Sunday, March 31, 2013

The TBR Double Dog Dare comes to an end

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!


  1. Enjoy your freedom! (I battle with that sense of 'obligation' to read things I probably won't ever read too. And to 1-click rather than put books on the wishlist so I can safely forget about it. I think it is insurmountable. For a while I limited myself to a certain, quite low, amount of book spending a week, but the kindle totally blew that: the purchasing process for e-books makes them seem so much like free-books!)

  2. Congratulations! I gave up on the challenge before I even began, really, as it is so hard not to take things home from work. I do need to read more of the books I own, though, and it seems much easier at the moment when I've become disenchanted with contemporary literature.
    I love the later Anne books - I read them all when I was younger and really enjoyed seeing her as a wife and mother.

  3. Vicki, I've put myself on a book budget as well - and I've only been overdrawn once, though I ended March with $3 in the kitty! I do have a Nook, but since I still haven't read an entire book on it, I haven't really been tempted by ebooks yet, except for Gutenberg versions. I'm still attached to paper.

    Anbolyn, there is no way I could do this working in a library! I think I'm going to start with Anne of Windy Poplars, though I really want to read Rilla of Ingleside, for the WWI setting.

  4. Congratulations! I need to do something like this too, but I'm not sure I have the patience.
    I don't think you can go wrong re-reading any of the Anne books. I recently enjoyed re-reading Chronicles of Avonlea (the short story collection, the one that's barely about Anne -- it's still really good, though).

  5. elizabeth, I have an extra day off from work, and I'm spending it in Windy Poplars - I love all the side stories. The TBR challenge is good for me, but I'm sure glad when it's over!

  6. Congratulations! I had my ups and downs with the Dare this year, but am still pleased with the experience. It has really helped me think about which books get added to my collection, too.

  7. Thanks, JoAnn, and to you too! We both made it through this year :)

  8. Congratulations--35 from the stacks is pretty impressive in my books, so to speak! I want to read Les Mis too, and the Count of Monte Cristo, for that matter.

    Reading book blogs is definitely how my own TBR list grows, and I usually acquire a book I think I'll like so that I don't forget about it. My Amazon shopping cart serves this same function.

    I often use the library for new authors that I'm not sure I'll like, saving purchases for classics I know I'll want to keep.

  9. Jane, thank you! It's amazing though how my shelves don't look all that much different - still overflowing. I'm amazed how many authors & books I've been introduced to via blogs. I wonder sometimes what I used to read before I started blogging - or how I found books! But I've learned the hard way that I won't always like a book that a fellow blogger loved - even when our reading tastes are similar - so I do use the library sometimes to check out new authors before buying. And I use my Amazon cart the same way!


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!