2015 TBR Pile Challenge

Being the ambitious readers that we are, we decided to participate in Roof Beam Reader’s 2015 TBR Pile Challenge – motivated both by literary satisfaction AND the possibility of winning a $50 gift card. We like winning. And books.

The idea is to make a list of books that you’ve been meaning to read for at least a year – and then read them.

Seems simple enough, eh? So here goes:


  1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2008) (Completed 10/28/2015)
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (1990)
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818) [this is for you, Paperback Princess. Actually, I think several of these books are] (Completed 3/19/15)
  4. Little, Big by John Crowley (1994) [for shame, circa 1996(Completed 2/15/15)
  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1970) (Completed 12/24/2015)
  6. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (2012) (Completed 4/1/2015)
  7. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson (2000) (Completed 11/21/2015)
  8. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (1871) (Completed 12/12/2015)
  9. The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2010)
  10. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (2006)
  11. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins (2009)
  12. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2001)

Alternates: I don’t need no stinkin’ alternates.


  1. Primary Colors by Anonymous (1996) [this has been sitting on my bookshelf taunting me for at least 10 years]
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
  3. Feed by MT Anderson (2002)
  4. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  5. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (1997) [What was I thinking buying this on my honeymoon all those years ago? Not light beach reading]
  6. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (1197)
  7. The Sandman Vol: 1 Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman  (1991)
  8. The Painter of Battles by Arturo Perez-Reverte (2006)
  9. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818) [What can I say I want to be like my sister]
  10. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (2013)
  11. Lipstick Jihad A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni (2005)
  12. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy (1903)

Alternate 1. Swamplandia by Karen Russell (2011)

Alternate 2. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Mary Russell #1) by Laurie R. King (1994)

Are you participating in this challenge?  Any recommendations of where we should start?


  1. I’m toying with the idea of getting in on this challenge. I love that you both listed Persuasion. So much pressure for you to like it! Holly there’s lots on your list that I’m confident you will like. Keep the tissues handy for The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Little Men!
    Amanda, I don’t know what you were thinking bringing that along for honeymoon reading either but I’ve heard only good things about it (I haven’t actually attempted it myself). And the Scarlet Pimpernell is a DELIGHT!

  2. I prefer to just be in awe of how much you all read!!! But my two cents- A Prayer for Owen Meany will knock your socks off. Love that book. And Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy is such a funny book! I am currently reading short stories- I can always have time for that.

  3. Ohhh gosh I should sign up for something like this. I actually have sticky-notes on my walls of books I want to read in 2015 because I keep putting them off and FORGETTING and I can’t keep doing this! I need to finish books and just eat this awesome.
    I hope you guys win though. 😉 Books rock.
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  4. Loved A Prayer for Owen Meany. LOVED! I also really liked Into Thin Air – very cool book I read for a bookclub (and not one I would have picked on my own). I should read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy myself…

  5. Interesting challenge! However, I find that there is usually a reason that a book has sat on my “to read” list for a long time. Sometimes I have tried to read it and couldn’t get into, but don’t want to give up on it. Other times I am just not in the mood for that particular genre. I am going to try it though. Here is my list. You will find a lot of classics on it. I typically find those hardest to read despite wanting to love them. I always end up just watching the movies.

    1. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
    2. Lady Chatterly’s Lover – DH Lawrence
    3. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
    4. Howard’s End – EM Forster
    5. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
    6. The Sandcastle Girls – Chris Bohjalian
    7. I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
    8. Amazing Grace – Eric Metaxas
    9.Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    10.Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
    11. A Train in Winter – Caroline Moorehead
    12. Tolstoy & the Purple Chair – Nina Sankovitch

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