Why is the TBR Challenge the hardest?

The BookDepository

tbr-pileI had a quick check through the status of my reading challenges today, and was shocked to discover that all of them are on track apart from the TBR challenge. I haven’t read a single book from my TBR list! I thought that this would be one of the simplest challenges – all I had to do was write a list of books which I already own and want to read. I was so confident in completing this challenge that I didn’t even bother to create a reserve list!

I do really want to read all the books on this list, but for one reason or another there is always a book which jumps ahead of them.

1. Going Out – Scarlett Thomas
2. Lamb in His Bosom – Caroline Miller
3. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
4. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5. The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
6. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro
7. The Hiding Place – Trezza Azzopardi
8. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
9. Reading in the Dark – Seamus Deane
10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
11. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
12. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

I need to get this challenge back on track, so am going to  prioritise these books in the coming months – well I hope I’ll be able to!

Is anyone else struggling with the TBR Challenge? 

How many of your TBR pile have you read?

Which challenge are you finding the hardest to complete?


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29 Comments

  1. Violet says:

    ooohhh…such lovely books, I have read Interpreter of Maladies, Half of a Yellow Sun and Things Fall Apart and all are wonderful.

    Interpreter of Maladies especially is a very small yet great book.

  2. Kathrin says:

    Well, I am already doing the lite version for this challenge and I still haven’t read a single book off my list *sigh* For some reason, even though I pick books I really want to read, I never make it.
    So far, I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read a single one of the books I picked for that challenge.
    I saw that you have Half Of A Yellow Sun on your list. It’s not on my TBR list, but I have the book on Mt. TBR, so if you want to do a buddy read of sorts, give me a shout. Maybe that helps! ;-)

  3. Jackie says:

    Violet – I am really excited about reading all the books on the list. The problem is that they have been there so long that I always think “another week can’t hurt” and read something else. There is always a book club book, or a read-along that tempts me into reading other things. Perhaps I’ll read Interpeter of Maladies first, as it is so short!

  4. Jackie says:

    Kathrin – I’d love to read Half of a Yellow Sun with you! I’ve sent you an email. Hopefully we can work a schedule out for it, and then I’ll post the details here, so that other people can join in if they want to.

  5. Sandy says:

    I sorta had a reality check awhile back on all my challenges, TBR included. I decided recently “NO MORE IMPULSIVE 1000 PAGE READS!!” I have to get myself back on track, so now I am only reading challenge books until I feel I am in a good spot. Out of 10 WWII books, I’ve read 5 and am working on the 6th. Out of 12 TBR books, I have read 7. Not too bad now that I am focusing! Actually my goal is to complete them all quickly, and join some new challenges!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy – It sounds as though you’re doing really well on your challenges. GWTW contributed to some of the problems, as I was going to read Outlander, but have been put off chunksters for a while! I’m really pleased that I read it though, and will willingly read more 1000 page books impulsively if they are that good!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Outlander is on my TBR shelf too. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, but the length of it is daunting. Maybe I’ll pick it up one of these days.

  7. I’m struggling with my TBR challenge too. I picked the 10 books that have been on my shelf the longest from Paperback Swap, and have only managed to read 1 of them! My review copies take up too much of my time.

    You have to read Outlander though. It’s my fave book ever!

  8. Molly says:

    My biggest problem is that my TBR list continues to grow and grow and grow!! It is actually WAY out of control — but I can live with that :)

    Good luck with this challenge.

  9. Kim says:

    Thank you for popping into mine yesterday, I thought I would come visit you and I am so glad I did, your blog is great!
    On your TBR list I noticed Catcher in the Rye – this was THE pivotal book in my life. I was 14 when I read it and not only did I immediately fall in love with Holden Caulfield, but Catcher was responsible for planting in me the passion I have for reading today! Yes, this was the book! I have never wanted to re-read it again just in case it lets me down, that would upset me too much, but I would urge you to if you have not read it before. It is a quick read so it would be easy to get one book off your TBR list! I’d love to know what you think of it.
    Do you have a single pivotal book in your life?
    I am new to blogging and now I have been to visit you I am looking at the TBR Challenge myself as my TBR list just grows and grows – it’s horrible! I’ll keep you posted.
    I’ll be back to visit often, Jackie, and please come visit me any time.

  10. Sarah says:

    I don’t do challenges because as soon as I make a list of what I must read I perversely want to read anything but. Of your list, I’ve enjoyed Half of a yellow sun, The interpreter of maladies and The secret history and would recommend making the time for them.

    I’m interested to see Lamb in his bosom in your pile, as I saw it in the Abebooks list of 10 forgotten Pulitzer Prize winners and thought it had potential to b e a good read.

  11. JoAnn says:

    I think the tbr challenge is hard because new books that compete for reading time just keep coming in. The ones from the library even have a deadline!

    I loved The Secret History and have Half a Yellow Sun on my tbr list, too.

  12. Jackie says:

    Kim – Thank you for visiting my blog, and leaving such a thoughtful comment. You are really inspiring me to read Catcher in the Rye. I hope it is as good as you remember it to be. ‘m not really sure I had a pivotal book, but if I had to pick one then it would have to be Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. I also read this when I was about 14, and it was the first book ever to move me to tears. I probably wouldn’t enjoy it if I read it now, but I still think of those poor children locked in their attic, and how much I wanted to know about what happended to them. I ending up reading every single Virginia Andrews book, including the new ones written in her style. All in about 2 years – have you seen the size of those books!! I did a lot of reading back then!

  13. Jackie says:

    Sarah – I also saw Lamb in his Bosom on that Abe list. It is supposed to be the inspiration for Gone with the Wind, so I am really looking forward to reading it. Perhaps we can have a blogger revivial of this forgotten book – if it turns out to be good!

  14. Jackie says:

    JoAnn – I started visiting my library again in January after a break of about 10 years. I’ve given up after only a few visits, as I just can’t commit to reading the books in such a tight timeframe. It was so stressful trying to remember to return them. I’m going to stick to buying and selling them on!

  15. Jackie says:

    Jennifer – The length of Outlander is what has prevented me from reading it so far. I’m really hoping I can fit it in next month, as everyone keeps telling me how great it is!

    Melissa – I don’t even have the excuse of review copies! I just kep getting distracted by other books!

    Molly – My TBR pile is getting out of hand. I really do need to sort through it, and decide what is really worth reading. That is a great idea for a blog post – which of these books should I get rid of! The problem is I bet everyone would disagree!

  16. Beth F says:

    This is exactly why those books have been on the TBR for years. The look good, you know you’ll love them — then something new (or new to you) comes along and . . . ooooh, maybe I’ll just peek into it, maybe just a page . . . ARGHHHHH. Off and reading the new. Sigh.

    The TBR pile since I started blogging is getting totally out of hand. I turned to audio several years ago to cut down on the no. of items in this house. Now books are stacked up in the hallways and under the coffee tables. Help!

  17. Rebecca Reid says:

    I have a hard time with my owned TBR books because my library books have a deadline: I have to return them in 3-6 weeks. So I know I need to read them. My owned books therefore get pushed down the list time and time again!

    I agree with the previous comment: book blogging makes me TBR even larger!

    (I see you have subscribe to comments now! Whee!)

  18. Jackie says:

    Rebecca – Thank you for the telling me about the subscribe to comments box! It is a big improvement that I hadn’t noticed I needed.

    You get 3 – 6 weeks for library books? Is that normal in the US? We get 14 days!

  19. Jackie says:

    Beth – I’ve ordered 5 more books today! I was being very good too. The orange shortlist was announced, and I only bought 3 of them + the Pulitzer winner + Sarah Waters new book.

    Having a blog means I have an excuse to keep up to date with prize winning books + new releases, so the older ones get left behind. Perhaps I should just spend more time reading!

  20. Rebecca Reid says:

    I get three weeks and then I usually can renew the book for another three weeks, unless it’s a new release and/or on reserve by someone else. Hot books are one week and some new releases are two weeks, no renewals. I tend to avoid those… I like at least three weeks because I always have so many books going.

    Of course, some people think people like me abuse the system: if I’m going to read it, I should be able to finish in three weeks. But I always have too many books going to do so….

  21. Jackie says:

    Rebecca – I also have the option to renew books, but I always forget, or find at the last minute that a book I’m half way through has just been reserved! I’m staying clear of libraries until my TBR consists of less than 20 books!

  22. Suey says:

    I’m just the opposite and so far, the TBR is the easiest challenge for me. At this point, I’ve read four (or maybe five) of my list this year. I always do really well until the end, then seem to come up short by one at that end of the year! The challenge I seem to always ignore, is the Awards one. Yet, my list for that are all books I own too, so it really should just be like a second TBR.

  23. Jackie says:

    Suey – It is really interesting to find out which challenges other people find hard. I found the award challenge so easy to complete that I decided to make it extra hard. I decided to ensure that each of the ten books had won different awards. I’ve read 9/10 of them so far, and the 10th is one of the shortest!

  24. Christina says:

    I agree; the TBR challenge is the hardest. Last year, I finished two out of my twelve. This year, I’ve finished three off my original list and five off my alternate list. I’m doing better this year, but I still haven’t read the books I moved from last year’s challenge to this year’s.

    The hardest challenge for me, though, is the Classics challenge. It’s only 4 books, but I can’t seem to convince myself to crack open those books.

  25. Jackie says:

    Christina – I nearly signed up to the classic challenge, but in the end I decided against it. It is just too much pressure! I love reading the classics with other people, but they are just too daunting to read on my own. Good luck with it though.

  26. Dorte H says:

    Why is the TBR challenge…?

    I know, I know … there are not enough crime novels in the pile!

  27. Joanna says:

    I’m totally with you on this, the new books are somehow always more attractive than the ones we already own! I’ve only read 2 out of mine and that’s only because I created an alternates list! Good luck with yours!

  28. Jackie says:

    Dorte – At least you know how to fix your TBR challenge problem next year!

    Joanna – New books in the mail are always more exciting that ones I have already. Perhaps my husband should steal a few books from the bottom of my piles and post them to me! I don’t think I’d notice, and would be more interested to read them!

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