"Last year, as a result of enjoying Carl's RIP Challenge so very much, Overdue Books created the From the Stacks Reading Challenge. We had an amazing response! So this year....it's back. The rules are the same: If you are anything like me your stack of purchased to-be-read books is teetering over. So for this challenge we would be reading 5 books that we have already purchased, have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the nightstand and haven't read before. No going out and buying new books. No getting sidetracked by the lure of the holiday bookstore displays."I have to admit that this does seem like the perfect challenge in the approach to Christmas. The "to be read" pile is threatening to take over on my bookshelves (all double stacked, oh horror) and, while I shouldn't really need an added incentive to start working my way through it, I have made in the last year or so a rather alarming discovery about my book addiction: I begin to feel quite panicked if the height of the pile sinks too low. I lie awake at night wondering what I will do if there isn't an unread book waiting for me. Or, more exactly, a choice of unread books. I don't think this is entirely healthy, though I do make excuses about the difficulty of getting to the library and the inadequacy of choice when I get there. One of the problems is the internet, of course - giving me access to the largest second-hand bookshop in the world is dangerous; combining it with book blogs, author sites, complete bibliographies and advance warning of new books is fatal. The government worries about online gambling, but they should be looking out for me. Where will the dogs sleep when I replace the pile of books I'm reading now? Will the chickens have to share their coop with the overspill of gardening books?
Here is my selection of books for the From the Stacks challenge:
The challenge requires five to be read, but I've included Austerlitz, Stamping Butterflies and Temeraire as alternatives, not least because I may get stuck with Cloud Atlas for a second time. However, I plan to tackle most of the reading over Christmas, when I have every intention of being utterly self-indulgent and doing nothing but read for two weeks. The wonderful thing about having grown-up sons is that they don't require entertaining (they will spend their spare time playing with and on computers), they help with the washing up, they will cook lunch if no-one else feels like doing it, and they regard reading and writing about books as relatively normal activity. So, if the dogs and I really apply ourselves to leisure, we may get through the whole pile. I've just realised, there should have been a box of yoghurt drops atop the stack.
The only thing wrong with this scenario is that, if I read these eight books, plus books for Outmoded Authors and the Canadian Book Challenge, and I start my first book in the Young Adult Challenge on January 1st - which is quite likely - that will have made a significant dent in the TBR pile. "Hurrah," I hear you cheer. Not so, Jon Courtenay Grimwood's butterflies are stamping away in the pit of my stomach, and I can feel the urge to have just a quick look at Abebooks. I've been thinking of adding to the Barbara Pym collection, and I haven't got any Agatha Christie - oops, watch that pile of books, it's tilting alarmingly...