Thursday, January 3, 2013

Off The Shelf 2013

I'm currently suffering from Reader's Block.  I have 3 books I've started reading and stalled on, and a pending pile about a mile high.  I want to read, I'm just struggling to motivate myself to spend my precious spare time reading.  So when Miss RBit from Legally Alien told me that she's doing some reading challenges this year my ears pricked up.  I decided to join her on one: the Off The Shelf 2013 challenge from Bookish Ardour.

The goal of this challenge is to read books that have been lurking sadly, forgotten and unread, on your bookshelf for too long.  I have quite a lot of those, because I'm a book collector.  I buy books I've heard are good and then forget to read them.  I buy second-hand books by the boxful.  And there's also quite a lot of books that were bought for Dave that I eventually decide I want to read, too.

Preliminary Preparations
Before I start on my stack of unread books, I of course need to finish the books I've already started, and also a couple of books that I've borrowed from other people and need to return before they break down my door with axes and torches and an angry mob.  So, before I do anything else, I have to finish reading the following:
The Challenge
Once I feel like I have a clean slate, I can start my actual challenge list.  I decided that my Challenge Level (from the Bookish Ardour challenge post) is going to be Level 3: Making a Dint, which means I need to read 30 of my unread books this year.  Which is a lot but I think is doable.  But wait, it gets worse!  As mentioned above, I'm in the middle of Book 4 of The Dresden Files, a modern-fantasy-supernatural-detective series which currently runs to 14 books plus a short story collection.  I have decided, probably rashly, to 
group the entire unread portion of the series together as one Hulk-sized book of my 30 book list.  So, in no particular order, here is the list of Off The Shelf books I will be reading in 2013:
  1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  2. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel - a non-fiction book about, well, guys
  3. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling - Rowling's first adult fiction novel
  4. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - Book 1 & 2 of a projected in-progress trilogy of fantasy novels - The Kingkiller Chronicle (2 for the price of 1!)
  5. Badass by Ben Thompson - a humor/history non-fiction collection of stories about badasses
  6. Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney - biography of Nikola Tesla
  7. Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal - non-fiction book about how gaming can save the world
  8. Scott of the Antarctic by David Crane - another biography, this one about Robert Falcon Scott
  9. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - a fantasy novel
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - a classic that I'm embarrassed to even include because I should have read it long ago
  11. Neuromancer by William Gibson - classic sci-fi
  12. American Gods by Neil Gaiman - a fantasy novel that has been sitting in my "to read" pile for ages
  13. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick - classic sci-fi and the basis for the movie Blade Runner
  14. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - Nigerian fiction
  15. Fevre Dream  by George R. R. Martin - supernatural fantasy that I picked up because it's by my favorite author but never got around to reading
  16. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton - Australian fiction
  17. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan - Chinese fiction
  18. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - post-apocalyptic sci-fi
  19. Kokoda by Peter FitzSimons - historical non-fiction
  20. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - (the novel version) - classic sci-fi
  21. Papillon by Henri Charrière - French memoir
  22. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon - the definitive HAES non-fiction book that I embarrassingly still haven't read
  23. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan - non-fiction book about the scientific method and critical thinking
  24. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - contemporary fiction - I'm a fan of the movie and want to check out the book
  25. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - Indian fantasy - recently made into a movie and I want to read the book before I see it 
  26. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez - Spanish fiction
  27. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - an allegorical classic
  28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - another one of those must-read books that I'm yet to read!
  29. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - another one I should have read by now...this is getting embarrassing
  30. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - one of the very few books I've started and given up on, I'm hoping I can get through it this time
And there we go.  This list in no way reflects my usual reading tastes, by the way - I tend to stick to "safe" warm-fuzzy fantasy and keep clear of what I think of as "Oprah Book Club" books - contemporary fiction or chick-lit.  I also used to have a complete blanket ban on sci-fi that I've been gradually lifting a teeny bit at a time.  I do read quite a lot of non-fiction but not as much as represented here, and usually don't read biographies.  So I'm using the challenge to also push my boundaries a little bit more.

All in all that's 45 books in total to get through this year which is probably pushing it so I'll have to see how I go.  It's certainly doable and I used to read a lot more than that, so hopefully this will help me get into my reading groove.  I've put all the books I have in physical copy on their own shelf in my bedroom, and grouped all the ones I have on my Kindle together, so everything is set to go!  I just have to avoid starting too many at once.  I expect I'll usually have at least 2 going - a fiction and a non-fiction - but I'll try to limit myself to that.  I'll be reviewing and rating on Goodreads as I go also - I haven't used it before (surprisingly) so this is a good way to start.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves!  I still have to complete my preliminary excuse me, I'm off to bury my nose in Dark Matter.

This post is part of my Off The Shelf 2013 Reading Challenge

1 comment:

  1. Exciting stuff! Some of the books on your list are some of my all time faves. :)