2009 TBR Book Challenge


Having just finished the TBR Challenge for 2008, I’m ready to set my sights toward 2009.  In honor of one of my favorite book bloggers, Dewey, who passed away recently, several of the books on this list are books I came to via her blog, The Hidden Side of a Leaf.  So many of the books I’ve read in the last couple of years, I found on her blog.  I am going to miss her.

The challenge is to read 12 books in 12 months, all at once or spread out, whichever way you want.  They cannot be re-reads, and you have to make a list and stick to it, unless you go to your alternate list.  The website, with rules and participants, is here.

Here’s my list of 12 books I would like to read this year, plus 7 alternates.

  1. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates.  Ted bought be this book for Christmas, and said he had heard a lot of good things about it.  OK, I’m in!  With the movie version coming out soon, I’d better read this one first thing.
  2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery.  Dewey had this book on her ‘Sunday Book Coveting’, in which she would mention books that she was considering getting.  She ran out and got this book right away, as she couldn’t bear to wait for her library to get it.
  3. The Hearts of Horses, by Molly Gloss.  A few years ago, I read another Molly Gloss book, The Jump Off Creek, which I really enjoyed.  Add that to my love of horses and strong female characters, and it looks like we may have a winner here.
  4. Out Stealing Horses, by Per Peterson.  This book is on a lot of ‘best book of the year’ lists, and I saw it on my last trip to Green Apple Books in San Francisco, and it had a little tag highly recommending it.
  5. The Solace of Leaving Early, by Haven Kimmel.  I bought this book back in March, and haven’t gotten to it yet.  That makes it a TBR, right?
  6. Fortunate Son, by Walter Mosley.  I got this book at the same time as The Solace of Leaving Early, at Cody’s books.  I’m sad that Cody’s closed down entirely.  I’ve been going there my whole life, and it was probably the best bookstore in Berkeley.
  7. The Road Home, by Rose Tremain.  I read about this book on Dewey’s site, in her ‘book coveting’ section, and she made it sound very interesting.
  8. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson.  This is another book from Dewey’s blog.
  9. The Tale of Murasaki, by Liza Dalby.  When I was in graduate school, I read The Tale of Genji, which is widely considered to be the first novel written, and is hundreds of years older than Shakespeare and Chaucer.  It is the tale of the courtly life of Prince Genji, a Japanese nobleman.  This novel is the tale of the author of Genji, Shibiku Murasaki, who describes the life of a Geisha.  Liza Dalby is reputed to be the only western woman who has succeeded in becoming a Geisha.
  10. Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan.  I loved The Joy Luck Club, many years ago, so I’ll revisit the world of Ms. Tan, and see what I find there.
  11. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I tried to read One Hundred Years of Solitude about 20 years ago, and couldn’t get into it.  So I thought I’d try something a bit smaller by the same author, and see how I do.
  12. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini.  The Kite Runner broke my heart, but it was a beautiful book, and I’ve heard that this book may be even better.

The rules say that I can make a list of alternates as well, which I can use to replace the books on this list if I decide that I want to.  That’s a good idea, because at one point in the last challenge, I discovered that I had already read a book on my list, and had forgotten it!  So, here is my list of alternates, in case one of these doesn’t keep my interest, or in case I discover that I’ve read it and forgotten all about it.

  1. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.  This book was on my list for the non-fiction challenge last year, but it got pushed aside when my mom died, and I read A Year of Magical Thinking instead.  I received this book as a gift from two different people, so I suspect it’s pretty good.
  2. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes.  I had a book giveaway last year, trying to get rid of a few books and unclutter my house.  Those unclear on the idea of uncluttering, or perhaps more worried about uncluttering THEIR houses than my house, sent me books that they thought I might like.  This one came from Amy.
  3. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham.  I bought this one quite awhile ago, and tried to read Mrs. Dalloway in preperation for it, but I couldn’t get into Mrs. Dalloway, so I pushed it aside.  I might try Dalloway again, too.
  4. The Night Listener, by Armistead Maupin.  I’ve read his Tales of the City books, years ago, and liked them.  So I’ll give this a try, maybe.
  5. The Hindi Bindi Club, by Monica Pradhan.  This was another book sent to me in exchange for a book in my giveaway.  Looks like fun.
  6. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig.  I confess, I don’t remember where I got this book.  It may have been given to me in exchange for a giveaway book, or it may have been a Christmas or Birthday gift…I’m a bad person, and I don’t remember.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy it for myself, but one never knows.
  7. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. What’s not to like about a boy being raised by werewolves and ghosts in a graveyard? Nothing, that’s what. I have a feeling this one might get bumped up from the alternate to the regular list pretty quickly.

7 thoughts on “2009 TBR Book Challenge

  1. Great list.

    I just read A Thousand Splendid Suns: beautiful, very sad, but absolutely wonderful book. I can’t imagine living in such a world, and yet the book ends hopeful, somehow. You’ll love it.

    I can’t wait to check out some of the others on your list.

  2. Aww sad. She was a good inspiration for you 🙂 I saw previews for Revolutionary Road, I don’t know how I feel about that one. I’d love to hear how you like the book 🙂

  3. Reading the 12 books wouldn’t be hard for me at ALL (I’m on my 21st for the month of December), but making a list now and sticking to it? THAT would be hard!

  4. Well, now I’m jealous, as it looks like the one book I’ll be reading in all of 2009 is the biography of Henry Ford I’m still working on (it’s also costing me ten cents a day now–overdue at the library). I love to read and am a fast reader, but often have zero minutes per day to spend reading (because I love getting nine hours of sleep even more than I love reading!), plus precious reading minutes often end up going to The New Yorker and other periodicals.

  5. When I saw Molly Gloss on your list, I thought: “Is that the same person who wrote The Dazzle of Day?” Turns out it is. I really couldn’t get into The Dazzle of Day, but it’s nice to know that her other books are quite good.

  6. This is something I must do more of this year. I made my hubby buy “The Gargoyle” for me for Christmas, and I’m already really getting into it. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it before 2010 🙂

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