TBIF – Thank blog it’s Friday (10-17-08)

Tuesday Thingers (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

Today’s question: Early Reviewers- do you participate? How many books (approximately) have you received through the program? Have you liked them generally? What’s your favorite ER book? Do you participate in the discussion group on LT?

I signed up for Early Reviewers not long after I joined LibraryThing in January 2008, but I’m erratic about my participation. I check out the selections every month, but some months I’ll only submit requests for one or two, and sometimes none will appeal to me. But once or twice, I’ve put in requests for half a dozen ARCs. It depends very much on the slate of books being offered at the time.

There’s a good rule about not buying anything on sale just because it’s on sale; that is, if you wouldn’t be willing to buy it at full price, it’s not really a bargain. For me, that applies to books too. I have a policy of not requesting ARCs, or accepting review book offers, unless the book sounds like one I’d be interested in buying and reading if I found it at Borders, and most of the time I stick to it, which is why I haven’t submitted very many ER requests.

However, if you don’t ask for many ER ARCs to begin with, odds are you’ll receive even fewer, and to date I’ve gotten just two: My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher (reviewed here), and Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan, which won’t be an “early” review by the time I get to it – it was officially published two weeks ago! It’s on my “TBR next” stack, but my current read is just taking me longer than anticipated (and is too interesting to set aside), so I haven’t started it yet.

I don’t participate in any of the LT discussion groups; between blogs and Twitter, I’m spreading my online-conversation time fairly thin as it is.

Booking Through Thursday: What’s Sitting on Your Shelf?

Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.
But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is this: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Oh, mercy. It’s come to this.

There’s a reason I refer to my to-be-read collection as “TBR Purgatory” – the duration of a book’s stay there is undetermined, and some have been hanging around in there for years, no exaggeration.

One big reason I joined LibraryThing in the first place was that I felt that I was losing track of what I had in TBR, and thought it was entirely possible that I might have two copies of some books (both unread). Logging my books into the database gave me a good reason to haul everything off the shelves, and I actually did some purging when I originally set up my LT library. I found quite a few books that I decided, however reluctantly, that I probably really wasn’t going to read after all in the foreseeable future, especially if they’d been around for more than a couple of years, and I gave those away to the Friends of the Library. Since I joined LT, I’ve tried to develop a practice of recording all my newly-acquired books in there as soon as possible and tagging them TBR. That does help me keep up with what’s in Purgatory, but it’s still quite a lot – as of today, that tag is on 150 books. It would have been more if you’d asked this question a couple of weeks ago, though; since we’ll be moving soon, I did another purge while packing up my bookshelves, and one of my errands this weekend will be a stop at the library to drop those books off there.

However, there are still quite a few long-term members of the TBR club that I really do intend to read – but as the article quoted above says, “(w)hen, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.” Here’s a sampling from my LT listings – rather than link to the indivdual books, you’re welcome to take a look at everything currently tagged as TBR. The ones marked with a “*” moved from Memphis to California with me in June 2002.

Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood*
Naked* and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, both by David Sedaris (my husband read both of these a few months ago, but “reading by proxy” doesn’t count)
An Ocean in Iowa, by Peter Hedges (my sister “loaned” me this one six years ago, when I first moved to California – I guess she’s not in a rush to get it back)
The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean*
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
Middle Age: A Romance, by Joyce Carol Oates*
The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen*
Sunday’s Silence, by Gina Barkhordar Nahai*
The Autograph Man and On Beauty, both by Zadie Smith
Coyote Blue and You Suck: A Love Story, both by Christopher Moore (actually, You Suck is my husband’s book and he read it some time ago, but I lured him into Christopher Moore’s twisted little world and I still haven’t gotten around to reading this one yet)
The Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott
When We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go, both by Kazuo Ishiguro
Paint It Black, by Janet Fitch
Broken for You, by Stephanie Kallos
The Accidental, by Ali Smith
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Michael Chabon

What’s lingering on your shelves, waiting for its turn to be read?

Friday Fill-ins #94

1. Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road – everybody sing!
2. A book (or two, or sometimes three) is something I always take with me on vacation.
3. To achieve your goals, you must set goals in the first place.
4. Just about anything personal I write on this blog is something I’d like you to know about me.
5. I have a wedding anniversary coming up next Tuesday!
6. A bar of soap floats.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening, tomorrow my plans include the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk in Thousand Oaks and Sunday, I want to go shopping for some kitchen stuff for our new place! (And we’re taking the day off on Monday too – this is our anniversary weekend!) Oh, and since I still have unread posts in Google Reader going back to this past Sunday (!), I want to get caught up on that over the weekend too.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

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  1. I should have said that books are always something I take on vacations, too. I am a voracious reader and always have a book or magazine with me.

    Happy Anniversary and hope you enjoy your weekend.

  2. follow the follow the follow the follow the follow the yellow brick road!

    LOL I totally thought that said you were shopping for kitten stuff 🙂

    have fun this weekend!

  3. I’m with you – I try not to request books or enter contests for books I wouldn’t want if I had to pay for them. I’ve gotten 2 Early Reviewer books. There weren’t many in the new batch that appealed to me, so I only requested a couple this time.

  4. I’ve requested a couple of books that I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up if I’d seen them in a bookshop — but because the blurb’s right there in front of me, the book had a chance to get my attention. But I’m not going to request a book unless I think there’s a reasonable prospect of me enjoying it — after all, the cost of a book is not just the money paid, but the time invested in reading it. Time that could have been spent reading some other book…

  5. Jerralea – I always have a book in my bag with me too. You never know when you’ll have some time to kill waiting somewhere.

    Kristin – I suspect quite a few people had something like that for #1, but it’s funny that we had the same thing for #3!

    Janet – NO way. My house is a no-cat zone. That’s how my dog wants it :-)!

    Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I think I requested four or five ER books this month, but there have been a few times recently I haven’t put my name in for any.

    Madeleine Thanks :-D!

    SmilingSal – Another vacation reader, I see.

    Tanabata – Vacations can be such a good time to catch up on the TBR collection, can’t they? Enjoy your weekend too!

    Jules – Very true, which is why I apply the same criteria I would when considering buying a book.

  6. I never really have a TBR pile. I don’t read as much as you, so that may be why. I just got home from Borders actually. I got Spindrift by Allen Steele. I know you are excited. 🙂

    Have fun on the walk and enjoy your anniversary weekend. Don’t spend all that time packing.

  7. I try to only request or say yes to books that I would be interested in buying and reading on my own, although I don’t always follow that rule. My problem is that I enjoy reading so many different kinds of books–most sound good to me. I wish I had more discerning tastes like my husband.

    I can’t go on vacation without a book. 🙂

    I hope you have a great weekend, Florinda. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with the walk on Saturday.

  8. Mike – I’m just envious that you made a trip to Borders today :-). We went shopping for major appliances.

    Lenore – And literally, that’s not even the half of it. Not even close.

    Jo – Thanks for stopping by!

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – It can be hard to say no, but I find things like LT’s ER program are easier to refuse than the offers from publicists and authors.

    I think a LOT of us can’t go on vacation without a book :-).

    The weather is supposed to cool down and be quite pleasant tomorrow – we’ll see!