Photo Credit – Sharon Drummond
My cup runneth over. Mount To-Be-Read (TBR) runs to over a thousand volumes. Others bemoan the size of their TBR pile, apparently intimidated by the scale of the agenda they have set for themselves, fearful of ‘getting behind’ in their reading or joining with friends in a challenge to ‘tackle mount TBR’, to tame the invading monster. Perhaps I’m contrary but my Mount TBR is a source of exquisite delight. Turning the closing page of one book is inevitably followed by the magical moment of choosing the next, browsing bookshelves with an expectation of pleasure, reward or insight. What to discover next? Where to go? Who to travel with? It’s a delicious dilemma. Rows of beautifully designed jackets and covers entice. Intriguing new titles and compelling blurbs vie for perusal against time-tested favourites. Sometimes folded-in reviews stripped from the broadsheets, Literary News or Slightly Foxed nestle against book bloggers reviews and recommendations or scrawled, hand-written notes – messages from my former self recording the whim or reason that earned the book its place. Several will be subject to Professor John Sutherland’s ‘page 69 test’.* And yet as I scan the familiar spines, gently easing out one or two to remind myself of its promise (and occasionally bemoaning the shallow layer of dust gathering along the upper edge), I know that each and every one is a book I want to read, because I have shelved and maintained it as TBR. The disruptive risks and uncertainty of choosing books in a bookshop or online is reduced while all the excitement of anticipation remains. Mount TBR is nothing less than a self-curated bookshop and library rolled into one.