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.


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?