Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Tag: reading (Page 1 of 4)

Project Read the TBR – an update

Folks who know me know I read fast. I always have done. As a kid, my school called me in for a special reading class – sadly, the moths have been at my memory so I can’t recall whether it was because I demonstrated advanced reading skills, or they couldn’t quite believe that yes, I really was reading adult books when barely into double digits in years, and wanted to see me prove it.

Anyway. Here we are, many (many) years and many hundreds of books later, and I’m back on my reading habit. Rather than buying scads more new books (although I have bought some, because reasons) I have been making steady pace up the south ridge of Mount Toberead. Here’s what I’ve checked off since the end of March:



I enjoyed all of these reads in their own way; there’s not a duff choice in the lot. Several different takes on the idea of a fantasy novel, from fully-realised secondary worlds like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to Los Nefilim‘s historical fiction with a quarter-turn to the fantastic, which subgenre has always been a particular favourite of mine.

Some observations, in no particular order:

  • City of StairsThe Once and Future Witches and Three Parts Dead were stand-outs.
  • Greek myths, my beloved! I have had a soft spot for these since I was small, so I found Circe a delight.
  • Who doesn’t love Murderbot?
  • I have now added The Divine Cities, The Glamourist Histories, The Craft Sequence, Inheritance Trilogy, Los NefilimPlanetfall and The Memoirs of Lady Trent to my list of series to finish, which now numbers 30. I don’t know whether to be proud of that or embarrassed.
  • As a self-confessed fan of Guy Gavriel Kay, I am frankly shocked that I managed to buy Ysabel on or around publication and then just . . . not read it for close to 17 years. I am telling myself that since I switched to ebooks, my shelves have looked the same for so long now that I’ve just stopped seeing what’s on them. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
  • It’s amazing how much reading you can get done in hospital waiting rooms when the patient transport flakes out and doesn’t send a driver for you.

In terms of continuing the TBR readathon,, there’s a difficult traverse looming, across the Wheel of Time glacier (book 9 onward). For years I re-read the series to date each time a new book came out, and round about Book 8(ish? I think?) I just stopped, although I continued to buy them up to Book 10 (Crossroads of Twilight).  Usually I can rely on my memory to hold enough detail about previous instalments that I can handle a break between books in a series, but the last WoT I read was so many years ago that I might need to go back to the beginning to avoid being lost.

On the other hand, starting again from The Eye of the World feels daunting, I’m not gonna lie. Part of me wants to complete the whole series, because warts and all it is part of my fantasy journey, and remains a significant work in the genre. At the same time, another part of me is muttering about sunk costs and more books in the sea. Hmm. Will have to think on this.

So what’s next? I have stuck a bookmark into Chapter 1 of The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. This is another book that has been patiently waiting since publication day (I know, I KNOW!)  and I’m keen to continue my Murderbot adventure. We shall see what else the summer brings.

Happy reading, everyone!


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.

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