Monday, November 3, 2008

The Rescue Book Challenge

As a true book addict, I have books in my tbr (that's "to be read" for those of you not up on bookish, web inspired abbreviations) pile that have been languishing there since the dawn of time. Okay, maybe not that long but certainly since I was in college, which was only just moments past the dawn of time--just ask my kids--and it's about time I managed to read these books or admit defeat (Never!). So when I stumbled across this reading challenge: The Rescue Book Challenge , I couldn't resist. As per the rules, I will be challenging myself to read books that never seem to make it to the top of the stack. I'm going for 4 books during the coming year. I figure that's hard enough given how many years I've been avoiding these already. In any case, my options will be taken from this list:

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Eve's Ransom by George Gissing
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Billy Budd and Other Tales by Herman Melville
Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Eyestone by D.R. MacDonald
Stories of the Old South edited by Ben Forkner and Patrick Samway
Beloved-Infidel by Sheilah Graham
The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Equal Affections by David Leavitt
A Season in the West by Piers Paul Read
The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
New Stories From the South edited by Shannon Ravenel

If you have any suggestions about which books on this list I should definitely try to read over the coming year, feel free to weigh-in with your opinion.


  1. Well, right off the bat, I'd chuck all the short story collections. I hate hate hate short stories. I mean I want to get swept away by a book, drown in it, lose my sense of reality in it and short stories are well, too short! My ideal was the Thirkell collection of some 20 odd books which were all really one long story -- heaven!

    Can't help on the others, because the only ones I recognize were either not read due to above issue with genre or not ones I've come across. I like the concept though. I'll have to think about my rescue list.

  2. Billy Budd was a good read; short but complete. Then you can just skim the filler stories. Dickens always ends up worthwhile for me, even when I procrastinate about starting his tomes.

    I read Blue Highways decades ago and liked it. You like travel books, so it should be up your alley. And if you like it, I think he's just written another one about another road trip he took, although I haven't gone looking for it.

    I remember being traumatized by Temple of My Familiar, but I read it back in the dawn of time. Well, a bit earlier actually.

    Did that help? good luck with the challenge!

  3. I don't love short stories either but that's why I think perhaps I should read them and get them off my shelf. Obviously my tastes have changed significantly over the years since I wouldn't even bother to buy them now. I do love the Thirkells but they haven't been gathering dust nearly as long as these so they can't be in the running for this particular challenge.

    So a vote for Billy Budd and one for Blue Highways. The former scares me (because I find Melville dry) but the latter is probably an enjoyable read so I should definitely try that one.

    It was funny typing these out to see how many don't appeal even the slightest bit anymore. A true sign I should read them and send them on their way so they stop cluttering up my overstuffed shelves!


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