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2012 TBR Pile Challenge

I’m joining Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge for the first time this year, with the goal of reading a dozen older books that I’ve been meaning to read but that keep getting nudged aside by newer titles. Technically, the books on my list are not in an actual pile, or even all owned by me, but all are books published over a year ago that I either own or have listed in my little TBR notebook. They all come highly recommended, but I keep picking up other books first.
This challenge will also help me with an unofficial goal for 2012: to read more of the Massachusetts Book Award winners and Honor books from recent years. The rules include that the books have to have been on your TBR list for at least one year (I’m pretty sure these all qualify.) and that you have to read all twelve by the end of 2012. (Two alternates are allowed in case one or two on your list are duds, but I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that.) I think I’ve got a nice mix of fiction here. Just hope no one recommends more zombie (Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry) or vampire (Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro) novels to distract me!

My 2012 TBR Pile Challenge List

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
The Whole World Over by Julia Glass
Map of Ireland by Stephanie Grant
The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett
All Is Vanity by Christina Schwarz
Codex by Lev Grossman
Third Girl from the Left by Martha Southgate
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Two Alternates
Great House by Nicole Krauss
Family Album by Penelope Lively

Best of 2010 Book Lists

>The best of 2010 lists have started! A music and culture blog, Largehearted Boy, will help you keep up with daily updates to a list of “Best of 2010” book lists, from specific lists like Chess Book of the Year and Best Cookbooks of 2010 to general lists from Amazon, Booklist, the Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, etc. There’s even a link to a list of the 10 best “Best of” books of 2010 on the Jacket Copy blog.
General “Best of 2010” book lists imply that all books published that year have been sifted through and all possible finalists shortlisted and read. An impossible task, even with a committee working on the list. Maybe that’s why The New York Times publishes a “Notable Books” of the year list in addition to a “10 Best Books” list. These lists usually come out in December as a gift-buying guide. (Click here to see the New York Times Best Books of 2009 list. Ouch! I only got around to reading one of the five recommended fiction books — A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore — but it was one of my favorite books last year, so I’m glad it made the list.) How many of the best books of 2010 can we read before the 2011 books start appearing? Which to read first?
So far, my personal “Best Novels of 2010” list includes, in order of most recently read:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (yes, along with most everyone else!)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (first in, apparently, a very long trilogy)
The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst (author of The Dogs of Babel)
Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott (Canadian author)
The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller (playwright’s response to 9/11)
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (linked stories)
So Much for That by Lionel Shriver (terminal illness)
Blackout by Connie Willis (sequel out now, All Clear, time travel)
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris (disturbing neurological condition)
The Privileges by Jonathan Dee (rich people and their problems)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (young adult fantasy, prequel)

    Others that I would like to read are showing up on many lists:

    The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
    The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
    The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
    To the End of the Land by David Grossman

      Room by Emma Donoghue is a recently published novel I don’t know if I will read, although it’s showing up on several best books lists. It’s about a five-year-old boy who lives caged up in a small room with his mother. Read the New York Times review here to see whether you want to try it.
      What 2010 novels or short stories do I need to add to my must-read list?

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