Annabel's House of Books

Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book.

Tag: TBR (page 1 of 6)

Challenging my reading in 2016

My annual stats round-up published yesterday always shows up some areas where I challenge my reading. For instance, I have always read a lot of debut and new to me authors, I like to include non-fiction in the mix and enjoy genre fiction too. So, I need to find ways to continue this in 2016.

Annabels ShelvesI’ve signed up for the TBR dare again, which will force me to my shelves until the end of March – and I hope to resume my Annabel’s shelves TBR project which, er, fell by the wayside by the letter ‘D’ in 2015.

Book Bingo FinalOne thing that definitely directed my reading since the summer was playing Book Bingo.  If I had cheated and let books fill in more than one space, I’d have finished it ages ago, but I have faithfully plugged away at it this autumn and at year-end have 3 out of 25 spaces unfilled. It has led me to pick a few unfamiliar titles – so I think that’s a good thing!

I could generate a new card for 2016, but instead I’m going to dip into a similar idea but different format …  The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016. It has 24 reading tasks to achieve during the year – the same for everyone.

Read Harder

There are a few categories I will struggle with on this one – Reading a book out loud to someone – does a picture book to a toddler count?  Obviously, in the UK we don’t have the Audie Awards – and I don’t care to listen to audio books (I could argue that the R4 Book at Bedtime counts, although usually abridged!).  I doubt I shall search out a nonfiction book about feminism either unless one happens to fall in my lap (any recommendations?), but the other headings are achievable and will encourage me to read more widely.

So my plans are three-fold – To:

  • keep trying to tackle the TBR shelves
  • keep aiming to read more widely, challenging my reading
  • and to keep enjoying reading

Of course, all of the above, except for enjoying reading, are totally subject to whim, circumstance and continuing good intention, but it’s nice to start the year with some aims in mind.

What about you? Do you set reading targets?

It’s TBR Dare Time…

tbr-final-dareSince its inception, I’ve taken part each year in the TBR Dare, hosted by James at James Reads Books, with its beloved mascot Dakota, James’s Basset Hound who sadly died earlier this year.

It works like this….

For the first three months of 2016 read only the books that were already in your TBR stack as of midnight December 31, 2015.

As always, you can include books you’ve ordered but not received yet as well as books you have already placed on reserve at your local library.  You can also make exceptions for certain books that will be published early next year along with book club choices and ARCS as needed.  The TBR Dare has always been about having fun, so make whatever changes to the “rules” you need to to keep it fun.

If you just want to take The TBR Dare for a month, that’s fine, too.  The TBR Triple Dog Dare will run from January 1, 2015 to April 1, 2005.  Technically, it’s not a shopping ban so you can still buy books–you just can’t read them until April 1.

As always, the emphasis is on keeping it fun, and if you only last a week or two it doesn’t matter…

I will aim to do the full three months here, with exceptions for Book Group and any Shiny New Books reviewing commitments. I will also try to buy fewer books to add to the TBR during the period and continue to increase my culling of my TBR shelves.

To sign up, leave a comment over at the TBR Dare’s home page.  Go on, you know you want to…

A TBR Christmas – what shall I read?

Christmas box of booksIn an effort to read at least one book from my TBR piles this Christmas, I thought what better than a Christmassy book or two and went searching for some.

I found some fairly quickly, summarised below…

* * * * *

light amsterdamThe Light of Amsterdam by David Park

It is December in Belfast, Christmas is approaching and three sets of people are about to make their way to Ansterdam. […] As these people brush against each other in the squares, museums and parks of Amsterdam, their lives are transfigured as they encounter the complexities of love in a city that challenges what has gone before.

I’ve not read any of his novels, and being of Belfast descent through my late mum am attracted to this one.

* * * * *


The Unburied by Charles Palliser

When Dr Courtine is invited to spend the days before Christmas with an old friend he is keen to accept, even though it is twenty years since they last met. On the night Courtine arrives, AUstin tells him the story of the town ghost, a story of deadly rivalry and murder two centuries old. Courtines real reason for the visit is to pursue an even older mystery. […] So intent is he … that he fails to notice the malign conspiracy into which he is being lured.

I did love The Quincunx when I read it all those years ago – this sounds an excellent mystery.

* * * * *

frost fair

The Frost Fair by Edward Marston

Christmas, 1669. In the grip of the coldest winter for years, the Thames is frozen from bank to bank and London celebrates with the traditional frost fair held on its broad back. Among the throng are Christopher Redmayne, an ambitious young architect, and his good friend, Constable Jonathan Bale. But the pair make a chilling discovery: the frozen corpse of naked mad embedded within the ice.

I’ve not read any of Marston’s Railway Detective series – this appeals more…

* * * * *

The question is – which would you recommend I read first?  

Or, tell me your own favourite novels with December / Christmas settings and I’ll see if I have them on the shelves to add to my little Christmas pile…

A new TBR project

Annabels Shelves

Dear Readers – I’ve been inspired!

Simon recently wrote a review of a book previously unknown to me called The Shelf by Phyllis Rose on the lovely new incarnation of his blog Stuck in a Book. In this book, the author reads a shelf of books in her local library – the good, the bad and the ugly, and uses them to discuss the joys of reading. I can’t resist books like this – especially as it’s subtitled An Adventure in Extreme Reading – I’ve ordered a copy!

Given my failure in sticking to the TBR dare this year and the never-decreasing size of my TBR piles, I thought I could adapt The Shelf‘s principles to my bookcases.

So my project – Annabel’s Shelves is born with its own page up top.

It’s very simple –

  • I will read my way through my big bookshelves as on my header from A-Z.
  • I will start by picking a book by an author or title beginning with A, and then move on to B etc.
  • I will read one book per month – or more if I feel like it but it must be from these TBR bookshelves.
  • I hope that when I get to Z – I’ll want to start again.

Those are the only rules, but I plan to concentrate on new to me authors and modern classics rather than some of the comfort reads that I know are up there.

I’m not asking anyone else to join in – I have no cast-iron schedule for this.  But, as I borrowed the basic premise from elsewhere, do feel free to whatever you like with the idea!

I’ll choose my first book from the shelves later – so here’s your chance to suggest some authors/titles to me beginning with


(Letter from Daily Drop Cap)

More fool me? …

tbr-dare-2014It’s April 1 – and the end of the TBR dare, so time for an update.

If you consider only the books I’ve reviewed for this blog, I only cheated fully once and partially twice!

The full cheat was the pair of Quick Reads titles I squeezed in on convenient train journeys.
The partial cheats were: The Helios Disaster by Linda Bostrum Knausgard – which I had originally planned to review for Shiny New Books, but found too weird and my thoughts too bitty to write a coherent full-length piece for Shiny, and Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell – another Shiny read which I disliked so much I couldn’t finish it!

Including those above, I have read 34 books so far this year, of which 16 were on my TBR before Jan 1st and 14 are Shiny Reviews for issues 4 in January and issue 5 coming next week and were excluded from the TBR Dare accordingly.  I hope that James, TBR Dare host, will forgive me for my partial participation this year. As ever, my intentions were good – but I am fooling myself if I didn’t realise I had so many reviews to read/write for Shiny!

Needless to say, I have read some cracking books for Issue 5 of Shiny including several wonderful debuts, a couple of non-fiction titles, a much-loved re-read and that new novel by ‘Ish’…

Back to normal soon.


State of the Shelves

The Billy bookcases in my library spare bedroom used to look like this:

Bookcase 4
That is, on both walls, jam packed, double depth, no space left at all. More on the top in boxes too.

Now, after a couple of months of real winnowing, one wall in that room now looks like this:


You can see a couple of empty shelves, and most of the rest are now single stacked only. I am on the verge of being able to consolidate these books into 2 bookcases on the opposite wall with a little more purging. Then I can reclaim this space to a) finally get rid of the horrid yellow paint on the walls and b) put the spare bed propped up in my garage in the room which has never had a bed in it!

Only problem is the huge desk in the opposite corner, which I was sitting on to take the photo – I’ll have to dismantle it to get rid of it. It’s a tall modular work station type one and was assembled in the room for those pre-laptop days – it won’t go through the door as it is!

I can honestly say though that this ongoing book cull is proving to be a good experience. All those impulse purchases from the charity shop that I’ll never actually read are going back there by the bag-load (the manageress knows my gift-aid details off by heart), plus many, many more – as I try to distil my TBR into more realistic numbers.

While my desire to add new books to the shelves is essentially undiminshed, I have begun, I hope, to move towards an equilibrium state in my book piles – it’s getting more difficult though…

We’ll see, and if I ever get to that stage where the room does get redecorated and remade into a bedroom with bookshelves rather than a bedroom of bookshelves I’ll be sure to post a photo.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I’m off to play with my books some more.


Older posts
%d bloggers like this: