A mountain to climb

1882 sketch of Mount Everest http://asketchofthepast.com/2015/04/08/forever-upward-sandy-irvines-summit
1882 sketch of Mount Everest (credit: http://asketchofthepast.com/2015/04/08/forever-upward-sandy-irvines-summit)

The jokey noticeboard outside a local pub reads JANUARY NEARLY OVER THANK GOD and while I’m not in a hurry to skip on to February it’s been a surprise how quickly this month has come and nearly gone. At least it’s a good point at which to look back and see how I’ve been doing with my reading over the last 30-odd days, and how I’m progressing with my Mount To-Be-Read Challenge.

This, you may remember, is an attempt to substantially reduce the piles of books (even though they’re actually mostly resting on shelves) that have accumulated unread over, in my case, years. Or at least put a dent in that backlog. The rules are clear: no rereads, no library books, no books acquired since January 1st can count — though that won’t stop me reading those forbidden categories, it’s just that I can’t count them in my tally.

Here’s my January total:

Alison Croggan’s The Bone Queen
A S Byatt’s Angels and Insects
Donna Leon’s The Jewels of Paradise
J K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: the Original Screenplay
Fflur Dafydd’s The White Trail

At first I thought I would aim small: the Pike’s Peak challenge is to read 12 books from my TBR pile. As I’ve already completed and reviewed five it’s not going to take me long to achieve this if I only read unread titles in my possession. Mont Blanc (24 books) is certainly achievable, maybe even Mt. Vancouver (36 books) or Mt. Ararat (48 books). Mt. Kilimanjaro (60 books) I think will be too ambitious though.


But that’s not all. I’ve very slightly stalled on Daphne du Maurier’s Castle Dore (her completion of a novel by Arthur Quiller-Couch) but hope to finish it in February, another Mount TBR title to add to the pile. As regular readers will have noticed I’ve also now completed a reread of Joan Aiken’s The Stolen Lake, and I’ve started a library copy of Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw.

You may have also noticed that all the above are penned by women authors, so I thought I’d better start redressing the balance — but not too much — with some male writers. This has begun with Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes: the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity which I’m digesting bit by bit (at around 600 pages it’s a whopper of a doorstopper).

So that’s where I’ve got so far, my Base Camp as it were. I know many of you readers have regular updates on where you’ve got with reading challenges. Whether or not you account for these on your blogs I hope you are making progress scaling the heights of whatever you’ve set yourself; or maybe you’re just taking stock of where you’ve reached on your general amble through life?


11 thoughts on “A mountain to climb

    1. I’m lucky in being retired and having the time to both read and review, though actually most of my reading is done late at night and early morning. I’m afraid, Lynne, you’ve now unwittingly encouraged me to do more of these ego-massaging updates!

  1. I will have two to add to my Mount Blanc level this month, but this has been a slower reading month than normal for me. I love these challenges though. They are motivating and they help to chart my progress.

    1. Good to hear of your progress, Laurie, sounds like you’re on target! I agree, such challenges are motivating, though I did find that having too many different targets last year was frustrating as I didn’t get round to completing them, some more spectacularly than others! This year it’s just the Mount TBR Challenge for me. 🙂

      1. “I did find that having too many different targets last year was frustrating as I didn’t get round to completing them, ”

        I am trying to plan a reading list for February and I fear I bit off more than I can really read with the challenges I chose for this year. There is a life outside of books, I need to remember that!

  2. I look around me and am amazed by 4,000 meter high mountains. Then there is the Mt Everest and its chums at 8,000 meters. It gives me strength to imagine that whenever I find a personal task that looks so impossible, I am sure someone else has a larger task. All the best! 🙂

    1. My ‘challenge’ of reading books is a real molehill, nay pimple, compared to the true challenges faced by refugees, those wrongly imprisoned and those suffering unfair discrimination.

      I envy you your spectacular scenery — the Black Mountains I see outside our windows are a scant 700 or so metres high. Beautiful nevertheless!

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