Wednesday, January 12, 2022

TBR Pile Challenge 2022

This might be the challenge that actually gets me blogging regularly again! I'm always trying to read books off my one shelves (only 33 in 2021 -- not great!) so learning that Adam is reviving his TBR Pile Challenge definitely piqued my interest. Basically the idea is to pick 12 books off your shelves that you've owned for at least a year, and read them (you are allowed two alternates). You then post about them on your blog, and at the end of the year, anyone who finishes is eligible for a drawing. The prize is a $50 gift card for . . . more books! I have attempted this challenge several years and actually won the prize a few years ago! 

Here is my tentative pile for the challenge, a mix of books I've owned forever (more than ten years for some of them!) and some I acquired more recently, though none less than a year ago:

This is the pile in list format, alphabetically by author. Alternates are listed at the end.

Completed: 9/12

1. The New York Trilogy (1987) by Paul Auster. One of the last books unread from my Big Box of Penguins. Completed 3/3/22.

2. The Loved and Envied (1951) by Enid Bagnold. One of many unread Virago Modern Classics. Completed 7/24/22.

3. They Were Counted (1934) by Miklos Banffy. A big fat book in translation,  just the sort of book I love. 

4. Three Daughters of Madame Liang (1969) by Pearl S. Buck. A find from the basement bookstore at the Central Library in San Antonio. 

5. Last Year When I Was Young (1974) by Monica Dickens. Rescued from the annual library sale, back when I worked at the San Antonio Public Library, probably around 2012. Completed 3/12/22.

6. My American (1939) by Stella Gibbons. One of the Vintage Classics reprints bought when I visited London in 2017.

7. The Peacock Spring (1975) by Rumer Godden. Bought off the $2 cart outside Alabaster Books in New York. Completed 1/29/22.

8. The World My Wilderness (1950) by Rose Macauley. Found on the donation cart at the Ramstein AFB library. I recognized the green Virago spine and snapped it up. Completed 5/24/22.

9.  Titanic: First Accounts (2012) by Tim Maltin. Bought for its beautiful cover after I started buying Penguin Deluxe Classics. 

10. Bethel Merriday (1940) by Sinclair Lewis. Found with a pile of vintage books in an antique mall in Ellicott City, Maryland, the cutest little town in America. Completed 8/24/22.

11. The Chequer Board (1947) by Nevil Shute. Also bought at John King Books in 2018, after I discovered Nevil Shute. Completed 1/18/22.

12. The Mountain Lion (1947) by Jean Stafford. Another library sale find, an NYRB Classic. Completed 3/20/22.


A Wreath for the Enemy (1952) by Pamela Frankau

A Pin To See the Peepshow (1934) by F. Tennyson Jesse. Completed 6/13/22.

So, bloggers, have your read any of these? Which are must-reads, and which should I donate back to the library? And who else is signing up for the TBR Pile Challenge?


  1. I've been wanting to read Auster's NEW YORK TRILOGY for so long! I really need to get on that.

    1. Yes, I have no idea why I've waited so long, I've owned it for more than 10 years now! Perfect for this challenge.

  2. I did really well with Adam's challenge (two years ago?) until October. Maybe I should try again.

    I don't remember A Wreath for the Enemy well but it is a favorite of my mother's and during the Blizzard of '78 when the libraries were closed in Boston forever she pulled it down from the shelves for me. Later, I remember one of the neighbors lending me every book by John Jakes so I was really scraping the barrel. Many years later I was working on a group project where we had to create an imaginary publisher and fall list, and one of the books we made up was a Charlemagne series by Jakes. For some reason, we contacted his real agent and he told us Jakes loved the idea and thanked us.

    1. Such a great story about Jakes! I read some of his Kent family chronicles when I was in high school, very scandalous! Also I just googled the Blizzard of '78 and WOW. I grew up in the midwest and we regularly had snow days but nothing like that!

  3. Impressive stack of books...and you've already finished your first one. Well done! Keep that momentum going. Seeing the accomplishments of others helps motivate me to get through my list. :)


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