Monday, December 30, 2013

The 2014 Bookshelf Challenge!

Not my room, sadly, but definitely my dream wall.

Back in January of this year, I posted that I was going to make a serious effort to make it to 25 books in 2013. And... I ended up making it to 55! I was posting on each of them here for a while, and then gave up because my reading was getting far ahead of my posting (I'll post the complete list below). I read more new books than I think I've ever read, constantly putting holds on books at my library when they were just mentioned in "upcoming releases" in book sections of papers and buying new books at the bookstore (THAT is an addiction I've had for years).

But through it all, I stared at the bookshelves surrounding me — and as many of you know, I'm literally surrounded by bookshelves when I sit here at my desk; they form a wonderful semicircle around me — and realized I wasn't making a dent on any of them. There are favourite books I'd like to read again, but have been so caught up in reading everything else that I just don't attack the ones on the shelves. In recent years I'd buy new books I'd read about in the paper or through friends, but they'd be shelved because I was working on a Finding Lost book or too busy trying to bomb through a TV series to get to it. (By the way, my TV viewing was seriously lacking this year, and yet I still felt accomplished having read all these books instead.)

My best friend Sue has the same issue; volumes of books piling up around her while she's taking out stacks of books from the library or borrowing books from me or buying new books because of the various book clubs we're in.

And so, a few weeks ago, we were discussing this conundrum, and I suggested we take on a challenge in 2014: no library books, no new books (unless someone else buys them for us). No. We can only read the books on our shelves.

Of course, there are exceptions. I put a hold on one library book when I first heard about it, and then it won a kajillion awards and now has hundreds of holds on it, but I'm right near the top. So we agreed I could keep that hold. She has a hold at the library she's going to keep, too. And of course we're both in a graphic novel book club and a second book club, ones that obviously recommend books we don't already have. So we can buy those books or get them from the library. But for personal reading, which accounted for 70% of my reading this year, we have to stick to what we've got.

If anyone else wants to join in, we'll be posting at the end of every month (when we remember to) what we read this month and how much we've conquered from our bookshelves. I'm very excited. As I told someone the other day, I have a book I bought in grad school that I moved from that room to my first apartment, second apartment, first house, second house, and now third house, and it's STILL THERE and I have never read it. I alphabetize my bookshelves (stop laughing; at least I don't organize them by font), and it's always the first one I put up there, which is why it haunts me. It's Peter Ackroyd's English Music, and dammit, I will read that book this year! God, I hope it doesn't suck.

And now, here are the books I read in 2013. I've put a star beside my very, very favourite ones. Let me know what your favourites were that you read this year!

1. Marbles by Ellen Forney
*2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
3. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
*4. My Name Is Mina by David Almond
*5. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
6. Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
*7. Blankets by Craig Thompson
8. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
9. Habibi by Craig Thompson
10. Skellig by David Almond
11. Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
12. Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman
13. Divergent by Veronica Roth
14. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
15. The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich
*16. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
17. Supergods by Grant Morrison
18. The Silent Clowns by Walter Kerr
*19. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
20. All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
21. Red Son by Mark Millar et al
22. Life After Death by Damien Echols
*23. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
24. Hyena in Petticoats by Willow Dawson
25. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
26. Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
27. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
28. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
29. The Escapists by Brian K. Vaughan
30. Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
**31. Tenth of October by George Saunders
32. Eternal Life by John Shelby Spong
33. Jinn Warriors by Marwan El Nashar
**34. Where Did You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
*35. Wool by Hugh Howey
36. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
37. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
*38. Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido
39. The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
*40. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
41. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
42. Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case
43. Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell
44. Jim Henson: A Biography by Brian Jay Jones
*45. The Blondes by Emily Schultz
46. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
47. Empty Cradle by Diana Walsh
48. Hamilton Illustrated by David Collier
49. Haunted Hamilton by Mark Leslie
**50. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
51. Perfect by Rachel Joyce
52. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
53. Saga (vol 1) by Brian K. Vaughan
**54. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
55. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb


Amanda C. said...

Have you read "Attachments"? I got super into Rainbow Rowell because of Eleanor and Park. Attachments is her first book, I think, and I really liked it.

Morag C said...

That's a great list. Which were you favourites ?

(and what is the problem with alphabetizing things on shelves? - I do it with books, CDs, DVDs, sheet music etc. !)

Nikki Stafford said...

Amanda: I just finished Eleanor & Park this morning and was CRAZY in love with it. I just checked the library this morning after I finished and saw Attachments, and realized there's no way I'd get the hold until after the New Year, which means I can't read it until 2015 thanks to the new bookshelf challenge, haha! Ah well, now I have something to look forward to. Glad to hear it's good!

Morag: My favourites are the ones with the asterisks (the super faves have double-asterisks). My friends all joke about me alphabetizing the shelves. I TOTALLY agree it's the only civilized way. (Our CD room has a wall where the CDs are stacked 7 feet high... totally alphabetized.) ;)

Efthymia said...

Isn't Blacksad great? (although, of course he is, he's a cat.)

Wow, your list makes me feel like an illiterate idiot... So, what with your job and your family and your books and your TV and your going-outs, do you sleep/eat/etc? Are you a robot? Are you a superhero? Ooh, do you have a time-turner? I heard they were all destroyed during the fight at the Ministry in '96, but perhaps you had gotten your hands on one before that...

I had written down "Eleanor & Park" for consideration a few months ago, so it's good that it has your seal of approval. It will probably make top of the list for our next bulk order.

Have a well read 2014 (and some rest, I guess).

SenexMacdonald said...

I have a pile of books by my bed that I have yet to start. So, yes, I would love to join in with this. Not sure what I will accomplish but am willing to give it a try. lol

Page48 said...

Wow, 55 books puts you, exactly 55 ahead of me.

But, I've still got tomorrow, right?

Unknown said...

Hey Nikki (Robyn B here) - have you read the Light Between Oceans yet??? Would love to chat about that one with you. :) Let's talk soon.

JS said...

Loved Eleanor and Park. I get books for Christmas and birthday and my shelves are FILLED with books I aspire to read. I will join your challenge. No new books. If I read four books per month and only read what was on my shelves I wouldn't buy a book for...a long time.

Anonymous said...

Maggie in Toronto said...

I'd like to join in this 2014 Challenge. I just did a bit of a clean up of my bookcases and was shocked at the number of books I've managed to accumulate and still haven't read - even though I read constantly and buy new books almost uncontrollably.

I'm going to try and work my way through these books first - the 3 books I'll have to make an exception for are:
. Jim Butcher's next Dresden File book
. next "Isabel Dalhousie" series book
. book 3 in the "Hunger Games" trilogy

I finished Donna Leon's "Venice" a series of essays a couple of days ago and now I'm in the middle of The Monuments Men so I'm well on my way for 2014. I'll check in at the end of January to see how everyone is doing and report on my progress.