Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday List: Emptying the Bookcase 2014




.... A PROJECT

a bookcase on 1st September 2014


Story of a bookcase…

At the moment there is a blog challenge called the TBR Double Dog Dare – more details below. A number 
of my blog friends are interested in doing this, and it resonated with me because --- I more or less did it. In the second half of 2014 I decided something had to be done about my TBR (= To Be Read, in common book-blogger-speak) pile. So I started small, with a row of books held between some very nice bookends (parting present from my lovely American bookgroup when I left in 2002, and I feel some of the books had been there ever since). By 31st August the bookends looked like this:




Inspired, I turned to the major bookcase holding TBRs. On the 1st September It looked like the top picture. So I set myself the task of clearing a shelf a month. And this is how it went:

1st October:



1st November: 



1st December: 
 


1st January:




During this period, there was supposed to be an embargo on my obtaining new books. That wasn’t leak-proof – as in the dare below, I excluded review copies, book group books, gifts, books I had to read for my Guardian pieces, and a few other categories. So this picture – also taken on 1st January - shows some of the books that have arrived in the house during the course of the campaign:


... and there are more books on my Kindle. 

But that’s all right isn’t it?

I’m very happy with the end results, and strongly recommend to anyone doing the Double Dare to stick with it (even if there is the odd slip-up) because you will be really pleased with yourself at the end….

Many of the books in the bookcase have been featured in blogposts, but not quite all. Some reviews haven't appeared yet. Email me if you want to know more about any of them. 

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Here are the details of the blog challenge, from the blog James Reads Books:

James says: Is your TBR list getting you down?  Do you own more books than you can read in one lifetime?  Are there so many books on your nightstand that you have no place to set your coffee mug down in the morning? The TBR Double Dog Dare is here to save the day! The TBR Double Dog Dare is not a reading challenge; it’s a dare. This means that people who do not participate in reading challenges are allowed to participate. I’m not challenging you; I’m double-daring you. All you have to do to win the TBR Double Dog Dare is to read only from your TBR pile between January 1 and April 1. You can still buy books, you just can’t read them until the TBR Double Dog Dare is over. (You can make exceptions for books clubs, arcs, and other things you really want to make exceptions for. The TBR Double Dog Dare is all about having fun. So if you join in for a week or a month, no worries.) Are you brave enough to take the dare?  

It is by no means too late to join in - go over to James Reads Books to sign up.



32 comments:

  1. Moira, I admire your spirit and dedication. The empty bookshelf is an inspiration for me to try something similar (in my own time, of course) not to mention the prospect of de-cluttering my shelves and cabinets. E-books have spoilt me rotten. By a rough count, 18x20 books x 4 shelves, I think you read close to eighty books in less than three months.

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    1. Thanks Prashant - I'd love it if I encouraged others! it wasn't as hard to do as I expected in fact.

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  2. You set a terrific example on this Double Dare Challenge. Reading books on one's TBR stacks is a real challenge. I read about five of such books last year, but inspired by your work here, I will aim to clear out some of my stacks -- which take up 2/3 of my dining table.
    I am starting with Sarah Waters' The Paying Guest and moving on to Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. But then I have to have a plan.
    One way I cheat is to loan friends books from those stacks, even if I haven't read them. Then they tell me if the books are good or not, which helps me decide what to read. But I figure someone is reading them, so it's a good thing.
    My plan won't be as ambitious as yours, but I do plan to cull some books from the table. Maybe some day I can actually use the table for meals!

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    1. I love your plan of lending them to people! I am always reluctant to lend unread books out, because it seems to upset the natural order of things....

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  3. My question is: How do you read so fast? I've read three books so far this month, two were 450 pages, one was 390 pages. But I really have to devote myself to reading.

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    1. I'm very lucky because I have always been able to read fast, and also some of my reading time gets put down to work....

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  4. Well done you. I do admire your tenacity and am in awe! I need to get myself more organised this year - still working on my masterplan at the minute.

    The upshot is I suppose if I can get more out than in, it will be a success ful year!

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    1. I look forward to hearing that news about your statistics Col! I'm an evangelist now - if I can do it, anyone can....

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  5. Wow, you are ruthless and efficient. Do you want to read some of mine...? ;-)

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    1. It's a good thing we don't live closer, yours is a TBR pile I'd be very curious about. You are right about one thing - I was ruthless. Some of them I did just skim read. Nothing was completely ignored, but I thought if I was going to get through them, I couldn't waste too much time along the way.

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  6. Oh, well done you, Moira! I am impressed! I really need to dig into my own TBR more than I have...

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    1. I bet yours is another intriguing TBR pile, Margot, like Vicki's above. You should give us a preview some time.

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  7. Aha! Skim reading, one useful technique for books one isn't thrilled with. I can do that but am never sure I can count them as full reads. Oh, well, who knows but me!

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    1. I count them, because I want them in my lists. I make notes on all books, and I want to remember what I thought of them,,,,

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  8. I would be in heaven if I could read that many books in four months. Last year for the TBR Double Dog Dare (Jan - Mar) I read eighteen books and the only other thing I read was two or three ARCs for NetGalley. That is equal to one of your shelves. So in a year, I could read that bookcase.

    Regardless you did very well, especially limiting yourself to specific books.

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    1. Thanks Tracy - we all do what we can! I always admire the way you do your challenges.

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  9. Thanks for the plug here. You certainly did very well with The Dare. Much better than I usually do, I confess.

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    1. We all need to encourage each other.... good luck this time.

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  10. Moira: Did you sleep? Very impressive.

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    1. Thanks Bill - I'm lucky because some books count as work.

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  11. Does reading the New York Times every day count and doing the puzzle? That takes me a long time, which could be spent reading fiction, but then I'd be out of the loop newswise. (Or the Guardian?)

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    1. I can't argue with reading a newspaper - NYT and Guardian must be practically novel-length. Certainly the Sunday NYT is! I like doing puzzles but then worry that they take up too much time.

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  12. Oh gosh, I've just realised we share a book case! Yours is identical to the set of two I inherited from my mother. I've never seen anything quite like them anywhere else. She said (not sure if this is correct or not) that she inherited them from her mother, who had signed up to a book club and got them for free!

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    1. Oh that's so interesting! I must ask my mother where this one comes from - it came from her house. I don't think about it much, but was just looking at it closely because of the post, and thinking that it became officially 'mine' when I passed my 11-plus... long time ago.

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  13. This is a wonderful post. You're an inspiration to us all!

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  14. The NYT puzzles get harder each day of the week, start out Monday and Tuesday with easy ones. On Friday and Saturday, they are harder and take up time, and can lead one to Google in frustration. Or sometimes, there might be a rebus or some other clever and fiendish puzzle on a Wednesday or Thursday.
    It's all in good fun, but it does take one away from reading.

    And I've never been able to figure out the Times of London puzzles! I saw a scene in The Bletchley Circle with one of those puzzles partly solved, and
    remembered how impossible they seem.

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    1. Yes, I remember doing them when I was living in the USA, complex and annoyingly addictive! The London Times crossword, which I used to do regularly, is like all of them - gets easier the more you do.

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  15. A very good post. You've given me a motivation to read my huge TBR!

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    1. Thank you! It really has its rewards....

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  16. Yes - agree with al the other comments. I really need to do something...

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    1. Think of all the potential benefit to Oxfam! (Because we wouldn't be buying any more when we go in to drop off, would we...?)

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