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So how’s that #TBR20 thing going, anyway?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

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Image by Kat NLM/Flickr

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, this year I’m trying to knock over some of my to-read pile by not buying or borrowing any more books until I’ve read 20 books I already own. I’ve failed: Harry Saddler was kind enough to send me a copy of his novel Small Moments, now sadly out of print. I justified reading it immediately even though it’s not on my list because it’s about the Canberra bushfires and I’m writing a book about living through and recovering from natural disasters. (He also sent me his non-fiction Not Birdwatching which I am dying to read, but am holding off.) I also snuck in a quick read of Jenny Valentish’s Cherry Bomb before giving it to a friend for Christmas.

Of the books I’m supposed to be reading, I’ve now finished six:

  • Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse, which I blogged about already
  • Suddenly a knock on the door by Etgar Keret
  • Slow water by Annamarie Jagose
  • A mercy by Toni Morrison
  • Falling by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  • Demons by Wayne Macauley

I started Ablutions by Patrick de Witt but I wasn’t feeling robust enough to deal with its very dark (and funny) story of a bartender and his clients destroying their lives. And I’m now reading Lost and Found by Brooke Davis and The weight of a human heart by Ryan O’Neill, which I am rationing out to myself in teaspoons.

Part of the reason I wanted to do this exercise was the hope that I would just stumble across great books largely accidentally. Lately so much of my reading has been driven by things I must read, either for research or because everyone else is talking about them and I think they’re somehow going to change my life. I wanted to discover an unheralded joy. Etgar Keret (widely heralded, but not in earshot of me) has been just such a discovery. What funny, bleak, real, surreal short stories this bloke writes. I don’t even know where I got this book from or how long it’s been sitting on my bookshelf. So thanks, #TBR20, for making me finally get around to reading it. (A mercy was pretty damn great too.)

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6 thoughts on “So how’s that #TBR20 thing going, anyway?

  1. What a great idea! I’m a bookseller so my TBR is wildly out of hand. I’ve had to limit myself to four new books a month (bought) but I just can’t see it sticking around. Good luck with your challenge!

  2. I understand that desire to find an unheralded joy in a surprise read…and I’ve already fallen off my Australian Writers only dammit… But forgive and forget and back on the wagon I say. I’ve no doubt we’ll have both discovered at least one by the end of the year.

  3. It’s funny, isn’t it, how your reading habits are controlled by factors other than what calls out to you right then. I have lots if unread books on my shelves, many from the wishlist I compiled for my 40th birthday, including Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Paddy O’Reilly’s The Wonders & John Williams’ Stoner. But I’ve been buried under a mound of reading for the Perth Writers festival so they’ll have to wait a while longer. And some of the books I’ve read for the festival have been wonderful, and ones I might not otherwise have picked up. I’ve specially loved Peter Walker’s Some Here Among Us.

    1. Two years ago I often ran out of books to read. I’d have to rush to the library before it closed or quickly buy something on my Kindle so I wouldn’t be left bookless on the morning commute. And now I have 40 unread books. I guess it’s because of all the book-promoting people I now follow on twitter, all the authors I like to chat with, all the time I spend reading reviews on WordPress… I do miss the old days a bit.

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