Reporting from Mount TBR

Another year, another reading challenge! This year, I’ve decided once again to tackle my massive backlog of To Be Read titles. The two bookshelves housing my TBR pile have begun sneaking books onto the floor, and the piles from the floor have migrated to my dresser, nightstand, and desk. The approximate number of unread books in the house is close to 400—which is only about half the number of unread titles lurking in my digital libraries.

My plan is simple. Every month, I will sort the books in my digital libraries to the earliest date and send one to my e-reader. Then read it. Or make an attempt to. If I like it, I’ll mention it here, on my blog. If I don’t like it, I’ll delete it. Same goes for the physical books. I’ll pick one from the shelf and read it. If I like it, I’ll blog about it. If I don’t like it, I’ll tuck it into the library donation box.

To kick off my challenge, I picked through the books I had stacked in various locations and managed to pack eight medium-sized boxes for the library. I’m proud of this progress. I also read two digital and two print books. One of the print books I liked very, very much, meaning it made the journey from the TBR bookshelf behind my desk to the appropriate keeper shelf in my library downstairs. (I really like books, okay?)

I read a handful of other books in January, the most enjoyable of which I’d like to share as well.

The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee (Mount TBR Pick)

Book cover featuring a silver man with flowing red hair playing the guitar.

A friend (who obviously knew I’d enjoy the story of a love affair between a human and a robot) recommended this to me. I scouted a secondhand paperback edition and slipped it onto the TBR shelf where it sat for about three years. I put off picking it up because despite being into the premise, I wasn’t sure how it would stand the test of time.

A good story is always a good story, and The Silver Metal Lover is a lovely book. The ending broke my heart a little but it worked. It was a good ending. I’m not sure I’ll read the sequel but I would like to read more Tanith Lee, who believe it or not, is a new-to-me author. I plan to explore her Flat Earth series next, starting with Night’s Master.

The Long Winter series by A.G. Riddle

Book cover featuring the silhouette of a man against a yellow background representing a sun rising over an alien landscape.

These books have been on my radar forever. I finally dove into Winter World shortly after the New Year and quickly burned my way through The Solar War and The Lost Colony. I loved every book, though perhaps the first and the last more than the second.

The first book, Winter World, is everything I love about near-future/first-contact science fiction: a highly plausible tale about the human response to an alien threat. I lived for all the details about the planned missions to space, the tech, the hopes, the dreams. The results. I loved the action, and the relationship between James, Emma, and their companions.

The final book, The Lost Colony, is a wild ride. I was just starting to get worn down by the constant stress when the plot behind the plot started to roll out. Very good stuff. I wish the paperbacks weren’t so expensive. I’d like to put the series on my keeper shelf. Because, you know, I always need more books.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

audiobook cover featuring a boy sitting at the end of a small dock watching the sun rise or set over a river landscape.

This one showed up in my Libby app (Free Library of Philadelphia) in audiobook format. I couldn’t remember putting it on hold, but have discovered some of my best and brightest reads this way. So, I loaded it up and got to listening.

I think the highest compliment you can pay a book is to say you wish it would never end. This Tender Land is a wonderful coming of age story, a modern Huck Finn, and a little bit more. When I noticed the Book of the Month Club had a nice hardcover copy, I sacrificed an extra credit to add a copy to the keeper shelf.

Featured Image Credit: grandfailure, Depositphotos

4 thoughts on “Reporting from Mount TBR

  1. Sadie

    Oh man, I tell myself regularly to get on the TBR, especially the physical books. But still I buy more than I can read in a lifetime and too often forget to look first at what I already own. I love the idea of sorting by earliest and picking.

    • Kelly Jensen

      The idea for sorting the books by oldest and going back to pick from there was pretty simple: if I haven’t read it by now, do I still want to?

  2. L. MacLaren

    Kelly, welcome to Bookaholics Anonymous, established by my family before I was born! I come from a long line of editors, copyeditors, writers, librarians, proofreaders, teachers, poets, speakers, and orators. As children, we received books for Christmas, birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Easter, and whatever other excuses my Auntie Laurie could come up with. Unlike most kids, we were not disappointed to receive books for presents. My sibs and I (and our parents and aunt) often and even now exchange(d) letters and emails discussing books, etymology, and other bookish topics. The addiction has been duly and intentionally passed on to our children and their children’s children. If there’s a cure, please don’t tell us!

    When my kids gave me a Kindle for Christmas 4 or 5 years ago, I didn’t think I would like it at all, but I quickly fell for it, even though it hurts just as much as a real book when you fall asleep while reading. When we travel (though memory of travel is fading, alas), I can take hundreds of books on my little ol’ Kindle. Woot! Whereas we used to travel with a *large* box of books in the trunk, and various books and magazines scattered throughout the car. Each of us own shelves and shelves and boxes of books that we need to go through and winnow. Last time I checked, a year or so ago, I had over 4000 e-books in the cloud. I’m not bragging, more like kinda complaining, even though I’m not really willing to get rid of any of my books, whether e-books or “real” books. But it could be worse as far as addictions go.

    I really admire your restraint, organization, and leet winnowing skills! And need to follow your example!

    Cheers!

    Laurie

    One of the best gifts I ever got was the day we left the states, my 11th birthday, which no one remembered except for my next sister, and my Auntie Laurie, who gave me an autographed first edition of *A Wrinkle in Time* by her friend Madeleine L’Engle.

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