2014 TBR Pile Challenge

Adam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting his traditional TBR Pile Challenge again!  He has more stringent rules than the Mount TBR Challenge, so I like to do both because they are different.  Adam says:

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2013 or later (any book published in the year 2012 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.
2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.
3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2014.
4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2014 TBR LIST! Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository!
5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published before 2013!
*Note – You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. As you complete a book – review it, and go back to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review - that will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered. For an example of what I mean, Click Here.

Monthly Check-Ins: On the 15th of each month, I’m going to post a “TBR Pile Check-In.” This will allow participants to link-up their reviews from the past month and get some recognition for their progress. There will also be small mini-challenges and giveaways to go along with these posts (Such As: Read 6 books by the June Check-in and be entered to win a book of your choice!). I’m hoping this will help to keep us all on track and make the challenge a bit more engaging/interactive. I started these mini-challenges last year, and I think they were a great success, so I am continuing them this year!

I've picked out some books, and I hope it won't turn out that I've jumped into the deep end of the pool and picked a whole lot of difficult stuff.  Still, not many books could be more tedious than Last of the Mohicans, right? Here is my "complete and final" list for 2014:

  1. Playing With Fire, by the Sangtin Writers and Richa Nagar -- I love reading about India, but for some reason I have not yet gotten around to reading this collection of women's stories.  Instead I check different ones out of the library.
  2. The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot--I have a lovely Penguin English Classics paperback of this, I just need to open it up.
  3. People Tell Me Things, by David Finkle--I don't really know what this is about.
  4. Still Life, by A. S. Byatt--I bought a lot of Byatt and then failed to read them all.  This is even a signed copy--which I bought used, of course.  (Oh, goody--I just found an article about how much the writer hated Still Life.  Yay.)
  5. History in English Words, by Owen Barfield--I thought this would be a great read--history of English words, by an Inkling no less!--but promptly got bogged down.  I tried to read it as a sporadic bedside book, and that does not work.  So, second try.
  6. Candide, by Voltaire--great trepidation.
  7. Tristram Shandy, by Lawrence Sterne--this is the one I wish I'd picked for last summer's 18th century event.
  8. Mirror of Flowers, by Dorothea Eastwood--a British book from the 1950s about wildflowers--names, stories, history.  Why have I never read this?
  9. The Man Born to Be King, by Dorothy Sayers--a cycle of plays based on the New Testament, supposed to be fantastic.  I bet it is.  But there are 12 plays, which is kind of daunting.  One for each month of the year?
  10. Second Treatise on Government, by John Locke--yep, it's all about the political philosophy this year.
  11. In the Steps of the Master, by V. H. Morton--traveling around Palestine!
  12. The Green and Burning Tree, by Eleanor Cameron--about reading and writing children's literature.  I love the title, and I quite like Cameron, so I hope the book lives up to my imagination.
And alternate titles:
  1. Joseph Andrews, by Henry Fielding--I hope to have recovered enough from Pamela to read the parody.
  2. Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhar and Notker the Stammerer--another book I've been meaning to read forever.


  1. This challenge looks so tempting, however, I am terrified of making a list ahead of time. I've tried it before and my "pre-start list" can look so different from my "finished list" that it's scary. I could pick all the books from my C.S. Lewis Project, but that hardly seems fair and, in fact, would be quite boring. So I will probably pass on this one but I will be waiting for your updates. Particularly intriguing to me are History in English Words, Tristram Shandy and The Man Born to Be King. I loved the Two Lives of Charlemagne! I read it right after The Song of Roland. Just excellent!

  2. I love Dorothy Sayers I have read all but one of her works. I wish I could find the book, it is about knighthood training.

    Good luck on your list.

  3. Some challenging titles in that list!!

    Good luck - I hope you conquer them this time around.

  4. Cleo, I do find it difficult to stick to a list, but it also gets me to read those books I mean to read but never do!

    What's the title of the Sayers book about knighthood? Sounds interesting, I'd read it.

    Thanks Brona!

  5. From your list, Ive only read The Mill on the Floss and Candide. Can't say I like them a lot, but at least Candide is very unique, it reminded me of Umberto Eco's Baudolino, but Voltaire is more witty and philosophical.

    Good luck with your challenge, Jean!

  6. I remember really liking Candide. I did intensely dislike Mill on the Floss; however, I was only 16 and not at all into the classics at the time. I should really reread it now as an adult, especially since I loved Middlemarch.

  7. Hi, interesting challenge list, don't be daunted by Candide:-) Most intrigued by the Green and Burning Tree, will look forward to your review of that as it is rather pricey on Amazon.

  8. Well then, I'll try to read Green and Burning Tree soon! I got it off my mom's large shelf of book on children's literature a while back, and then failed to actually read it for something like 2 years.

    I will try to be encouraged by comments on Candide and not so nervous. I'm not at all sure how I will like Mill on the Floss, but I did like Middlemarch.


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