Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011: New Year's Resolution, Reading List, and Reading Challenges

As I trolled the blogiverse to see what's new, I discovered a plethora of New Year's Resolutions, Reading Challenges, and Reading Lists, all for the coming year. I return home, glance at my blog and find--nothing. Obviously I'm out of step here. But, all that takes energy and determination and fortitude. I look around and discover that I'm not exactly brimming over with E and D and F.

On the other hand, I don't wish to appear to be out-of-touch with the blogiverse, so I have to do something. Being a relatively non-energetic sort (I guess "lazy" would be a more apt term), I decided that there was a way I could fulfill some sort of New Year's Resolution, Reading Challenge, and a Reading List with a minimum of effort--Combine the three into one.

So, here is my combined New Year's Resolution, Reading Challenge, and Reading List for 2011. I will read two books a month from my TBR bookcase, a collection of works that have somehow gathered on the shelves over many decades. These are books I already have waiting and gathering dust. This, as you can see, is a three-in-one project.

The Resolution: to reduce the number of books in my TBR bookcase.
The Challenge: to read a certain number of books already in my possession.
The Reading List: those authors present in my TBR bookcase.

I will provide a partial list of those authors here, and if I can figure out how, I will also set up a sidebar which will, I hope, demonstrate what progress I've made. The list is in alphabetical order and does not represent the order in which I will, I hope, read them.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Willa Cather
Joseph Conrad
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Ford Madox Ford
Karin Fossum
Stella Gibbons
M. John Harrison
Hermann Hesse
Russell Hoban
Henry James
Nikos Kazantzakis
Joseph Wood Krutch
Lady Murosaki
Kim Stanley Robinson
Mary Shelley
Leo Tolstoy
Barbara Tuchman
Fred Vargas
Edith Wharton
Angus Wilson
Gene Wolfe
others, perhaps

If any wish to read along with me, let me know if there are some works in particular. If so, I will post a message when I will begin that work.


  1. Great List-I hope to start FMF's The Fifth Queen Trilogy soon and am currently read Henry Jame's Portrait of a Lady-at page 153-I would like to read a couple major Balzacs this year but nothing concrete yet

  2. Fred,

    What are the specific titles for each author? Maybe you could post the 3 or 4 you'll be reading next so that people have enough time to get them from the library. Depending on whether I can find them, I'd be willing to read along with you.

  3. Mel u,

    I haven't read Ford's "The Fifth Queen Trilogy" yet. I may get to it eventually, but those aren't in my TBR bookcase, yet.

  4. Cheryl,

    I don't have a specific list yet, as I intend to just see which titles leap out at me. I will list the ones I'm currently reading and the next one when I know what it will be.

    I will post these in the sidebar list as soon as I come to any decision. I hope you will be able to find the books and be able to read along.

  5. I love your path of least resistance! Kudos to you. Cheers, Kevin

  6. Fred,

    I see Cold Comfort Farm is on your list. I haven't read it, but I have seen the film. Here's a link to it on YouTube ( for those able to view it):


    It's been awhile since I've seen it, but I remember it as being funny. I remember the aunt and her phrase "I saw something nasty in the woodshed!". Since my library has it, I could join in when you decide to read it.

  7. Cheryl,

    Yes, that's the one. And that's the line that I've remembered for many decades now--something nasty in the woodshed.

    I will probably begin _Cold Comfort Farm_ next week sometime. I am reading Card's _Ender in Exile_ now for the SF group I belong to that meets next Tuesday, and then I will read Trollope's _Framley Parsonage_ for the Wednesday night Classics group.

    Glad to have you reading along with me. When I begin, I will set up an empty post with the book's title. If you wish, you can then enter comments about the book as you read it. After finishing the work, I will then post an entry about the work.

  8. Kevin,

    Glad you appreciate my strategy.

    I had a friend who insisted it was a waste of time to do something that achieved only one goal. One should only do things that served several purposes at the same time. It makes one appear very productive.

    Being a researcher at a university, he would write papers that would serve as a paper for presentation at a conference, for a journal, and for a progress report.

  9. Your 'challenge' is similar to one I've undertaken last year and this year...to reduce the number of books I buy and make use of what I already have (but haven't read), the library, and downloading audiobooks. While I haven't set a limit on acquisitions, that approach may be just what I need to make sure I keep things in check.

    I look forward to seeing which titles you choose and seeing if there is any overlap!

  10. Dwight,

    The problem of acquisitions is a major stumbling block to reducing the number of TBR books. That and the library are the most troublesome obstacles facing me.

    My first selection will be Stella Gibbons' _Cold Comfort Farm_, which I will probably begin reading next week some time.

  11. Another stumbling block to reducing the number of TBR books? Book bloggers and all their wonderful recommendations, especially about books I wasn't aware of! (Not that I'm complaining. Too much.)

  12. Dwight,

    Yup--in the past three days I've added 4 books and 1 film to my search lists as the result of dropping by several blogs.

    I know the problem.