A new TBR project

Annabels Shelves

Dear Readers – I’ve been inspired!

Simon recently wrote a review of a book previously unknown to me called The Shelf by Phyllis Rose on the lovely new incarnation of his blog Stuck in a Book. In this book, the author reads a shelf of books in her local library – the good, the bad and the ugly, and uses them to discuss the joys of reading. I can’t resist books like this – especially as it’s subtitled An Adventure in Extreme Reading – I’ve ordered a copy!

Given my failure in sticking to the TBR dare this year and the never-decreasing size of my TBR piles, I thought I could adapt The Shelf‘s principles to my bookcases.

So my project – Annabel’s Shelves is born with its own page up top.

It’s very simple –

  • I will read my way through my big bookshelves as on my header from A-Z.
  • I will start by picking a book by an author or title beginning with A, and then move on to B etc.
  • I will read one book per month – or more if I feel like it but it must be from these TBR bookshelves.
  • I hope that when I get to Z – I’ll want to start again.

Those are the only rules, but I plan to concentrate on new to me authors and modern classics rather than some of the comfort reads that I know are up there.

I’m not asking anyone else to join in – I have no cast-iron schedule for this.  But, as I borrowed the basic premise from elsewhere, do feel free to whatever you like with the idea!

I’ll choose my first book from the shelves later – so here’s your chance to suggest some authors/titles to me beginning with


(Letter from Daily Drop Cap)


31 thoughts on “A new TBR project

    • I’m going to save Kate Atkinson for her new book which I have on order having loved her last one. I’m sure there’s an Allende on the shelves (I have read Daughters of Fortune though). Thanks.

  1. Margaret Atwood? Excellent project Annabel. Feeling a twinge of “I should try that”

  2. I’ve been tempted to go alphabetically through the books on my e-reader… but will I have the discipline? A worthwhile project in any case, Annabel, good luck!

    • Thanks. Some of the books in that bookcase have been there so many years – it had to be done as they’re almost all ones I can’t bear to cull without reading…

  3. There was a challenge, a few years ago, to read (at least) 52 books in a year: 26 alphabetical by title, and 26 alphabetical by author. I never managed to finish it, but had a wonderful time at the end of December pulling the books. I’m tempted again! Sarah (a regular reader, infrequent poster, but thank you for your blog!)

  4. What a fabulous idea, Annabel! I’d agree with the suggestion of Margaret Atwood – just about anything of hers would be good!

    • I’m currently dithering between Cats Eye by Atwood (whom I have read several of before) and The Long Firm by Jake Arnott who is new to me – currently Arnott’s winning… Tomorrow I start book ‘A’ …

      • I read Cat’s Eye a long time ago and remember loving it – go for Atwood!😀

  5. Er…I probably wouldn’t do it like that as it has the possibility of turning reading in to a chore. At which point I’d probably just stop reading. But then I still have a TBR pile to be tackled but I’m just chipping away at it when it feels right. At some point I may just decide that I’m unlikely to read certain books and get rid of them…that’s always one way out of the problem.

    Anyway, good luck with the challenge.

    • Thanks for your concern Jonathan… Although I don’t give up on books often, I am used to having commitments to read and have rarely found it a chore – so I have every expectation that this initiative will shift at least an alphabet’s worth of great books in my TBR piles. 🙂

        • I have a book of stories on my TBR by Lu Xun which I keep meaning to read. But I’m never sure with Chinese authors; should it be shelved under L or X?

  6. You temptress! Good idea though. And I may join you later this month. Though I’ll start at Z and work backwards. (Pretty sure I have no X’s though.)

  7. I’ve been excited to find out what challenge The Shelf had inspired, and this was something fun to see after my holiday – a great challenge! I was trying to work out what challenge I could get off the back of The Shelf too (it’s that sort of book!) but couldn’t come up with anything – so well done 🙂 I might pick one of my own shelves in Oxford and read that sometime – but it is hard to avoid reading lots of books by the same author.

    Oh, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of The Shelf itself. At the very least, it can be your ‘R’ read in 18 months’ time 😉 And thanks for your kind works about my blog!

  8. Pingback: My Shelf: a challenge | Stuck in a Book

  9. Arnim, von, Elizabeth would be my suggestion. I love her very much, and I have been trying to get my near and dear ones to read her. I would love to hear what you think of her.

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