Other Queen due out in September, of course. :)

  2. June 30, 2008 9:23 pm

    I don’t see why ARCs and your other July Book Blowout books wouldn’t also count towards this, if they’re already in the house. Best of luck with the JBB, though, and c’mon back and join me whenever you’re up to it. :)

  3. June 30, 2008 10:00 pm

    I hadn’t thought about ARCs that way, but they’re definitely TBR. I’ll count up what I would ultimately like to have read by the end of the year in a perfect world and add a few to make it that much more challenging.

  4. thekoolaidmom permalink
    June 30, 2008 10:48 pm

    “my list of unread books is currently at 171”

    Oh man… my top tag at LT is “unread”, which doesn’t even cover books on Mt. TBR. All told, I have 435 unread books in my library. 168 are marked TBR, which means I want to read them now! Oh, well… If only I had your strength…

    Excuse me while I go check my BookMooch wishlist… again.

  5. June 30, 2008 10:53 pm

    435? Yikes! I can only dream about having the bookcase space for that many. One day…

    Also, we should probably hold off on lauding my strength until we see whether or not I actually stick to my resolution… making it’s the easy part, walking by the booksale for the next six months is going to be quite a bit harder. :)

  6. June 30, 2008 10:59 pm

    I am probably not helping your resolution, but I just wanted to point out that, should the zombie apocalypse happen tomorrow, your books won’t last as long as they would now, because you’ll have little to do but read while hiding from zombies in your house….

  7. June 30, 2008 11:03 pm

    Hmmm, that’s a good point, although time would have to be spent barricading the windows and doors, devising weaponry, and foraging for food – we don’t have a particularly apocalypse-ready pantry. Toss in some re-reads, and the TBR stack would still probably last about a year.

  8. thekoolaidmom permalink
    July 2, 2008 10:58 am

    “The trick is going to be a) not to request any *other* books from the library until 2009, and b) to stay the hell away from the booksale.”

    Oh no… I’m… having… palpatations…

    Panic… Attack… must go… to a … bookstore…

    Seriously, I was thinking about joining your endeavor until I hit that line. I’ve reserved a copy of Brisingr already… and Breaking Dawn, though I don’t know if I even like the Twilight series since I’ve never read any of them! The bookstore manager who’s suppose to be my friend (she’s a book pusher, really) talked me into it saying if I don’t want it, I don’t have to buy it… YEAH, right! That’s how I ended up with two copies of VALIS, I ordered at the bookstore then found a copy, but bought the book out of guilt and obligation.

    Oh, is my hour up? I’ll leave the couch for the next person. :-D

  9. July 2, 2008 11:05 am

    koolaidmom – Heh! I’m certainly not suggesting that we stop acquiring books (the horror!) I’m just trying to start reading books faster than I acquire them, instead of the other way around.

    And not permanently! Just for long enough to get my TBR pile down low enough to where I can go on a guilt-free acquisition spree… at which point I will have to re-start the challenge… :)

    (In the interest of full disclosure, my TBR pile has actually *increased* since I originally posted, since a book-for-review turned up in the mail yesterday, and I’ve got two mooches on their way. So much for a roaring start to my resolution!)

  10. thekoolaidmom permalink
    July 2, 2008 9:29 pm

    “In the interest of full disclosure, my TBR pile has actually *increased* since I originally posted”

    ROFL… I’ve slowed down on the mooches, because I’m determined to only mooch what is on the Wishlist, not in the save-for-later page. Of course, if I’d quit going to the bookstore buying what’s on my WL, I’d slow down even more. I saw books at Goodwill I wanna go back for, too. And I want to get another “Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers” book to giveaway on my blog. And, and, and I wanna go to the library sale.. and I haven’t checked into the thrift store for a couple weeks…and garage sales… and ARCs and contests and author meet-n-greets and sidewalk sales and dumpster diving and the mission’s store and friends books I can “borrow” and …

  11. thekoolaidmom permalink
    July 5, 2008 12:37 pm

    Okay, you’ve convinced me…

    Hello, my name is Kool-Aid Mom, and I am a book addict… :-D

  12. July 5, 2008 6:41 pm

    All: “Hi, Kool-Aid Mom!”


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