My To-Be-Read Shelf

To Be Read Shelf - 1

Last year I made some kind of resolution about reading half the books on my To Be Read shelf. Our bookshelf (it's a 5 by 5 Expedit, which they apparently don't make anymore) has little squares, and right now my TBR pile is taking up two cubbies. I wanted to reduce it to one, but somehow the size of my TBR pile remains constant.

Like everyone, I imagine, I tend to avoid particular books. Various reasons: maybe a book seems hard, maybe it's one I feel I "should" read but don't actually want to, maybe I'm just never in the mood. Anyway, I find that some books lurk in the TBR shelf for months and years while some just disappear within weeks. This year I decided to steel myself and tackle the shelf alphabetically.


So here it is:

  • Atwood, Margaret: Moral Disorder (my mother sent me this)
  • Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim (this is a "should" read)
  • Didion, Joan: The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Faber, Adele and Elaine Mazlich: Siblings Without Rivalry (a necessary re-read)
  • Frey, Stephen: The Power Broker
  • Gardiner, John Reynolds: Stone Fox (Delphine recommended this)
  • Goldreich, Gloria: Open Doors (my mother sent this too)
  • Grenville, Kate: The Idea of Perfection
  • Harris, Marvin: Cannibals and Kings (I picked this up at someone's curb; it seems thinky and interesting but maybe totally dated.)
  • Hawking, Stephen: George's Secret Key to the Universe (I borrowed this from a friend; I'm interested in it in theory but the cover is so tacky it's putting me off.)
  • Hegi, Ursula: Stones from the River
  • Hochschild, Adam: Bury the Chains (I got this as a gift from Greg Wilson. It's about the dismantlement (that is so a word) of slavery.)
  • Khan, Rukhsana: Wanting Mor
  • McCarthy, Cormac: All The Pretty Horses (Because I read The Road and I'm a huge masochist.)
  • McLaren, Leah: The Continuity Girl (see above re: masochist)

To Be Read Shelf - 2

  • McLaughlin, Emma and Nicola Krause: The Nanny Diaries (A friend swears this is better than it looks.)
  • McDonough, William and Michael Braungart: Cradle to Cradle (This is a book about sustainable design which I'm halfway through and can't finish. It's just so dry. I'm going to give it one more effort.)
  • Monbiot, George: Heat
  • Munro, Alice: The View from Castle Rock (My mother sent me this, too. She loves Alice Munro and thinks we should read this in book club.)
  • Nemirovsky, Irene: Suite Francaise
  • Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient (My friend who liked The Nanny Diaries hates this book but I have another friend who loves it, so I just don't know what to think. I guess I'll have to read it and judge for myself.)
  • Petroski, Henry: The Evolution of Useful Things (This is another one I've started but got bogged down with. I want to like it, though; the subject matter is interesting.)
  • Ritter, Erika: The Dog By the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath (This is a book that I was interested in, so I grabbed it at a book sale or off the curb or something.)
  • Sebold, Alice: The Lovely Bones
  • Stross, Charles: Iron Sunrise (A while ago I said I wanted to start reading sf again, but I made a horrible misstep (in my earnest search for CanCon) and read a Robert Sawyer book. I still haven't recovered, but I hope this book will bring me back into the fold.)
  • Weatherford, Jack: Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (This is the Indian version of that book about how the Scots are responsible for everything cool ever. Maybe I will read them both and declare a winner.)
  • Zinnser, William: On Writing Well
  • Blume, Judy: Summer Sisters

(The last thing on that shelf is the choral score to Mendelssohn's Elijah, which we are performing this spring. I just put it there to have it handy when we start rehearsing at the end of this month.)

There are a couple of rules. You'll see that the Judy Blume book is out of order: that's my wild card. If I just can't face the next book on the list, I get to read Summer Sisters. It's my only wild card, so I have to use it wisely.

Also I can interrupt the sequence at any time for library books, book club books, or books which need to be read right away for another reason, like how-to books.

Let's see how far through the alphabet I get this year.

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