If you visited the last incarnation of this blog, you may have seen this post from late 2008, called “TBR Challenge 2009”:
I’m not sure how many books I read in 2008, but it’s somewhere in the 2-3 range. That’s just a ballpark figure.
I’d really like to be reading more and the 2009 TBR (To Be Read) Challenge sounds like it might help me do just that.
I think what I’m supposed to do is make a list of 12 books before January 1st that I’m going to read in 2009. I can read one a month or I can read them all in one month, as long as they’re all read by this time next year. I already have like 100 books on my Amazon Wishlist, so this should be pretty easy (the making the list part).
- Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
- World War Z – Max Brooks
- Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets – David Simon
- Generation Kill – Evan Wright
- The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 – Lawrence Wright
- Return to Mars – Ben Bova
- Great Shark Hunt (The Gonzo Papers vol. 1) – Hunter S. Thompson
- Masters of Death: The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust – Richard Rhodes
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
- A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
- Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About: A Novel – Mil Millington
- The Ghost Map – Steven Johnson
The challenge also allows for an alternate list of 12 more titles that can be substituted for any of the books on my list.
- Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army – Jeremy Scahill
- Sentenced to Prism – Alan Dean Foster
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
- Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
- 79 Short Essays on Design – Michael Bierut
- The Timewaster Letters – Robin Cooper
- The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
- Microserfs – Douglas Copeland
- It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be – Paul Arden
- In the Event of My Untimely Demise – Brian Sack
- Band of Brothers – Stephen E. Ambrose
There were a couple follow-up posts about how horrible I was doing. I’m pretty sure I only completed one of those books in 2009, The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper, which is probably also the shortest book on both lists, clocking in at a breezy 192 pages. I also read about half of Generation Kill on a flight to Germany and got a couple chapters into Infinite Jest before throwing in the towel on that one. I’d still like to read it at some point but I don’t think it was best choice for easing myself into a normal reading habit.
All in all the experiment was an complete and utter failure. Getting through 6-7 books would have at least been respectable.
This turned out to be a better year for me (reading wise). I didn’t even start reading my first book of the year until late August and I still managed to get through 6 books before the end of the year:
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Generation Kill by Evan Wright
Strain by Guerrmo del Toro
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks
And here’s what 2011 looks like so far:
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (in progress)
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman (in progress)
I didn’t make a full list in time for the 2011 TBR Challenge but I’m still hoping to get 12 books in this year.
Questions for the comments:
- What are you reading?
- What should I read next? Anything from my original lists?
- If I wrote a book would you buy it?
- Is reading for pussies and should I be doing something more manly like doing tire flips or putting cigarettes out on my tongue?