The TBR Dare Has Begun


Once again, I am trying to begin the year with the wonderful intention of making a dent into my piles of unread books. This event has been hosted by James Reads Books in the past, but this year, it has moved to a new blog, the TBR Dare, with two new hosts: Lizzysiddal of Lizzy’s Literary Life and Annabel of AnnaBookBel. The idea is to read only books that you already own between now and the end of March. Last year, I held out until the end of February; let’s see if I can do better this year. I will be making one trip to the library today, to pick up two books for previously scheduled readalongs, but that will be it for the next several weeks. Will I be able to do it? Here are a few books I am hoping to get to soon:

819709One of Ours, Willa Cather

I actually finished this one late last night, and, sigh, what a wonderful way to start the new reading year: The son of a prosperous farmer, Claude Wheeler’s future is laid out for him as clear and monotonous as the Nebraska sky. Many young men would be happy to find themselves in Claude’s shoes, but his focus is on the horizon, and on the nagging sense that out there, past the boundaries of convention, his true destiny awaits. When the United States finally enters the war raging in Europe, Claude makes the first, and greatest, decision of his life: He answers the call.

Nightingale Wood, Stella Gibbons7721474

I’ve read the first 20 pages or so already, and I think it will be very entertaining: Poor, lovely Viola has been left penniless and alone after her late husband’s demise and is forced to live with his family in their joy­less home. Its occupants are nearly insufferable: Mr. Withers is a tyrannical old miser; Mrs. Withers dismisses her as a common shop girl; and Viola’s sisters-in-law, Madge and Tina, are too preoccupied with their own troubles to give her much thought. Only the prospect of the upcoming charity ball can lift her spirits—especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor’s intentions towards the young widow are, in short, not quite honorable.

8115497House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday

This one is for Caroline’s Literature and War Readalong this month. I’ve had this one sitting on my bookshelf for a good, long while. A young Native American, Abel has come home from a foreign war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father’s, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world—modern, industrial America—pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, claiming his soul, goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of dissipation and disgust.

1159331On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West, Barbara R. Stein

It took me a long time to find an affordable copy in good condition, but a few months ago, I was finally lucky. I’m hoping that Katie at Doing Dewey will do a Women in Science month again this year. This one would be perfect, I think: At a time when women could not vote and very few were involved in the world outside the home, Annie Montague Alexander (1867–1950) was an intrepid explorer, amateur naturalist, skilled markswoman, philanthropist, farmer, and founder and patron of two natural history museums at the University of California, Berkeley. Barbara R. Stein presents a luminous portrait of this remarkable woman, a pioneer who helped shape the world of science in California, yet whose name has been little known until now.

171102The Birth House, Ami McKay

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife’s apprentice. Filled with details that are as compelling as they are surprising,  The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to maintain control over their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine. Thanks, Naomi, for kindly sending me a copy.



  1. I like the idea of reading books that sit unread on my shelves. I have tons! I would like to mix them in throughout the year. You have quite a variety here which I like. And oh Willa Cather — what a wonderful author. I must read one of hers in 2017. I would like to read Death Comes for the Archbishop. Have you read that one? cheers.

    • I love Willa Cather; she’s one of my favorite writers. I have read Death Comes for the Archbishop and loved it. It’s different from her prairie novels, with its different subject matter, but just as wonderful.

  2. Your list looks interesting. Must quell temptation to add more books to TBR. I’ve done the Dare for the last five years. I keep thinking this year will be easy because I bought a shocking number of books last year that I didn’t read, and everything on my library hold list has such long waiting periods that I won’t be tempted. I have no excuses! Good luck to you!

  3. On Her Own Terms sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to hear more about it. Now you have me thinking about who I would like to read about for Women in Science month…

    I’m thinking it would be fun to re-read The Birth House – it’s been many years since I read it. I’d love to join you when you’re ready to pick it up!

  4. Ooh, some of these look very appealing! I fancy the Willa Cather and House Made of Dawn, but if I had to pick it’d be On Her Own Terms, which sounds fascinating! I hope you read it soon and tempt me with your review…

    Good luck with the TBR Dare!

  5. This would be my first choice: “On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander”.
    You’ve got some great books lined up…just 12 more weeks!

  6. I made it through the TBR Dare last year, but with audio book reprieves. This year, I’m going to try to be totally honest. 😉 On Her Own Terms looks really good. I have a soft spot for the stories of frontier women *and* 19th-early 20th century science.

    Good luck, and Happy Reading!

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