The Final Countdown plus Challenges Report…

TBR Year-End Report

Last New Year I added up the full extent of the horror of the TBR, including the bits I usually hide. So, time for 2016’s final count to see how I did over the year…


Well, I know you won’t believe me, but despite the fact that the overall total has gone up, I’m going to declare this a major victory. Firstly, it’s only increased by 12 overall. The TBR (books I own) has increased by nearly thirty, but the wishlists (books I don’t yet own) have fallen. This is due to my wonderful system of sticking all the books I’d like to read on my Amazon wishlist and then snapping them up any time they go on sale – and anyone who Kindles will know that books go on sale all the time. And the jolly thing is that piles of Kindle books don’t take up nearly as much room as piles of paper books.

ostrichSecondly, after a major splurge on review books in the middle of the year, I have made a serious effort to stop requesting so many, and the number outstanding is finally beginning to drop.

But thirdly – and the real reason I’m feeling rather smug – is that in the middle of the year I joined the Classics Club, and this involved adding between 40 and 50 books to either the TBR or the wishlist. So for the end of year total to have only increased by 12 means it would in fact have reduced by a decent amount if not for those added classics. And the Classics Club challenge runs over five years, so it doesn’t stress me out that my overall total includes nearly 90 classics at the moment, since I only intend to read about twenty a year, regardless of how quickly I acquire them.

I can hear you laughing, but I do genuinely feel more in control of the TBR than I have in ages…


* * * * * * *

The Around the World in 80 Books Challenge

Last check-in was in September, and I’ve been concentrating since then on bringing review copies under control, but I’ve seen a little bit of the world nonetheless…


I went for a looooong sea voyage in the company of Cap’n Ahab, Ishmael and the boys from the Pequod. I’m trying to only add books I recommend to my Around the World list, but I’m slotting Moby-Dick in for the Pacific meantime, to be replaced later if I read something I prefer. I visited 19th century New Brunswick in Canada to witness a true crime and subsequent trial in Black River Road by Debra Komar. Then I was shown the horror of the WW2 fire-bombing of Dresden in Germany in the wonderful Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. My last trip was closer to home and considerably more relaxing, if you discount a murder or two – north to the Scottish Highlands in the company of Anthony Wynne in Murder of a Lady.

Since it’s the end of the year, here’s the full list so far…

The Main Journey

  1. London  – Martin Chuzzlewit
  2. Orient Express – Travels with My Aunt
  3. France – The Sisters of Versailles
  4. Alps
  5. Venice
  6. Brindisi
  7. Mediterranean Sea
  8. Suez
  9. Egypt
  10. Red Sea/Arabian Sea
  11. Bombay
  12. Calcutta – A Rising Man
  13. Kholby
  14. Elephant Travel
  15. Allahabad
  16. Indian Ocean/ South China Sea
  17. Hong Kong
  18. Shanghai
  19. Yokohama
  20. Pacific – Moby-Dick: Or, The White Whale
  21. San Francisco
  22. Sioux lands
  23. Omaha
  24. New York – Three-Martini Lunch
  25. Atlantic Ocean
  26. Queenstown (Cobh) Ireland
  27. London – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The Detours

That leaves 53 spots for me to randomly tour the world, so here’s where I’ve been so far…

  1. The Hebrides – Coffin Road
  2. Florida – Their Eyes Were Watching God
  3. Iceland – Snowblind
  4. Himalayas – Black Narcissus
  5. Ireland – The Heather Blazing
  6. Channel Islands – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
  7. Australian Outback – Fear is the Rider
  8. Portugal – The High Mountains of Portugal
  9. Milan, Italy – The Murdered Banker
  10. Madrid, Spain – A Heart So White
  11. Saturn – 2001: A Space Odyssey
  12. Kabul, Afghanistan – The Kite Runner
  13. Vatican City – Conclave
  14. New Brunswick, Canada – Black River Road
  15. Dresden, Germany – Slaughterhouse-Five
  16. Scottish Highlands – Murder of a Lady

23 down, 57 to go!

* * * * * * *

The Classics Club

classics club logo 2

So far, I’ve read four from my Classics Club list – a little behind schedule, but I’m expecting to make that up quickly now that I’ve got fewer review copies to contend with.

  1. 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie – a 5-star re-read. Classic crime writing at its best.
  2. Passing by Nella Larson – 4 stars for this book about race and belonging.
  3. Moby-Dick: or, The White Whale by Herman Melville – just 2 stars for that pesky and apparently ubiquitous whale.
  4. The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White – 5 stars for the book on which Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes is based.

4 down, 86 to go!

* * * * * * *

Here’s to another great year of reading in 2017! 😀

26 thoughts on “The Final Countdown plus Challenges Report…

  1. I’m totally confused by your TBR so, er, well done! (I think) My TBR is at its usual ridiculous proportions so I will fully support any system that only sees it going up by 12 😉

    My AW80Books total is also 23 – I’m really enjoying the challenge – wishing you happy travels in 2017!


    • (Bwahaha – my nefarious plan to befuddle people has worked!) My system’s brilliant – I can spend happy hours making lists and planning things! It’s nearly as good fun as actually reading the books… 😉

      I seem to have been stuck mainly in Europe and America so far, but have loads of books lined up to take me a bit further afield this year, I hope. Glad to hear you’re on 23 too – I thought I’d fallen way behind on this one, but I quite like doing it gradually rather than in a huge splurge.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you, FIctionFan. The Kindle is a wonderful invention for storing those – er – one or two books you haven’t gotten to just yet… 😉 You’ve had a fine trek so far around the world, too, and that’s impressive. I’ll look forward to reading where your journey takes you next! And about the Classics Club? It does sound like a great challenge. I keep hearing from people who do it and really enjoy it.


    • It also stores an incredible amount of audiobooks – fortunately I don’t include them in my TBR… 😉 Yes, I seem to have done a lot of my travelling in Europe and the US so far, though, so I’m looking forward to getting further afield this year – lots of lovely books lined up for both that and the Classics Club! I like these gradual challenges better than ones with short deadlines, I’ve realised.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So an increase is really a decrease? …………. Yours truly puzzled. This is why I don’t count the books I haven’t read. C. sidetracked me with Queen Victoria’s collected early letters – there’s been a TV series, apparently – much more interesting than I would have thought.
    Good luck with the TBR in 2017.


    • Ah, you clearly just don’t understand the maths! 😉 I’m currently having a Shakespeare festival – I’ve discovered my book on Shakespeare and politics requires me to watch all the history plays… I may be some time…!


  4. Love to hear your TBR reports, as always. it’s fun to see how people configure their TBRs differently! It seems like you’re getting a handle on your Netgalley requests – good job! May your 2017 be filled with good books. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews in the coming year.


    • I used to include my wishlist in my TBR but then I became aware loads of people only include books they already own, so I changed it, but I do still think the wishlist is part of it really. Yes, I’m doing much better with NG – the Classics Club has helped, because I really want to have time to read them, and some are chunksters! Thank you – you too! Books are the one thing we can always rely on in troubled times! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha love the positive spin, is Peter Mandelson visiting?
    I’m sure you won’t find anything better to knock Moby Dick out since you clearly loved that adventure so much, after all it seemed to dominate 2016 😏
    I have really enjoyed your exploration in the Classic club, I now have my own copy of The Wheel Spins for my TBR challenge which depended on me owning the books before the end of 2016 and I needed to make sure I had enough to chose from.
    I raise my glass to you and your outstanding TBR


    • Haha! You’ve sussed my secret – I AM Peter Mandelson!! You know, I’m going to miss that whale – I need to find a new hate book for next year… 😉

      The Classics Club has been great so far and I’m really looking forward to reading more of them this year – I’m regretting I didn’t add more classic crime though, and might do an extra list since I’m getting through them faster than all the other ones I picked. Haha! Isn’t it cheating to acquire a load of books at the end of December?? But I think you’ll enjoy The Wheel Spins…

      You too – I wonder which of us will be winning after the Christmas bulge…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha I always like to conveniently ignore all the books in my Kindle’s TBR folder – if they don’t take up any physical space they don’t count 😛 You have done some great reading over the year though which totally makes up for it. More happy reading in 2017!


    • Haha! I think we all have different ways of cheating on the TBR count! Kindles are great for hiding stuff on though…

      Yes, indeed! And though I joke about it, that’s the main thing – quality rather than quantity. For sure – neither of us is likely to run out of books in 2017 anyway… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It always surprises me that bloggers like you and Cathy at 746 Books have giant piles but still request books from Netgalley! I’ll bet your piles of books at home could fill all the challenges the blogosphere could throw at you two. 😂


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