I don't want to jinx anything, but when I took a look recently at two book-related projects I've been working on, I was pleasantly surprised to see some real progress.
First, my TBR number has shrunk to 237. That is the lowest it has been since I started tracking it back in 2008. Considering I started this year at 305, I am pretty happy with that number. I'd like to get it down to 200 by the end of the year, and then under 100 in 2016. (My ultimate goal is around 25.) I just need to stick to my "one in, one out" rule for unread books. I've also been focusing on the oldest books in the stacks. I'm currently looking at those I've had unread since 2002. Teresa of Shelf Love just wrote about her TBR pile, and she mentioned that she has a 5-year expiration date for unread books. I'm tempted to try that sometimes, a clean sweep of the old books, but there are still some I want to read - including a lot of Anthony Trollope. Next up from the 2002 section: his Orley Farm.
Second, I have finally hit the half-way mark in my "Mid-Century of Books." This is a project to read one book from each year between 1850 and 1949. I knew I'd never been able to complete this in a year, as others have done. I'm now in my second year, and it could well take me another two to finish. Jane from Beyond Eden Rock, who started the "Mid-Century" project, has made hers more challenging by limiting herself to one book per each author. I on the other hand have included multiple books by Anthony Trollope on my list, as well as Dorothy Canfield Fisher, E.O. Somerville and Martin Ross. I need to write something about (re)reading The Last Chronicle of Barset, and then I can cross 1867 off the list as well - and Orley Farm will take care of 1862. I was thinking the other day that it would be interesting to read through the years in order, rather than randomly as I have done, but I'm not sure that would have been practical, particularly given how many years are still blanks on my list. I need to start looking for books from the 1850s, to start with.
Speaking of book-related projects, James of James Reads Books has just announced the final round of his TBR Dare - a Triple Dog Dare. This is a dare to read only from your TBR shelves for the first three months of the new year. Last year, my fourth time taking the Dare, I gave up half-way through - not to read new books, but because of an irresistible temptation to re-read (Dorothy Dunnett in particular). Still, I managed to clear quite a few books off the TBR shelves. So I am signing on again, but this time with a goal: three months or 35 books, whichever comes first. I'm also going to claim my usual exemptions, one for Lois Bujold's latest Vorkosigan novel, and one in case Deborah Crombie publishes her new book in those months. I think the last Elizabeth Peters book is scheduled for posthumous publication in April, but just in case I'm putting that on the exemption list as well. I'm glad that James is hosting this again - hopefully it won't really be the last round.