Showing posts with label 2014 mount tbr challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014 mount tbr challenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: 1776 by David McCullough


Title: 1776
Author: David McCullough
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 24, 2005
Source: personal purchase

Summary from Goodreads

America's most acclaimed historian presents the intricate story of the year of the birth of the United States of America. 1776 tells two gripping stories: how a group of squabbling, disparate colonies became the United States, and how the British Empire tried to stop them. A story with a cast of amazing characters from George III to George Washington, to soldiers and their families, this exhilarating book is one of the great pieces of historical narrative. 

My Review:

When I was in high school, history was not my favorite subject.  I was more of a science girl, actually.  (A close second: English.  Because READ ALL THE THINGS!)  I got high grades in history, but more because I was very good at memorizing things than because I had any actual interest in it.  I scored a 2 (out of 5) on the AP US History exam, if that gives you any frame of reference.

However, part of me always felt like I should have more interest in history...I mean, it gives us a better understanding of ourselves, doesn't it?  It's important to know from whence we came, yes?  But it was so DRY.  How could I care more about a subject that put me straight to sleep?  Where could I find a history book that would change my tune?

I heard about David McCullough several years ago, and thought that maybe his work could be the ticket.  As a historian, his books are well-researched and extremely detailed, but he also adds more of a human element to his analysis.  This sounded like it would work better for me, but I was still nervous--hence the five-ish years that this book has been on my shelf, untouched.

Thanks to Nonfiction November, I decided that it was time to dive in, and as you may have expected, my initial inclinations were correct.  Despite its high level of detail and dense text, I was engaged with this book from beginning to end.

This book is not, as I had previously thought, a history of the entire American Revolution.  It is, as I should have maybe guessed from the title, specifically focused on the events that took place in 1776 (and a little bit of 1775, for background purposes).  Once I figured that out, I thought, cool, I will get to read about how the Americans won the Revolutionary War!  And then I realized, nope, the war didn't actually end until 1783.  (Reminder: score of 2 on the AP US History test.)

In fact, 1776, despite the whole Declaration of Independence thing, was not a real banner year for Team America.  We lost a lot of battles.  Like, A LOT.  George Washington made a whole slew of bad decisions for the army.  Yet, by the end of the year, things had started to take a little swing--just enough to bring the tide back in our direction.  McCullough describes all this at great length, but rather than just a dull list of dates and places, he provides insight into the hows and whys of each event.  What was Washington thinking in the days before the Battle of Brooklyn?  Who were his most trusted allies?  What were the British expecting of the Americans before each battle--and how were they getting that intelligence?  Who was a raging drunkard, or a traitor, or a dirty coward?  These are all the intriguing little details that may have made history class more fun for me back in the day.  Plus, he tells it from both sides (British and American), so you get a fuller view of the tense situation as it continued to develop.

That's not to say that this book will be for everyone.  You do have to have some interest in the finer particulars of US history if you want to enjoy this book, otherwise you will get bogged down in the density of the text.  But if you're looking for a piece of historical nonfiction that will both educate and entertain you, 1776 is a wonderful start.  I will absolutely be checking out McCullough's backlist for more brain food!

Have you read any of McCullough's work?  Are there any other historian authors out there whose books you've enjoyed?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: At the Mercy of the Mountains by Peter Bronski


Title: At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York's Adirondacks
Author: Peter Bronski
Publisher: Lyons Press
Publication Date: February 26, 2008
Source: personal purchase

Summary from Goodreads

In the tradition of Eiger Dreams, In the Zone: Epic Survival Stories from the Mountaineering World, and Not Without Peril, comes a new book that examines the thrills and perils of outdoor adventure in the “East’s greatest wilderness,” the Adirondacks.


My Review:

Fun fact: before I was a mom, I climbed MOUNTAINS!
At the summit of Algonquin Peak (second highest in the Adirondacks), September 2006
Yes indeed.  I grew up in Connecticut, which does not have much mountainous terrain to speak of, but after college I moved to New York, and my now-husband introduced me to hiking.  I quickly grew to love it, and before long, the two of us had our sights set on becoming Adirondack 46ers--people who have climbed all 46 of the Adirondack mountains higher than 4,000 feet.  Currently, I am only a 15er (having kids slowed us quite a bit--not my idea of a good time to bring a baby and a preschooler up a trail-less peak), but the other 31 will most definitely be reached one day.

It's easy to fall in love with the Adirondacks.  The landscape is gorgeous--there is nothing like getting to a summit and being treated to a view like this:
View from Cascade Mountain, 2005
It's peaceful.  The air smells cleaner.  It is a true escape from the distractions of every day life.  Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment when you are standing on top of a FRIGGIN' MOUNTAIN.

However, despite my many forays into the Adirondack wilderness, I admit that as a beginning hiker, I took my safety and preparedness for granted.  My husband and I only ever hiked on clear, beautiful summer/fall days, with little risk of a sudden storm...and never in the winter.  (You can also become a Winter 46er if you hike them all in that season!)  My husband always had a ton of what I thought of as "extra" gear with him...water filter, camp stove, head lamp, etc.  Meanwhile, I had water, snacks, my hiking poles, maybe some extra clothes, and that was it.  What else could we possibly need?

Bronski's At the Mercy of the Mountains convinced me that, not only was I extremely naive, but we need ALL THE THINGS the next time we hike.  He has compiled some of the most notorious and dramatic search-and-rescue stories from the Adirondacks, dating from the earliest hikers to the present.  Avalanches, freak snowstorms, and flash floods, while not daily occurrences, are a part of the reality of the Adirondacks.  When you add in an ill-prepared hiker/skiier/canoeist, without extra provisions or proper backcountry navigation skills, disaster could easily strike.

I enjoyed Bronski's collection of misadventures because he does not present them in a fearmongering or alarmist way.  In fact, that would go quite counter to his motives--Bronski loves the Adirondacks himself, and hopes that others will share in that admiration.  But loving the wilderness also means understanding and respecting it.  He brings forth these unfortunate stories to help other outdoorsmen/women gain an understanding of how to proceed into the woods with the right equipment and know-how.  Plus, the book highlights the hard work of Adirondack forest rangers and search-and-rescue volunteers, which is fascinating in itself.

Any reader interested in true-life outdoor adventure stories (Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer comes to mind) will dig this book, though it will, admittedly, appeal the most to lovers of the Adirondacks specifically.  ADK hikers will recognize many of the peaks and landmarks that are described, which adds a nice sense of familiarity while reading.  However, Bronski does a great job illustrating the setting, so readers who have never visited the Adirondacks will also get a lot of enjoyment out of the experience.

So, who wants to buy me a new hiking pack for Christmas?

Any other outdoor enthusiasts out there?  Do you have any backcountry mishaps to share?  Go ahead, don't be shy...maybe we can learn from you, too! :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review: The Memory of Love by Linda Olsson


Title: The Memory of Love
Author: Linda Olsson
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 26, 2013 (first published in Swedish in 2011)
Source: copy received from the publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads

Marion Flint, in her early fifties, has spent fifteen years living a quiet life on the rugged coast of New Zealand, a life that allows the door to her past to remain firmly shut. But a chance meeting with a young boy, Ika, and her desire to help him force Marion to open the Pandora’s box of her memory. Seized by a sudden urgency to make sense of her past, she examines each image one-by-one: her grandfather, her mother, her brother, her lover. Perhaps if she can create order from the chaos, her memories will be easier to carry. Perhaps she’ll be able to find forgiveness for the little girl that was her. For the young woman she had been. For the people she left behind.
 
Olsson expertly interweaves scenes from Marion’s past with her quest to save Ika from his own tragic childhood, and renders with reflective tenderness the fragility of memory and the healing power of the heart.


My Review:

I love a book that I go into with no expectations, and it ends up being a pleasant surprise.  I *think* I received this book ages ago from the publisher when it was first released in English, and I just never got a chance to review it at the time.  It sat forlornly on my shelf until it got picked in the TBR Book Baggie.  It seemed fairly short, so I gave it a go...and what a gem I found!

The two stories within this novel (of Marion's childhood and Marion's present-day issues with a young boy that she's taken under her wing) are woven together beautifully.  As you learn more about Marion's past, the way she chooses to deal with her present makes more and more sense.  And her past is quite shocking--the slow buildup to the climax of her childhood trauma made me want to devour the entire book in one sitting.  All of this is highlighted by the fabulous writing, which is lyrical and poetic without coming off as too flowery.

The fact that this isn't a terribly long review shouldn't be a reflection on the quality of the book, as it may be one of my top reads of 2014.  It's a smaller book in size, but it packs a big punch with complex characters, surprising twists, and intriguing relationships.  Someone order me Linda Olsson's backlist, STAT.

This was my fifth pick from the TBR Book Baggie! My next pick from the baggie is:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville!

Yup...I'm a little intimidated.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen


Title: Someone Like You
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: May 1, 2004
Source: won in a giveaway

Summary from Goodreads

Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she was devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it'll never break--because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

My Review:

I won this book in a giveaway sometime last year, and I profusely apologize to the blogger who sent it to me (along with another Dessen novel)...because I didn't make a note of it, and I haven't a clue who it was at this point.  Sorry, fellow blogger!  Please reveal yourself if you happen to read this!  :)

This review will be rather short, because Someone Like You struck me as very run-of-the-mill, cliche young adult lit.  That's not to say that it's a bad book.  I think it will appeal to YA audiences, especially the younger age groups in that market (late middle school/early high school).  But there's nothing unique or memorable here--I will likely forget this book within a couple of months.  (I will put money on it, especially because I've read two other Dessen books in the past--This Lullaby and Lock and Key--and couldn't tell you the faintest detail about them.)

Wow, that's not really the best way to get you interested in this novel, is it?  Like I said, despite it's blase feel as a whole, I still had fun reading it.  Halley is negotiating relationships with a lot of different people here--her mother, her best friend, her boyfriend, etc.  I liked that Dessen didn't always make Halley the "good guy" (and conversely, her antagonists were not always the "bad guys").  Halley screwed up just as much as they did.  Lots of teachable moments here for the teen audience.

That said, the ultimate outcomes were very predictable, and the ending was rather disappointing.  I felt like it ended a bit too early--the characters all went through a rather momentous event, and then it just ended.  I don't mind open-ended conclusions (as you all know), but this one was too clunky, not purposeful.

Overall: a nice way to pass the time, but Someone Like You isn't anything to write home about.

This was my fourth pick from the TBR Book Baggie! My next pick from the baggie is:

The Memory of Love by Linda Olsson!

I have no idea how I got this book on my shelf.  I think it was from a publisher, long ago?  But it's not an ARC, so I'm not entirely sure.  Ah well, looks interesting anyway...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Review: Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell


Title: Gone With The Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: September 1, 1936
Source: personal purchase

Summary from Goodreads

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

My Review:

HOW to review a novel as vast, as famous, as this one??

This book has been on my TBR pile for a long, long time.  I operate on the principle that if there is a well-known movie based on a book, I must try to read the book first.  Such is the case with Gone With The Wind.  Somehow, I successfully avoided the movie for the last 30.5 years of my life (minus endless clips of Rhett Butler's famous "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"...which was actually mildly spoilery for the book, by the way), and I was able to first enjoy this story in written form.  And enjoy it I did!  For over two months, in fact.  I spent most of the summer finishing this book, and I have zero regrets about savoring those 1024 pages for so long.

I knew that GWTW was a romance, but it is so much more than that.  Because first of all, how fantastic of a character is Scarlett O'Hara?  She is such a force to be reckoned with, especially for a woman in the Civil War era.  At the same time, she is outrageously self-centered and naive, very much to a fault.  I alternated frequently between cheering for her to get on with her bad self, and shaking my fist at her stupidity.  The complexities of her character are endless, though in the end I really did love her, despite her many faults.  (Okay, except maybe her role as a mother.  She was a positively horrid mother.)

Beyond the romance, beyond Scarlett, we have a novel set quite dramatically against the backdrop of the Civil War.  Scarlett and Rhett's story is inseparable from the tragedies of wartime in 1860's Atlanta.  Not only is their relationship perfectly woven into this turbulent time period, but the novel does a pretty excellent job of detailing Civil War history.  I was raised in Connecticut, where I imagine the Civil War is taught in schools with a bit of a different tone than it is in Georgia, or any of the southern states.  This was probably the first account of the Civil War that I've read from a southern perspective (albeit a fictional one), and it was extremely eye-opening.  The historical detail in this novel is every bit as compelling as Scarlett and Rhett's dramatic romance.

One of the most important messages in GWTW is this: be happy with what you have, when you have it.  The grass is not always greener.  Love the one you're with.  I won't tell you if Scarlett learns these lessons or not, but it's quite a ride watching her try to get there.

I am so glad that I finally got around to tackling this classic.  It is absolutely an epic novel that's worth your time!  Now I need to get to the movie...although I must admit, the few clips I watched on YouTube already have me feeling like it won't do the book justice.  (That famous Rhett quote isn't delivered in anywhere near the same tone it was written in the book...#readerproblems.)

This was my third pick from the TBR Book Baggie! My next pick from the baggie is:

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen!

YA up in the hizzy!  And another main character named Scarlett?  Weird.  Stay tuned for a review...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lazy Summer Days...June 2014 in Review

Yes, things have been quite quiet around here for the last month.  Don't fret, I'm still here!  But after I stepped back from all of my ARCs, I decided to slow myself down (WAY down) with a chunkster I've been meaning to read for ages--Gone With The Wind!  And it's awesome!  It's also 1000+ pages, so I'm really taking my time with it.  This explains my lack of reviews around here.  However, it has been great to step back and lazily read one very long book, without any others pressing in with review deadlines.  I haven't done that since I started the blog almost two years ago, and I think I need to do it more often!  Very refreshing.  I highly recommend.

In non-book news, this month was a lot of fun.  Tons of outdoor time with my boys, a trip to Pennsylvania to visit my extended family, strawberry picking, Tater Tot turned 6 months old (WHAT?), and we even did a day trip to the beach.  Kind of.  Because growing up in New England, I'm rather a beach snob and find myself unable to really call the sand along Lake Ontario a "beach".  HA.
Our little crew picking "straw bee-dees" (according to Small Fry) last weekend
Also, I did start my half marathon training yesterday morning with an easy 3-miler.  Today was 4 miles.  I think my long run this weekend is supposed to be 5 miles, which will be the longest I've run in about 2 years.  YIKES.  Let the games begin!

Anyways, even though it was a light month, let's recap book activities in June...

In June I read/reviewed 4 books:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett
The 3-Day Reset by Pooja Mottl

We also discussed the relative merits of book shaming, which got some pretty interesting comments.  Thanks for chatting with me, friends!

This month, I'm looking forward to finishing GWTW, and then moving into some suspenseful summer reads (namely Save Yourself by Kelly Braffett...tempting me currently from my nightstand!).  Also, this is the halfway point of the year, and I'm looking rather despairingly at my 2014 TBR Challenge.  Yeah, not going well again!  Guess I better get on that...

What's on your summer reading list??

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: Blaze by Richard Bachman


Title: Blaze
Author: Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: June 12, 2007
Source: personal purchase

Summary from Goodreads

Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., was always a small-time delinquent. None too bright either, thanks to the beatings he got as a kid. Then Blaze met George Rackley, a seasoned pro with a hundred cons and one big idea. The kidnapping should go off without a hitch, with George as the brains behind their dangerous scheme. But there's only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, Blaze's partner in crime is dead. Or is he?

My Review:

For those unfamiliar with the connection between Richard Bachman and Stephen King, Bachman was the pen name that King occasionally wrote under in the 70's and 80's.  Bachman "died of pseudonym cancer" (as the book jacket explains) in 1985, when King was basically outed.  However, he continued to occasionally release books under that name, including this one, which was actually written before King made it big with Carrie but was not published until 2007.

This is my second "Bachman book" (I read The Long Walk the year before I started blogging), and I have to say that this one definitely has a different feel to it than your average King novel...I suppose that could be because it was written in his very early days, even before Carrie.  The Long Walk is extremely King-esque in nature (macabre, gory, with an all-around dreadful premise), but Blaze is distinctly...not.  It has some elements that are recognizable from his other work (namely, a LOT of suspense, and a child playing a fairly central role), but otherwise I'd say this one could have flown under the pseudonym radar pretty cleanly.

Blaze is not a terribly long novel, but even so, it took me a bit to get into it.  It opens with a slow build as you learn more about Blaze's background, his now-dead crime partner George, and the kidnapping plot that he plans to execute alone.  I was finding the whole thing a bit blah, honestly, for the first 25% or so.  However, after that point, two things happen.  One, the story starts to flash back for longer periods into Blaze's past--and you learn a lot of things about his history that are rather disturbing.  And two, the actual kidnapping gets underway, which is pretty nail-biting.

(Side note: reading about a 6-month-old baby getting kidnapped (albeit fictionally) while you are feeding your 2-month-old baby is a good way to induce a blood pressure problem.)

The ending isn't particularly earth-shattering...in fact, it winds up pretty much the way you would expect, once you get to know Blaze.  But that's where the hook of this novel lies--with the characters.  As with so many other King works, he creates an amazingly complex protagonist, and given the short-ish length of this book, it's rather impressive that he was able to do that with Blaze.  If this book was really about the kidnapping, it would be called...The Kidnapping.  Or something.  (WHATEVER, nobody ever said I would be good at choosing book titles, you get my point.)  But it's not, and by the end you'll know why.

So, despite the slow start, Blaze hooked me well before the mid-point and kept me along for the ride all the way to the last word.  A bit of a cleaner ending than I'm used to with Stephen King, but if you want to see a different side of his repertoire, definitely give this one a try.

This was my second pick from the TBR Book Baggie and a good one at that! My next pick from the baggie is:

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell!

Oooooh a 30 Before 35 book!  EXCITING!!  Gonna take me a while to finish that chunkster though...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Queen of the Night by J.A. Jance


Title: Queen of the Night
Author: J.A. Jance
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: July 27, 2010
Source: given away to me by a friend

Summary from Goodreads

Every summer, in an event that is commemorated throughout the Tohono O'odham Nation, the Queen of the Night flower blooms in the Arizona desert. But one couple's intended celebration is shattered by gunfire, the sole witness to the bloodshed a little girl who has lost the only family she's ever known.

To her rescue come Dr. Lani Walker, who sees the trauma of her own childhood reflected in her young patient, and Dan Pardee, an Iraq war veteran and member of an unorthodox border patrol unit called the Shadow Wolves. Joined by Pima County homicide investigator Brian Fellows, they must keep the child safe while tracking down a ruthless killer.

In a second case, retired homicide detective Brandon Walker is investigating the long unsolved murder of an Arizona State University coed. Now, after nearly half a century of silence, the one person who can shed light on that terrible incident is willing to talk. Meanwhile, Walker's wife, Diana Ladd, is reliving memories of a man whose death continues to haunt her.

As these crimes threaten to tear apart three separate families, the stories and traditions of the Tohono O'odham people remain just beneath the surface of the desert, providing illumination to events of both self-sacrifice and unspeakable evil.


My Review:

Let me get this out of the way first.  You absolutely CANNOT name one of your main characters Brian Fellows and expect to be taken seriously.  Authors, make sure you Google search all of your character names before choosing them.  Trust.
(There was also a minor character named David Blaine, so, you know.  Magic.)
Sorry, I had to start with that, IT WAS BUGGING ME SO MUCH.

So, this was the first pull from my TBR Book Baggie.  I ended up with this book in my collection a few years ago, because a friend was clearing her bookshelves and offered me a bunch of her stuff.  I'd never heard of this one, but I never turn down a free book, so home with me it went.

As the description says, this book has a whole lotta plot going on.  I will say that the primary plot line (regarding the murder of the little girl's family) was absorbing.  A cold-hearted murderer, on the run from the cops, will he make it over the border?, etc.  The suspense-lover in me was more than satisfied here.

However, this novel is definitely an example of how much is too much.  There's the story about the murder, but then there's also this years-old cold case that a separate set of detectives are trying to solve.  This cold case is introduced right at the start of the novel, implying that it has a major bearing on the rest of the story...but it most definitely doesn't.  In fact, the resolution of the cold case is so maddeningly underwhelming, I could not for the life of me figure out why it was mentioned at all.

Add that to the fact that there are WAY too many characters, with WAY too much backstory for each of them--it was just overkill.  At the heart of this story is the potential for a great, suspenseful thriller, but all this extraneous information made it more complex than it needed to be.

I did find out partway through that this is part of Jance's "Walker series", which all center upon the same family.  Each novel is supposed to be able to stand alone, but in my opinion, this one is likely much more enjoyable if you've read the other novels first.  Much of the information that I felt to be extraneous was probably detail related to those other novels.  I imagine that you'll have a lot less catching up to do if you join the series at its start.

Final verdict: this novel has a great story to tell at its core, but I wish it wasn't so bogged down with extra baggage (side plots, characters, background stories, etc).

Well, my first TBR Book Baggie pick was...not great.  But, I'm excited to announce that my next pick from the baggie is:

Blaze by Richard Bachman! (aka Stephen King)

So stay tuned...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Did I just bookish-Pinterest something?

Hello, readers!  I know, lots of radio silence around here lately.  Let me assure you that I am reading a fabulous book right now (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt), but it's eleventy billion (or 800) pages long, so it's taking me a rather long while to get through it.  But never fear, reviews to come soon.

I am blogging today to share an idea that I'm super psyched about for this year.  As you know, the only reading challenge I'm doing in 2014 is the TBR challenge.  I am limiting myself to my print-book TBR, because I have a ton of unread books on my shelves at home.  I have actually run out of shelf space at this point...and I refuse to consider giving away any books until I've actually read them.  So a-TBRing I must go.

However, sometimes it is so overwhelming to pick from the giant pile of books that await me on my shelves.  This is because my TBR pile is a mish-mash of many things: books I bought and have been dying to read for ages, books I randomly inherited from people who were clearing their shelves, classics that I bought and feel that I should read (but am not exactly dying to), etc.

Thus, imagine my excitement when I saw this post on Book Riot about making a BOOK JAR.  Basically, write down the name of every book on your TBR, throw it in the jar, and randomly pull one every time you want a read from your TBR list.  SO SIMPLE!  YET SO FUN!  (I know, it really doesn't take much to get me riled up.)

My book jar is really more of a...book baggie.  Because I don't have a jar available, but I DO have lots of plastic baggies.  I know, kind of lame.  I will work on getting a jar.
It's like a bookish dime bag!
Maybe not.
Either way, it was really fun to pull my first TBR book out of the Book Baggie.  Therefore, it is with great excitement that I announce my first TBR read of 2014:

Queen of the Night by J.A. Jance!

Woohoo!!  Review to come (once I finally finish The Goldfinch, of course...).

What are some fun ways that you choose your next read?

Monday, December 23, 2013

2014 Mount TBR Challenge: sign me up!

Hola, readers!  Just a quick post today (in between baby feeding/diapering/cuddling) to declare myself for the 2014 Mount TBR reading challenge!

As I mentioned previously, I tried this challenge in 2013 but failed miserably.  However, this time it will be the only challenge I'm doing, and I hope that will help me focus on it a bit more.

I am trying for the Mont Blanc level: at least 24 books off my TBR for the year.

So, here's hoping 2014 is a better TBR year than 2013!
 
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