TBR Triple Dog Dare – Just 11 Days To Go. You Can Do It!

TBR Final DareIt’s so tempting to fall off the wagon at this point.  Just eleven days left in the TBR Triple Dog Dare, but if you’re like me, then you already have a small stack of books you bought surreptitiously somewhere in your house tempting you to stray.


I confess that I have been to the bookstore twice already and that I do have a small pile of books almost as high as the stack off books I’m passing along to the Friends of the Library Book Sale when the TBR Triple Dog Dare ends.  I won’t list them all but among them is my first Hap and Leonard book thanks in large part to a review over at Book Chase.  Thanks, Sam.  That’s probably what I’ll read first come April.

April Fool’s Day, when the TBR Triple Dog Dare comes to its final close, I’ll be in Los Angeles at the Association of  Writers and Writing Programs annual conference listening to four days worth of author panels. I plan on skipping a couple to check out The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A.  I hear the entire second floor is dollar books so I’m bringing along an extra suitcase.   The Last Bookstore is the largest bookstore in California; many conference goers will be skipping out to visit at some point.

Anyone else going to the AWP? Want to meet up for lunch?

Today I’ll be reading The Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick which I picked out from the far reaches of my TBR pile and my very first Mike Lupica book–I forget the title but it’s about basketball.  I brought in a selection of sports books for my 7th graders this week–we’re playing book bingo and many of us need to cross off the book about sports square.  The librarian selected several Tim Green and quite a few Mike Lupica books.  Never having read either author, I asked my students which one I should read; they said Lupica so I’ll be giving him a go later today.

The librarian gave me just over twenty books about sports, mostly novels, only two of which were about girls.  When I asked her about this she said she’s had a very tough time finding sports books about girls which surprised me.  We have the Shark Girl books along with non-fiction about the true story they are based on and a couple of Girls Play to Win books–Girls Play to Win Lacrosse did get taken this week as did the Shark Girl books–but not much more.  The only sports related series books for girls we have are books for reluctant readers.  There does not seem to be a Tim Green, Mike Lupica, Matt Christopher equivalent for girls.  If you know of one or any single titles, please let me know in a comment.  We’re looking for middle school level books.

It’s supposed to rain all day today, so I should be able to complete Mr. Lupica’s book, maybe Mr. Dick’s book as well.  Then I’ll reach over Bad Chili for another title from my TBR stack.

Just eleven more days.  I can do that.


Sunday Salon: The TBR Triple Dog Dare Month One Check In

TBR Final DareDid you dare?  How are you doing?

It’s been a month, one-third of the way through, how is everyone doing with the TBR Triple Dog Dare?

So far it’s been pretty easy for me this time around–probably a result of doing it for so many years now I’ve lost count. I’ve developed something of a taste for my own TBR shelves lately anyway; I’m not all that interested in what’s new and current these days.  I do still find quite a few books that are “new to me” from reading book blogs, but I don’t have the same sense of urgency about keeping up with current titles that I used to have.

So, I’ve been reading from my own TBR shelves, four books at a time currently, having a great time.  I’ve not found anything really wonderful yet, but I have been enjoying myself quite a bit.  Right now I’m reading The Visitor by Sheri Tepper, a post-apocalyptic fantasy that is good escapist fun so far; The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Simenon which is dark, very dark, creepy and suspenseful; the third book in Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Series which is sadly not as good as the first two were so far; and The World Rushed In a massive first hand account of the California Gold Rush.

I just finished Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich which was not funny at all.  The other Russian classic’s I’ve read have all be pretty funny, at least at times, but Tolstoy seems to have no sense of humor at all.

All of the books but the Ferrante one have been gathering dust on my TBR stacks for some time now, at least a couple of years each.  It’s good to finally get to them.  I’m doing 100 to 150 pages a night which has really cut back on my Netflix/Hulu addiction.  Good for me but bad for Hulu I guess.  They’ll get over it.

I’m cheating a little in that I am reading YA books for school.  I picked up two books from my school library and had my students vote on which one I should read.  It was a very close vote but I’ll be reading something called The Boys of Fire and Ash by Meagan McIssac later today.  Having my students vote on what I should read really got them interested in the books.  The “loser” is in a students hands as we speak.

We’re doing Book Bingo this semester, too, which is also paying off.  I’m doing it along with them which has been making them much more aware of reading.  No one has a bingo yet but a few students are very close.  I had them do a little assignment about reading where they calculated how many books they could read in a semester if they only read 20 minutes a night on school nights only.  Turns out, they were very surprised by how much they could read and  by how much more that would be than what many of them usually read.  That and Book Bingo has already got a few of them reading much more than they did last fall.

And no one has to take an Accelerated Reader quiz either.

So what have you found in your TBR stacks?

Sunday Salon: Did You Dare? How Are You Doing?

TBR Final DareSo, how’s it going?

I’m hoping to get a chance to go out for coffee and book review writing later today, but I thought I’d put up a post just to see how everyone is doing with The TBR Triple Dog Dare so far.

It’s been a week?  Having fun yet?

I’ve removed two books from my TBR shelves forever.  While neither will make it onto my list of favorite reads for 2016, I enjoyed them both.

I’m also working through my short story anthologies, which is kind of a surprise.  I used to do the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge quite often, but stopped sometime this past summer for no good reason.  So I’ve switched to reading batches of four stories, two from one book, two from another, in a sort of tournament of books fashion.  That’s been kind of fun so far.

I am also reading YA stuff again for work.  Since it’s for work it’s a TBR Dare exception.   I haven’t found anything to sing about yet, but the fact that I’m reading their books has my students intrigued.  Friday, I had my English classes vote on which of the two books I’d picked out I should read this weekend.  The kids got into it.  The book that wasn’t selected is already in demand.  I’ve read 80 pages of the one they chose, Texting the Underworld, but I may skip ahead to the final chapters.  Reading the first and last chapters is a well-respected children’s librarian strategy.  You can read just about everything that comes in if you just read the first and last chapters.

So, what have you found on your TBR shelf this week?


Sunday Salon: Not Boxing Day Edition

It’s not Boxing Day, but it is that strange time between Christmas and New Year’s when we’re not actually celebrating anything but we still have to kind of make an effort to be celebratory.  It’s like the day before everyone heads for home.  You’re all still on vacation which you want to keep going but you also sort of want to get things back to normal because all the holiday stuff really is tiring after a few days.

But you also don’t want to go back to work or back to school yet.

It’s a very in-between sort of time.  So we’re probably going to go see the new Star Wars movie later today after which I’m going to finish Lauren Groff’s new book Fates and Furies which has taken a very unexpected turn but is still fabulous.  I will be the last book added to my top ten favorite reads of 2015 list.

We really do have to finally finish washing all of the Christmas Eve dinner dishes, too.  And put all the Christmas coffee mugs away for another year.  This year, for the first time in quite a few years, I got mugs from my students.  When I taught in an elementary school, I got six to eight Christmas mugs a year, but it’s been a while.

Maybe mugs are making a come back.

The best gift I got was the old sign from a Northern Pacific Railway ticket office, black with gold lettering behind glass.  I’m something of a railroad fan, have been since childhood.  This year C.J. outdid himself.  Two signs from the same railroad station, and a deck of playing cards from an old passenger line, the Chessie System.  These could become my next collecting mania.

I have been doing a lot of reading this week.  Quite a few books read and reviewed to end out the year.  Fates and Furies was one favorite another was Patrick Ness’s book A Monster Calls which was a surprise hit for me.  It’s a very preachy book, clearly written to pass along a message to its readers which is something I usually hate in a YA book, but I loved this one.  It all worked very well, made me cry and then made me feel a bit better about the way life works.  It also disturbed me quite a bit.  Full review will follow soon, possibly tomorrow.

The best thing about having the week off was that I could go to a coffee shop almost every day, sit, have a coffee and write up a review.  I really enjoy writing up reviews which I sometimes forget when I’m staring at a pile of books that need reviewing.  Once the task has begun, I remember how much I enjoy it.

We’ve got over 50 people taking the final TBR Dare this time around.  I posted a silly item about Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Weiner deciding to bury the hatchet and take the TBR Dare yesterday which got much more traffic to this blog than it’s ever had.  It also got a couple of more people to join in, that and the offer of a free pony to the 50th person to sign up.

It’s funny how “false” items like those ended up bringing so many visitors my way.  Many stuck around to check out other posts, as well.

So, here’s hoping you enjoy your in-between time this week.  If you run out of things to do, don’t forget you can still sign up for the TBR Triple Dog Dare.

Did Santa Bring You Too Many Books This Year?

Time to take The TBR Triple Dog Dare.

All you have to do is read only the books you already own from midnight January 1, 2016 to April 1.

That’s just three months.

Plenty of time to read all those book Santa brought you, and some of the ones you have piled up around your house, admit it.

You don’t want to end up on the wrong list next Christmas.

To sign up, leave a comment here.

Remember, it’s not a challenge; it’s a dare.


Sunday Salon: Release the Kracken! The TBR Dare is Back! and maybe some other ramblings….

Rudolph _picmonkeyed (1)
Part of the holiday decorating at our house.

The TBR Triple Dog Dare came back for a final round this week.  You can sign up for it in a comment here.  We have 22 people signed up so far, which I think is pretty good.  Since leaving my old blog Ready When You Are, C.B. almost two years ago, I’ve not built up nearly the readership I used to have, but that’s okay.  I semi-retired from blogging in 2014 and now consider myself blogging on  a consultant basis.

So 22 sign-ups in a week is very good.

The Dare starts on January 1, so you still have time to sign-up.  All you have to do is read only books from your TBR stack until April 1, 2016.  Exceptions are allowed and explained on the sign-up page here.

I did quite a bit of reading this week, since I had the week off.  Nothing earth-shaking, but several books I enjoyed.  I even managed to post reviews of most of them.  I have two to write up, maybe later today: Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity by Prue Shaw which I enjoyed, but will admit to some skimming towards the end.  I thought it would be a great way to learn all about Dante and The Divine Comedy without having to actually read Dante.  It would have been better if I had read or was reading Dante which I may do now that I know more about him.

The other book still to be reviewed is Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast.  I’ll have to digest it a little before writing, I think.  I read this week that A Movable Feast has been back on the best-seller list in the wake of the Paris attacks.  The thing is, A Movable Feast is not really about Paris.  It’s about all of the people, mostly American authors, whom Hemingway knew while living in Paris.  There really aren’t any French people in the book except for waiters and a couple of car mechanics.  A Movable Feast has almost nothing to say about Paris itself.  Hemingway spent his time in Europe moving from one English speaking colony to another, never really interacting with the place he was in.  He was a tourist among tourists.

Which is probably how most Americans experience Paris.

C.J., who spent a good chunk of his high school years living in Madrid where his father was designing an airport for Franco, his father worked for Bechtel, says that is typical of ex-pats.  They all either spent their days interacting with other ex-pats never really getting to know anyone Spanish, or they spent their days interacting with the Spanish never really getting to know any other ex-pats.  No one ever did both. Most of his family got to know lots of ex-pats. One of his brothers got to know lots of Spanish people.  Guess which family member still speaks fluent Spanish.

I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on A Movable Feast for the post except to say this–while I found most of the book’s writing annoying to condescending, there were still two passages that broke my heart a little, which is the power of Earnest Hemingway’s work.

Damn if he can’t write when he gets going.

We meant to do more day trips than we did this week.  It rained, thank you, on the day we had planned on going to the city so we stayed home and read in the rain.  We did make it up to Grass Valley for their Cornish Christmas street fair which was cold but lots of fun.  Back in the 19th century when the tin mines in Cornwall closed, large numbers of former tin miners moved to Grass Valley, California en masse where they took jobs in the gold mines.  Hence the Cornish Christmas.  The event runs every Friday night  through the holidays, so we may even go again.  We’re hoping to retire to Grass Valley someday soon.

Thanksgiving was spent with C.J.’s family dining out as usual at the El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma.  A delicious meal was had by all.  One plus of dining out for Thanksgiving for me is that I can have a good steak instead of turkey.  Turkey.  Really?  Is there a blander main course anywhere in the world?  So why not liven it up with mashed potatoes and green beans?  And cranberries?  What dark pit of horror did those things come from?

I’m from the midwest, so for me Thanksgiving has always been about the company, not the food.

So, today for finishing the shopping, doing the bills, some reading, walking the dogs, ignoring the stack of papers I still haven’t graded…

…and adding your name to The TBR Triple Dog Dare list.

Sunday Salon: Announcing the Final TBR Triple Dog Dare

TBR Final Dare
This is Dakota. Dakota passed away earlier this year, but since she has always been the official mascot of The TBR Dare I decided to include her in this the final dare. She’s pictured here just after eating In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Yes, it was a library book, and no, she was not sorry about it. It was a tasty book.

Are you brave enough for one final round?

I’ve been wavering about it for several weeks now but I’ve decided to go ahead and release the Kracken!  So if you’ve taken the dare every year for years, or never taken the dare before, this will be your last chance before I retire The TBR Dare for good.

The TBR Triple Dog Dare works like this….

For the first three months of 2016 read only the books that were already in your TBR stack as of midnight December 31, 2015.

You can modify The TBR Dare any way you need to: include books you’ve ordered but not received yet as well as books you have already placed on reserve at your local library; make exceptions for certain books that will be published early next year; allow  book club choices and ARCS as needed.  The TBR Dare has always been about having fun, so make whatever changes to the “rules” you need to to keep it fun.  To keep everyone honest, I only ask that you publish your exceptions in your sign-up comment or on your blog.

If you just want to take The TBR Dare for a month, that’s fine, too.  The TBR Triple Dog Dare will run from January 1, 2015 to April 1, 2005.  Technically, it’s not a shopping ban so you can still buy books–you just can’t read them until April 1.

Most people find it’s very enlightening to finally read the books they’ve had on the TBR shelf all these years.

To sign up, click on over to the official TBR Triple Dog Dare page, which looks a lot like this one, and leave a comment.  Or just sign up in a comment below.  I’ll add you to the list of who’s in as quickly as I can.

And please do help spread the word by posting on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you go on-line.  Feel free to use the “button” above and to link to this page.

Be sure to check back here from time to time.  I’ll be posting updates throughout The TBR Triple Dog Dare to see how everyone is doing.

Remember, The TBR Triple Dog Dare is not a “reading challenge”; it’s a dare.  So if you’re someone who does not sign up for reading challenges you can still participate.

I triple dog dare you.