Thursday, October 16, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: What’s Sitting on Your Shelf?

Okay, so here is an interesting blurb by Christopher Schoppa in the Washington Post.
Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books—it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.
So, the question is: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?”

According to my LibraryThing account, I own 498 unread books (eek!). It’s actually more than that because I don’t mark reference-type books as read or unread. Crazy talk, I know. I don’t even want to think about how many years worth of books that is (as I keep buying and otherwise acquiring new books). So to answer the above question, I’m going to narrow it down to five books I was really excited about acquiring but somehow haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favourite authors, so I’m always on the lookout for her latest book. I patiently waited for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to come out in paperback and ordered it from Amazon as soon as it did... but somehow still haven’t read it.

I can’t remember where I first heard about Madeleine Thien; I think a friend read me part of one of her stories at some point. I was thrilled to find a brand-new copy of her first novel Certainty secondhand... (I just noticed that Thien won the 2006 in Canada First Novel Award for this book.)

Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson is actually a trilogy of novels that chronicle working-class life in Victorian Oxfordshire. I asked for this one for Christmas (a few years back), specifically because I’ve been researching my family history and some of my ancestors came from Oxfordshire...

I’d been looking for a good history-of-food book (mainly because I want to know more about where various foods originally came from), so when I spotted this one (called Food: A History) by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, I snatched it up. This was when I was in London, England, back in 2003...

According to the inside flap, In and Out of the Garden by Sara Midda “is an exquisite potpourri of garden lore painted in minute, jewel-like detail.” Every page, including the text, has been hand-painted. It looks beautiful. And since I grabbed this one from another woman at a book fair (she had found it and actually graciously offered it to me when I expressed an interest in it), you’d think I’d have read it by now...

What books do you own that you were excited about when you first acquired them, but haven’t gotten around to reading yet?


  1. Only too late did I realize that by redoing this post (I just couldn't figure out how to fix the layout in the original version without starting over from scratch), I inadvertently deleted the comments I'd already received! Apologies to those who posted! Luckily I have a copy of your comments in my email, so I will repost them again.

  2. Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog said:

    It looks like you've got some good books to read there. I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

  3. Shana from Literarily said:

    Love Kingsolver!

    Certainty looks very good Avis. I haven't heard of the book or author before.

  4. Again, apologies for erasing your messages! Now to respond to them...

    Ti and Kathy, I'm very much looking forward to reading Kingsolver's book. I just don't know when I'll get around to it!

    Shana, Madeleine Thien is Canadian (obviously, I guess, since she won the Books in Canada award) and actually live in Québec (although she's from Vancouver originally). I've had the book for a year now, but I must reinsert it into my soon-TBR pile!

  5. This is a very interesting blogpost!

    I've got over 500 books on my TBR list on LibraryThing, but there's a few more I haven't catalogued yet.

    Three I've been meaning to read for awhile now: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

    I've read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - (ackk! I can't remember if I've read another by her, but I think I might have) I really enjoyed it - I will check out Animal, Vegetable now too.

  6. Okay at one time I thought I had to have the entire Diana Gabaldon series. So I have all 6 sitting there looking pretty. Although the paperbacks are starting to loo a little yellow on the edges. It's just not the right time to read them yet.(I've only had them 5 or 6 years.!)

  7. Myckyee, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with 500 or so books on my TBR list! The God of Small Things is a great book, although it's not something to read if you're feeling down already. If you haven't read any other Kingsolver, you must!

    Luanne, I know exactly what you mean! I read the first in that series and then went out and bought the next three. I must confess though that I tried to read the second and couldn't get into it, so I recently decided that I should just give them all away. (They're fat books and they were taking up too much room on my shelves!)

  8. My library thing is about 373 books, or at least it was at last count. I think I have probably read about 50. I had pared down my library and said I was going to pare it down; read everything and only keep what I absolutely loved, and then I started blogging and that went right out the window. I have more books than ever.

    I want that Kingsolver one too.

  9. Nicole, the thing about blogging is that (a) it's made me realize that although I read more than the average person, I'm still reading only about 60 books a year, which means I already own nearly 10 years worth of books (!!), and (b) I'm now receiving review books for free in the mail, so when exactly am I going to read all the books I already own (not to mention the ones I keep buying)? All that to say, I'm also trying to pare down, but it's so hard to part with books, I find...

  10. You have lots of great stuff there! I loved the Kingsolver book and Lark Rise. I also have that Sara Midda book - love her artwork!

  11. Glad to hear you enjoyed a couple of the books I mentioned, especially Lark Rise to Candleford! (The Barbara Kingsolver is more of a sure bet since I've read and loved most of her other books.)