2012 TBR Pile Challenge & Other Notes

I can’t believe we’re halfway through November already! Of course that could be in part thanks to the unseasonably warm weather of late, although that should be changing—overnight. I also can’t believe that I’ve barely read a word since my last post. I don’t know what’s gotten into me… But Tea with Transcendentalists started today, and I am determined to read Walden and “Civil Disobedience” by December 15th. I’ve decided not to worry about the library books I have out now, so I can focus on these instead.

It’s the time of year I’m beginning to see challenge lists (terribly fun to read!) all over the place. Personally, I wasn’t going to sign up for any challenges, especially year-long challenges, really I wasn’t. I simply have done horribly in recent months at anything for which I’ve signed up in advance, so I didn’t (don’t) think it a good idea. But then Adam at Roof Beam Reader posted his TBR Pile Challenge and I kept seeing all of these TBR posts, and I got to thinking about it—I’ve already decided for the coming year that need to focus on what I really want to read, and what I’ve had piling up. (I’m planning some organized theme reading as well—more on that in a later post.) This challenge will hopefully help me focus on my goals for next year, while at the same time working through my very, very lengthy list. I’ll probably have other books I read next year that have been on my list(s) for a while as well, but some of them I’ve already read (no rereads on this list) and others I haven’t made my mind up on yet. So…

My 2012 TBR Pile Challenge Official List:

  1. The Iliad – Homer, c. 8th cent. BCE (Greece)
  2. The Aeneid – Virgil, 1st cent. BCE (Rome)
  3. Beowulf – Anonymous, c. 8th-11 cent. CE (Anglo Saxon)
  4. The Lusiad – Luís Vaz de Camões, 1572 (Portugal)
  5. Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare, 1602 (England)
  6. Coriolanus – William Shakespeare, 1607 (England)
  7. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, 1605 & 1615 (Spain)
  8. Bleak House – Charles Dickens, 1853 (England)
  9. Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell, 1853 (England)
  10. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins, 1860 (England)
  11. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges, 1962 (Argentina)
  12. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien, 1977 (posthumous, England)


  1. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell, 1877 (England)
  2. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke, 2004 (England)

I will track these on my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge Page. If I get through all of these, plus some other books I’m hoping to read next year, 2012 will be the best reading year I’ve had in a long time!

I’m also planning to participate in Allie’s (A Literary Odyssey) January Shakespeare month, so Twelfth Night and Coriolanus will do double duty nicely. Other possibilities for January include Much Ado About Nothing and Othello. Or pretty much any play Shakespeare wrote that isn’t Romeo and Juliet (I’ve had my fill of that one) or Macbeth (let’s just say high school senior English killed any interest I have in that one). The last time I read any Shakespeare (a year ago), I was reminded how much fun he is to read, so I’m really looking forward to this month.

Now, to just get the books finished that I wanted to read this year!

19 thoughts on “2012 TBR Pile Challenge & Other Notes”

  1. Awesome list! I definitely need to read some of those, including Coriolanus, Cranford, Woman in White and Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell (bought the last three just in this past year). Don’t know yet if I’m participating in Shakespeare month (probably not, as January already looks like it’s going to be uber-busy) but I look forward to your reviews!

    1. Thanks! The nice thing about this challenge is getting to all these good titles that I’ve been meaning to get to forever. I’m thinking The Woman in White will be a perfect autumn read, if I can put it off that long.

      The Shakespeare month just happened to tie in perfectly with where I’d like to take my reading next year. My only problem is deciding which plays I most want to read!

  2. Love Bleak House and The Woman in White; I should join you for Don Quixote which has long been on my TBR pile. Along with about 800 other wonderful titles!

    1. I’ve wanted to read Bleak House ever since I watched the PBS miniseries a few years ago. It would be fun to read Don Quixote with other people–a good accountability system! I’ve been wanting to get to it ever since I failed to get it read for my high school Spanish class. (Summer reading–I only just read enough to pass the test!)

  3. I had also resolved not to sign up for any challenges for next year, but I think I’m going to end up joining in with at least two. Oh well, it’s good to set goals. 🙂
    And I love a list. I’d really like to read The Illiad or The Odyssey or some other Greek classic next year but I haven’t decided on which one.
    I read three Shakespeare plays this year so I’d also like to at least match that next year. We’ll see.
    Nice list. It reminds me that I need to get to Dickens. I had planned on reading something by him this year but it’s not going to happen.

    1. I hesitated over restricting myself via a challenge, but finally decided having a bit of focus/goals would be good. And yes, there’s that list weakness to! I’ve read The Odyssey before, so I thought it was about time I picked up its predecessor (which has been sitting on my shelf for years).

      I hesitated a bit about including Dickens, but I have a nearly complete set (from 1900 or so!) that I bought ages ago and that have sat gathering dust ever since, so I thought it was time to remedy that!

  4. We’re reading several of the same titles next year, Amanda! I can’t wait to compare notes! 😀

    1. That will be fun! I may be reading (or rereading) some of the other titles on your list that aren’t here as well. (Such as a Little Women reread.)

  5. I’m looking to your thoughts on all these books, particularly on The Woman in White. I’ve heard so many great things about it, and would like to hear your take. 🙂

    1. I’ve heard a lot of great things about The Women in White as well. I’m planning as a seasonal (Sept. or Oct.) read next year–if I can hold off that long!

    1. Thanks! I think the challenges will be fun! I’m really looking forward to the Shakespeare especially. It’s been a while since I’ve read any, but I’ve always enjoyed his plays.

  6. Ah, I do so love Twelfth Night. And The Silmarillion is a favorite as well.

    I imagine that I will follow my usual form come the new year and will have a very strong desire to concentrate my reading on the shelves of books I already own and haven’t read. And as always I will have varying degrees of success with it. There is always something tempting and new around every corner.

    1. I tried The Silmarillion years ago and couldn’t get into it, but I dipped into it a little bit this past summer and decided it was about time I finally read it!

      I have the same problem with the tempting and new, but I really need to finally make some progress on some of these books I’ve had around forever.

  7. That’s an interesting list! I’ll be reading Beowulf as well next year…I don’t own a book though. Am planning to read it from online… The Silmarillion – I’ve never read it straight from cover to cover, though I have read the entire book. I’ve sometimes found certain chapters easily stand on their own. Names can be rather confusing, but I loved the historical/biblical style in which it is written.

    Oh!…and Susanna Clarke is awesome! 😀 Happy 2012 reading, Amanda! 🙂

    1. Thanks, you too!

      I’ve read parts of The Slimarillion–kind of sampling it I guess, but it’s more than time to read the whole thing! I’ve heard good things about Susanna Clarke, so hopefully I’ll have time to get that read was well next year.

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