I was disappointed with the number of pre-2017 TBR books I read.  I could have sworn it was more than 45 out of 115. So I’m setting a target of an average of 5 pre-2018 TBR books per month for this year. 60 books in total, likely 50% of my reading. The CBA plan is designed to help me achieve it.

C is for Choice

I concentrated on associations with the letter B during 2017.  So I read Böll and Bronte (Anne), historical fiction about Robert Burns and the Borgias, and a menagerie of titles with birds (doves, eagles, magpies, parrots and swallows).  In total 23 of the 45 pre-2017 TBR reads had an association with the letter B.

And so C is for choice in 2018. I have shelves of books with colours in the title, or cats or canines, comestibles, cities and countries I have visited, and some I have not. Coffee-table books and crime novels by the score, plus a substantial collection of Folio Society classics.  Plus an untold number of 700+ page chunksters (gulp). There are also a couple of centenaries I’d like to mark this year.  Muriel Spark’s, of course.  She was born in the same year as the Austro-Hungarian empire fell.  So I’ll join in Ali’s #readingmuriel2018 now and again, and I will revisit Roth’s The Radetzky March.  There are also a couple of bi-centennial publication anniversaries.  Will this be the year I finally read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and/or E T A Hoffmann’s The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr?

C is also continuation.  I shall progress from Anne to Charlotte Bronte, read more countries for Marina’s #EU27project and complete my second circuit round the globe with Pushkin Press. I’d also like to squeeze in some more Böll – I didn’t read as much as I wanted to last year.  And I shall pick off a few more from my completist reading list.

C, then, appears to mean spoilt for choice.  How ever will I determine what to read next? That’s not usually a problem. I had no issues choosing to start the year with Chekhov.  But some books simply get lost in the stacks.  So it is time to enlist the aid of the cookie jar to increase their chances of being found again. My version is not full of titles though; it contains 50 categories and random.org will pick the categories to be read next.  The first drawing pulled out categories, 11 (a travelogue), 29 (an EU27 project read), and 41 (a book from Europa Editions).  I get to pick which titles I’m in the mood for.  Right now, it’s these.


Once these have been completed, there will be a second cookie jar drawing.

B is for blogging

In December I decided only to review 4 or 5 star reads, using my monthly wrap-up post to quickly mention/review the rest.  I’m going to continue with that system for now.  It may mean fewer posts, but, it should mean more reading and a reduced TBR at the end of the year, but, only if ….

A really does mean acquiring less

There’s always a devil in the detail, isn’t there? I exceeded my acquisition (purchase) allowance in 2017. (Quelle surprise!) At least, I know where I went awry.  The temptations of the Edinburgh Book Festival were too much, and I had a bit of a (ok a massive) book-buying binge in December.  So C is for a radically changed purchasing strategy.  No book-buying ban. No purchasing targets. Just one rule. When I buy something, it has to be read immediately.  That way, purchases should not add to the TBR.  I know I will have to keep my eye on this, and so, I’ll add a TBR watch to the monthly wrap-up. (And no doubt,  I’ll be reading new purchases to the exclusion of everything else in the 2 months following Edinburgh Book Festival …)