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Ah, the To Be Read Pile reading challenge

What to do with your to be read pile of books? TBR Pile Challenge 2013

Let’s face it, if you’re any sort of writer at all you have a TBR pile, stack, or shelf of books that have been bought but never read. If you’re like me you very well may have a bookcase or two–at the very least a mountain. Adam, over at Roof Beam Reader, has been running an annual challenge that encourages readers to turn to their stockpile and reduce the load by reading those books during the upcoming year. Lord knows we all bought books whose pages remain to be seen. I’ve seen the challenge referenced over the years by many book bloggers, and even made a point of adding a lot of my TBR books to my Classics Club project and Short Stories Challenge last year but I never officially made the vow–until now.

The TBR rules of the game

The Challenge is simple enough: 12 books from the TBR pile to be read during the year, 2013, with the option of 2 alternates. Simple enough. After all, that’s one book a month. Added to that is that the book must be at least one year old. No newbie books allowed. There’s the usual required post and sign up page, but here’s the rub. Reviews must be written, so you know what you’re in for as a reader here. I’ll be pulling books from my Classics Club list as there are huge number of TBR books lurking there. Of course, all the books have a writer slant that will show up in the reviews posted.

My official 2013 TBR List

  1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851) – Started in 2012 but put it down. Picking it back up today and finishing it this month.
  2. Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds by Harold Bloom (2002) – This has languished on my shelf for far too long.
  3. Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare by Claire Asquith (2005) – I’m intrigued by the premise and plan to read at least one of Shakespeare’s plays this year so I want to read this one before the play. 
  4. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1909 – 2004) – Way overdue. This is a must read.
  5. Runaway (short story collection) by Alice Munro – Another collection that has waited far too long for my attention. A contemporary master of the short form, Munro continues to call out to me.
  6. Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works by Flannery O’Connor (1946 – 1964) – Why I haven’t read O’Conner before is beyond me but I aim to rectify the situation this year.
  7. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov (1951) – I won’t even tell you how long I’ve had this book nestled among the bookstacks. It would be too painful.
  8. Willa Cather On Writing by Willa Cather (1949) – This is yet another one that continues to wail for attention. I occasionally respond by thumbing through the pages but for some reason never sit down and do the read.
  9. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (2010) – Ever since I read that Marlantes took 30 years to write this book and then it went on to win the Times Best Book of the Year, the Best Notable Book of the Year and on and on and on, I’ve wanted to read this work. This year.
  10. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (1987) – Donald Maass recommended this book to me several years ago and it’s never made its way out of the bookcase. This is long overdue. Ellroy is a great writer and the story is deeply personal to him, so I’m looking forward to the read.
  11. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930) – Yes, I know. One of the few stories where I’ve actually seen the movie but haven’t read the book. (Shrug.)
  12. Literary Feuds: A Century of Celebrated Quarrels–From Mark Twain to Tom Wolfe by Anthony Arthur (2002) – This just sounds like a fun read that I’ve put off way too long.

 The Alternates

  1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss  (2004) – I know, I know, I know.
  2. In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Essays by Jeffery Deaver, Nelson DeMille, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, … Lippman, Lisa Scottoline, and Thirteen Others edited by Michael Connelly (2010) – I’m a huge Poe fan so this is a given when it comes to getting a read out of me. Why wait?

That’s pretty much it. My thanks to Adam at Roof Beam Reader for this kick in the pants. This is my official sign up page.  I’ll post review links here, too. So, what are you going to do about all those books shrieking over at your house? What’s that you say? Oh, here’s the TBR official rules, you have until January 5th to sign up. Don’t have a blog? Don’t worry: Commit to reading those books anyway. You can say it here in the comment section. Now, what do you think about all this TBR stuff?


Check out reading projects: The Classics Club; Short Stories Challenge; 2013 TB R Pile Challenge

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  • Adam

    Hi, Vikk! Welcome to the challenge! I’m glad you’re with us. Moby Dick is an incredible piece of work. Genius is a great collection, and I like Welty and O’Connor, too. Willa Cather is one of my favorites – it’d be interesting to read her thoughts on the writing process, for sure. I’m adding this one to my wish list. Nabokov is brilliant and The Black Dahlia has been on my shelf for years. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a great resource… and that Literary Feuds book sounds awesome! Good luck with all these, can’t wait to see what you think about them!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks for the welcome, Adam. I’m really looking forward to participating in the challenge. I think this is one challenge where the odds of finishing are great.

  • amanda

    This sounds like a great list! I haven’t read a one of them, although I have Eats, Shoots & Leaves languishing on my bookshelf. Enjoy and good luck!

  • Literary Feline

    I considered joining this challenge, but in the end decided not to. I do plan to read more from my TBR collection this year, though. You’ve got a great list there! I’ve only read one on your list, The Maltese Falcon. I hope you have a great reading year!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks! I’ve looked at the challenge before and didn’t join but this year I knew I was going to continue plowing through my pile so I figured why not. I tend to be pretty casual about the goals so if I don’t make it I still feel as if I’m ahead for having read anything at all. Great reading to you, too.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Maybe we’ll have to do a read-a-long to get the grammar book done. Thanks for stopping by and luck to you, too.

  • Silver’s Reviews

    Doesn’t look like my post went through.

    GREAT post…Happy 2013!!

    Silver’s Reviews

  • Lianne

    Speak, Memory by
    Vladimir Nabokov (1951) – I won’t even tell you how long I’ve had this
    book nestled among the bookstacks. It would be too painful.

    I know the feeling xD Some of the books I’ve listed on mine where there for…a while, let’s say =P Great list, best of luck getting through them this year!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog last week :)