The To-Be-Read List


At the beginning of November, I made a vow that I would not buy any more books until I made a dent in my TBR list. I have made this particular vow many times before, so I did not hold out a lot of hope that I would succeed, but I did have good intentions.

The first thing I did to try to keep my vow was to cheat. I bought two Bibles. These books would not be added to my TBR list, so they didn’t count. I used the same technique recently, when I purchased The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge at Costco.

I also tried staying out of the bookstore. This was, obviously, a much more successful (and ethical!) technique. The entire time I stayed out of bookstores, I managed to not buy any books! Unfortunately, this was not a technique I could sustain indefinitely. On Black Friday, after a marathon morning of shopping with my mother and aunt, I ended up meeting my friend Mandy and taking the kids to the mall for dinner. I was too tired to cook. But, the mall is dangerous, because there is a Waldenbooks there. Of course, Mandy* wanted to go to the bookstore. Of course, I agreed, but I told myself I wouldn’t buy anything. Ha! I did manage to make it out of there with only one book, though (The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken; it was on the bargain table, I had to buy it!).

So, I was not terribly successful, but still, I was feeling pretty good about this. I finished 7 books in November, and I only added 1 book to the list. It seems like I added a lot more, because I made a real effort to go through my LibraryThing catalog and mark everything unread, so I could get an idea of what I was working with, but I already had all those books, so they don’t count.

This past Monday, though, I found myself with an hour to kill while my daughter went to basketball practice. And do you know what is less than a half a mile from the community center where basketball practice takes place? A Barnes & Noble store, that’s what. And I had been wanting to read The Great Gatsby for some time. And, I was finished with all the PD James books I owned. And, what else would conveniently fill that hour of time? (Don’t mention working out, I know that would have been the wise choice. But, I didn’t feel all that well on Monday. And, I am good at rationalization.)

The boy and I dropped the girl off at practice and we were off to the bookstore! First, I have to say that I told the boy, who is only 5, that he would have to wait until I picked out my books before we headed to the children’s section, and he was very good about it. He did ask me a few times if I was done yet, but he stayed by me and did not yell or run around, so I was thrilled. Of course, when we did make it back to the children’s section, he was much more interested in all the toys they have back there than the books, but still.

I ended up with 4 books for me, 2 P.D. James, Atonement, by Ian McEwan, and the aforementioned The Great Gatsby, plus How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the boy, and The Giver for the new read-aloud with the girl. She was so excited, too, yelling and actually jumping up and down. Apparently Mrs. H, her teacher, had recommended the book, which is the highest accolade a book can get in S’s opinion.

By my count, that is 6 books that I added to my TBR list** since the beginning of November, but if I add the 4 books I have already completed in December to my 7 from November, 11 books to take off the list, putting me 5 books ahead. If I didn’t manage to actually refrain from buying books while making a dent in the list, at least I was able to buy less than I was reading.

* Poor Mandy gets blamed for this a lot. She really does entice me to go to the bookstore a lot, but I do the same to her. We are probably equally to blame here, but it is more fun to blame it all on her. She doesn’t read my blog anyway.

** According to my LibraryThing tags, my I have 104 unread books, but I need to do some updating with that. First, I have not completely catalogued my list, although I think I do have most of the unreads in there. Secondly, I need to make sure I have distinguished between reference books that I do not really intend to read cover to cover and books that really should be on the TBR list. This is one of those projects for a block of time on some weekend when I am not trying to run around and get ready for the holidays.

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