Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pat Conroy Coming to My TBR List Next Week

I remember what it was like a few years ago when I struggled to keep one book on my TBR list at a time. You know, the days before the internet and the big box book stores moved into towns all across the country. I would actually start to panic if I reached the last 50 pages of a book without having another one in-house ready to grab. And that happened a lot.

Times have certainly changed for the better since then. Now, my TBR list of in-house books is usually in the dozens and I struggle to make even a dent in it. Even a "good thing," like having too many books to read, can become a little stressful, but I'll take today's TBR list over yesterday's any time.

For example, on my "short list" (books I've either started or promised to consider for review) right now are these books:
1. As Long as He Needs Me by Mary Verdick - novel

2. The Sky Rained Heroes by Frederick E. LaCroix - nonfiction account of his father's WWII experiences fighting Japan

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - novel through the eyes of a dog

4. Wait Until Twilight by Sang Park - a horror novel, of sorts

5. The Man Who Loved Books too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett - nonfiction account of a major book thief and the book detective determined to catch him

6. Selling Light by Effie Gray - one of the novellas in the "Great Little Reads" series

7. A Cold Blooded Business by Marek Fuchs - a "true crime thriller"

8. Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan - fictional thriller

9. In My Heart by Ursula Hanks - memoir

10. Doubleback by Libby Fischer Hellmann - suspense novel

11. The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault - a new translation by Christopher Betts

12. The Profit by John Karter - another novella in the "Great Little Reads" series

13. Photographing Democracy by Joseph Sohm - a huge, 7-pound book of pictures and essays on Mr. Sohm's project to take pictures that represent each of the 50 states - over a 30-year period

I'm also reading these two books:

14. Stone's Fall by Ian Pears - an almost 600-page historical mystery that I finally got from the library Friday - as recommended by my friend the Class Factotum who comments here every so often

15. Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck - bought this one at B&N yesterday and I'm intrigued (and bothered) by what Beck has to say
So there you have it - 15 books on the list that will be getting my attention in the next few weeks.

If things were static, the list would not be all that intimidating and could be handled in about seven weeks. But the list is alive, folks, and it is multiplying. I got some great news Thursday that I have snagged review copies of the latest novels of two of my favorite writers, James Lee Burke and (or you ready for this?) Pat Conroy. I should have both books around July 31 and I'm sure that I will be able to resist neither of them, requiring me to adjust my reading schedule again because I cannot wait to get my hands on those two, especially the Conroy novel after a 14-year wait between new ones.

And, of course, the rest of my TBR list, consisting of at least 200 books is waiting out there, too. Ah, but life is good!

(Speaking of life, I just want to mention that my 10-year-old granddaughter broke her shoulder yesterday. She's the one whose picture I used to illustrate a post here a week or so ago (her on a lounger, pencil in hand). She decided it would be fun to "surf" down a 10-foot plastic slide while her brother and cousin sprayed water on it...not so much. Now she has six weeks of almost no activity ahead of her because the break is not in a place that a cast is easily placed. Thank goodness she's a reader. She is in a fancy sling that requires her to keep the arm protected and immobile while it heals. Lesson learned - I hope.)


  1. I envy you the James Lee Burke, nobody writes place like he does. I love him.

    I read the Pat Conroy a week or so ago & loved it. I'm betting you will, too. Enjoy!

  2. I read and LOVED the Conroy book a while ago, and still plan to buy my own copy and re-read it.

    The ARC was loaded with errors that I can only hope got corrected!

  3. Forgot to mention that when I got the Conroy book, it trumped everything else in my staggeringly large TBR pile!

    Hope you love The Art of Racing in the Rain. One of my top books of 2008. I bought it in hardcover, a rarity for me....but what a great investment. My copy has now also been read by my husband, my daughter, my sister, and my niece.

  4. Looking forward to your reviews of many of those, but epsecially "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and "The Man Who Loved Books Too Much."

    There's an ARC of the Pat Conroy book sitting at work - still haven't decided whether I should claim it or not - never read anything by him.

  5. Can't believe you haven't read The Art of Racing In The Rain's an unbelievable book. Also, I don't see another great one on your TBR....Cutting For Stone.

  6. Caitlin, I'm happy to get both the Burke and Conroy books and won't be able to resist tearing into both of them, I suspect. I've been a fan of both the guys almost since they first appeared on the scene.

    Glad to hear you liked the new Conroy.

  7. That's wild, JoAnn. Some ARCs are near perfect, others near junk. It does make you wonder what the hurry was to produce the ARC since the book has been done for a good while.

    I'm not reacting all that well to The Art of Racing in the Rain so far and I only have about 90 pages to go. There's just something about the concept that I'm not taking seriously enough, I think. I have always had a problem with stories told through the eyes of an animal, even a dog, and I'm struggling with how to review this one because I know it is more affecting than I'm giving it credit for at this point. Maybe the end will do it for me...loved the first chapter.

  8. Thanks for that, Ms. you're the one. :-)

  9. Annie, grab that Conroy book. You can thank me later. :-)

    See above for my initial reaction to The Art of Racing in the Rain. I'm hoping for a really strong finish...

    The Man Who Loved Books too Much (my wife thinks it's about me) is not getting many good reviews, at least that I've seen. But I'm intrigued by the subject and the two contrasting main characters.

  10. Reader23, thanks for the suggestion. I'll look for that one, too.

    You guys are really putting the pressure on me to rethink The Art of Racing in the Rain. I hate when I don't react to a well-loved book the way so many others have...

  11. I'm looking forward to the new James Lee Burke and the new Pat Conroy. Every time I read a JLB, I put the book down thinking, "Surely there aren't really people like that in the world!!" There's some REALLY BAD guys in his books. I prefer to believe they are all totally fictional.

    Enjoy your blog very much. I depend on my small town (Pop. 1800) local library for my reading material. Since discovering your blog, I've been keeping our librarian updated on "must haves". =)

  12. G.B., thanks so much for the kind words. I appreciate your comment more than you know.