Book Tag / My TBR Pile

I’ve been tagged by Laura at Reading in Bed, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in the throes of a mild blogging funk (no issues to speak of, I just haven’t found the time this month), so what better way to bust through it than with a semi-mindless post that takes little no research!

Excited bitmoji
Maybe a little hyperbolic, but I stand by it

For the record, I’m already five novellas deep into Novellas in November. I just haven’t blogged or tweeted about it. At all. Because … well … knowledge is power? We all need a little more mystery in our lives? Every dog has its–I just haven’t been in the writing mood, okay?!

But in an effort to shrug off my laziness (I’m blaming you, Giller Prize Reading Challenge), here’s a post about a bunch of books I’ve been too lazy to read.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Until this past summer I never actually kept a consistent, physical TBR pile. I’ve always just haphazardly placed my unread books among my read books on one of the bookshelves around my house. No system. Total chaos. But I’ve started a pile of about 10 books on my bedside table, and it’s been working pretty well so far.

Like everyone else, I also have a TBR shelf on Goodreads. But I don’t really use it to keep myself on track or anything. I’ve tried, even going so far as arranging hundreds of books in the order in which I planned on reading them, but the effectiveness of that plan lasted less than the time it took me to even finish the list. If I’ve learned anything from book blogging these last four years it’s that my reading habits are alarmingly short sighted and fickle.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Always, always, always print. I’ve read exactly 0.4 of an e-book. Doesn’t work for me.

To be fair, I blame the god-awful, why-would-they-even-sell-something-so-slow Kindle that was gifted to me for Christmas five or six years back. I have nothing against e-reading, per se.

How do you determine which books from your TBR to read next?

Like I said, I’m an extremely fickle reader. I still try to plan out my reads three or four books ahead, but I almost never stick to my reading plans. The fact that I managed to read all five Giller nominees in succession over five weeks is, quite frankly, astounding.

Most of the time, I just read the book that jumps out the most from the 10-or-so books on my bedside table.

A book that has been on my TBR the longest?

Without doubt, it’s The Final Confession of Mabel Stark by Robert Hough. This book has somehow traveled to three different cities with me and I haven’t as much as read a single page. I don’t even plan on reading it. Ever. I mean, sure, I’d love to take a run at it someday, but I just know that, short of a TBR Challenge and some serious peer pressure, it’s never going to be at the top of my list. Even though it sounds really fun.

19740312“In the 1910s and ’20s, during the golden age of the big top, Mabel Stark was the superstar of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and one of America’s most eccentric celebrities. A tiny, curvaceous Kentucky blonde in a white leather bodysuit, Mabel was brazen, sexually adventurous, and suicidally courageous. The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is Robert Hough’s brilliant, highly acclaimed novelization of her fantastic life. It is 1968 — Mabel is just turning eighty and is about to lose her job at Jungleland, a Southern California game park. Devastated by the loss of her cats, she looks back on her life and her five husbands: the fifth would one day be tragically mauled by her one true love, her ferocious yet amorous 550-pound Bengal tiger Rajah. Starting with her escape from a mental institution to begin her circus career as a burlesque dancer, Mabel’s exquisitely voiced confession is a live wire of dark secrets, broken dreams, and comic escapades. It is a brilliant, exhilarating story of an America before television and movies, when the spectacle of the circus reigned and an unlikely woman captured the public imagination with her singular charm and audacity.” (Goodreads)

A book you recently added to your TBR?

Well I just bought a new book today, but it’s basically going to go right into my reading rotation so I’m not sure it counts: The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray. This is his follow-up to the fantastic Skippy Dies.

Fun Fact: Skippy Dies is one of Three Books I Constantly Recommend to People (That They Never Read)©

The Mark and the Void aside, I just added Common Ground by Justin Trudeau to my Goodreads TBR. He’s our dreamy new Prime Minister, and he’s cool shit.

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

13429545I won’t go so far as to say that it’s strictly because of the cover (I’d never buy a book based on the cover alone), but I’ve wanted to read We, The Drowned for two years now based on a 80/20 cover-to-reviews ratio.

I mean, like, look at that thing. I want to frame it and put it on my wall.

I should really get to reading it, though. It sounds great.

“A generational saga, a swashbuckling sailor’s tale, and the account of a small town coming into modernity—both Melville and Steinbeck might have been pleased to read it.” — New Republic

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. Mostly because I don’t know what the fuck this book is and have no clue how it’s on my Goodreads TBR.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

There’s actually three big ones!

25332566Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay (May 10, 2016): Kay’s last novel, River of Stars, is my favorite novel by a Canadian writer, and one of my top three all-time novels (debatable, but I’ve been saying it for two years now). Children of Earth and Sky is “inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.” (Goodreads)

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel (Feb 2, 2016): My new mother-in-law is Portuguese, and she and her husband travel there yearly for month-long stays. I’m sure I’ll be travelling there myself, one day. So I’m curious about all things Portugal. Especially when those things are told to me by the brilliant Yann Martel.

Fun Fact: I should actually change it to Four Books I Constantly Recommend to People (That They Never Read)©, because I need to add Testament by Yann Martel to to the list.

25809993The High Mountains of Portugal is an “allegorical novel that explores questions of loss and faith, suffering and love. Sweeping from the 1600s to the present, The High Mountains of Portugal weaves three intersecting narratives into a captivating blend of epic journey, ghost story, and contemporary realism.” (Goodreads)

Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson (Feb 4, 2016): Shylock is My Name is the second novel in The Hogarth Shakespeare series, a grand project that will see eight authors re-write some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays in modern settings. Shylock is a re-telling of The Merchant of Venice.

Fun Fact: Canadian Margaret Atwood is re-writing The Tempest. (To be published next November)

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Can’t really think of one, to be honest.

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

Probably Animal Farm. But I’m going to be reading it before Novellas in November is over, so suck on that, “everyone.”

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

Children of Earth and Sky is definitely number one, but I’m weirdly excited to give A Wrinkle in Time a re-read. I haven’t touched it since I was 12, and from what I recall, I hated it. I’m anxious to take another stab at it.

How many books are on your TBR shelf?

There’s the aforementioned 10 on my bedside table. There are 121 on my Goodreads list. And probably 150 on my bookshelves at home.

I’m terrible.

Tag, you’re it!

If any of you have done this already, just go ahead and sue me.


17 thoughts on “Book Tag / My TBR Pile

  1. Ah, love this! So many thoughts.

    We, the Drowned is also my answer to the cover question. It’s a beautiful design. I am happy to be one of the people who listened to you about Skippy Dies, and can’t wait to hear what you think about the new one. Our library copy just came in this week and it looks lovely. The new Kay book sounds fantastic as well, I might have to give in and try him too.

    I was able to finish 4 novellas this month but I ended up skipping the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Best of the bunch was A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr. Glad to hear you made it through the Giller prize ones too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it. I’m never sure if these kinds of posts are fun for other people are not. They’re so navel-gazing. It was fun to put together though!

      You’re probably the only person I’ve actually “convinced” to read one of the Four. And you loved it, thank god. I would have felt like an ass, as I talk about these books (and how people are crazy for not reading them) all the time 🙂

      Can’t say I’m heartbroken that you skipped Miss Jean Brodie, as I hated it. But I was wondering what your take would be. Or if I’m crazy. (That seems to be the prevailing opinion, because that book is very well liked.)


  2. I’m with you on the mood reading. I can’t plan ahead more than a couple of books, because I’m always changing my mind. But, at least it keeps things interesting.
    We, the Drowned sounds fantastic – more sea-faring adventures for me! This summer I was able to find a copy of Skippy Dies at a used book store in Lunenburg (I’ve had my eye out for it for a long time, so I was pretty excited about that. The same place I found The Voyage of the Narwhal.)
    I’ll be interested in hearing what you think of the Justin Trudeau book. I’ll probably never read it myself, but would love someone else to read it for me. 🙂
    And, I’m putting in a request that you read the Mabel Stark book! His books sound like so much fun, but when I tried reading his latest I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know why…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if I’ll ever actually read the Trudeau book. It strikes me as a book I’d love to have read, but won’t go through the effort of actually reading it haha.

      I really should read Mabel Stark. It’s like the challenge to end all challenges. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I ever read it, though. Life changing. What if I love it? What if I hate it? WHAT IF?!?! AHHH!


  3. Oh the dreaded “X Books I Constantly Recommend to People (That They Never Read)”! I have a canon of my own and I really wish I had more money so I could hand it to people and say “JUST TRUST ME!” And don’t feel bad about your 150.. I have 3 times that and likely less square footage haha. This was a lot of fun to read! And clearly I need to read Skippy Dies…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A few years ago (on another blog) I started blogger secret santa, where a bunch of us randomly picked each other and the idea was to virtually gift the other person with one book they had to read. So, for instance, if I got you, I’d say that I gift you Skippy Dies, and then in the next few months you had to read it, no questions asked. It was fun! I wonder if people would be interested in doing that again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This may be the first time in many, many years that I actually don’t have a TBR pile (except for an imaginary TBR pile for Oryx and Crake (which I have not purchased yet)). I’m sure that Tania will be able to do this, though. Thanks for the tag, bro. – Kirt


  5. That was quick! Unlike my commenting… ahem…

    I have Skippy Dies and The Book of Joby on my Goodreads TBR, because you recommended them, and haven’t read them. Sorry. If I had to choose *one* which one should it be?

    I read A Wrinkle in Time around 10 or 11, and it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but I didn’t *get it* which was not acceptable (identity built around being “the smart kid” at that point in my life) (yes, I was super popular!) so I just rejected the entire thing, like, pretended it didn’t exist. I reread a couple years ago and omg, it is so fucked up. I can’t really say I recommended it, but I think you should reread it, just to see…

    I loved Secret Santa…even though my book was never reviewed…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm … choosing between Skippy Dies and The Book of Joby is pretty hard for me, and it all depends on who’s reading it, I guess. For you I’d probably say Skippy Dies. And Juliana agrees with me as to its 5-star-ness, so if you don’t like it then it’s at least 2-against-1.

      I remember A Wrinkle in Time being weird as hell. It’s kind of why I want to read it. I’m almost positive that I’m going to hate it haha.

      Would you want to do Secret Santa again? I’m totally on board if you want to help gather some folks!


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