Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The endless TBR stack

I’ve referred several times lately to my TBR pile, and I just thought it would be interesting to count the books in the stack and sort ’em out and see what’s there. There were 39 books yesterday morning, but it actually went up to 48 after a trip to Borders. And there’s one in the mail from Amazon. That’ll make 49.

I don’t even want to think about Borders going under, that really bites, but I do want to think about my TBR pile.

49 books. That’s a smallish pile for me. Actually it’s going to grow a bit in the immediate future because I definitely want a couple more books by Nicola Griffith, and I bet it doesn’t take me a couple of years to get to them, this time.

Here’s the current breakdown, which is moderately typical, I think:

31 Fantasy, breaking down this way:

22 adult fantasy titles
6 YA fantasy
1 short story collection
1 fairy tale retelling
1 paranormal
1 zombie

5 adult SF
2 YA SF
3 mystery
1 historical
2 thriller
1 contemporary YA
1 literary
1 memoir
1 nonfiction

There, I think I got ’em all. The bias toward fantasy over SF is very typical, but there’s often less of a bias toward adult vs YA fantasy. I’ve been reading the YA stuff lately and so it’s been pulled out of the pile faster.

I really do like historicals, especially Gillian Bradshaw, and I’ve bought a couple by her recently, but I read ’em already — they never sit on the pile long — so having only one historical in there is a little misleading.

I know I keep saying how much I dislike literary fiction because so much of it is GRIM and DEPRESSING and it’s supposed to be all realistic and show you the misery hidden behind apparently normal but brittle facades and it’s all like, “But people really are like this, we’re just revealing the brutal truth of the human condition!”

And first of all I don’t think so and second who cares? I don’t read fiction to enjoy life-is-pointless messages, you know?

But the literary one on the pile is THE MAYTREES by Annie Dillard, which means I bet it’s actually like poetry loosely disguised as prose, right? Plus with themes that are (in the end) far more positive than a lot of the other literary stuff I’ve waded through in the past. I’ve read several books of hers, including that one that won the Pulitzer, you know, PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK, the one that is disguised as a set of nature essays but is really an extended reflection on the nature of God? And although I can now thank her for providing me with a couple of REALLY DISTURBING images that will haunt me forever (the moth, right? and that thing with the frog?), it was still a very beautiful book. So I’m not too worried about THE MAYTREES.

Not in the mood for it right now, no. But not worried.

I’m taking off the first three weeks of August (Summer classes end August 1st and the Fall semester starts August 22nd). I have a major revision of a new ms to work on in that time. Can I possibly FINISH the revision in a mere three weeks? We’ll find out when it comes to it, but I can tell you, I won’t be reading fiction in those weeks!

So how much of a dent in the TBR pile can I make BEFORE August? Here’s my chance to find out. I plan to enjoy it. And go through quite a lot of extremely good-quality very dark chocolate. Umm. Great chocolate and a great book: a killer combination.

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