Over the past few summers I’ve been aware of fellow bloggers taking part in Cathy746books seasonal challenge to read and review twenty books from their tbr lists. I’ve always thought it was a good idea, but somehow I’ve never caught the beginning of it. Typically, this year, when I have become aware of people posting their lists of intended reads, I no longer have a mountains of unread books piling up all over the place. When I moved this time last year I had to get rid of around eighty percent of my collection and the tbr list was decimated. (Actually, it was far more than decimated, which means that only one in ten went. For me it was more like one in ten remained but I don’t think there is a term for that!). However, nothing daunted, I have drawn up a list of books that over the years I have somehow missed out on; books that I always meant to read but failed to find time for when they were current in my mind. They may not be part of a physical tbr pile, but they are definitely mentally part of my tbr intentions.
You will have noticed, however, that I am not going for the full twenty. Cathy allows participants to opt for a lower number, fifteen or ten, and when I look at my other reading commitments for the period between the 3rd of June and the 3rd of September, I think that twenty would be over optimistic. I have five book group reads and three novels for the Summer School to get through during those months, as well as a list of thirteen new publications due which I will also want to read. That alone is twenty-one books before I start to add anything else to the list. I would like to think that I might manage three books a week, but as the Summer School books will have to be read before the week begins, and I won’t want to be reading anything else during the week itself, an additional fifteen sounds more reasonable.
So, my initial list, in no particular order, is:
- Cloud Atlas ~ David Mitchell
- Notes on a Scandal ~ Zoë Heller
- The Honorary Consul ~ Graham Greene
- A Dark-Adapted Eye ~ Barbara Vine
- Quartet in Autumn ~ Barbara Pym
- The Blue Flower ~ Penelope Fitzgerald
- Mr Pip ~ Lloyd Jones
- Amy and Isabelle ~ Elizabeth Stroud
- An Officer and a Spy ~ Robert Harris
- The Noise of Time ~ Julian Barnes
- English Passengers ~ Matthew Kneale
- To the Lighthouse ~ Virginia Woolf
- The Fountain Overflows ~ Rebecca West
- Behind the Scenes at the Museum ~ Kate Atkinson
- My Lover’s Lover ~ Maggie O’Farrell
I only possess two of these books at present, so I am going to be dependent on the library to get me copies of the others, but I’ve checked and I don’t think that should be too much trouble. However, it does mean that I can’t predict the order in which I am going to read them. I’ll hang on to the two that are on my shelves so that if the library fails at any point I will have something to be going on with.
My other reason for wanting to take part in this challenge is that I hope it will get me back reviewing again. I haven’t been doing enough of this lately and I am aware that I am not getting as much out of my reading as a result. When you have to bring your thoughts about a book together so that you can write coherently about it I am sure the quality of your reading is of a different order.
I am very much looking forward to sharing this with everyone else taking part. This past year has been very disrupted in many ways, and I would love to think that (ongoing dental treatment apart) I could look forward to a peaceful three months concentrating on reading, writing and drinking tea and very little else. Wishful thinking, probably, but we can all dream.