Thursday, June 03, 2010

Before Year's End I Shall Conquer...

The title of this post shouldn't imply that I'm not looking forward to these books, but somehow they've wound up on my stacks, largely untouched, for YEARS. I'm sooo not proud of it, much like I'm not proud of the dust collecting on my nightstand lampshade (horrible, truly deplorable). Let the parade of shame begin:

I actually came up with the idea for this post after I read over Amanda's ridonkulously ambitious June reading pile and realized Vanity Fair is one of those books I really shouldn't let slide by for another year. Sometimes when I'm sitting in my living room feeding Greyson or watching TV, I'll happen to look over my shoulder at my hoardes of unread books in the bookcase and starting picking on specific ones. It seems like Vanity Fair, The Good Earth, and I Capture the Castle always fall into this category.

In the case of Vanity Fair, The Good Earth and I Capture the Castle, I've read a small portion and ended up putting them back on the shelves. Whether it was life biting me in the ass, boredom, or some other lame excuse, they've gone unread for far too long. That's why they're squarely on my mental DON'T FORGET THESE BOOKS IN 2010 list.

I'm considering downloading Vanity Fair for my Nook, but honestly, chunksters scare me every day of my life.  The thought of lugging this ham of a book around makes my wrists ache and my purse sag, but I can't say that the idea of reading a bazillion digital pages is much cheerier. Must get over my phobia of big fat books.

A far younger book on the list is Margaret Drabble's, The Red Queen. I snatched it up in one of Frances's very kind giveaways because, while the plot sounds great, I'm in love with the cover. I'm a sucker for crimson, and this one just screams awesomeness. Also, and this is really random, it reminds me of the "Red Queen" -- the creepy little girl computer who controls the zombie playland in Resident Evil. Even though the two have absolutely zilch in common, the thought is enough to get me all excited. Resident Evil is one of my favorite really bad scary movies.

Which books do you want to wipe off your TBR before 2010 passes you by?


  1. Great books, while I wasn't as huge a fan of The Good Earth (and haven't read Vanity Fair), I Capture the Castle was one of my favorite books when I got it years ago. Such a great read. Before the year is out I hope to make a SERIOUS dent in my tbr pile, no specific book though :)

  2. There are so many books I would love to wipe off my shelves permanently this year.I have a few ARCs and review copies that are months or years old that I haven't gotten to yet. *sigh* Fingers crossed I'll get to them this year.

  3. Amy, I'm glad to see you're such a fan of I Capture the Castle. It looks like a great book, and I'm endlessly enchanted by the pretty green cover on mine. I fall in love all over again when I read the blurb, and somehow I always flake out before I read it. Ugg!

    Vasilly, I'm bad about clearing away the ARCs too. I've stopped accepting so many, but once I get back into a reading groove, I'll start accepting again.

  4. I've never read The Good Earth but I adore both I Capture the Castle and Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair, in particular, is one of those books I can just read over and over again and never tire of, I find so much in it to love! And even if I Capture the Castle was one of my favourites, it would always hold a special place in my heart for its wonderful opening line.

  5. I could take or leave Vanity Fair (which I read a third of before giving up on it, as a freshman in college), and I have always suspected that I would not like Pearl Buck (I don't know why I cling to these baseless prejudices), but I Capture the Castle is wonderful. I hope you do get through it, because it's a lovely book and a pretty quick read.

  6. Oof. I've read only one of those: I Capture the Castle. It's not scary. If I were you, I'd read it first. It's really quite a captivating read.

    Since I'm an addict, I do have copies of Vanity Fair and The Good Earth on my shelves. And probably every other classic you can think of. Middlemarch -- need to get to that. I desperately want to find the time to read The Forsythe Saga. Mostly, though, I want to catch up on the ARCs I should have read last year. I'm so embarrassed about those.

  7. I look at my copy of I Capture the Castle and feel exactly the same way :)

  8. I loved I Capture the Castle! It's got a great opening line. The other two aren't even on the Books I've Ever Thought About Reading list.

    I have hopes of finishing Wolf Hall this year. And I've been 1/2 way through Istanbul for three years'd be nice to finish that one, too.

  9. I capture the castle is sooooo great!

    And yay for us reading Vanity Fair at the same time!

  10. Oh, I Capture the Castle! It's such a lovely book, and the film version isn't too bad either.

    I've been meaning to read The Good Earth too, especially with that new biography of Buck out. I don't really have a list of books that I want to wipe off my TBR list before the year's out, but I do have a list of authors that I've yet to read anything by, such as Margaret Drabble, Duong Thu Huong, Flannery O'Connor etc.. and that I hope to sample before we hit 2011!

    Good luck with your list.

  11. Good luck tackling your books! I have quite a few unread books lurking on my shelves that I really should read soon . . .

    An unrelated question: what do you think of your Nook? I'm trying to decide whether or not I should get one.

  12. Claire, I can't wait to get to Castle's opening line! I know I've read it, but it's left me over the years. I've read a bigger chunk of The Good Earth than the others, and I'm really excited to get back to it. I hope you'll give it a go!

    Thanks, Jenny! And I would urge you to give Buck a try. I found her prose easily readable, but very beautiful, too. And a captivating story!

    Nancy, I'm in the same overARCed boat. I should clear up more of them, and I've almost completely stopped accepting them unless I'm seriously captivated.

    Lightheaded, maybe there's a buddy read or a read-along possibility there for I Capture the Castle!

    Jill, you sound like me. I always feel really accomplished when I finish one of those books it's taken me YEARS TO READ. Good luck with Wolf Hall...and Istanbul!

    Yay Amanda! I may need your cheerleading skills to get through Vanity Fair.

    Olduvai, I actually wanted to SQUEEE!!! when I saw you mention Flannery O'Connor, but a colleague is sitting here in the workroom with me, and I'm afraid I'd scare the poor man to death (IT instructor, very low key). Anywho, Flannery is one of my all-time faves. Give special attention to the story, "Good Country People." I make my Intro to Lit students read it whenever possible, and it ALWAYS makes their heads spin. Flannery was one of the first authors I read in high school who brought me to the realization that even classic literature can be twisted and endlessly surprising.

    Emily, I posted a review of my Nook just for you! Good luck deciding.

  13. I was looking for a book the other day and as I was shifting books around on the shelves it dawned on me just how long some of those have been shelf-sitters. Oh it's horrible. Especially as I want to read these books!

    Anyway, this year, I would love to finally read Cold Comfort Farm. Enjoy getting to your books. You can do it! :)

  14. I LURVE I Capture the Castle. Didn't lurve Vanity Fair although I'm glad I read it. ;)

    I listened to over half of Good Earth on CD last year and then had to return it to the library...I've never felt much of an urge to find out what happens in the end. I'm hoping a different, more women-centric novel by Pearl Buck will work for me!

  15. Heh, I have "I Capture the Castle", "Vanity Fair" & "The Good Earth" on my TBR pile as well. I'm not sure if I'll manage to get through all 3 before the end of the year though.

  16. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Iliana! There are so many more besides these that have been shelf sitting for far too long. It's shameful!

    Eva, The Good Earth is definitely not woman-centric, though I did find the wife an interesting character 1) for putting up with that husband of hers and 2) for being such a strong, hard-headed character (from what I remember).

    Iris, those shelf-sitters have a way of reaching out to us. White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, is another one yelling at me to read it already!

  17. I loved all three of those first books! I'm glad to see you plan on getting to them in 2010 and I hope you do. I actually surprised myself by loving Vanity Fair, but I pretty much knew I would enjoy the other two.


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