After reading about the TBR Pile Challenge on several different blogs, I knew this was one I had to join. As in previous years, Roof Beam Reader is the sponsor, and there will be many other participating bloggers around to cheer us on. The rules are simple: Create a master list of 12 novels that have been sitting on your TBR for at least 12 months, and read and review them over the next year. I read on average 85 books/year, so this shouldn't be tough, right? Especially since my TBR isn't really a pile but fills several rooms...
It may be a sad statement that I need a challenge like this to force me to read books that enticed me into buying them years ago, but the call of newly published titles often proves too strong... which means my older historical novels lie ignored for years if not decades. I had such a fun time participating in Historical Tapestry's Alphabet in Historical Fiction challenge two years ago, since it gave me a good reason to return to authors' backlists. The TBR Pile Challenge should do the same, and I'm looking forward to it.
Here's my list of 12 titles and 2 alternates, in no real order. I've also posted it on Goodreads. I spent way too much time going through my shelves at home and choosing these books.
2. Paullina Simons, The Bronze Horseman (2001) - romantic epic centered on the Siege of Leningrad, 1941. So many bloggers seem to love this one, and the prequel, Children of Liberty, will be out next spring.
3. Liz Curtis Higgs, Here Burns My Candle (2010) - love and betrayal in the 18th-century Scottish Lowlands. Her trilogy beginning with Thorn in My Heart, in which the biblical Jacob-Leah-Rachel triangle is transported to the same setting, is a favorite. Why haven't I read this one yet?
4. Rosemary Sutcliff, Rider on a White Horse (1959) - the story of Anne Fairfax and her husband Thomas, during the English Civil War. Because it's a Sutcliff I haven't read before.
ò Rising (1986) - the first book in her House of Niccolò series set in the Low Countries in the 15th century. I have the entire 8-book set, all shiny 1st edition hardcovers with gorgeous jackets. I picked up the first one many years ago, read 25 pages, was utterly confused as to what was going on, and put it back down (please don't hate me). Meanwhile I've gotten older and have developed a taste for literary fiction. This is a good time to try again.
6. Diana Norman, Daughter of Lir (1988) - 12th-century Ireland and England. A long out-of-print title from one of my favorite historical novelists.
7. Donna Baker, Bid Time Return (1993) - I own many of Donna Baker's books but have yet to read one. I also didn't know until googling her name just now that this is a pseudonym for Lilian Harry, best known for her WWII British sagas. This is the first in her two-book Cumbrian Saga, set in and around Furness in the early 20th century. Her website says that her novels written as Baker are being re-released as e-books.
8. Elizabeth D'Oyley, The Mired Horse (1951) - the drama surrounding Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, and his relationship with Mary, Queen of Scots. I had to create a new entry for it in Goodreads because it wasn't in the system... which is a very good reason to review it. Someone ought to! This will be one for my Obscure Books series.
9. Esmeralda Santiago, Conquistadora (2011) - one of my newer choices, a literary epic set in mid-19th century Puerto Rico. I got my ARC signed at BEA last year and always meant to read it.
10. Brian John, On Angel Mountain (2006) - first in a six-book family saga set in late 18th and early 19th-century Wales. One of my favorite subgenres, and I love Welsh settings.
11. Elizabeth Laird, The Betrayal of Maggie Blair (2011) - YA historical about an accused witch in 17th-century Scotland... adventure, religious repression, and so forth. I don't read much YA but should.
12. Tracy Chevalier, The Lady and the Unicorn (2003) - fictional drama surrounding the creation of the gorgeous Cluny tapestries, which I've had the fortune to see in person on two occasions.
Some old, some new, some classics, and some lesser known. My alternates are Sena Jeter Naslund's Ahab's Wife and Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. With luck I'll get to all fourteen within the next year, and maybe some others, too. Hope you'll follow along with me!
(Edited later to add the novels' publication dates.)