Thursday, 13 January 2011

To Be Read

On Saturday, I was chatting with a few book bloggers on Twitter, as you do (my username is at tony_malone, by the way), and the topic of to-be-read (TBR) books happened to come up.  I was perplexed when my admission to having a total of twenty-two unread books on my shelves was met with derision by several people, a feeling which was quickly replaced by incredulity when the other people in the conversation said that their TBR pile was well into three figures.  One blogger (who shall remain nameless) claimed to have more than 800 unread books at home, which leaves me wondering two things: firstly, how many books they have in total, and secondly, where they sleep, as I'm sure there is no room for a bed in their dwelling.  Be that as it may, I thought it might be nice to dash off a quick post with a picture of my unread treasures, letting you all know what I may or may not be reading over the coming months.

As always, I have a few Wordsworth Editions classics waiting to be read.  These books come with introductions and notes and only cost a few dollars each from the Book Depository.  They've recently changed from the dark blue cover (seen above for Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, along with a very old, neglected and battered copy of Cervantes' Don Quixote) to a rather Gothic looking black number (as modelled here by Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South and a Dostoyevsky double bill - The Gambler and The House of the Dead).

The other classics here are Oxford World's Classics and are review copies which I haven't yet reviewed (or read...).  I'm currently half-way through Anthony Trollope's An Autobiography, and I hope to get to Gogol's Plays and Petersburg Tales and Samuel Richardson's Pamela very soon.  No, really.

Naturally, my reading preferences for Japanese and German literature are also represented here; I have a chunky copy of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre awaiting me, and there are also a few Japanese classics.  I've yet to read anything by Japan's two Nobel laureates in literature, so Kenzaburo Oe's The Silent Cry and Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes should rectify that.  The other Japanese-related book here is Jay Rubin's biography of one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words.

Amongst all the classics, there are some modern(ish) books too.  I'm hoping to read a lot of Kazuo Ishiguro in 2011, and these copies of The Unconsoled and An Artist of the Floating World are a good place to start.  Also, after enjoying A Fine Balance so much, I was pleased to snap up Rohinton Mistry's debut novel, Such a Long Journey, from a bargain bin a few weeks ago.  Finally, Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting will increase my already hefty Kundera collection :)

There are two books by authors totally new to me, bought for a dollar apiece at the campus bookshop: Robertson Davies' Murther & Walking Spirits and Margaret Drabble's The Needle's Eye.  I don't often buy books by new authors (that's what the library's for!), but one little Australian dollar?

Finally(!), there are three books which have been on my shelves for a long, long time.  Jane Gleeson-White's Classics is a great book which I am putting off reading until I have read more of the novels discussed in it!  Robert Graves' The Greek Myths is fairly self-explanatory, and I'm sure I'll get around to it one day.  Which leaves...

...Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged!  I bought this on a whim for $5 at a book sale, didn't really like the sound of it when I checked out what it was actually about, and it has now lain dormant on my shelves for about two years.  Will I ever read it?  I'm not sure.  I'm not afraid of the length, but do I really want to spend a few precious reading weeks on something I'll probably hate...

So, that's it, dear readers: my TBR shelf.

Of course, by next week there'll be another few books there...