Chances are, if you read this blog frequently, that you understand the acronym 'tbr'. It probably brings tears to your eyes a little... that's right, I'm sure most of us have to-be-read piles, whether in reality or mentally. On the dovegreybooks Yahoo Group recently we were discussing the number of unread books we had on our shelves - I happened to mention that I had about 300 unread books (unread by me, that is - most of 'em have been read by someone). This was met with aghast amusement by another member, who couldn't stomach the idea of resisting books for so long, while a little bit later I was trumped by someone who estimated they had 4000 unread books in their home - ! Wow.
Here is my defence, if defence is necessary. During university I rarely had time to read books for pleasure (though I did derive a lot of pleasure from the books I had to read - subtle difference), but my buying rate didn't slow down... Secondly, when I'm in a charity shop and the books are 50p each, anything I *might* one day want to read, or loan to someone, or refer to, ends up being in my hot little hands. And the money goes to charity. It's like a generous donation, only I get something in return. (Denial is, they say, the first sign - am I right?) Also (I have no end of excuses) I try to read borrowed books as quickly as possible, thus leaving my own spoils to fester.
How about you? A backlog which would suffice for years, should someone dig a moat around your house, or just enough to keep you going until the kettle's boiled?
This is a long-winded way of saying that a whole new heap of books has entered my house... the nicest cover being the one displayed above, A House of Air by Penelope Fitzgerald. Lynne would be proud. Having heard so much about it, I couldn't resist donating some money to Oxfam, and receiving this book as a total coincidence.
The Harvest by Christopher Hart - not heard of it, but my friend Clare says it's one of her favourite books, and she loves A Lifetime Burning and Tom's Midnight Garden - how could I wrong with £1?
The other four were birthday presents, thanks guys!
-Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, from Barbara-in-Ludlow - have read The Pursuit of Love but none of the rest, so thanks Barbara, and get well soon!
-Shakespeare by Bill Bryson, kindly given by The Carbon Copy, who knows me very well. My literati offering was a Mr. Funny T-Shirt. Only in our minds are Shakespeare and Roger Hargreaves akin.
-When We Were Very Young by AA Milne - of course I have a copy of this, but my lovely friend Mel bought me a 1925 edition, published less than a year after the first edition.
-Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella L. Bird - know little about this, but my dear English-student-friend Phoebe sent it, all the way from Japan, in fact. An autobiographical account of an Englishwoman touring Japan in 1878 - sounds wonderful, and may move nearer the very top of the tbr pile. And right now I have to leap out of bed with some vigour, to avoid the besieging books...