Saturday, November 11, 2017

TBR Pile Challenge 2018!

Every so often, I drift away from blogging -- sometimes it just ends up feeling like homework. And yet inevitably, something is so irresistible I'm drawn back in -- sometimes it's a book I'm just dying to share, or a challenge that sounds like too much fun to miss -- like Adam's TBR Pile Challenge, which has been on hiatus for two years. How can I possibly resist? It's nearly impossible -- especially since my owned-and-unread shelves are pretty much filled to bursting.

I moved overseas a year and a half ago and nearly all the books I brought I hadn't read, so in theory, the owned-and-unred list should be shrinking, right? Sadly, it is not. Curse the wonderfully efficient military library system and all the digital downloads! I'm getting close to my goal of 100 books completed for 2017, and yet less than ONE THIRD are from my own shelves!

So, I hope that this list of twelve books from my own TBR shelves (plus two alternates) will be completed during the 2018 calendar year. This time I want to read all women authors. Most of these books are from my Persephone and Virago shelves. 

Photo courtesy of my daughter, who has a fancy camera and knows how to use it.

In alphabetical order, by author:

1. Christopher and Columbus by Elizabeth von Arnim. Bought last year when I was on an EVA binge. Completed 1/10/18.

2. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. I've been meaning to read it since 2014, when it began showing up on WWI reading lists. Completed 7/6/18.

3. Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather. I only have two unread works by Cather on the shelves. I chose this one over Alexander's Bridge, and I hope I made the right choice. Completed 3/24/18.

4. Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary by Ruby Ferguson. Probably the Persephone I've had unread the longest. Completed 2/6/18.

5. The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau. A discovery at Half-Price books in Austin, TX, which had quite a few green Viragos. Completed 4/15/18.

6. The Long View by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Bought on a trip to London last year. I loved her Cazalet Chronicles and I've heard this one isn't quite as good, but I'm optimistic. Completed 8/15/18.

7. Heat Lightning by Helen Hull. A Persephone book by an American author. I don't know much about it other than it's set in Michigan which is my home state. Completed 6/3/18.

8. The Lacquer Lady by F. Tennyson Jesse. Another Virago find from Half-Price Books. I think I bought it the same time as The Willow Cabin. Completed 5/21/18.

9. London War Notes, 1939-1945 by Mollie Panter-Downes. Another Persephone, I was excited to buy this since I loved her short stories. Simon from Stuck in a Book raved about this and it was out of print for years (and very expensive) before Persephone reprinted it a couple of years ago. It's a collection of essays written for the New Yorker during the war. Completed 7/28/18.

10. The Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter. I'm a little intimidated by this one because it's very long -- also, I tried to read Porter's Ship of Fools last year and really disliked the characters. I think I paid $1 for it at the library sale so hopefully it won't end up on the to-be-donated pile.

11. Madame de Treymes and Three Novellas by Edith Wharton. I love Wharton and always keep an eye out for her books in the secondhand shops. I've owned this one for years and never gotten around to it. This one includes Bunner Sisters which I've heard is excellent. Completed 3/3/18.

12. Miss Mole by E. H. Young. One of the very first books published by the Virago imprint. I know many people love it and I've had a copy for years and I just keep putting it off. Completed 2/11/18.


Photo also taken by DaughterTM

Fenny by Lettice Cooper. Bought last year after reading and loving National Provincial for the 1938 Club.

Poor Caroline by Winifred Holtby. I bought nearly all her novels after reading South Riding. I think this is the last one I haven't read yet. Completed 9/21/18.

So -- some great women authors that I love, and some that I haven't read yet. Some novellas, short stories, and two non-fiction books. After looking at the pile, I realize that many of these books are near (or surpassing) the 500 page mark. I measured and it's thirteen inches high. Well, I don't mind lengthy books, as long as I'm enjoying it. Bloggers, have you read read anything on my list? Good choices or bad? And are you participating in the TBR Pile Challenge?


  1. Great idea to make a plan to read 12 books we already have in our kindles and our book shelves. There are probably a few treasures we will discover and it saves money!

  2. Good luck with this. I should probably take part too as my TBR is out of control! I have only read two of the books on your list - Testament of Youth and Poor Caroline - but I loved both.

  3. What a wonderful list! I've only read Christopher and Columbus.

    I'm not sure if I will participate in this particular challenge or not, but I definitely need to do something about the TBR pile. I'll be rooting you on regardless.

  4. I've read most of them but not numbers 3,7, 8, 10, or 11. It's a great list, I enjoyed all the ones I've read. I must do a Back to the Classics post soon.

  5. Lovely list! I'm so excited about this challenge. I've also had The Testament of Youth, London War Notes, and Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary on my shelves for a while. Maybe they'll make my TBR list too!

    Jessie @ Dwell in Possibility

  6. Testament of Youth is one of the BEST books I've ever read! I'm excited to see it on your list. :D I'm going to try to do this challenge too. Best of luck to us both!

  7. I’ve been doing a version of Simon Thomas’ 24 in 2017 and basically have read 2 owned-by me books for every incoming book (bought or gifted) this year and still I have stacks that don’t fit on the shelves! I need to be more patient, I know.

    Part of the problem is those library downloads that make it so easy to check books out.

    I’ve not read any from your list but I think were it my list, I would be most excited about London War Notes. I loved her book One Fine Day.

  8. I haven't read any single books in your list! Willa Cather is what I'm interested in. I have just read her Death Comes for the Archbishop, and instantly in love with her. Will certainly read more of her in the future.
    Good luck with the challenge, Karen. :)

  9. Testament of Youth is fabulous! If there weren't too many other books that need reading, I'd go back and reread it in a heartbeat. Thanks for stopping by my list--you commented that mine slightly terrified've got some hefty ones (literary-wise) on your list too. Good luck!

  10. London War Notes is absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend it. I have Miss Mole on my shelves. It is the only E.H. Young I haven't read yet and I keep putting it off because I don't want her books to be gone.

  11. A wonderful plan, Karen, with a few titles languishing on my own shelves. Can't believe it's been a year and a half since your time flies!

  12. I have always enjoyed this challenge--however, I really enjoyed my challenge free (except for the GoodReads # of books) year and have been doing well reading from my TBR shelves lately.

    I've been meaning to read Testament of Youth for a few years now too--maybe I'll actually get to it in 2018. I also recently got a Katherine Anne Porter anthology in the hopes that having it on my shelf would remind me to actually read this author.

    Good luck with your list and happy reading.

  13. I have read Testament of Youth and found it enthralling. I followed it by reading Testament of Friendship about her friendship with Winifred Holtby. It was very interesting though obviously not as heart-rending as 'Youth' necessarily was at times. I am glad to find that I am not the only person with a TBR shelf heavily populated with the green covers of Virago books bought at my Half Price Books in Berkeley.

  14. Great list. I recommend Lucy Gayheart. I'm a big Willa Cather fan, she writes like a dream.

  15. I don't have a ton of unread books on my shelves. I work in two libraries so I have access to anything I want to read at any given time. And I just ditched my old TBR list and revamped the whole thing. So I will probably have to skip this one this time around. Looks like there's a ton of good stuff on your list though.

  16. I might do the TBR but have already signed up for two. And if there's a back to classics 2018 I will want to do that to. But I suppose I can pair TBR with the others

  17. Great photography! Many of these on your list are new to me, but sound great! Have a great year of reading in 2018.

  18. This is a really nice list. I am reading Testament of Youth this year also and I find it interesting that it is on several bookblogger's challenge list. I wish you well with your reading goals in 2018!

  19. I love coming to your site because I always discover a book I didn't know existed! You have a great list here, and I wish you the best with this challenge. Personally, I've been wanting to try Katherine Anne Porter.

  20. You have some great titles on here! I love the Wharton you picked (I'm biased, I love her), and of course, Cather! I haven't read that particular title, but she doesn't disappoint! Good luck!

  21. I could tell right away you are a Persephone reader! :) I've heard a lot of wonderful things about Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. Enjoy!


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