Home > books > reading plans for 2008 part I, in which your blogger states his ambitions for the year 2008, divulges the tale of how he created a monster and his subsequent plans to slay it, his success in said plans, and the sufferings he has experienced whilst on this most dangerous of quests

reading plans for 2008 part I, in which your blogger states his ambitions for the year 2008, divulges the tale of how he created a monster and his subsequent plans to slay it, his success in said plans, and the sufferings he has experienced whilst on this most dangerous of quests

TBR pile on 1 january 2008

okay! 2008!

“jean pierre” you may say “you do know that its already late february.” to which i’d say, “yes, i know, its taken me ages to write this post. i would’ve liked to have published it sooner but i’ve been so busy.”

to this you may point out the oddnes of posting a reading plan for 2008 when we’re already well into the year in question, and to which i would say… hmm… well, i’d say you have a point there, but there’s still lots of 2008 left. and, while i hadn’t posted these plans up until now, they have indeed been in implementation since the beginning of the year.

so, what are my plans then? well, this will be year 4 in Project TBR Pile.

three years ago i realised that i’d given birth to a monster with my tbr pile. i made a plan to curb my every-growing book mountain by implementing the rule of buying only 1 book for every 2 read. this was a good idea in principle, but the progress was way too slow ’cause it didn’t factor in that i mostly get books for my birthday and christmas, which meant that, coupled with the fact that i read so slowly, my tbr pile actually rose in 2005!!

at the end of 2005 my reading pile had bloated into the high 90s. this may not seem like too much, but if you consider that i read on average about 3 books a month (4 or if i really push it or if they’re short) and get multiple books on gift-giving occasions, then that is a huge mountain for me. also, there are about 150 unread books waiting for me back in south africa too – oh yes, this Tbr Monster Feeding has been happening for quite some time. if i carried on buying freely i could easily see the pile just grow and grow and grow.

in 2006 and 2007 i’ve been a lot more disciplined and kept by buying down to an absolute minimum, only buying for challenges (if i have to), for the odd commitment to the odd author (i always have to buy the new terry pratchett!:) ) and for upcoming films that i’d wanted to read the less than 20 books (and probably around 15).

as a result my tbr pile has now dwindled to somewhere in the teens! hooray! the downside is that i haven’t bought a single book in anger in three years now…! i can’t believe it. 2007 alleviated that somewhat in that i did 2 challenges for the first time and so it was nice to go out and buy books for that.

but there was a distinct feeling that i was only getting those ’cause i was “allowed” to. it was like a school matron deciding you were allowed x amount of books of x genre. i personally, like many of you, love the feeling of going into a bookshop, just any bookshop and picking up and buying a book – whatever it is, for whatever reason. i may like the cover, i may like the description on the back or i may just like the genre…so thats been quite hard for me, not being able to walk into a bookstore and just buy a book.

its been even harder, with discovering all you badass bloggers and salivating over all the nice books you’ve read and going mad like renfield in my little prison of no-book-buying…! as such i’m determined to get my tbr pile down – down to the very ground – so that i can start buying books on a whim again and enjoy that wonderful feeling of seeing a book i like and just buying it!! πŸ˜€ oh what joy that’ll be… πŸ™‚

it won’t be totally uncontrolled, however. for one thing, i don’t want to create another tbr pile monster. for another i’ll slowly be bringing books over from south africa, which will be TBR Pile Project II, but that i’ll take in little samples of 10 or so, so it’ll be far easier to buy other books around it. also, i won’t have the full extent of the pile looming ahead of me to intimidate me. it will sort of be the cowardly form of slaying the monster. stealing his arm, and then beating it down and triumphing over it, without it having its other limbs around to help it! πŸ˜€

so, how am i currently faring with the pile? well, at the moment the pile stands at a lowly 12 books. that is such a relief! as little as that sounds, those 12 will take some reading, with most of them being in the 500 pages region.

but 12! that is nothing. especially in comparison with the mountain it was before. and visually its so satisfying.

yes, dear friends, the end is in sight…

Categories: books
  1. February 25, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    lol! Best post title ever!

    You are far more disciplined than I am. I have made that same resolution about book buying many times over the past few months, but it never quite seems to work. Still, now that my book buying is once again restricted to online ordering, I will be attacking my own TBR monster for the rest of the year. Good luck fighting yours! Only 12 to go, you can do it! And buying books on whim again once you’re done will feel wonderful indeed.

    PS: I definitely approve of always buying the new Terry Pratchett πŸ˜€

  2. February 25, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    I am in awe. Complete, total awe. Where the hell can I buy some of that willpower?!! I know I need to try to slay my own monster, but I’m obviously not a big strong knight like you. No I’m just a wimpy little knave. Good luck on your conquest…that beast is toast!

  3. February 26, 2008 at 1:50 am

    I’m with Nymeth – great post title!

    New Pratchetts are essential! And in a more serious mood, there might not be many more new Pratchett titles should his health decline.So. It should be allowed.

    Good luck with the slaying. But these things are like the Hydra — cut off one head and two sprout in its place.

  4. February 26, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Love the title…I am SO impressed! 12 books?! That’s it?! Don’t I wish…I think I’m nearing the 200 mark on the TBR pile now. That’s just embarrassing. You should be quite proud of yourself JP! And when you have it down to the floor you should treat yourself to a nice new round of whatever catches your eye πŸ˜‰ I’m talking about books of course….

  5. jean pierre
    February 26, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    eep! that post ended somewhat abruptly! sorry about that – i added a little conclusion now…

    i’m glad you all liked the title πŸ˜€

    i can’t take too much credit for my monster-slaying. it was seriously stressing me out and really distracting me… to the point where i wasn’t enjoying what i was reading as much because i was feeling such pressure to get through them. can you guys relate to that?

    i was just starting to get to that stage where i was focusing more on getting through my books than actually enjoying reading them. and thats a terrible thing.

    once i implemented my system and stopped buying books then, as i saw the pile start getting smaller rather than bigger, i started feeling much better and i felt i could freely enjoy what i was reading.


    good luck with your tbr monster too! i hope you defeat it:)

    ooh… i cannot wait to start buying books on a whim!!

    and terry. well, we have to buy the new terry pratchet…!


    my humblest thanks to the lady debi who hast paid me the highest of compliments (bows low).

    and what is this talk of being a knave!? thou art mistaken! hast thou not thyself completed a conquest in the week just past, in which thou abstainethed from the world wide webwork, and fulfilled many an obligation, not to mention having taken some brave swipes at your own monster?

    nay, good madame, thou art brave too, and shalt slay thy own beast too.

    to quote the good lady: “thou beast shall be lightly heated bread”.


    absolutely right. they were essential before and are even more so now!

    ( 😦 )

    thanks for the good luck wishes (and the warning (which is very true)).


    yep! as i said, there are still 150 back in SA, but i’m gonna take that one slow as i said.

    as you can imagine, i can totally relate to your tbr monster!!! most definitely πŸ˜‰

    and thats a brilliant suggestion for what to do when i’m done! you know, i think thats exactly what i’ll do. i’ll go on a mini-spree and then come back and share my plunder.

  6. February 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I certainly commend the plan, even more so that you’ve gotten your pile down to something manageable. I have yet to do that. I have been trying this year to be better about whim buying and also to make an effort to fairly quickly read anything I buy. I keep a log of books given or purchased and mark through them with the date completed when they are done. I am doing this on a month by month basis to track my spending and subsequent reading habits. I have done a much better job in Feb. with reading what I buy than I did in Feb., so that at least signals some progress. Here’s hoping that continues.

    I too will always purchase new releases of certain authors regardless of any rules I set for myself: Gaiman, Scalzi, Patricia A. McKillip to name a few.

    Blogging certainly has added fuel to the already out of control fire of my book buying, but the friendships that have developed from that are well worth the price of a few books! πŸ™‚

  7. jean pierre
    February 28, 2008 at 9:54 am

    i really like your plan of keeping a log of what you buy and when you read it. if nothing else, there is something so satisfying in logging books like that. for me its an extension of the experience – that one’s bond with the book doesn’t quite end at the last page.

    and, as you said, it keeps you on top of your reading habits. is part of your motivation to read what you buy fairly soon after purchase to do with what i was saying about losing touch with what one has bought if one doesn’t read it soon enough? or is that just me?

    i’m really glad that the book log is working for you. this reading love that we all sure is so wonderful, but our love is SO great that because of it we often bite off much more than we can chew. so i think a little organisation is good. its like having rules in the playground.

    oh, i’m really happy about all the book recommendations i’ve found, they’re priceless. but even if they were a burden (which they aren’t, they’re a gift) i agree, its the friendships that are truly invaluable.

  8. Eva
    February 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I followed Debi’s link over here, and the post title was awesome. πŸ™‚ As are your efforts! Before I started book blogging (last year), I didn’t really have a TBR pile; if I did, it’d be about two or three books. Now, I think it’s hovering around 100 (eep! in just one year!), so I’ve cut myself off from buying books-two months and I’m going strong! My downfall is bookmooch…I tried to cut myself off from that site too, and that has failed pretty miserably. Way to go getting it down to twelve!!

  9. March 1, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I keep looking at that picture of the bookpile and is that “A Game of Thrones” I see?

    Now, George R.R. Martin MUST be read.

  10. jean pierre
    March 2, 2008 at 11:43 am


    thank you!

    100 books already… it happens so quickly, doesn’t it!?

    you’re totally right about blogging and discovering books that way. there was a stage when i was getting worried about how many good books there were left unread for me in the world – you know the ones that are specifically for my tastes. i actually made up a list of 100 good unread books left to calm me.

    but i didn’t need to ’cause ever since i discovered blogging i’ve discovered way more than i’ll ever be able to read!! πŸ™‚

    i’ve never done bookmooch but i’ve read a lot about it…


    that is indeed “a game of thrones”, eagle eye dark orpheus πŸ˜‰

    did you enjoy it?

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