I'm debating whether to have a New Year's resolution about doing something with my TBR pile. On the one hand, it's unlikely to have a tremendous motivating power -- I can ignore New Year's resolutions like a trooper! -- but as there are piles of books on the floor of my office (thus preventing me from quilting, another New Year's resolution I fail to keep, year after year), something clearly should be done.
The real question is, what would I resolve? Organize them? Update the database? (Yes, I have a database; I'm derelict but not immurred in the last century.) Hide them?
Don't suggest I actually read them. That's beyond the pale, even for a doomed-from-the-outset New Year's resolution. I do read books from my TBR pile from time to time, but it's to be admitted, they aren't the gray books.
Let me explain. My TBR pile falls into a few distinct categories. There are the backlist books -- books by Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley, Dana Stabenow and Mercedes Lackey that I bought because I know I like the authors and will (eventually) want to read all their books. There are books by people I know or have met at RWA conferences. And then there are the gray books.
Here are some examples: Love, Unexpectedly by Susan Fox. Looks like a cute book, but I have no recollection of who loved it and why I got it. The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullaney, described on its back cover as a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones' Diary. I actually don't remember this one arriving, let alone ordering it! Night Into Day by Sandra Canfield. The back cover on that one rings a bell, as the heroine has crippling arthritis. I dimly remember the Twitter conversation that caused me to order it.
And those are just the books that arrived recently enough to still be kicking around upstairs. Once they go downstairs to my office, they merge into the gray zone of anonymous books.
One solution, of course, is to join the TBR Challenge, which for 2011 is being run by Wendy, the Super Librarian. I haven't done this yet, and it makes sense -- every month there's a different genre or differentiation as to the sort of book you're to review. Now, I don't review romances but I can comment on the experience of taking a book out of my TBR pile despite its grayness and reading it.
So that's going to be my New Year's resolution: I will join the 2011 TBR Challenge and read 12 books from my gray TBR pile and thus remove them from the shadows. As I add more than a dozen books to the TBR pile annually, this is perhaps not going to be a sufficient gesture, but hey -- New Year's resolutions are all about getting started.
And it will be a dozen more gray books than I read in 2010...