Sunday, 27 May 2018

The state of the TBR pile

I look at my tbr pile somedays and wonder if I'll ever live long enough to read them all. There're easily several hundred books, probably more, scattered round the house and sitting amongst those read books that I don't want to part with. In my study I tend to keep those I plan to read soon and quite frankly there's plenty of those to be going on with. I stand and look at my bookshelves. Books jump out at me, so I make a pile I plan to read soon. A week later I change that pile, put one or two back, replace them with other 'must read soon' treasures.

Am I alone in doing this? I wondered. It might seem a bit eccentric to non-readers or, to be more precise, non-lovers of books. Plenty of people exist who love to read but don't worship in the Cult of Loving Books. My husband would be one of these. He feels no need to own books, doesn't stand contentedly in front of a shelf of beautiful books with a soppy grin on his face. Doesn't pick one up and stroke the cover thinking, 'My precious...'

I took some photos of books that I want to read soon. (He doesn't do that either...) The books that will be read over the next few months. Even just 'this year' would be good. (That may or may not happen...) So here they are:

On this little pile we have two non-fictions about France (both about canal boating), a book of sci-fi stories from The British Library, a book of short stories about WW2, also from the British Library and two Patrick Leigh Fermor books. I want to read the biography about him but feel I should read the second book of his European wanderings before WW2, first.

These are a few of my 2018 challenge books. I'm doing The European Reading Challenge and the What's In a Name? one. Germany, Turkey, Greece and Denmark are covered in the lefthand pile, Swiss Vendetta can't make up its mind which pile it should be in as it's set in Switzerland but could also cover the category 'A nationality' in the What's in a Name? challenge, because of its title. I'm not sure I need this kind of stress...

One of my big problems is being interested in everything, thus books here about Britain and its countryside, the weather (how much more British could you get?), gardening, anthropology, travel, rivers, even Canadian Naturalists... I'm a lost cause really.

This lot are self-explanatory, from the covers it's obvious they're mainly British Library Crime Classic books, I love them, and yes, this is partly to do with how gorgeous the covers are. Guilty, M'lud. (But the stories are nearly always excellent too.)

Yet another mixed bag but fiction this time. Fantasy, sci-fi, historical crime, WW2 (an interest in WW2 seems to have crept up on me while I was not paying attention, too busy stroking books maybe). I've been planning to read book two of Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders series for several years now, likewise Uprooted and To Say Nothing of the Dog and...

I think this lot is about as 'sundry' as you could possibly get. What to say other than, 'Crikey'? Birds, WW2 again, mountaineering, Roman history, Jack Kennedy, Anne Frank (a reread), various fiction books, biographies, more travel. The Road Westwards by 'BB' I've had for years. 'BB', real name Denis Watkins-Pitchford, is the author of the 'Bill Badger' series of books I read as a child. I adored these exciting canal boating adventures and then discovered as an adult that he was also a very keen naturalist and had written loads of really lovely non-fiction books, a few of which I've managed to read, but they're quite rare. Not sure where I nabbed this one from but it's his account of a caravanning holiday he took, touring the south west of England in the very early 1960s. Definitely planning to get to that this year, she says...

My tbr pile of books about France, plus two more general travel books which snuck in there somehow. For a reasonably tidy person I seem to be very haphazard about the sorting of my books. I'm not sure I should ever try to sort my books alphabetically, I'd never find anything, whereas I can pretty much lay my hand on whatever comes to mind fairly quickly. Usually. Anyway, I've been reading about France for almost exactly a year now and have had a lovely time. Whether we'll ever go back I'd don't know, but the books have made me feel as though I've been on a year-long trip. (Since I started this post I have actually read the little pink book in the middle of this pile, A Walk Across France by Miles Morland... excellent.)

Anyway, that's a just miniscule part of my tbr pile... the 'TBR soon pile' to give it its correct title. It would be useful to be able to read them all at the same time but probably there would be no joy in that whatsoever. So here they sit in my study and I think maybe I like it that way, perhaps I enjoy looking at them on the shelves as much as I enjoy actually reading them? Now there's a thought...



Kay said...

Oh, Cath, I totally understand and will say that our minds are quite the same. 'My precious...' indeed. That's me. Laughing because I was noticing that with each picture, the number of books got larger and larger and...ha!!! And I want to own all the books. All of them or all that I'm interested in right at this minute. The actually 'all the books' content can change over time. I was explaining to my husband at dinner last night that I've gone 'down the rabbit hole' a bit over historical mysteries. Haven't read a lot of them in quite a while and my attendance at some of those Malice panels really got me interested again. The authors and their explanations about their research, etc., was very satisfying. I've been making lists of authors to try, many of them the ones I just heard. Good luck with your stacks.

DesLily said...

Alone you are not! lol lol. Gads ..and I change the "mini pile" by my chair each time I finish a book! lol I absolutely know I won't live to read all of mine.. yet I still get books! (btw I am over 400 pgs of the 728 pg book!!)

Nan said...

I'm quite sure I wrote this post.

BooksPlease said...

I could have written this too! Only earlier today saw me looking at my bookshelves and picking out a pile of books I 'might' want to read next - why is is so difficult to decide sometimes??
And one of those books is Between the Woods and the Water!

I often wonder if I'll live long enough to read all my TBRs - a sobering thought, but even that doesn't stop me from getting more books.

So, which book are you going to read next?

Peggy Ann said...

I loved seeing your books, so many good ones! Especially the British Crime Ones. Totally understand, I too LOVE books around me. My husband is t a reader at all so he gets quite annoyed with me and my books. Probably a good thing as it might hold me in check a little. Sometimes I put out several I want to read but usually I’ve changed my mind by the time I finish what I’m reading. I love scouring the shelves for the next read.

TracyK said...

Sometimes I just like to hold my books and stroke them too, Cath. I have way too many, some out in the garage, but plenty on the shelves in the house. My husband is the opposite though. He was the one who had to own books, and I had hardly any when we moved in together -- nearly 40 years ago. Now he has converted me. My problem is I have lots of unread books and he tends to keep many of the books he has read, but not have a huge TBR pile. Anyway, the love of reading is wonderful and I enjoyed this post very much.

Cath said...

I must apologise because I honestly thought I'd replied to the comments on this post but apparently I didn't.

Kay: It's so nice to know that we're on the same wavelength. I'm not mad after all. LOL! Yes, the ones I want change over time too, which can be a problem as some of the books on my tbr pile were bought years ago and I no longer feel any urge to read them.

I don't read a lot of historical crime either, which is a shame as I know some of it is excellent. My favourite series would probably be C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake but I haven't read one in ages, but they are really superb. Look forward to seeing what you read.

Pat: I have several mini piles... on the shelf behind me and and downstairs on the coffee table. Peter laughs when he sees me come clutching a couple of new ones and then one or two get taken away and so on. LOL

Nan: I was probably channeling you when I wrote it. ;-)

Margaret: I'm in the habit of changing the piles just before I go to bed. Swapping this one for that and so on. When I get up in the morning I quite often wonder why I put a certain book on the pile and put it back where I found it... bit like Oscar Wilde and the comma.

It is indeed a sobering thought that we might not live long enough to read them all and yes, it doesn't stop me adding to the piles either.

I decided on Travellers in the Third Reich in the end and have now almost finished it.

Peggy: It's great seeing other peoples' piles of books isn't it? Makes you feel like you're not alone in your obsession. My husband *is* a reader, he just never buys books... believes in only using the library. I love scouring the shelves for the next read too, the trouble is I have so many I can never make up my mind.

Tracy: Oh, another book stroker! Excellent! Interesting that you and your husband were the opposite to me and mine. When I first met mine I had a collection of sci-fi books and he went through them like a bat out of hell because I had books the library didn't. Glad you enjoyed the post.