To Have and to Hold

June 5, 2009 @ 10:04 am | Filed under: ,

My monster TBR-pile woes are well documented on this blog. I’ve already accumulated more books than I can read in a lifetime. The trouble is, people keep writing new ones. And then other people go and read them, and write captivating posts about them, and next thing I know, I’ve spent the clothing budget on books we don’t have room for, and my library hold list is, well, an embarrassment. Seriously, ma’am, you think you’re going to get through all those in three weeks? Let’s face it, you and I both know that’s not going to happen.

(Which is why I never actually make the library pick-up myself. I send Scott. Let him take the rap. Ha.)

The trouble is, half the time I can’t remember where I heard about the books in the stack. And this matters to me, both because it helps me decide what to read next and because I like to give people credit for their excellent recommendations. Also, sometimes if it’s a children’s book, I won’t remember that I’m the one who put it on holdโ€”I’ll assume it was a Jane pick, and then suddenly the book’ll be due and Jane will say, “Mom, are you sure you want this to go back today? You haven’t read it yet, have you?”

For example: Masterpiece by Elise Broach. Was this my pick, or Jane’s? If mine, where’d I read about it?

So, OK, I’m going to try keeping a record here of the library books I reserve and where I heard about themโ€”which review made me want to read the book, to quote Jen Robinson again.

This morning’s early blog perusing added a number of titles to the hold list:

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder. Anything by Laurel goes automatically in my TBR pile, but in this case it was Book Aunt’s review that reminded me to add it to the queue.

Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray is going to cause a relapse of Scott’s back problems when he has to haul home the pile of books I have my eye on after reading this post. I’m going easy on him by starting with only two titles:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (wah, our system only has it on order; could be a while before it arrives). Psst, Becky, have you seen this one yet? Seems up your alley.

Tracking Trash by Loree Griffin Burns. This was another memory spark. Who reviewed it last year and made me go ooh? Susan, was it you?

Any Which Wall is in that post, too. Along with a number of other books that look quite intriguing. Be warned.

The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. I just read about it this morning and have already forgotten where. Bookshelves of Doom, perhaps? Oh, wait, I remember! It was Monica Edinger’s post on the theme of hope in YA books at educating alice.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Have been meaning to add this one for a while, but didn’t remember to until reading BEA roundups and hearing about people snagging ARCs of its sequel, Fire.

Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul. Surely I heard about this one at Mental Multivitamin. And yet a quickie Google search doesn’t turn up a link, not on the first page of hits, at least. Can this be? I must be missing it.

I see we’ve reserved a copy of Battle Royale, a manga title by Koushun Takami, because Scott told me it’s a very similar premise to that of Hunger Games (which I loved, and whose sequel, Catching Fire, I am desperate eager to read).

The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott. On my list because all Julianna Baggott’s books go on my list. Stay tuned for more about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s just this week’s list. This week’s library list. It doesn’t count the books I bought. (And odds are I’ll wind up buying copies of some of the above, too. With five avid readers in the house (so far), we tend to hold on to library books longer than is, perhaps, fair to other patrons. If a book is a hit with all of us, it’s better to just go ahead and buy a copy. At least, that’s the story I tell myself. And that’s why crisp new copies of Guernsey Literary Society and Mysterious Benedict Society are sitting on my table right now.)

(Also because apparently I will pay cash money for any book with “Society” in the title.)

You see why I have a TBR problem. I hope no one needed new clothes this summer.

    Related Posts


17 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Susan says:

    Lissa, Tracking Trash is fascinating. I definitely mentioned it a few times on the blog. Just want until you read about the gigantic ocean garbage patch. Ugh! But so interesting. I’ve been picking up non biodegradable junk at the beach ever since!

  2. Beth says:

    This made me chuckle because our family too puts so many books on hold we couldn’t possibly read them all. Sometimes (on the weeks when everything seems to arrive at once!) the librarians just put our stack behind the front desk rather than letting them take up so much room on the hold shelf. It’s a bit embarrassing because there are only three in our family, but we use the library for so many things…pleasure reading, homeschooling, researching, music, movies…

    And of course, as soon as I read your post, I remembered that I’d been meaning to put Shannon Hale’s “Rapunzel’s Revenge” on hold and hopped over to the library site to do it!

  3. sarah says:

    Can I put my order in please for a review of The Mysterious Benedict Society? Preferably within the next couple of weeks so I can decide if I should buy it for Rose’s birthday? I know you have simply oodles of time to help me out with this.


    I have three books on my bedside tabl … er, ok, chair actually … and even that small pile is defeating me. I count you as a biblio heroine!

  4. Theresa says:

    LOL! I was just giving Superboy a hard time because he came home from the library with 37 (I think) books to read and only has a week to read them before he leaves for summer Boyscout camp. I suppose we will be re-checking many of them when he returns.
    Oh, and thanks!!! for the Hunger Games recommendation. Superboy loved it so very much.

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sarah, I think Benedict Soc. would be right up Rose’s alley. PARTICULARLY up Rose’s alley because she’ll identify with the exceptionally gifted children who are the heroes. I wrote a little bit about the book here when I was halfway through, not a full review, just a recommendation, but I could go into more detail if you like. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s hard with that book, because I would hate to give anything away. The surprises are a big part of the fun. If you don’t give it to Rose I just might have to send it myself. It’s that good!

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Susan, hurrah, it WAS you! Well, thanks for that. It looks fascinating. I can’t wait.

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    Beth, ARGH, I am so far behind on my Shannon Hale reading! This TBR pile will crush me someday.

    Theresa—so glad Superboy loved Hunger Games. It’s quite something, isn’t it? (Did you get a chance to read it yourself? If not, snag it before it goes back to the library. Very fast read because you won’t be able to put it down.)

  8. Jane says:

    Masterpiece is yours, Mom. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Jeanne says:

    My mom has long kept a list of the books she reads, who recommended them, and a brief note about each, along with a kind of thumbs up/thumbs down system.

    She is 84. The list is long.

    She makes the maudlin jokes about our divvying up her treasures some day — she’s disconcertingly matter of fact about it.

    My heart pangs and then I think, the only thing I can really imagine wanting is this thing that will reflect so many of her years and hours and thoughts and friends’ insights —

    — her booklist.

  10. nina says:

    Lissa, this is such a great idea. I would like to start using my blog to record book ideas as well.

  11. Melissa Wiley says:

    Jeanne, you just choked me up. What a wonderful legacy to leave…I never thought of that.

    Nina, let’s start a meme! I’m going back to re-tag some of my older posts so I can easily access my TBR-inspiration lists. Am using the tag “TBR pile” since that’s what I’ve already slapped on a couple of posts.

  12. Melissa Wiley says:

    Jane my love, thanks ever so. Now: who blogged about Masterpiece? How’d it wind up on my list? Don’t be shy, y’all. Remind me!

  13. lickona says:

    I don’t even want to think about where the books I forced on you are now. Propping up uneven picnic tables?

  14. Melissa Wiley says:

    Hardly! ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, both of them are in the place-of-honor shelf by my bed at THE TOP of the stack. It’s just that dang library pile that keeps booting the non-library titles down. And, um, the Catching Fire ARC that just arrived. That trumps everything right now.

  15. MFS says:

    RE: Of a Feather


    I hope all is well with you and yours.


  16. Colleen says:

    I just finished “Of a Feather” and really enjoyed it. You don’t just get a history of birding in N America but a whole series of biographical chapters on all sorts of fascinating people. Great stuff. I’m including it in a feature later this summer on birding books – there do see to be a lot of them lately, don’t there?

  17. Marianna says:

    I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one with 74 items checked out, 15 on hold to pick-up and 48 on reserve!