19 November 2013

Gearing up for the greatest event of the literary year


A little hard to believe we are fast approaching the end of the year. Since I am not quite ready to begin compiling my favorite reads for 2013 I thought I would look forward before I look back. For as long as he has been doing it (this will be the 4th year) I have gleefully participated in CB James' TBR reading dare. Okay, I may start off gleeful and then go through other less positive emotions during the course of the dare. And there was the one year where I gave up a week before it was over. But let's not get stuck in the details.

This year the annual reading dare is the TBR Triple Dog Dare. The rules are the same as every other year, from midnight December 31st until April 1st you can only read books that are already in your possession (in your To Be Read pile) on New Year's Eve. This doesn't mean you can't buy books during that time, you just can't read the ones you buy until after April Fool's Day. It is this point that make the TBR dare fairly doable. One can still scratch the book buying itch and stay on the wagon.

This may be the last year CB does the TBR dare so I decided to make it extra difficult for myself. Go out with a bang as it were. With any luck John and I will finally be starting an 11-month renovation in the early part of the new year. The project in comprehensive enough that it means we need to put all of our stuff into storage and move into an apartment (probably a studio). So my thought was that I can only read from my TBR pile while we are out of our house. This would make my TBR dare 11 months instead of three. It is nuts and I am almost sure I will fail, but I am going to try nonetheless. And given that we will be living in very small digs and be needing every penny we can find for the project, I am going to refrain from buying books during that period as well.

Besides being mentally ill, the thing that really draws me to these additional parameters is that when the renovation is complete, my library will have all new bookcases. Somehow I feel like I need to earn those new shelves.

For those of you toying with the idea of the much more sane three-month dare I highly recommend it. We all complain about our bulging TBR piles. Plus I have found that it is a great way to finally try long overlooked gems hiding in plain sight--as well as dispensing with long overlooked pieces of crap that we have felt compelled to keep for some reason.

You still have a month and a half to decide to join in...and it fits in with all those misguided New Year's Resolutions you are already starting to mull over...do it...


  1. I have seriously tried to refrain from buying more new books over the past few years but somehow they always creep into the house. Am looking forward to joining the Dare again this year!

  2. I would consider doing this, maybe, except it coincides with the Tournament of Books, which I really love following, and I love to read the books in the tournament. I don't usually buy those books, but I do get them from the library, which I think is disqualifying. Perhaps I can make the qualification for myself than I read only TBR books and books from the Tournament? That might work....

  3. I'm in for my 4th year as well. I always look forward to this as added pressure for me to attempt more self-control. I really need to expand it to a book-buying ban, but I'm looking for that *thing* that will really motivate me to stop purchasing for a while (it has to be self-driven, or I fight it too much). Renovating the house would definitely be good motivation! 11 months though...that would be tough!

  4. I think that I would like this dare applied to many levels of my life; not just the books that I have accumulated, taunting me with their very presence, but also the lipsticks (how many reds do I actually need?) and other detritus lying about...it's good to use what we have. It's good to start the New Year with a minimalist perspective and hopefully keep it longer than three months.

    Best to you in your remodeling. Those aren't easy days, to be sure. xo

  5. OK, I'm in. This year I've read nearly 50% from my own shelves, so I think if I can make exceptions for the book group, I'll make it.

    And good luck with the remodel! I hope Lucy won't miss her yard and garden too much.

  6. 11 months is crazy talk! But I completely understand and commend your desire to "earn your new shelves". Last year I was completely faithful to my own books for five months. The only way I could do it was to avoid all bookshops, charity shops, magazine racks and libraries. This year I am allowing myself library copies of books that are inaccessible at the cottage, which isn't really cheating, right? Good luck with the remodel and the challenge!

  7. Well, I failed pretty miserably at this last year. My self-discipline is virtually non-existent. I can only manage to read book group picks on time (well, most of the time). But since CB is retiring the dare, why don’t you take up the mantel for 2015? Lucy could become the new mascot of the triple dog dare. :)

  8. Hardcore indeed! Good luck. I can manage the 3 months, but any longer and I'd feel like I was being punished. But you have such a great reward to look forward to at the end - keep thinking of that.

  9. Jeane: I like the fact that you can still buy books for during the dare, but this year I may refrain.

    Rebecca: I've never done the Tournament, I think I rebel against having to read specific books.

    Susan: I know, I think I need to use the double whammy of space saving and money saving to keep myself from buying.

    Bellezza: Years ago I cured myself of shopping for anything but books and cds.

    Karen: Lucy will have to get used to apartment living. No easy task.

    Lee-Anne: After the initial three months I may allow myself a little library action.

    Ruth: We will see how I feel about it after 2014.

    Gaskella: I see myself failing.

    Sheila: Thanks!


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