Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge

My to be read (tbr) pile is huge….much bigger than I would like.  I worry that I’ll acquire books, and they’ll lounge around forever, never to be read. Thus!  I now challenge myself every year to read as many books from the bottom of the pile by the end of the current year as possible.

The first two years of the challenge, I defined bottom of the pile as books acquired before the most recently passed year.  For 2012, that meant I read books I acquired before 2011.  In 2012, the list had 47 books on it, and I read 14.  For 2013, that meant I read books I acquired before 2012.  In 2013, the list had 83 books on it.  I read 17 and pulled 24 from the pile and got rid of them without reading them.  My tastes had changed so drastically in the years in-between that I was simply no longer interested in many of the books.

Perhaps due to my new awareness of my tbr pile, I only acquired 13 books in 2013.  Due to this fact, I’ve decided to change my definition of the bottom of my pile to books acquired before 2012.  My list has 42 books on it.  Since I am aiming to read 52 books total this year, I am setting myself the goal of 20 of those being Bottom of the TBR Pile books.

Below are my Bottom of the TBR Pile books!  Read and reviewed ones are listed underneath the year read with links to the review.  At the bottom of this page is a list of books I pulled from the pile without reading them, due to drastic changes in interests since acquiring them.  Also, out of my own personal curiosity, in parentheses is listed how, exactly, these books wound up on my tbr pile.

Bottom of TBR Pile (Books Acquired Prior to 2012)

  1. American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante (Brookline Booksmith)
  2. Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman (Kindle)
  3. Bellwether by Connie Willis (gift)
  4. The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make A Big Difference by Ellis Jones (PaperBackSwap)
  5. Cowboys & Aliens by Joan D. Vinge (gift)
  6. Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (PaperBackSwap)
  7. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (PaperBackSwap)
  8. Fated by S. G. Browne (PaperBackSwap)
  9. The Keep by F. Paul Wilson (PaperBackSwap)
  10. The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant (PaperBackSwap)
  11. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (Kindle)
  12. Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment by Sandra Steingraber (Better World Books)
  13. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (PaperBackSwap)
  14. Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles (PaperBackSwap)
  15. Path Of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving In The Dark by Kazuo Koike (Harvard Books)
  16. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover (PaperBackSwap)
  17. Rainbow Man by M. J. Engh (PaperBackSwap)
  18. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (*coughs* recycling bin on my street again)
  19. Rut by Scott Phillips (picked up for free at Back Pages Books)
  20. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams (Better World Books)
  21. Smokin’ Six-Shooter by B. J. Daniels (gift)
  22. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (PaperBackSwap)
  23. State of Decay by James Knapp (PaperBackSwap)
  24. Steel Drivin’ Man:John Henry: the Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson (Kindle)
  25. Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco (PaperBackSwap)
  26. Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization (won)
  27. Watership Down by Richard Adams (PaperBackSwap)
  28. We All Wore Stars: Memories of Anne Frank from Her Classmates by Theo Coster (gift)
  29. The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (PaperBackSwap)
  30. Zelde M’Tana by F. M. Busby (SwapTree)

2014 Bottom of TBR Pile Books Read and Reviewed

  1. A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales by Ying Chang Compestine (Better World Books) review 9/16/2014 5 stars
  2. Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker (Harvard Books) review 10/28/2014, 2 stars
  3. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer (Better World Books) review 6/01/2014, 4 stars
  4. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan (PaperBackSwap) review 5/08/2014, 3 stars
  5. Ecstasy in Darkness by Gena Showalter (CVS) review 1/16/2014, 2 stars
  6. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (Better World Books) review 5/30/2014, 3 stars
  7. From a Buick 8 by Stephen King (Harvard Books) review 10/09/2014, 3 stars
  8. Fudoki by Kij Johnson (Better World Books) review 9/10/2014, 5 stars
  9. The Hornet’s Sting by Mark Ryan (Kindle) review 2/20/2014, 3 stars
  10. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (PaperBackSwap) review 11/25/2014, 4 stars
  11. The Postmortal by Drew Magary (Kindle) review 8/23/2014, 3 stars
  12. Waiting For The Galactic Bus by Parke Godwin (PaperBackSwap) review, 3/12/2014, 4 stars

2013 Bottom of TBR Pile Books Read and Reviewed

  1. Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt (PaperBackSwap) review 2/27/2013, 4 stars
  2. Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States by Andrew Coe (Kindle) review 8/17/2013, 3 stars
  3. Dagon by Fred Chappell (Better World Books) review 3/14/2013, 3 stars
  4. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (PaperBackSwap) review 5/18/2013, 3 stars
  5. Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag (PaperBackSwap) review 6/05/2013, 3 stars
  6. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk (Brookline Booksmith) review 7/18/2013, 3.5 stars
  7. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Harvard Books) review 9/21/2013, 4 stars
  8. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (Harvard Books) review 5/21/2013, 4 stars
  9. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames (PaperBackSwap) review 2/16/2013, 3 stars
  10. Man Plus by Frederick Pohl (PaperBackSwap) review 6/06/2013, 5 stars
  11. Mulliner Nights by P. G. Wodehouse (Harvard Books) review 5/01/2013, 4 stars
  12. A Room with a View by Edward Morgan Forster (won) review 08/03/2013, 2 stars
  13. The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Story of Injustice in Iran by Freidoune Sahebjam (Kindle) review 10/22/2013, 4 stars
  14. Superior Women by Alice Adams (Better World Books) review 5/25/2013, 3.5 stars
  15. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (Kindle) review 9/07/2013, 5 stars
  16. The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess (PaperBackSwap) review 3/15/2013, 3 stars
  17. Where The Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary by Kathy Stevens (Kindle) review 4/18/2013, 4 stars

2012 Bottom of TBR Pile Books Read and Reviewed

  1. Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham (PaperBackSwap)review 5/06/2012, 5 stars
  2. Across The Table / Dancing On Sunday Afternoons (two books in one volume) by Linda Cardillo (…recycling bin on my street *runs, hides*) review 8/14/2012, 4 stars
  3. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman (live signing at Brookline Booksmith)review 7/10/2012, 3 stars
  4. A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence (PaperBackSwap) review 1/07/2012, 3 stars
  5. Dark Life by Kat Falls (PaperBackSwap) review 1/12/2012, 5 stars
  6. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (PaperBackSwap) review 5/23/2012, 4 stars
  7. The Mount by Carol Emshwiller (PaperBackSwap) review 6/25/2012, 3 stars
  8. Nova by Samuel R. Delany (PaperBackSwap) review 1/18/2012, 2 stars
  9. The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins (won…somewhere on the internet) review 7/23/2012, 4 stars
  10. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (PaperBackSwap) review 9/05/2012, 2 stars
  11. Soulless by Gail Carriger (PaperBackSwap) review 10/23/2012, 3.5 stars
  12. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (Better World Books) review 1/25/2012, 4 stars
  13. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead (PaperBackSwap) review 2/04/2012, 4 stars
  14. Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien (PaperBackSwap) review 1/10/2012, 4 stars

Pulled From Pile Without Reading

  1. Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (Kindle)
  2. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (PaperBackSwap)
  3. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin (won)
  4. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle (Better World Books)
  5. The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison (PaperBackSwap)
  6. Hack the Planet: Science’s Best Hope – or Worst Nightmare – for Averting Climate Catastrophe by Eli Kintisch (won)
  7. Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan (Kindle)
  8. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (borrowed)
  9. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter (PaperBackSwap)
  10. Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance and Teaching (EarlyReviewers)
  11. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (gift)
  12. Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (PaperBackSwap)
  13. Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang (gift)
  14. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (PaperBackSwap)
  15. Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham (This is the last recycling bin one, I swear.)
  16. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (gift)
  17. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede (PaperBackSwap)
  18. Trust Us, We’re Experts PA: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future by Sheldon Rampton (Better World Books)
  19. Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin (Better World Books)
  20. Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter (Back Pages Books)
  21. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (PaperBackSwap)
  22. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston (gift)
  23. Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary (won)
  24. The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia by Peter Dendle (EarlyReviewers)
  1. July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

    This is a really good idea … especially since my blog has gotten more notice within the past year but TBR pile is probably somewhere between 20 to 30 books … =0P

    I know it’s a good think … I’m not complaining … it just when I think of it in numbers like that it’s a bit overwhelming. *hahaa*

    • July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

      Lol, it’s one of those problems that’s *good* to have….but can still be a bit overwhelming!

      I can’t claim 100% credit for the idea. I tweaked it from a challenge another book blogger (Amy of amckiereads) was doing with her roommate.

      But I’m really enjoying it! It keeps books I once was interested in from being forgotten entirely and also helps point out to me that I basically have my own personal library at home to pick from. :-)

      I definitely think I’ll be doing it again next year, although I’ll be bumping up the year to “books acquired before 2012.”

  2. August 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I like this idea – I quickly lose interest in the books at the bottom of my tbr pile. In fact I literally got rid of 10 bags of books recently (all unread!) which frankly just felt ridiculous. But, I just knew that I wouldn’t get to them. Much badness!
    Lynn :D

    • August 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Yes! I got concerned that I’d just never get to books I acquired um *coughs* years ago, so it felt like a good idea. It’s also been quite interesting to see how and why I acquired things back then and how my interests had changed. For instance, back then, I was reading pnr and YA a lot more because I was in grad school and working full-time. Now that I’m out of grad school, I have more brain energy for more challenging reads like nonfiction!

      There are lots of tbr challenges out there, but I like having it be totally personal to me. I feel less stress that way!

  3. August 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    What we should actually do to liven it up is make it a challenge. So, your list of books above – your friends/commenters choose your next book (then the pressure would be on!) Read that book or else – don’t make us all come over there.
    Lynn :D

    • August 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Lol, oh man! Maybe I can try that as part of the end of the year events. Especially since I obviously won’t be making it through all of them!

  4. August 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Sorry, I’ll go away now (just one more comment!) Just noticed your next book is Poison Study – I’ve read this and I actually enjoyed it but I do like YA and I think Maria Snyder isn’t as valued as she should be!
    I hope you enjoy that one and I’ll look out for your review. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s obviously got it’s faults but on the whole I found it enjoyable).
    Lynn :D

    • August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Dude, no worries! I love friendly comments. I mean, we’re both book people, right? :-)

      Yeah I’m actually pretty excited that random.org picked this one next (that’s how I’ve been picking what comes next). I’ve heard very good things about it in the librarian circles!

  5. September 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Amanda, you’re amazing! My physical TBR pile is in the hundreds. :-( I keep saying that I’m going to read more from that pile but I constantly go to the library. Keep it up!

    • September 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Aww, thank you, Vasilly! I was just feeling kind of lame because I hadn’t made it through as many of these this year as I wanted to, lol. I worked them into my reading rotation so they won’t be *completely* ignored….

  1. February 11, 2012 at 1:01 am
  2. April 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm
  3. October 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

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