I have just one reading resolution in 2012, and it looks like I share it with lots of other people in the blogosphere. Some are scaling Mount TBR. Others are challenging themselves to a TBR Double Dare; still more are reading Off the Shelf. All of us share a frightening backlog 'to be read' pile/shelf/room of books that prays on our minds and into which we repeatedly fail to make inroads. You know the story.
In 2011 I read only 4 books acquired before 2011, out of 300+sitting unread on my shelves. At the same time I read only 51 of the books I acquired this year (around about half, and I've been restrained). At this rate I will be 500 books deep in 4 years time. I daren't even think about what is lurking virtually on my Kindle.
This is the first year that I've taken a record of this particular reading stat, and I'm appalled at myself. I'm not exaggerating. The situation seems pretty drastic. It's quite a sobering thing, especially as I'm now absolutely out of space for book shelves. There is a Tori Amos song on one of the rareties albums about a little girl who won't take out of the trash, and it flows out of her house and fills up her town, and then her country, and then the earth, and then the sky, etc. (I can't remember the name of it. Nic? Esther?) The book situation is not quite that bad but it's certainly out of control.
And so for 2o12 I am joining all those other bloggers in resolving to make a dent (and it will only be a dent unfortunately) in my TBR numbers.
Based on my reading stats for this year - just over 50 titles - and considering that next year will probably be the same, I think at least 40 of the books I read in 2012 should be from the TBR pile.
I'm not going to make a list of what they will be. Let serendipity and whim guide me to my shelves! Non-fiction, or fiction; classics or contemporary fiction; poetry or plays or whatever. I'd like to think that I can do it.
It leaves me about 12 new 2012 reads to play with. I'm thinking six of those will be Orange Prize shortlisters (you never know, I might have read or own a few of them already); and four will be book club reads. One will absolutely definitely be Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, because no resolve in the world is going to be strong enough to keep me from that. I may not be able to queue at midnight but I'll come as close as I can. Another is going to be Claire Tomalin's biography of Charles Dickens, because of the bicentenary.
I tell myself that I shouldn't really have any problem reading from the TBR, although I'll only believe it next December when I look at the statistics. Surely it's so huge and varied that I just need a very little will power to do it. And since my only criteria is books acquired before 1/1/2012 it means that this year's Christmas gifts count. Admittedly this rule has led to a brief midnight episode of panic buying to acquire some of the books I've heard about on 2011 Best of Lists around the blogosphere. But I gave myself a good talking to about that.
The main problem will be trying not to acquire any new books to tempt me throughout the year. Perhaps I should put £8 in a savings account everytime I would have bought a book and see how much I'd have at the end of the year, as an incentive? I have also determined not to download hundreds more classics to my Kindle, even though they are free, or to borrow lots of new books from the library. Because the point here is not about saving money, it's about behaving like a reasonable, sensible human being. It's also about finally enjoying some of the books that I bought with a great sense of anticipation and which I then allowed to languish until the excitement was gone. Wish me luck.