Sunday 23 June 2019

The TBR 200 Challenge

I spotted this little challenge going around the blogosphere recently thanks to FanFiction celebrating her 200th TBR post. Any opportunity to tackle my out of control TBR piles is a good thing. So here we go!

My TBR: The first thing I quickly discovered (besides that thing about acknowledging that I have a serious problem!) is that I haven't updated my Mount TBR page this year. Uh-oh!

Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

Definition: My TBR pile consists mostly of paper books. A large number of these are ARC or gratis copies that I have received via work. Most of these get taken back to work once read, for one of my colleagues to have a go at.

Total: 689

I'll just let that stupendous number sit there in all it's glory...

...and ponder the problem I have.

Target: This process has made me realise that there are a number of books on the list that have passed their used by date. They came into my possession thanks to work ARC's, they sounded interesting, I thought I would like to read them, but they got lost on the bottom of the pile and now they've been and gone off our shelves at work and my interest has waned. Time for them to go back to work - that's 10 book problems solved straight up!

  • Australian books - 115 books
  • Other English language books - 125
  • Classics - 211
  • Books in translations - 70
  • Non-Fiction books - 81
  • Kids books - 8
  • ebooks - 79

Format: all but 79 of the 689 are the real deal paper books stacked up under my bed, in my cupboards and by my desk.
This does not include the books I have already read and loved, that are shelved neatly on their bookshelves. These books have usually been read multiple times, or I plan to reread them one day.
Every other book gets passed onto family and friends once I have read it, or returned to work. This is the majority of the books that pass through my hands.

The Oldest:

  • On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is one of my lovely Folio Society books purchased prior to my first house (my subscription to Folio books was one of the things I gave up when I decided it was time to go into debt to buy my first property)! This neatly dates the book coming into my possession to the year 2000.

The Newest:

  • No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani


Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains...
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since.
People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests...
This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.
Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?



  • The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman (September release)
A thrilling and ambitious new novel from the author of the bestselling and prize-winning Terra Nullius.
Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken.
When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?
Claire G. Coleman's new novel takes us to a familiar world to again ask us what we have learned from the past.
The Old Lie might not be quite what you expect.
  • The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith (now)
The Electric Hotel winds through the nascent days of cinema in Paris and Fort Lee, New Jersey--America's first movie town--and on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I. A sweeping work of historical fiction, it shimmers between past and present as it tells the story of the rise and fall of a prodigious film studio and one man's doomed obsession with all that passes in front of the viewfinder.
  • Fortune by Lenny Bartulin (July) 
In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Prussia. Beginning on the very day he leads his triumphant Grande Armee into Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate, Fortune traces the fates of a handful of souls whose lives briefly touch on that momentous day and then diverge across the globe.

Spanning more than a century, the novel moves from the Napoleonic Wars to South America, and from the early penal settlement of Van Diemen's Land to the cannons of the First World War, mapping the reverberations of history on ordinary people. Some lives are willed into action and others are merely endured, but all are subject to the unpredictable whims of chance. Fortune is a historical novel like no other, a perfect jewel of epic and intense brilliance.

200th Book:

  • The Rules of Engagement by Anita Brookner

The Books I Most Want to Read & Can't Understand Why I Just Don't Do It:

  • No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani
  • Benang by Kim Scott
  • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein
  • The Virgin in the Garden by A S Byatt
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  • The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Other TBR 200 participants:
Time to stop typing and time to start reading!


  1. Thanks for the 'shout out'!
    Working diligently on my 43 books TBR bought in 2019.
    Read 5 already....starting nr 6 today.
    Difficulty is not in the reading....but in NOT buying new books
    and starting them!
    Love the blogpost!

    1. Your example is an inspiration for all of us Nancy - 5 books in just a week or 2 is amazing!

  2. I feel like I have got my TBR under control. I keep three stacks of my TBR: (1) books I want to read right now---under our bed, (2) books I want to read, just not right now---top of the closet, and (3) books to give away---spare bedroom. I rotate books through the stacks. When I don't feel it for a book, it moves down from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 3. Giving away books in my LFL is a hobby, and I love to see people stop by my box and take and leave books.

    My TBR grew to historic numbers this year, as a friend put me on to a huge culling at the Texas City Library. I brought home, in three huge truck loads, a total of 41 boxes of old library books. I immediately left boxes of books with friends running Little Free Libraries, and I kept only a meager five boxes for my own LFL.

    I enjoyed this post.

    1. I have a few LFL in my neighbourhood that I like to leave books in too...but my problem is a little larger than that! I like the sound of your categorising of the stacks - B22 is about to move out of home, his bedroom downstairs may be perfect place to house some of the overflow!

      During my last BIG move, I donated several boxes of books to my local library and my local preschool. But since most of my books are ARC's these days, I cannot give them to libraries. Fortunately my family and friends are big readers too :-)

  3. Uh, oh. I don't really dare to do this meme... ;-) Let's only say that I'm not entirely stupended by the number 689.

    But I highly recommend The Virgin in the Garden!

    1. Go on! Do it! I need someone with a TBR number bigger than mine to help me feel virtuous Reece!!

      The Children's Book is one of my favourite books, so I have no idea why I've waited so long to get to The Virgin in the Garden. It sounds like exactly my cup of tea.

  4. Thanks for the mention and link! So glad you joined in, especially since your humungous TBR makes me feel much better about my own! ­čśë There does come a point where books pass their sell-by dates - well, some books - and I've done a lot of culling of both real and e-books over the last year. This is a good thing, except it means that I really, really, really want to read all the ones that are left...

    1. Glad to be of service FF!

      That was my concern too after my recent cull (that didn't get rid of that many books really) is just how many books I really want to read still. One lifetime is not looking like enough right now!

  5. That is a good number... and you are very brave to count and to publicise it. I daren't do either!

    1. Fortunately a few years ago, I catalogued all my TBR books onto a Mount TBR page here on my blog, so I simply had to count that list (plus my classics list)....after I updated it, of course!!

  6. Wow, so many books, how lovely! Mine is a bit out of control and I need to prioritise actually reading them. Nightmares! I have a trip at the weekend so will take either a chunk of TBR that I know I won't keep and can release via BookCrossing or my Kindle for a good rummage in there. OR BOTH.

    1. BOTH sounds good to me Lyzzy,,,,and bon voyage!

  7. What a lovely post. I don't think I'd dare to count my TBR books just as an overweight person doesn't really go on a scale because she doesn't want to know how much she's supposed to lose. ;)

    The only book from your list that I've read is Norwegian Wood. It was my first book by Haruki Murakami bu tnot my last.

    Enjoy your books.


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