Mount TBR Challenge

Posted December 4, 2016 by Lory in challenges / 28 Comments


Before I started blogging, I didn’t really have a problem with physical books piling up in my house. I had a smallish collection of books I loved and wanted to keep and reread, which I would add to occasionally, and the occasional impulse buy. But for everyday, casual reading I would mostly rely on whatever was on the New and Interesting shelf at the library, or work my way through some newfound author’s backlist, also using the library.

Now that I’ve been blogging for almost three years, I have books I’ve bought because other bloggers made them sound irresistible, books I’ve won in giveaways, books I’ve gotten in book swaps, books I’ve received from publishers for review (solicited and not), books I acquired for various challenges, including my own Reading New England challenge, books I picked up at ALA Midwinter, and more. I’ve also added some titles to the collection of books-I-love-and-want-to-keep-and-reread, but I haven’t had time to reread them because of all the other books pressuring me.

I don’t mind having an endless list of books that I want to read, knowing that I will never get to the end of it, but I do not like having this pile of unread material staring at me from my bedside bookshelf. It’s a monument to unfulfilled intentions and unkept promises, and even if I can’t raze it to the ground, I’d like to make some serious headway.

To that end, I’m joining the 2017 Mount TBR challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block, at the Mt. Kilimanjaro level (60 books). That comes out to 5 books a month, which amounts to about half of my total reading and allows for plenty of spontaneity. Sounds doable, right?

Here’s the list of what I want to conquer this year, arranged alphabetically by title. If you’re signing up, or have any other ideas of how to scale your TBR pile, let me know!

  1. The Art Forger – B. A. Shapiro
  2. Before the Feast – Sasa Stanisic
  3. The Blackthorn Key – Kevin Sands
  4. The Blood of the Martyrs – Naomi Mitchison
  5. Bronze and Sunflower – Cao Wenxuan
  6. The Butterfly Mosque – G. Willow Wilson
  7. Carry On, Mister Bowditch – Jean Latham
  8. The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz – John Crowley
  9. The Country Child – Alison Uttley
  10. A Different Kind of Daughter – Maria Toorpakai
  11. The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
  12. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  13. Dream Days – Kenneth Grahame
  14. The Edge of the World – Michael Pye
  15. Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan
  16. Excellent Women – Barbara Pym
  17. A Fugue in Time – Rumer Godden
  18. Gentian Hill – Elizabeth Goudge
  19. The Gilded Chalet – Padraig Rooney
  20. Golden Boys – Sonya Hartnett
  21. Hell and High Water – Tanya Landman
  22. I Was a Stranger – John Haskett
  23. It Ends with Revelations – Dodie Smith
  24. The Infinite Air – Fiona Kidman
  25. Jude The Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  26. The King Must Die – Mary Renault
  27. Life at Blandings – P.G. Wodehouse
  28. A London Girl of the 1860s
  29. A London Child of the 1870s
  30. A London Home in the 1890s – Molly Hughes
  31. Love – Elizabeth von Arnim
  32. Love in a Fallen city – Eileen Chang
  33. Marmee and Louisa – Eve LaPlante
  34. Midnight Is a Place -Joan Aiken
  35. A Month in the Country – J. L. Carr
  36. The Morning Gift – Eva Ibbotson
  37. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier
  38. My Wars Are Laid Away in Books – Alfred Habegger
  39. Notes on a Cowardly Lion – John Lahr
  40. O Pioneers! – Willa Cather
  41. One Half from the East – Nadia Habibi
  42. The Path – Michael Puett
  43. Pictures of Hollis Woods
  44. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  45. Season of Migration to the North – Tayeb Salih
  46. The Shadow of Death – Sidney Chambers
  47. Smoky-House – Elizabeth Goudge
  48. Sophie Someone – Hayley Long
  49. The Spirit Within Us – Evelyn Capel
  50. Thornton Wilder – Penelope Niven
  51. Towers in the Mist – Elizabeth Goudge
  52. A Traveller in Time – Alison Uttley
  53. Troy Chimneys – Margaret Kennedy
  54. The Transcendental Murder – Jane Langton
  55. Why on Earth? – Signe Schaefer
  56. A Week in Paris – Rachel Hore
  57. Wild Strawberries – Angela Thirkell
  58. The Wolves of Andover – Kathleen Kent
  59. Writing America – Shelley Fisher Fishkin


  1. Bronze and Sunflower – Cao Wenxuan
  2. Carry On, Mister Bowditch – Jean Latham
  3. The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz – John Crowley
  4. The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
  5. Excellent Women – Barbara Pym
  6. A Fugue in Time – Rumer Godden
  7. The Gilded Chalet – Padraig Rooney
  8. Hell and High Water – Tanya Landman
  9. I Was a Stranger – John Haskett
  10. It Ends with Revelations – Dodie Smith
  11. The King Must Die – Mary Renault
  12. Life at Blandings – P.G. Wodehouse
  13. Midnight Is a Place -Joan Aiken
  14. A Month in the Country – J. L. Carr
  15. The Morning Gift – Eva Ibbotson
  16. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier
  17. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  18. Smoky-House – Elizabeth Goudge
  19. Sophie Someone – Hayley Long
  20. The Spirit Within Us – Evelyn Capel
  21. Towers in the Mist – Elizabeth Goudge
  22. Troy Chimneys – Margaret Kennedy
  23. The Transcendental Murder – Jane Langton
  24. Why on Earth? – Signe Schaefer
  25. Wild Strawberries – Angela Thirkell


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28 responses to “Mount TBR Challenge

  1. Your plans are admirable…I’ll see if I can gather a list of 60 books!
    One small note…Don Quixote, that will take some determination to read.
    Be prepared to read some embedded fiction that has nothing to do with the story.
    part 1 – ch 33-34; 39-41
    part 2 – ch 45-47-49-51-53
    I did skim these chapters and didn’t miss anything of the daring journey of Don Quixote and Sancho. It depends on the reader….. but it could save you some reading time. This is a massive book!
    I will be following you progress!

    • Thank you for the tips, Nancy. I did read an abridged version in high school, but I feel as though I should at least try the original.

  2. What an impressive list. There are so many good books on it, Allingham, Thirkell, Pym. And so many books I have never even heard of. I’ll have to check some of them out. I recently read the Molly Hughes books and greatly enjoyed them. Also, I had completely forgotten about Midnight Is a Place by Joan Aiken. I read that multiple times as a child. I’ll have to read it again. My daughter just read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and loved it.

    • I’ve been looking forward to all of these for a long time. I just need the push to get me to actually read them!

  3. I hear you. I remember when my TBR was this little bookshelf in my bedroom and that was it. I read fast, so even if a bunch of books came in at a time… I could keep up. But, now… lol I have been blogging for like 11 years, so just imagine that. It would be way worse if I still did review books! I have been eyeing this challenge and I know I need a more structured approach to tackling the books I have wanted to get to forever, but the minute I make a list of books I want to read… It doesn’t happen. lol I will have to think about it. πŸ™‚

    • I know, it’s risky to make a list. But at this point I really do want to read everything on it, so I’m hoping once I get some momentum it will keep me going.

  4. What a fabulous idea! I’m in, though I think I’ll start with the Pike’s Peak level with high hopes of adjusting my goal to the Mount Blanc level mid-year. Many of the books in my mountain (that I really, really want to get to) are rather lengthy.

    • Probably it would have been a good idea to start at a lower level, but I decided to be ambitious and try to cross off nearly everything I have sitting around my house. I’m sure there will be more coming in to replace them very soon.

  5. I’m not sure I could commit to 60, but it’ll be fun watching you do it! Good luck and have fun with it! At least you know you’re in for some good reading. πŸ™‚

  6. Your list is impressive. There are lots of good book there.

    I read The Dispossessed fairly recently. It was phenomenon. It was so very thought provoking and it has so much top say. I am curious as to what you will think of it.

    • I’ve read and loved The Dispossessed — this is one of those that I bought with the intention of rereading. Since I started blogging there are so many new books calling for my attention that I don’t do as much rereading as I used to.

  7. I read the Country Child and loved it – would it be ok if I steal your challenge? I’ve been contemplating something similar for a while as I find it really hard to remember how many books I have waiting for me at home when I am surrounded by temptation – it would be helpful I think to make it all more tangible. Hope your month has been good πŸ™‚

  8. Wow. That’s an impressive list of books. Good luck scaling that TBR mountain next year! I wish you luck…and happy reading. πŸ™‚

  9. I too do not like having a huge pile of physical books unread. I get anxious about it! I am in a place now where I have slightly more physical TBR books than I am comfortable with, and I am determined to attend to them in the New Year. Not in a formal challenge kind of way, though. That is the best way to make myself rebel against tackling the TBR pile. I am just sort of informally promising myself that I am going to take care of things.

    • At the moment I’m excited about this challenge, but the novelty might wear off mid-year. Still, I figure that even if I get through half or a third of this list, I will have made a good start.

      I hope you can get yours down to a non-anxiety-causing level, in whatever way works for you. What is not right is having our reading habits causing us anxiety — there’s enough other sources for that in the world.

  10. Kat

    What a terrific book list! Yes, I’ve acquired more books in recent years, not so much because of free books (though occasionally I give in to temptation), but because I have access to online bookstores. I hear The Dispossessed is great. I did read it years ago and it didn’t leave much impression, but I wasn’t really an SF reader back then and probably didn’t get it.

    • It is quite a list! I’m so glad that blogging has given me access to so many great books, but I really need to make some progress with them before they topple onto my bed.

      It can be interesting to reread books years later, I often get a completely different impression. I’m curious what I will think of The Dispossessed now.