The Stockpile

















I still find photos incredibly hard to post – this was either way too small or way too big, and now having altered its scale, it is probably fuzzy or strangely distorted. Anyway, the weekend ran away with me so I have had no time to write anything particular for you.Β  Instead I thought you might like to see how my tbr pile had grown over the past few months. With all these threats of digital books heading our way (the UK three years behind America, the US five years off total digitalisation), I have decided to throw all caution to the wind and invest in paper whenever the opportunity arises.Β  The only problem is I don’t have anywhere to put my recent acquisitions (to be fair, this pile began around March 2009). So they are living in the spare room, three rows on the floor, two on the coffee table, and there is at least room for expansion so long as no one comes to stay.

Some of my most recent acquisitions include:

Jane Smiley – Private Life

William Trevor – Love and Summer

C. K. Stead – The Secret History of Modernism

Alice Munroe – The Beggar Maid

Christian Jungersen – The Exception

Elaine Showalter – A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx

Kirsten Tranter – The Legacy

Andre Gide – Paludes

Zadie Smith – The Autograph Man

David Lazar (ed) – Truth in Nonfiction: Essays

Jincy Willet – The Writing Class

Charles Webb – The Graduate

Gabriel Josipovici – Heart’s Wings and Other Stories

Azar Nafisi – Things I’ve Been Silent About

Horace McCoy – They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Gabriel Josipovici – Only Joking

Gabriel Josipovici – Whatever Happened to Modernism?

Alice Hoffman – The Ice Queen

Robert Darnton – The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future

Has anyone else bought anything good lately? Christmas is coming so I’m keen for suggestions!


31 thoughts on “Stockpiling

  1. The whole conversation at Stefanie’s about stockpiling is one of the recent developments that has made me feel less bothered about my 200-ish unread books! And if paper does go away (which I still think is highly unlikely), all of us paper lovers will be able to swap around all the books we’ve socked away.

    I haven’t read any of the ones on your list here, several of them are ones I’m interested in. Happy reading!

  2. Gracious! What a pile! My amazon wishlist is 6 pages long 😦 so I completely understand the need to stockpile! I’ve been dragging my feet on the ebooks thing also…my youngest and I started going to the library once a week because I was (and still am) afraid that libraries may soon be things of the past or only open as museum like places. I could not stand the idea of my child not having a library as an important aspect of her life. My college will be switching to ebooks during Fall 2011 so I’ve had no choice but begin to try and acclimate myself to reading on an ebook. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up my paper books…my entire house is covered with them…and that’s the way I like it.

  3. Stockpiling has become a bit of a problem for me lately… I moved to my new location only a little over a month ago, and somehow there seem to be over 50 unread books in the house already. I suspect I might have to ban myself from charity shops before too long πŸ˜› This weekend’s acquisitions include Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (I’m curious to finally see what steampunk is all about), Conundrum by Jan Morris (a wonderful-sounding transgender memoir) and La BΓ’tarde by Violette Leduc (the Simone de Beauviour introduction sold me).

  4. Wow! That’s an impressive tbr list! I’m holding off buying books until I’ve bought all of my family’s christmas presents then, I will let myself indulge!

    As for suggestions, I recently read ‘The Elegance of The Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery and I absolutely love it. It may be not to everyone’s tastes because it’s quite a quirky novel, but I would recommend you give this a go. My review for this novel is here:

  5. Ooh, lovely! How I love a big pile of books, all ready to be read. As for the stockpile concept, I can behind it. I have read my first ebook (post is brewing), but nothing beats a book you can hold to your heart and hug. I tried hugging my iPad and felt quite silly.

    Oh, and I see we both have Private Life on our TBRs. I am so looking forward to that!

  6. Love the list – don’t you know I tried to make it bigger to read more of the titles? This is a treasure trove, indeed! Thanks for actually listing some of your new additions. Several are completely new to me. (What do I live in a bubble? No, the good news is, there ARE so many books out there – they’re unstoppable, thank goodness.)

    What have I that’s new? Alas, none that are new but that are indeed new to my pile.
    First, I will re-mention Phyllis Theroux’s THE JOURNAL KEEPER. ( I may have mentioned it before but only finsihed it finally last week and now have a substantial fine at the library. I had to finish it, knowing there was a “hold” on it and was therefore non-renewable.

    Also, I have recently purchased TC Boyle’s THE WOMEN and to go with it, LOVING FRANK, both on architect Frank Lloyd Wright so I thought they’d go together. And i have owned for some months but not had a chance to read THE AMERICAN WIFE. I know, I know, I’m a bit behind the times, but there you have it. My little pitch for your Christmas books list!

  7. Speaking from day three of my book buying moratorium, I am wishing very hard that there were only three more days of the moratorium to go.

    I LOVE your stockpile!

  8. Nice book piles! I’m so glad to have a reason to acquire as many books as I want. I don’t have much room for them … but oh, well. Stacks on the floor are fine if need be πŸ™‚


    These people are hoping to do for print books what CAMRA are doing for real ale. The campaign hasn’t started yet, but it’s nice to know that there’s something like this being organised (essentially a membership card that gives you 10% off all books bought from independent retailers, if I recall correctly).

    Your tbr pile is awesome! Mine is only about 1/2 a dozen at the minute, but they’re all monsters (700+ pages each. Go go indepth history and stupidly convoluted and richly drawn sci-fi!)

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  11. Glad to see your stockpile is growing! I added a couple to mine today but somehow managed to show marvelous restraint because, well, you know Christmas and all that is just around the corner. I want to give the family plenty of options! πŸ˜‰ I suppose this pile means that those lovely bookcases you built a year or two ago that had empty space on them are now filled up?

  12. I always find it heartening to see someone with piles larger than mine! πŸ™‚ Whatever you did to your photo I was able to click on it and blow it up for a closer look. Isn’t it nice being spoiled for choice? It makes me feel like going book shopping now!

  13. I just want to dive into your pile and take a long bath in those gorgeous books. I too stockpile books–and wool yarn. I just can’t imagine life without having enough to read and knit…

  14. Haha! I’m one of those luddites in the US that can’t fathom going digital. I also openly acknowledge not wanting any encouragement to buy books as easily as an eReader would enable. The titles you have look so interesting and are quite different from anything I have in my TBR pile right now. Look forward to those reviews! [I think I will do a post showing my TBR shelves as well!]

  15. I’m so glad I’m not alone is stockpiling books – my piles aren’t as tidy as yours though! I hadn’t thought about the scarcity of paper books in the future, but I’ve no need to worry as I’ve got plenty.

  16. Think I’m officially delurking so just wanted to say Hi Litlove! Just read The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, a fun mystery about three sisters living in a castle in WW2 (with a modern-day frame). Also loved A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John, a compassionate, wise look at a couple who are both in their way having an affair. Bernhard Schlink’s The Weekend made me think, and I’m loving my slow progress through Michael Schmidt’s The Lives of the Poets. Re ereaders, I love physical books too – good thing as they cover most of my walls – but am a fast reader so would be tempted to tech it up solely for holiday use. My biceps just can’t handle a book-filled suitcase!
    My own TBR pile is mountainous, but I’m most excited about Stella Duffy’s Theodora, Claire Tomalin’s Mary Wollstonecraft, EH Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, and Robert Sackville-West’s Inheritance. Enjoy your stacks!

  17. Teresa – if I can make my blogging friends feel better, then my work here is done. πŸ™‚ But seriously, I love having 200+ books to choose from, it makes me feel buffered against the world. I hope books never go away, but I decided not to take any chances!

    Patti – I love the sound of both your house and your wish list! I think mine may just have hit 4 pages, so I am right behind you. I also think it’s lovely you are taking your son to the library. Giving them your custom is every bit as important in keeping the book market thriving, and I hope to do more for my local village library. At present I take all my once-read ARCs there (I read very carefully without breaking the spine wherever possible). Every little helps.

    Nymeth – ooh! I have that Violette Leduc on my shelves and have never read it! I will watch out for your review (and maybe keep you company). I always believe the old saying that food in the fridge and books on the shelves turn a house into a home, and in a new country, a person needs a little buffering by stories. 50 sounds perfectly reasonable to me. πŸ™‚

    Karen – thank you for that suggestion! I have that book and have been meaning to get around to it. I needed the boost. And yes, I quite see Christmas comes first. Here’s hoping that you’ll have a lovely sum left over to treat yourself (and that you get lots of books as presents too).

    Cornflower – that’s a good phrase. My heart is always gladdened by other blogger’s new acquisitions. And then my purse is often lightened too… you have some extremely tempting books featured on your sidebar.

    Charlotte – can’t wait to hear what you think of the Smiley! And I love the thought of you hugging the iPad – I’ll bet you did it with great panache. And I wish I could see your stockpile; I’ll bet it’s full of gems.

    Oh – thank you for the wonderful pitch for the Christmas wish list. Titles duly noted! Particularly Phyllis Theroux who is a completely new name. I did read and love The American Wife, so I hope very much you are enjoying that one. And yes, isn’t it lovely to know there are still lots of new authors and wonderful books out there? Helps me to sleep at night. πŸ™‚

    SFP – How I wish I could study your bookshelves for a few hours (or days)! I’ll bet they have some wonderful books on them. I feel for you in your moratorium. May it be over soon!

    Dorothy – I always point out that books have wonderful properties of insulation. Very environmentally friendly! πŸ™‚

    Mystica – you are very welcome!

    Lilian – alas, seeing a pile of books just makes me want more books. It’s probably a sickness, but I’ll live with it! πŸ™‚

  18. Jon – you have the best links! I signed up instantly to CAMBO and will be interested to see what they do. And it sounds like half a dozen volumes probably equate to about 15 books there. Really, when it comes down to it, it’s the page count that matters. πŸ™‚ Plus the enjoyment of a different world. I just love that.

    Stefanie – very glad to hear you had a little shop, but oh yes, got to keep that wish list good and long! Alas, my poor beautiful shelves are choc-a-bloc now. Mister Litlove occasionally starts sketching out new bookcases on his design pad while shaking his head and sighing. Don’t worry, I’ll talk him round! πŸ™‚

    Danielle – that’s exactly the effect other people’s book piles have on me! So glad you could enlarge the photo and I do like to make other people feel better about their collections. You can call it greed or lust or an obsession, but I don’t think I ever want to be cured. πŸ™‚

    Lifetimereader – absolutely! I did knit a jumper once, and wrenched a muscle in my shoulder from the unaccustomed angle of holding one’s arms. It’s quite a dangerous sport. But it must be lovely to be able to make your own sweaters and a calming activity, too.

    Kimberley – oh yes please, I’d love to see your tbr pile! And much as I would never stop anyone from getting and loving their ereader, I am always quietly delighted to find another Luddite. My brother-in-law showed me his kindle a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t say I took to it in any way. That sludgy screen! The tiny pages! I will always be a book girl. πŸ™‚

    David – ah delighted to have a recommendation. I will look forward to that!

    Doctordi – lol!!! Your comment cracked me up, and does every time I read it!

    Margaret – I recently had to tidy them up, as it’s not always possible to keep them in good order when they are growing! And very glad to hear that the photo turned out okay – phew!

    Storygirl – delighted to have you delurk yourself! And thank you for some wonderful suggestions there. The only one I’ve read is the Madeleine St John, but I loved that, deeply, which bodes very well for the others. I’m particularly interested in the Michael Schmidt, Kate Morton, Stella Duffy (meaning to read her for ages) and Robert Sackville-West (who must surely be a relation?). Ooh lovely, lots to look out for there. And I quite understand the desire for an ereader for travel, that always strikes me as its most valuable use. πŸ™‚

  19. Your stockpile makes me feel a little humbled, and much less embarassed by my own.

    Recently read Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, which I can recommend as an addition. πŸ˜‰

  20. I have been winnowing down my stockpile, and was amazed to find myself with only a dozen books to choose from today when i went looking for a new read. “Only” a dozen!! Imagine.

    Anyway, among that dozen was Private Lives, by Jane Smiley, which I plan to start forthwith, hoping it will be a worthy successor to The Widower’s Tale, by Julia Glass. Also on my list is the new translation of Dr. Zhivago, which I won (!!!) from Frances, at Nonsuch Book, and will be reading-along.

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  22. I had to go off and look up The Shoot Horses Don’t They? and find the idea of a novel about a dance marathon so entertaining I think it’s going on my Christmas list. I think investing in paper is a solid financial decision – when digital books bring about ‘the end of the book’ your collection will be worth millions πŸ˜‰

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