Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Books that linger on the TBR pile

Brandy at Random Musings has a post up about books she’s had on her TBR pile since before she starting blogging. What an fun (if mildly depressing) idea for a blog post! It’s from The Broke and the Bookish; here is the overall list of blog posts on this topic.

Brandy’s list is interesting. You know what’s on there? The Curse of Chalion. Wow. If I could choose one book I could MAKE people read, that would be a possibility. Also Inda by Sherwood Smith. Well, I know a long five-book epic fantasy series is kind of a commitment. Still.

Mind you, my life would be fine if I’d never read American Gods.

Also, I note that I also have Mistborn on my TBR shelves. I don’t think it’s been there more than a year or two, but it is there.

Anyway, it is an interesting topic and although I don’t remember when I started blogging, I can easily pick ten of the books that have lingered the longest on my TBR shelves. Which is entirely the physical shelves; after all, those were there a long time before I got a Kindle. So I went downstairs and gazed at the shelves and here are some contenders for Longest Inhabitants of the TBR Shelves, in no order because those shelves are not alphabetized:

The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss. I know, right? I was delaying until the whole trilogy was out. Now I’m delaying for no good reason. Well, busyness and the fact that I want to read other things more, I guess.

Red Thunder by Varley. I have loved other work by Varley, but near-future sociopolitical stories are really not my thing. Someday I will at least read the first chapter and who knows, maybe this will be really great and I will be sorry I put it off so long.

A Thread of Grace by Russell. I have admired other books of hers, but they can be so unbelievably brutal. I’m scared to read this, frankly. Yet I still kind of want to. Hence its long tenure on the TBR shelves.

Havemercy by Jones and Bennett. Frankly, I would probably have read this already if the dragons were real dragons instead of mechanical dragons.

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The Demon King by Chima. I KNOW. I keep meaning to read this!

The Children of the Sky by Vinge. I really liked the first book! Parts of the first book, at least. I was much more engaged with the smaller-scale story with the tines than the bigger story happening offplanet. That may be why I have never quite opened this book.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Howe. This was recommended to me by someone or other and I do keep meaning to try it. Goodreads says: “A fresh present-day story infused with an original take on popular history. Forget broomsticks and pointy hats; here are witches that could well be walking among us today. This debut novel flows with poetic charm and eloquence that achieves high literary merit while concocting a gripping supernatural puzzler.” Poetic charm, I have to say, it does sound like the kind of thing I might like.

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Pears. It sounds very literary and erudite and frankly I have to be in just the right mood for that kind of thing.

This is Shyness by Hall. I have been on the very edge of reading this any number of times. Yet somehow I haven’t quite.

The Goddess Abides by Pearl Buck. I have liked all the books I’ve read by Pearl Buck. But again, I have to be in just the right mood and not distracted by some newly published title that I’m dying to read.

There, I think that’s ten. Incidentally, in case you’re curious, I have 92 books on my physical TBR shelves right now.

How about you? Anybody got a particular book they own and keep meaning to read but somehow just never seem to get to?

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14 Comments Books that linger on the TBR pile

  1. Megan

    Only 92? I have more like 800. It’s getting better since I stopped making weekly visits to the bookstore and browsing through their clearance rack (but it’s 50 cents! And I will never find it this cheap again, and I might like it!) *grins*

  2. Rachel

    Megan, I try hard not to pick up books I know I will never read! There were a LOT of free books on the free books table at Worldcon that I quietly passed by. And these days I avoid library sales…

  3. David H.

    It’s funny you say that you haven’t picked up The Children of the Sky because you preferred the tines’ story more than the space story, because The Children of the Sky takes place exclusively on the Tines’ World!

    As I’ve mentioned before, I keep a spreadsheet of my books, and I actually list the “purchase date” for books I haven’t read yet, and my oldest books on the list are over 6 years old (a few books my wife brought into the marriage). So I’ve got Benford’s Timescape, The Good Earth by Buck, Aliette de Bodard’s first Aztec book, Kate Elliott’s Gate trilogy, a Brothers of Gwynedd collection (by Pargeter aka Ellis Peters), Stross’s first Laundry Files book, and embarrassingly, the Griffin Mage trilogy.

    Why do I have so many that are 5-6 years old? Part of it is the curse of the shiny, I think. I’m a very big library reader, so I tend to default to getting something new there instead of focusing on what I already have (my stats since June 2007 have me reading 65% of my books from the library… on a yearly basis I haven’t gone below 50% since 2008).

    In one case, I won the first two Blake Charlton Spellwright books in a giveaway, and by the time I probably would’ve read them (earlier this year), I saw that the 3rd book in the trilogy was coming out this week), so I put it off again!

    And then I get into phases where I concentrate on a particular author (I read all of Martha Wells’s stuff in 2013, and Alastair Reynolds last year, and slowly trying the same with Judith Tarr this year).

    And then I keep adding books for some reason. :-)

  4. Megan

    Well, I always intended to read them. I’m getting more aggressive about stopping books that I don’t particularly care for and putting them in the sell pile. That’s helping, but it’s still going to be a while before I’m down to a more manageable level . . .

  5. Linda S

    For what it’s worth, I loved Fire Upon the Deep but found Children of the Sky disappointing. David H is right that it’s about the Tine world, but I didn’t much like Vinge’s answer to the question of what happened next there.

    It took me a while to get into Mistborn, but I ended up enjoying the whole trilogy very much. (I haven’t read the follow-up series yet.) The magic system is really inventive, and there are some interesting plot twists, too.

    I remember liking The Name of the Wind quite a bit when I first read it. Unfortunately, when I tried to re-read NotW after the second book finally came out, I bounced off it for some reason and put it aside. I do plan to try it again eventually, since I suspect that the bouncing-off had more to do with my mood than with the book.

  6. Evelyn Hill

    Instance of the Fingerpost was well written — four unreliable narrators who keep telling you the others are liars. And the author did a great job conveying the feel of the different settings. But it’s the only murder mystery I ever read where, when I got to the end and found out whodunnit, I no longer cared.

  7. Rachel

    But it’s the only murder mystery I ever read where, when I got to the end and found out whodunnit, I no longer cared.

    Hmm. Yeah, this one may sit around on the TBR shelves a couple more years.

    I also wonder if maybe I shouldn’t go read some spoiler-laden reviews for Children of the Sky and then perhaps decide whether or not to read it based on that.

    By this time I’ve accidentally read some comments about The Name of the Wind, so I can’t go into it quite cold. I wonder if I may be readier to be picky about some of the ways Rothfuss handles characters in the book than otherwise.

    David H. — plainly you are terribly behind and must immediately catch up, at least so far as to read the Griffin Mage trilogy! :-) Actually, one of the books I really want to get to on my TBR shelves is also Kate Elliot’s Gate trilogy.

  8. Elaine T

    On NotW, I never went past book 1 in the series, but have the impression that the author was trying to make the narrator unreliable – the type where he’s all so accomplished and then the author yanks the rug out and shows what was really going on – but unfortunately for my taste made him Marty Stu and by the end I Just Didn’t Care. Even though the narrative voice was truly engaging, by the end for me it was flat.

    Vets report: good news/bad news – they didn’t find anything big. Only hints of something small maybe involving saliva.

  9. Rachel

    Hmm. Hoping your “something small” does turn out to be trivial for your pet.

    Age seems to be catching up to my cat all at once (kidney failure, and he seems to be generally slowing down). He’s only fourteen, so that seems rather premature. Just got to wait and see how he does on k/d.

  10. Elaine T

    Sympathy on your cat. WE had a cat who went through it, and at the time there wasn’t much that could be done.
    The current problem in our guinea pig started with a skin problem, then we found kidney stones and now he acts like he wants to eat, but just drops the food instead of actually, you know, eating it. the stones have passed (lots of blood), the skin is clearing up…but why isn’t he eating?

  11. Kootch

    Wow, for me it’s inconceivable to have anything Bujold and leave it in the TBR pile. Especially Curse of Chalion, I love that one and the one after it, Paladin of Souls. Anyway, what I want to say is, go on and read Havemercy. The dragons may be mechanical but they were animated by the souls of magicians and have so much personality, especially the Havemercy of the title. And her rider! I liken the combination to, say, Wolverine and the Dragon Bitch. The use of magic is intriguing and the characters have a quirky lovableness and they go through some dire times.

  12. Rachel

    Kootch, thanks for the tip about how Havemercy dragons have personalities even though they’re mechanical. I do indeed like the idea of the book a lot better just knowing that one thing.

  13. charlotte

    I checked An Instance of the Fingerpost out of the library last month, and was very very daunted by its heft. Read the first few chapters; felt I could easily save the rest for when I had fewer other books to read. Returned it.

  14. Rachel

    Charlotte, it’s comments like that which are going to keep that book on the TBR pile another six years.

    Unless I go ahead and try it just to see if I’ll feel like giving it away after three chapters. That could happen, too.

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