In the hopes of vanquishing Mount Doom before its height brings it down upon my head and vanquishes me, I’ve signed up at The Unread Shelf this year. Our first ‘assignment’ is to list all of the books in our TBR pile. I’m just going to list physical books, because those are the ones whose mountainous presence casts a shadow over my bedroom and life in general. These are also just the ones I can find right now: there are others I know I have, but they’re hiding — like Cancer Ward. Brace yourself. The known count (again, physical books only) is 86. Greatly reducing this list is my number-one goal for 2023. Most will be read, but some may just be cast into Outer Darkness (i.e.Goodwill).
Revolutionary Characters, Gordon S. Wood
Merchants and Moneymen: The Commercial Revolution, 1000 – 1500. Frances and Joseph Gies
What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, John Markoff
Faces Along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, Madelon Powers
Invasion! They’re Coming! , Paul Carrell. A German history of D-Day
Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, Henry Kamen
The War of 1812, John K. Mahon
The Life of Johnny Reb, Bell Irwin Wiley
The Caesars, Vol. I: Julius Caesar, Lars Brownworth
The Confederate Reader: How the South Saw the War, Richard Barkswell Harwell
The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation, Stephen Ambrose
The Victorians, A.N. Wilson
British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution, Don Hagist
Log Cabin Pioneers: Stories, Songs, and Sayings. Wayne Erbsen
Inside the Klavern: The Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, David Horowitz
Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government, Steven Levy
Skeleton Keys: The Secret life of Bone, Brian Switek
The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are, Robert Wright
The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories, J.L. Heilbron
This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Daniel Levitin
Why Balloons Rise and Apples Fall: Physics in Bite-Sized Chunks, Jeff Stewart
Buzz Sting Bite: Why We Need Insects, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
Nine Pints: A Journey through the Mysteries of Blood, Rose George
Politics, Society, and Culture
The End of Power: Why Being in Charge Isn’t What it Used to Be, Moises Naim
Copenhaganize: The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism, Mikaeel Colville-Andersen
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein
The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas are Killing Common Sense, Gad Saad
McMafia: A Journey through the Global Criminal Underworld, Misha Glenny
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans, Mark Bauerlein
The 99% Invisible City, Roman Mars
Human Habitat: 25 Ways to Think about Greener, Happier Cities, F. Kaid Benfield
The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It, Phyllis Schalfly. Found in a Little Free Library
The Excluded Americans: Homelessness and Housing Policy, William Tucker
The War Against Boys, Christina Hoff Summers
Religion & Philosophy
Spark Joy, Marie Kondo (THIS WHOLE PILE DOES NOT SPARK JOY)
Beauteous Truth: Faith, Reason, Literature, and Culture. Joseph Pearce
The Pilgrim’s Regress, C.S. Lewis
Paul among the People: the Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in his Own Time, Sarah Ruden. This was literally a case of me reading an article, the article quoting this book, and near-sleep me thinking “I need this”.
The Joyful Christian: 127 Readings, C.S. Lewis. Editor is not listed but I would assume Walter Hooper.
The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot, Bart Ehrman. Someone lent this to me five+ years ago. Don’t lend me books or movies without a deadline.
The Essential Russell Kirk
Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, George Gilder
The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier, Ian Urbina
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Nicholas Carr
One Life at a Time, Please; Ed Abbey
Adventures with Ed: A Portrait of Abbey, Jack Loeffler
Heart of Darkness and Selections from The Congo Diary, Joseph Conrad
Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Neil Postman. Found thrifting, acquired because of Postman.
The Letters of Ayn Rand, ed. Michael Berliner
The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
Swimming with Serpents, Sharman Burson Ramsey
Genghis: Birth of an Empire, Conn Iggulden
Tuck, Stephen R. Lawhead
Roads to Liberty, F. Van Wyck Mason. A collection of 4 novellas set in Revolutionary America
Blood of Honour, James Holland
Darkest Hour, James Holland
North Star Over my Shoulder, Bob Buck. WW2 flying novel or something. Found in library bookstore. I see planes, I buy things. It’s sad.
Tucket’s Travels: Francis Tucket’s Adventures in the West, Gary Paulsen
The Day of Atonement, David Liss
The Sunne in Splendour, Sharon Kay Penman
Classics Club Reading List
Ida Elizabeth, Sigrid Undset
Dune, Frank Herbert
My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
On the Nature of Things | De rerum natura, Lucretius. Trans Anthony Esolen
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
Paradise Lost, Milton
My Antonia, Willa Cather
All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
Purgatorio, Dante. Trans. Anthony Esolen
Paradiso, Dante. Trans. Anthony Esolen
The Secret Chord, Geraldine Brooks
The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, John Steinbeck. (Yes, this exists.)
Serenity: Better Days. Graphic novel.
First Shift Legacy: A Silo Story. I don’t know what this is. It’s just in my pile.
Isaac Asimov’s Inferno, Roger MacBride Allen
Isaac Asimov’s Utopia, Roger MacBride Allen
The Wayward Bus, John Steinbeck
Metatropolis, ed. John Scalzi
The Boys from Biloxi, John Grisham.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Christopher Moore. A Little Free Library pick, one that won me over on the basis of Moore.
Cemetery Road, Greg Iles. Bought for a Christmas gift, but then it got damaged by the struggles of life on Mount Doom.
The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells
The Food of the Gods, H.G. Wells
86! That’s an impressive (physical) TBR…
And it’s all in one place in neat stacks now. There’s a bit of wall left before the ceiling, but not much. XD
I love The Island of Dr. Moreau. Ping me when you start it!
I was impressed when I read it back in 2006. We should have an interesting chat if Stephen completes it this year. I wonder if we’ll have anything like similar ‘takes’ on what we think the author was getting at?
That would be fun! I’ve read it twice and found it still had a lot to offer the second time, even though I knew all the twists and turns. 🙂
I’d say it’s most likely an October read (Halloween/SF), but trying to save books for series is part of why I have this stack to begin with. I reserve boooks for a particular time of year or series, then I forget the idea. Going to go for indiscriminate slaughter/scorched earth/ this year, so who knows?!
@Stephen – Sounds good! Moreau has a tropical island setting, so it might be a good summer pick if you are looking for an earlier start 🙂
Thanks for the tip! I’ll do a heads up…probably in a monthly review post, perhaps starting it in June.
If you give a ‘heads-up’ I might re-read it at the same time so we can have a proper discussion about it. Hard to remember details after 16-17 years, even with my review prompts!
I’ve been trying for years to reduce my pile – slowly nibbling away at it. It would be much smaller if only I didn’t go and buy new books
They add up so quickly in the background..
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When I started the Unread Shelf project, I had 150 unreads. In 2 years I got it down to 105. 😦 The problem was all the new adds, many of them gifts! So I dug in last month and parted with those I knew I didn’t want to read or will never ever read. That’s the only reason I am down to 79. So 86 isn’t so bad.
Of your classics and other fiction I have The Book Thief on my TBR this year. And I’ve read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and My Antonia. Both fairly enjoyable. Have you read O Pioneers, yet, the first book in the Cather trilogy?
I have! It was on my first Classics Club list. I enjoyed it enough that I’ve wanted to return to her. Of my list, just over a third were given to me or were otherwise free (from library discards, Little Free Library finds, etc). I haven’t done a firm pruning of the ones I know I probably won’t read, but am planning to this weekend. There were a few books I didn’t add to this list because I knew they were out the door anyway — I was literally given a pile of books from someone’s estate sale and held on to them for a few weeks out of politeness’ sake.