I love adding books to my TBR (To Be Read) list. My Goodreads TBR list alone is an impossible 467 books, and I have many more on my wish list. When I know I really want to read a book–and will probably like it quite a bit–I buy a copy, so that it will taunt me from the shelves until I read it. This works, until it doesn’t.
That’s why I devised my ongoing Bookshelf ROWDOWN challenge (with the help of Jack, who is always eager to pare down my shelves). Even so, there are a handful of books that beg me to be read whenever I walk into the office. The tragedy is that I know I will enjoy these books. For some perverse reason, I am waiting to read them, like a kid who scrapes all the icing off her cake to eat last. (Anyone else do that? No, just me and my crazy siblings? Oh.)
This week’s top ten theme is “Books That Have Been On My Shelf For The Longest But I’ve Never Read.” Aside from a metric ton of classics I haven’t yet picked up, these books are all on the top of my TBR list. And today, I’m making a vow: By this time next year, all of these books will be read–and reviewed! Hold me to it, readers.
10. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
I slogged through Fellowship of the Ring. It took me the better part of last winter, but I did it, and when I finally emerged–a little wild-eyed, but victorious–the last thing I wanted to hear was that the story was nowhere near over. (To be more accurate, the last thing I wanted to hear was epic poetry. Hearing about a trilogy was the second-to-last thing.) Alas, I’ve finally accepted that fact, and now I vow to jump in the ring (get it?!) with Tolkien’s next heavyweight, The Two Towers.
9. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The problem with this book is that it is perfect for reading in increments. I’ve read a chapter here and there since I bought the book, but I feel like I’m not getting the maximum effect of the book’s message. Now I’m committing–it’s time to read the whole thing. Happiness, here I come.
8. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I admired Krauss’s rich characterization and gorgeous writing style in Great House, but it meandered a little too much for me, like a story my grandfather might tell me–full of details, but not really going anywhere until I get too bored to take it and he hurriedly adds a conclusion. I’ve heard great things about this, her first book, but I’ve been a little scared to touch it. Maybe I’ll just get drunk first; that usually helps me approach love.
7. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
When I read Ehrenreich’s article “How America Criminalized Poverty” back in August, I was entranced. These are the issues that really get me stirred up, I realized. This is something I’d love to write about. And then I realized I’d had Ehrenreich’s book pining away on my shelves, a recommendation from Millie (who has never been off in her recommendations). Pine no longer, book. I’m coming for you.
6. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
I have no excuse for not having read this book. I’ve started it a number of times, but something inevitably distracts me. Krakauer is a master of nonfiction, from whom I could learn quite a bit. Plus, I devoured Into the Wild, so I have good faith that this book will be similarly fascinating.
5. Tinkers by Paul Harding
This book is amazing. This book came out of nowhere and neatly scooped up a Pulitzer Prize. This book is deliciously bite-sized and compact. This book will change your life, your mindset, even that light bulb that’s been burned out in the bathroom for months that you keep forgetting to replace. For Christ’s sake, the book is named after my dog! (Or so she thinks.) The critics all agree that I am missing out by not having read it. Now I just have to do that.
4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Oy. Look, Mr. Franzen, I know you’re book is awesome. Linden read it, and Linden doesn’t read fiction. But my God, did you really have to make it so very long? You, sir, seem intent on making me work out the ol’ biceps, and I’m not having it. After resisting reading this door-stopper for at least a solid year, I just requested the e-audiobook. Bam.
3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I comfort myself over not having read this trilogy by saying that I haven’t had it all that long, but these are empty words. Everyone I know has read the trilogy in about a day, so it’s not like I’m worried this will be another Lord of the Rings (see above). I’ve just been really busy, and I know I’ll get sucked into these books. (Can you tell I’m beginning to run out of excuses in this post?)
2. Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
I love Carolyn Parkhurst. Like, inappropriately. Luckily, she seems OK with it. But maybe she wouldn’t be if she found out I have never read her first novel. I know. I’m embarrassed just to type that, and I will never say it out loud. But I’ve been saving this gem to enjoy on a rainy day when I really need a pick-me-up. Now that I know she’s working on a fourth book, though, I think I’m ready.
1. Lit, The Liar’s Club, and Cherry by Mary Karr
These three memoirs by Mary Karr have been recommended to me by pretty much everyone I respect in life. And I own all three. I love memoirs, and she seems like a writer from whom I could learn so much. So why have I waited to read her work? It’s time for the truth: I am afraid she’ll be so much better than me, I’ll never write my own memoir for fear of not measuring up. Whew. OK, I said it. Now we can pretend that it never happened–just like we pretend that saying things into the interwebs makes those things go away.
So, what about you? What books have been high on your to-read list for a while?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!
Categories: Book Lists, On Writing
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