Annabel’s Books read March

This month has been so busy. I didn’t get as much reading done as I’d planned – or anything else for that matter.

I have a confession to make too!  I read a non-TBR book for my blog – The White Hare by Michael Fishwick – I wanted to take part in the blog tour for its publication (review here).

Here’s a photo of what I read in March (including the Sarah Dunant which should have been in February’s photo).

Of those pictured above, the ultra-slim Abigail’s Party and Mother of Darkness are also non-TBR books – but were review copies for Shiny so excepted.

This makes just 5 books from the TBR in March (I realise I’ve included Mr Pye in Feb and March).

So in total I managed just 15 books from my TBR in three months…

How did you do?

Annabel’s February reads

I read 10 books in February  (one not pictured, and I’m counting the 3 Ladybird expert books as 1 as they total approx 75 pages of text).

Strictly speaking, the Ladybird books and my tenth book – the new Sarah Dunant were cheats, as I got them this year – but both were to be reviewed for Shiny New Books, so are among my permitted exceptions, as not for my blog.  Will you allow me that?

Of the rest, three came from my TBR shelves (Peake, Porter and Zink), the rest were review copies I had before Jan 1.  I’d particularly recommend Paradise City by Joe Thomas (reviewed here), Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller and English Animals by Laura Kaye.)

Can’t wait to hear how my co-host Lizzy is doing, and you too…

Have you cheated yet? Is it still fun?

Annabel’s January books read

I thought I should show you the books I read too during January.

Only seven, which isn’t a lot for me, but it has been unseasonably busy this month – and one of those seven was 866 pages!

That was the wonderful 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. I loved it, but am a long-term Auster fan. However my co-editor at Shiny New Books has reviewed it already – Harriet’s never read Auster and she loved it too – check out her review here.

Of the other six, three were book club reads – Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis for my book group in early Jan, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez for next week’s meeting. Then I read The Glorious Heresies for our staff book group at school.

These were supplemented by Apple Tree Yard, which I rushed through ahead of the TV series, and two YA novels. The Wall by William Sutcliffe was rather affecting, being set in a fictional town on the West Bank.

And – amazingly, NO CHEATS!

Hope your TBR reading goes well too.


Books read during January

Lizzy’s TBR Dare Reads 01.17

12 books read, 11 of which were selected from the pre-January TBR with 3 5-star reads!   I’m quite pleased with that. I’ve written more extensively about these choices over at Lizzy’s Literary Life.

I’d like to create a collage of all the books we read during the Dare.  So, if you think it a good idea, please send photos of the books you read to me at lizzysiddal@yahoo dot com and I shall do the honours.

Do tell your reading tales from January.  I hope your month was as productive and enjoyable as my own.

How’s it going?

We’re a couple of weeks into the TBR Dare for 2017…

I’ve read three books and have another 2 on the go. I’d have hope to read more, but the start of this January has turned out to be rather hectic.

Like Lizzy, I’ve managed to sort out a couple of carrier bags full of books to go to the charity shop too – which is a bonus from taking part in the Dare – in one way, freeing up shelf-space for books to come 🙂 , but also trying to reduce the number of books in my TBR piles just a little bit.

However, if you find it difficult to get rid of books, you can be heartened by this article In Praise of the Book Tower.

Happy Reading


The 2017 TBR begins…


2017’s TBR Dare is officially underway.

But as this is a friendly dare rather than a challenge with targets, it’s never too late to join in. To see how it works and to sign up visit the tabs above.

As your hosts, Annabel and Lizzy will be popping in to update you on their progress regularly and we’d love you to share yours too – whether you’re managing, or cheating!

Happy TBReading!

The (final) cull of 2016

The only way I can cull my book collection is to be methodical. And it’s no use asking the Marie Kondo question, do I love this book? Of course I do, either for the pleasure it has given me or the pleasure it will bestow when I do eventually read it. Books that I have no feelings for don’t even pass through the front door (apart from the occasional unsolicited review copy). So the questions I asked yesterday were as follows:

a) Of the unread, do I absolutely, with all my heart, still want to read this book?

b) Of the read that are not part of a collection, would I like to reread you?

About 5 minutes into the exercise it became clear that I asked those questions last time and so I added a third:

c) Of paperbacks, should I ever wish to read/reread you, could I borrow you from the library?

It’s an indicator of my lack of confidence in Lanarkshire’s libraries that I only added less than 10 paperbacks to the cull pile as a result of this question – which is a bit daft when you think about it. If I donate a book to the library, of course it’s going to be there if I want to read it. (Well, you’d think so, but there have been at least two occasions when that was not so.)

After 6 hours working through 2 rooms and about 1500 books, the output of my labour was this.

6 hours = 75 books (ca. 1 every 5 minutes)

Clearly I need to find more effective questions for the next cull. What do you suggest?

Still it wasn’t all about numbers, though there was a impetus in balancing 2016’s purchase allowance equation: Purchases = (books read + books culled) / 5. So even though I’ve culled 278 books in total this year,  I’ve still bought 25 more than my allowance.

Carnage in the corner!

There was also the issue of physical balance as the toppling book stacks in the library were a definite health and safety risk and the latest collapse only just missed me. Well I can’t claim that those particular stacks are now any shorter, but they are looking much more stable. I can also confirm that there is a carpet in the room, having removed many smaller stacks from the library floor to the overflow area in the front bedroom (which will become a second library when there are bookshelves).

Reclaimed and ready for action!

So more of a tidy-up than a fully-fledged cull, but still with one positive outcome.  I have reclaimed my reading sofa! So Sergei and I can now stretch out/snuggle up as the mood takes us as we take on the TBR, which now stands at only 1925 volumes high.


State of the TBR #1

Annabel fesses up…

See our header photo – that’s just a small part of my TBR books – those bookcases are four wide and ten shelves high and house most of my unread paperbacks.
My bedside bookcase (below) and its associated piles on the floor houses my immediate TBR. Review copies, book group choices, plus an assortment I’ve been meaning to read for ages if only I’d stop reading all the shiny new ones – this means some of the books on the lower shelves have been there far too long.

This is one reason why I do the TBR Dare – I would like to add some different books to the lower shelves of this particular bookcase (which used to be in my room as a child – aah!).

I have other paperbacks and hardbacks in quantity dotted around the place, but I won’t picture them. Instead, I thought I’d share a specialist bookcase with you. This lives in the guest bedroom, and houses only biographies. I have actually read a handful of the books in this one, but 90% of the books therein are, as yet, unread.

I can hear you ask – Annabel, exactly how many books are in your TBR? I’m embarrassed to say; that figure is a ‘known unknown’ that even my Librarything account only has a ballpark figure on – suffice it to say, it’s in a multiple of 4 figures.

So I’ve confessed. That’s why I take part in the TBR Dare each year!

What’s the state of your TBR?

Welcome to The TBR Dare

tbr-dareWelcome to the new home of The TBR Dare, originally set up by James Chester at James Reads Books, where his beloved dog Dakota was its mascot for 6 years. Thank you to James for starting this meme.

Now Lizzysiddal of Lizzy’s Literary Life and Annabel of AnnaBookBel are taking it over. We’ll be hoping to sign you up and will be encouraging you and checking how you’re doing throughout the period of The TBR Dare.

We’ve kept the “rules” exactly the same, but for those who’ve not joined in before, It works like this….

For the first three months of 2017 read only the books that were already in your TBR pile(s) as of midnight December 31, 2016.

You can include books you’ve ordered but not received yet as well as books you have already placed on reserve at your local library.  You can also make exceptions for certain books that will be published early next year along with book club choices and review copies as needed.  The TBR Dare has always been about having fun, so make whatever changes to the “rules” you need to to keep it fun.

If you just want to take The TBR Dare for a month, that’s fine, too.  The TBR Dare will run from January 1, 2017 to April 1, 2017.  Technically, it’s not a shopping ban so you can still buy books–you just can’t read them until April 1.

And please do help spread the word by posting on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you go on-line.  Feel free to use the “button” above and to link to this page.

Remember, The TBR Dare is not a “reading challenge”; it’s a dare.  So if you’re someone who does not sign up for reading challenges you can still participate.

To sign up, you can leave a comment below, or add your name to the Mister Linky widget.

Go on, we dare you!

Annabel and Lizzy