Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Reading the TBR

Before I became a writer, I was a reader. I think most of us start out that way – I mean, the love of story has to come from somewhere, right? In my case, it came from my parents reading to me as a child¹.

There were always books in the house, everything from mainstream thrillers and romances to my Dad’s Penguin Classics and as I grew up  I devoured them all. I don’t recall ever being told “not that one” or that something was too adult for me. Actually, I don’t think I ever even asked permission. If it was on the shelves, it was fair game².

As soon as I was old enough to go into town on my own, I was regularly to be found haunting the stacks at Newcastle’s bookshops, or maxing out my library card. I coudn’t get enough of books. Once I had an independent income, well. It came as no surprise to anyone that my first house contained a significant number of IKEA ‘Billy’ bookcases and I filled them all to overflowing.

Fast forward through two house moves (and marriage to MrC, who is also a bookworm) and I now have a to-be-read pile which . . . well, it looms. Not quite so vast as to distort the fabric of space-time, but still enough to induce backache when it has to be packed into boxes and moved from house to house. Since I also appear to be constitutionally incapable of not buying even more books, something has to give.

To that end, I declared 2024 to be the Year of Reading the TBR Before It Crushes Me and made a start. By the beginning of April, I’d completed 9 books from the pile and come very late to the party on some great reads:

 

These books have been waiting patiently on my shelves for years, quite frankly. In many cases, since they were published. The longest-resident on the list is Daughter of the Empire, by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts, which I bought in 1996. I bounced off it back then, but kept it because I thought I just wasn’t in the mood for it at that time³. It has been staring accusingly at me from the bookcase ever since. Maybe I’ll get around to it this year after all.

If I’m honest, I would have liked to have read more from the pile by now. According to my mostly-accurate Goodreads list, I still have 209 books I want to read, of which the physical Mount TBR is 138. The only problem is I started the year at 206.

Um. Whoops.

¹ They had a beautiful illustrated edition of Ivanhoe that became my favourite bedtime story for a number of years, and a comfort read for many more thereafter. I don’t remember much about it as a physical object so I don’t know if it was abridged or a kid-friendly edition or what, but the story had such an impact on me that when I moved out of my parents’ house at age 23 I wanted to take it with me. Alas, it was nowhere to be found. Gentle reader, I was gutted.

² Which was how I came to read The Iliad and The Odyssey before I’d finished middle school. Quite enjoyed them, too.

³ “Books and the Moods In Which To Read Them” would be a whole other post.

2 Comments

  1. Michael Seefeldt

    Thank you. I was looking for something new to read. I’ll see if the local library has any of those in stock. Realm of Ash sounds good.

    • Ellie

      Realm of Ash is the sequel to Empire of Sand; I think you’ll get a deeper sense of the world if you read them in publication order. Either way, enjoy!

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