(For a meme hosted at Lost in Books)
What's been on your TBR list the longest?
Let the guilt tripping begin!
There was a time I was opposed, on principle, to the idea of a "TBR" (To Be Read) pile of books. If you don't have the time to read something, I thought, then why would you buy it? And if you're busy reading something else, why would you worry about what to read next?
I also used to like having a lot of "down time" after reading a good book, when I don't have to think about anything other books. Well, I still like it; I just don't get to enjoy it that often. I have this week, with Maniac Magee, because it's the book I'm reading it with my brothers, who, being my students now too, need a lot of that "down time" between books. So we do their worksheets and bake "browndies" and make a crafty "chapter meter" to chart our progress on the next novel on their reading list . . . and I get to let the wonders of Jerry Spinelli's greatest novel swim around a little more in my mind.
But I see I just lost my train of thought . . . What I had meant to say was that I didn't use to have a "TBR" pile and couldn't understand why other readers did. Then I entered their world--a world of disposable income that isn't as high as one would like, which makes sales at bookstores a time to stock up--and I soon had a tidy pile (well, drawer) of my own. All of which explains my stockpile's existence, but not the fact that some books don't get read even when prices go back up and stop stockpiling . . . or the fact that I've been able to join three Shelf Share Thursday linkups. For that, each book has to be looked at individually . . .
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
Unfortunately, my copy's cover doesn't look like that. If it did, I probably would have finished it the day I got it.
So do you know how long I've had it and not read it? I bought it right before my mother and I got our tickets to watch the movie 300. Which means I had it before I started teaching. Which means that I had it a lifetime ago and still haven't finished it.
Yet it's not as if I haven't tried. There were months when I'd put it off because it wasn't raining hard enough outside, and this book just seemed like the sort of thing one should read when it's raining . . . or snowing. (LOL! We never get any snow here, so imagine my using that as an excuse!)
One of the best reading experiences of my life involved Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea, my family's old yellow kitchen, and a raging storm--and I kind of wanted a little of the same for this MacDonald novel. I became interested in it after I read in The Green and Burning Tree by Eleanor Cameron (Notice the way one good book just leads to another!) that she had had what may be described as a mystical experience after reading it--the sense that she was made for more than just this world. Her own book is one of the best I've ever read on children's books, and I've had similar experiences from art and literature, so I know that I will read At the Back of the North Wind someday . . . yes, someday, when it's cold.
Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
This was a Christmas present from several years ago, when I was still working as an ESL teacher in a language academy for Korean learners. That year, for the annual student-teacher Christmas party, the teachers had decided to get the Korean students involved the Filipino variation of the "Secret Santa" game.
Everyone willing to participate gets his name written down on a slip of paper, and then everyone draws a name out of the proverbial hat. A bulletin board in a common area is reserved for people's wish lists: the rules are that you may ask for anything, as long as its cost doesn't go over the agreed-upon amount, and that you have to give your Secret Santa several options. Then he can check the board at any time to see what to get you--and you can do some checking of your own to see what to get your . . . I'm not sure what the other half of this pairing is. Your Secret Elf?
Since I actually asked for this book, I'm really not sure why I've put off reading it for so long. Then again, as I recall the reason I asked for it in the first place . . . I put it on my "Secret Santa" wish list because I thought it was a book worth reading but knew that I probably wouldn't buy it for myself in the next ten years. Oh. =P
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.D. Wodehouse
This is one book I don't really feel guilty about, because I didn't buy it! (Phew!) A friend lent me her copy, which I've now had almost as long as I've had At the Back of the North Wind, and refuses to take it back until I've read it. But I won't read it because it's in the very middle of the Wooster-Jeeves series and I don't like reading series out of order--especially series I haven't started yet!
My friend knew that, I think. It's just that I never take her book recommendations (which is fair enough, because she never takes mine), and she must have been thinking, "If I can get Enbrethiliel to read only one Wodehouse novel in her entire life, then it's going to be my favourite!"
Silly thing! Didn't she know that if she had just lent me the first book in the series, I would have gone through all her books like I once went through my mother's Nancy Drew collection . . . and her friend's Sweet Valley High collection? I've read the first three books in the Baby-Sitters Club series and am having the worst time trying to find the fourth one so that I can keep going: that is what reading a series in order does to me.
But I won't tell her . . . if only because I've noticed that Wodehouse's books never go on sale and I really can't afford--money-wise--to carry a torch for two series these days.
Image Sources: a) At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, b) Homesick by Jean Fritz, c) Right Ho, Jeeves by P.D. Wodehouse