My “books to read” shelf

I love books. I can’t help myself, I buy a lot of them. Mostly I buy them second hand from charity shops, so I can persuade myself there is some justification for my addiction.

I read somewhere around 35-40 books a year, so this represents more than a year of reading for me. I track my reading using Goodreads, which is also a useful place to keep a to-read list to add books when friends recommend them. I have 283 books on my want-to-read list – that’s seven years’ worth of reading.

This is my to-read shelf. It has 32 books on it. However I know from looking at it that some books are more likely to be read than others.

Books I am currently feeling inclined to reading include:

  • Miranda Emmerson “Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars”
  • Ruby Wax “Sane New World”
  • Lily Allen “My Thoughts Exactly”
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite “My Sister the Serial Killer”
  • Kate Atkinson “Transcription”.

The less-likely-to-be-read books include:

  • Orhan Pamuk “My Name is Red” – I’m unlikely to start another one of his when I still haven’t finished “The Museum of Innocence” that I started last year;
  • Herman Melville “Moby Dick” – I’m not sure there is ever a good time to read about whaling;
  • Robert Hughes “The Fatal Shore” – the font is really small and unappealing;
  • Joyce Carol Oates “A Book of American Martyrs” – I know you shouldn’t judge this way but I really don’t like the colour design of the spine.

This shelf contains books that:

  • I bought new (Jean MacColl “Sun on the Water”)
  • I bought second hand (Christine Mangan “Tangerine”)
  • were gifts (Orlando Figes “Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia”)
  • I bought when I was studying (J.H. Elliott “Empires of the Atlantic World”)
  • I got for free from a swap shelf at work (Herman Melville “Moby Dick”)
  • I bought because I felt they were books I “should” read (Richard Flanagan “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”)
  • were part of my work’s Literature Prize longlist (Jacek Dehnel “Lala”),
  • I picked up on spec to fill a multi-item purchase deal (Carolina de Robertis “The Invisible Mountain”)
  • And a book that is technically my husband’s but which he thought I would like to read (Stewart Lee “Content Provider”).

I know that as soon as I am able to go out into the world again, I will start acquiring more books. So I need to keep reading to move books off this shelf and make some space. There is still a small gap on this shelf – I could fit maybe one more book, or two if they’re skinny.

What books are on your to-read shelf?

Have you read any of the books that are on my to-read list? Are there any books here you would recommend I read next?

7 thoughts on “My “books to read” shelf”

  1. I totally understand you, everytime I go to a library I return home with more books to read… and my books to read shelf increases and increases like crazy… Anyway, this lock down is helping a bit… be safe and greetings from Portugal, PedroL


    1. Hi Pedro, libraries are so dangerous. So many free books! But so little time to read them. I help my local libraries with their upkeep by paying overdue fines. Hope you keep well. All the best from London.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a books to read shelf too! I thought that this was something weird I did that I sorted them and put them in a special place. It doesn’t necessarily motivate me to read them first though, because books go with moods.


  3. What a great post and I enjoyed reading your rationale for the books too 😊 Books sometimes come into my life and go out again without being read, or I’ll start and it isn’t right for me and I think someone else should enjoy it. The only book I’ve read from your post was ‘The Fatal Shore’ by Robert Hughes which is about the convict settlement of Australia. It is well written but intense and I’ve read sections of it rather than the whole thing. Sometimes the time has to be right for a book and the reader, I think 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, fully agree. It has to be the right book at the right time. And some non-fiction books you can read in pieces over a very long period of time. That’s the way I plan to tackle Empires of the Atlantic World. One day.


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