We're in the final hours of the TBR Double Dog Dare (the last three, here in US Central Time), and at this point I think I can safely say I survived it! The challenge, hosted by James at Ready When You Are, C.B. starting January 1st, was to read only from our own TBR stacks. My one real temptation, as I'd previously confessed, was a copy of Les Misérables that I couldn't resist buying. But I managed to put it down after only 32 pages, and read The Count of Monte Cristo from the TBR stacks instead. I am looking forward to getting back to it, especially since the saintly Bishop Myriel, who trades his vast episcopal palace for a paupers' hospital, makes me think of the new Pope Francis.
This year's challenge felt much easier than last year's, but it turned out to be less productive. I only cleared 35 books from the shelves (versus 61 last year). Again this year I let a lot of books go that I hadn't read, recognizing that in reality I was not ever going to read them, I was just holding on to them out of a sense of obligation, because I'd spent money on them, or I felt I should read them. Moving of course helped with this process. I found that asking the question, "Do I want to pack and move this book?" made it easy to decide. (It is always interesting to see my former books on the library sale shelves; I hope they find good homes.)
I was sorry to see from James's post today that he won't be hosting a Triple Dog Dare in 2014. The TBR Dares have challenged me to think about how I add to my TBR stacks. I've had to recognize how often the new additions distract me from the books I already own but have never read. I also have to recognize how often I'm swayed by an enthusiastic review into thinking, Oh, I want to read that too! And how quickly that thought leads me to ABE or Amazon, with their seductive one-click buying. I'm trying to step back a bit, and ask myself: Do I need to own this book, or do I just really want to read it? That feels like an important question to ask, looking at my TBR shelves. In some way, whether it's a New Year's resolution, or a Lenten practice, I will need to challenge myself on my overflowing TBR shelves again.
Which isn't to say that I didn't add to the TBR shelves over these past few months, as I've admitted elsewhere. The good news is that I shed more than I gained, though not by much. And I can't help but be excited by the new ones. I'm tempted to stay up til midnight, just for the fun of starting one (Miss Cayley or Miss Dickens?). I'm also really looking forward to some re-reading. Lately I've been thinking about the later books in the Anne of Green Gables series, the ones I hardly ever read, which I had to dig out from the back of the shelves this morning. And Saturday afternoon I went to the county library and brought home five books; I have three more waiting at the city library. I have missed the library, the fun of wandering the stacks or browsing the catalogue, and the complete lack of guilt over taking out too many books and returning them unread.
Thank you again to James for hosting and challenging us!