Announcing: The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge!

2013 TBR Pile Challenge Sign-Ups!


Update: Due to popular demand, the deadline for posting your final lists has been extended from 12/31/12 to 1/5/13. I understand everyone is busy with the holidays, so hopefully this takes a bit of the pressure off.  Happy New Year! 

Congratulations to the 2012 Winner: Jenny from Jenny & Kelly Read Books


Yahoo!  That special time of year has come around again!  It’s the time when we’re all frantically scanning the book blog-o-sphere for challenges that we might want to compete in next year.  

This is my fourth year hosting and participating in the annual “TBR Pile Challenge.”  It started after I realized I had such an issue buying books but never reading them (not because I don’t read – but because I have so many!).  So, year after year, books would sit on my shelf, untouched, and I would end up reading newer ones first.  I realized I was missing out on a lot of great books because I let them sit there gathering dust instead of reading them as I bought them.

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).


1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2012 or later (any book published in the year 2011 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

2.  To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review.  Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3.  The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below).  This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge).  See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean.  Your complete and final list must be posted by January 5th, 2013.

4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2013 TBR LIST!  Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository!

5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published pre-2012!

*Note – You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. As you complete a book – review it, and go back to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review – that will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered.  For an example of what I mean, Click Here.

UPDATE:  I’ve decided to make a small change/addition to this year’s challenge.  On the 15th of each month, I’m going to post a “TBR Pile Check-In.”  This will allow participants to link-up their reviews from the past month and get some recognition for their progress.  There will also be small mini-challenges and giveaways to go along with these posts (Such As: Read 6 books by the June Check-in and be entered to win a book of your choice!).  I’m hoping this will help to keep us all on track and make the challenge a bit more engaging/interactive. If it goes well, maybe I’ll keep this format for future years.

My 2013 TBR Pile Challenge List:

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1816)

2. Shine by Lauren Myracle (2011)

3. Orlando by Virginia Woolf (1928)  :: Currently Reading ::

4.  Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

5. O Pioneers by Willa Cather (1913) :: Completed 1/5/2013 ::

6. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (2007) :: Completed 1/7/2013 ::

7. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

8. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951)

9. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880)

10. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1894)

11. Gods and Monsters (Father of Frankenstein) by Christopher Bram (1995)

12. Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times by Morris B. Kaplan (2007)


1. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2011)

2. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (1947)

Sign-Up to take the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge:

296 thoughts on “Announcing: The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge!

  1. The Alchemyst is a fantastic book and a great beginning to the series. I can’t wait to read your review. I’m going to give the challenge another try this year since I got detailed with keeping track of my reading last year. I’ll hopefully be back in a day or two with my list.

    1. I haven’t finished this year’s challenge, either (not sure if I’ll be able to). I think I’m at 8 of 12… if I can, I might try to read 2 books during each of the last 2 weeks of December, after school is done, to finish. I can’t win the prize (since I’m the one giving it), but still… I like to finish what I start!

      1. Finally gotten around to getting my books together and writing up the list. I fell down the stairs a few weeks ago and have been hobbling around in a boot, which has made getting upstairs to where the books I’d set aside for the challenge were currently waiting. But now I have the list, it’s up on my blog and I’m ready to read!

  2. Oh dear, unfortunately it looks like I can join your challenge this year. Last year I did really well with my own challenge to have no books on the shelf for longer than one year (so I had no books that qualified for the TBR challenge). This year however…

    Let’s say I didn’t do badly (because I didn’t) but I just had more books to go through. I think there are probably about 15 books left, so that means I *can* join in this time. And I should. And I will! :-)

  3. I love this idea! I need to check through some of my books. It seems that most of mine were new releases this year. Heheh I’m sure I can find 12, though!

    I’ll get back to do Mr. Linky when I create my pile!

  4. I’ll be compiling my list shortly. Sadly, I’ve only completed 2 so far this year, although I have 3 others on the go right now. I’ll have to get going!
    Love your list for 2013. I remember the first time I tried to read Emma I failed, and when it was assigned at university for my Early English Novel course, I thought “Oh, No!”, but sometimes it is about reading books at the right time for you and I absolutely loved the book and it ranks as one of my all time favourites. I hope you love it too.

  5. I really must do this challenge. I’ve Bookmooched 400 books over the last few years but habitually read new releases. I’ll get to work on my list and post soon.

    I’ve enjoyed Orlando, Beloved, The Bridge of San Luis Rey and the little of Karamazov I once started. You’ve got some good reading on your list. Enjoy.

  6. I’m in too! Thanks for hosting this again, I missed this year’s (2012) challenge. As my books quite vary in genre, I posted it in my general book blog (not in the classics one).

  7. I’m in!! I finished my 2012 list — this challenge has really inspired me to try and read more books off my own shelves. I’m trying to read 50% books off my own shelves by the end of the year and I’m pretty close right now.

  8. Emma may be my favorite Austen so far! I’ll be adding her to 2013’s list to try and finish the collection. And Flappers and Philosophers is great! A quick read. The Offshore Pirate is my favorite short story in it, but Bernice Bobs Her Hair is good too! Enjoy!

    I’ll be signing up again once I hem and haw over my bookshelf and select my 12 books. Decisions, decisions…

  9. This was a very good opportunity to visit my bookcase and get those dusty books out – hope it works this time and I get to read them!!! Thanks for hosting again Adam!

      1. I don’t think any of my reviews are set to private but I’ll check! :-) Thank you so much for letting me participate! I love the idea of the creating my list on Goodreads since both my phone and laptop think I live there, LOL! I’m headed to my library to start scanning UPCs with my phone and building my list! :-) Thank you again! :-)

    1. I’ve got 15 books on my Goodreads list – http://bit.ly/ZKMWkP – for this challenge, and I’ll probably aim for 140 books overall in 2013. (Yes, I’m at 152 so far for 2012, but several graphic novels contributed to that spike. 130-140 is more realistic.)

      Funny thing is, I’d kind of been doing this in 2012 anyway. My TBR stack is truly huge, about three or four years’ worth, so I decided to limit my purchases in 2012 by not starting any new series and not buying more books in series I wasn’t caught up with. I wasn’t entirely successful, but I did limit a lot of the new-new stuff to the ebook realm…so at least I’m whittling down the physical stacks!

      All but one of my books on this challenge’s list are physical books, and the outlier is a signed book in storage that I’ll be reading as an EPUB. (If I didn’t have the ebook, I wouldn’t have put it into storage!) Further, I already have those books stacked up in one handy place, along with several of their sequels.

      I hope to be finished with the expanded challenge (23 books, including the sequels) by the end of March. Wish me luck! ;)

  10. I just had to consolidate my books, and the ones I’ve had for YEARS and been meaning to read are standing out all the more because they’re the majority on my shelves. So, I’m in, and if I get through even half of them, that’s 6 I don’t have to feel guilty about anymore.

  11. Orlando was just so…different. I liked it a lot. The brick that is The Brothers Karamazov will continue to sit on my bookshelf–not ready for it. I also plan on reading some Morrison.

    Signed up. Thanks for hosting.

    1. I actually love Dostoevsky – The Idiot was fantastic, and I tend to love these scary long-winded Russians (adored Anna Karenina, LOVED War & Peace), so it’s really just the time it will take (due to the length) that has made me hold off… I’m always too busy with work/review request and now schoolwork to do much leisurely/pleasure reading, let alone 800+ pages of one book! I’ll get it done, though!

  12. This is awesome! I did a similar challenge last year to get my TBR pile books read. I failed miserably :*(

    2013 is a new year and I hope to get through this challenge!

    Thanks for hosting it :)

  13. Oh, awesome! A personal goal for myself was to clear off some the older books I’ve been pushing aside for the shiny new releases. I’ll browse my shelves to see what’s pre-2012 and come back. :)

  14. Hello. This is ruby from House of Bronze. I signed up some time ago, before making up the list of titles, but now a post is up and live on my blog concerning my plans for this challenge.

    You can find it here: http://houseofbronze.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/challenges-challenges.html

    There will also be a separate progress page (which is written already), but I will only publish it at the beginning of January (though there is no new info, just everything that is included in the post.)

    Thank you very much for hosting this, Adam, and I hope all of you will have a blast doing it!

  15. I stink at challenges cuz I just can’t keep up.. but this challenge will help me STOP reading only the new releases. So tired of collecting, and collecting.. collecting some more.. the most nerve wracking thing was choosing the books, egads. (*& making sure I could still find the book!)

    This will be the only challenge I join, thanks for hosting it! OH.. I LOVED The Map of Time… I have his second one to read also.

  16. This will be my first time participating in your TBR Challenge. I tried one last year where I set a goal to read at least 50 books off my TBR pile, but failed miserably since I still focused most of my attention on new releases. I shouldn’t have trouble reading the 12 books I’ve selected for this Challenge though (I hope!).

    Just as a side note, I’m not sure how you will be checking the publication dates, but I do know at least one of the books on my list wasn’t published in the US until this year. I’m in Canada, however, and the book was released here in 2010.

    Thanks for hosting. I’m looking forward to participating.

  17. First time for me also. My goal is to read my PILE of books and give them to the library. Looking forward to January. Thanks.

  18. I am absolutely in! For a long time I’ve told myself “when I buy a new book, I have to read an older one I’ve had forever” and… sigh… it never seems to happen. This challenge is right up my alley! I’ll be putting together my list this week. Thanks for hosting!

  19. This challenge has really motivated me to read off my TBR pile for the last 2 years – I’m 11/12 for this year, with the last book just over half finished. I’m so happy to join up again for 2013! My TBR pile seems to grow rather than shrink, so this is a wonderful way to keep it somewhat in check. Thanks for the motivation! :)

  20. I’m in again! And again I hope to do much better than the prior year. I realize I have a problem when a few books that will be on my list this year have been on my lists the last two years. Those will be the first ones I read, I promise!

  21. I have never done such a thing, and I am quite excited about it. But I love the idea of finally reading some of the books that have been on my shelves for so long. And it is very nice to see what everybody has on their list, all the different kinds of books. Great challange,
    kind regards

  22. This is the first year I will participate in something like this, and I am very excited about it. I think it is a great way of finally reading some of the books that have been collecting dust in the past years. I am looking forward to beginning!

    kind regards,

  23. You’ve got some great books on your list — good luck! I’m putting together my list now. Here’s a question on the rules: For two different authors on my list, I have two of their books that I want to read. Is it acceptable to sub out one for the other down the road? Commitment is hard…

  24. I tried your link to join but it’s not working for me :-(. I’d like to participate. I will keep trying to sign up for it…

  25. I’m participating too!
    I have a new blog in English because I’m studying the language and I also have a blog in Spanish (which is older). I’ll choose some books that I think are only available in Spanish, but I promise you they were released before 1/1/2012. Seriously, I’m honest :D
    I’ll post about the challenge next week.

    1. That’s a great idea! I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction (although, I’m getting to more, now that I’m back in school). I might think about doing all biographies/autobiographies next year. There are many that I want to read (Hemingway, The Brontes, Salinger, Steinbeck, etc.).

  26. 12 books in one year? I can do that. I have 30 linear feet of To Be Read books on the bedroom bookshelves, some to re-read and some I haven’t read yet. The problem will be choosing which 12 unread books to tackle first.

      1. Hi, Kat: You did comment on 12/24 but, unfortunately, you never posted a list. I double-checked your blog but noticed that the “TBR” challenge page was blank. It also looks like your Goodreads list was set-up on January 8th, which was after the deadline; unfortunately, I cannot count you as an official participant this year, but please do feel free to follow-along with us and visit participants, join discussions, etc. :)

  27. Sounds great! I just added my list in. I accidentally did the link straight to the blog and couldn’t find a way to delete that so added a second on in that goes to my challenges page. Sorry about that!!

    Thanks for hosting!

    1. A lot of people seem to be saying the same thing. I think I’ll try to post monthly updates/check-ins/mini-challenges this year, to help people stay motivated (and remember that they signed-up!).

  28. I love this challenge–a TBR book a month is something I can handle! You have a wonderful list.

    I read End of the Affair earlier this fall, and had mixed feelings about–gorgeous writing but not so sure about the philosophy, but definitely worth reading.

    Emma is fantastic, of course, as well as Sherlock Holmes. I would like to read Brothers K someday but I have to talk myself into it!

    Happy holidays and best wishes for a wonderful book-filled new year, and thanks for hosting this great challenge. It’s my first year participating in it.

  29. I’m in. I’ll have to look through my (according to Goodreads) 380 books to find 12 that specifically fit the challenge, but in any case it will be nice to whittle the pile down a bit.

  30. Thanks for hosting the challenge! It’s exciting to see how many readers have joined. I have plenty of unread books on my shelves, and this will help me get through some of them. Good luck to everyone, and happy reading! :)

  31. This is a fabulous idea for a challenge. I’ve had books sitting on my TBR forever. Some of them I’ve tried to start at various points, but never really got into. Others I own and have never even opened. I can’t wait to clear some space of that shelf.

  32. I’m in! My blog is in Spanish, but I hope this does not cause any inconvinience to you. I’ve already signed-up, so I suppose that now comes the time of reading and enjoying of these forgotten books. Thanks for the challenge!

  33. Third time’s a charm! I only finished one book of my 12 in 2012, so it’ll be pretty easy to, at least, do better in 2013! ;-) Thanks for hosting this again!

  34. Just signed up again! Only completed 2 of 12 in 2012, so am using most of my list again for 2013. This is the only challenge I’m signing up for. I have The Map of Time and The Alchemyst on audio, waiting for me to listen to them, but I didn’t put any audiobooks on my list. I’ve also been meaning to read Shine, but didn’t put any YA on my list either. I see now how I get derailed on this challenge!

  35. Last year I put your TBR challenge off too late in the year. This year, I’m going to conquer it and read at least a book a month starting in January. Wish me luck. All signed up (yes, last minute, but that is NO indicator for 2013 – out with the old, in with the new – :-) ).

    Thanks for hosting again!

  36. I wanted to sign up. I already have a journal set-up for my TBR list and donations to the library. I don’t have a URL or familiar with Mr. Linky, so I’ll just follow along and read your blog with comments.Thanks.

  37. I posted my list as a link to my 2013 TBR bookshelf on Goodreads. My list includes several “door stoppers,” books well over the 500 page mark. Hoping to put the Kindle to good use so I don’t have to carry those monster books around. As a commuter I spend a good amount of time on the train, usually 4 days a week. Hoping to continue to read some great books in 2013.

  38. i didn’t fully succeed last year per the specifications, i read nine and wrote about two. but i’m happy with this. it is because of this challenge the nine have been read after far too much time
    past over, gathering dust on the shelf. so, shall try again.

  39. Okay got my list in order and signed up last night. I didn’t realize it would be hard to pick only 12 books off my TBR list to promise to read, but I did it!

  40. Hello! Important, US Amazon (.com) certificates aren’t interchangeable with Amazon Canada (.ca). Maybe you can update your prize line to indicate the alternative is offered to your winner? There are other ‘off the shelf’ activities but I *love* meeting & supporting new folks and their efforts. :)

    1. Thanks – there is an alternate prize already ($50 of books from The Book Depository), so if it is an international winner, they can go that route.

      Also, thanks for the support – although my TBR Pile Challenge is one of the originals, which has inspired dozens of others, so I’m not sure I’m okay with being called a “new folk.” ;)

      1. Never wise to call one’s Canadian neighbours ‘international’. LOL We do have a middle postage option for the US, before one looks ‘overseas’ (its synonym). Just as easy to e-mail Amazon.ca (your dollar is nearly as much as ours – pretty equal) but BookDepository is awesome. I’d be thrilled by either prize!

  41. I wanted to join last year but missed the signup deadline. Fortunately I stumbled upon this page with just a few days to spare! Thanks for helping me put a small dent in my massive mountain of unread books!

  42. You know I mean you’re new to me. :) Even we at WordPress a while, discover circles one bit at a time; especially with me on dial-up! Good for you, being one of the first ‘off the shelf’ type hosts. When I have time to slog through sign-up posts, I’d love to work with the theme’s veteran. ~Carolyn~

  43. You don’t care what the book is (short story, kids, ect) as long as we’re getting it off the shelf, correct? I write a solid 300-word review regardless of what a title is so you needn’t fear participation effort with this gal. Folks might find my list frightening in terms of decades and subjects spanned! :-)

  44. I was a bit worried about committing to specific titles, but now I’m glad I did. Some of these books have been top priority reads for over a year and I still haven’t gotten to them, and other than a few must buys and BEA in May, I’m not adding many books to my shelves this year. I’m determined to end the lonely suffering of so many books on my tbr bookcases (oh, that’s right- bookcases- plural!)

  45. Well, Mr. Linky accepted me but I don’t know if you will as I am a bit late. Anyway, I still challenge myself to clean my tbr shelves. Thank you for hosting this challenge.

  46. I’m very excited about doing this challenge again this year. This year, I’m determind to complete it (I only got 10 last year).
    Beloved is an awesome, but kind of nasty book. I did it for A-Level English Lit and loved it. Will strongly recommend NOT wathcing the film. It was way too much.
    I nearly put a Sherlock Holmes novel on my list, but had too many others, if only it was 15 books…
    Good luck this year.

  47. I am too late to sign up (can I blame my broken foot?!) but I am taking the challenge and listed it in my blog. I have the 16 books also listed on my Goodreads page, on their own shelf: http://tinyurl.com/TBRpile Thanks for giving me inspiration on what to read this year, and for also helping me save a little money (for more books).

  48. I was also too late for the linky tool, but I hope that doesn’t exclude me from participating…I think this is a great idea for a reading challenge! And I love the idea of monthly check-ins! I know that will make me more likely both to keep up with my reading and to check out other people’s reviews! My TBR Challenge book list is here: http://bookwanderer.wordpress.com/reading-challenges/ And I’m so excited for this challenge that I’ve already started reading one of the books on it!

  49. Aww, is it too late to join in? I had created my list before the beginning of the year but I didn’t get around to adding it to Mister Linky. Oh well, still heading towards achieving this awesome goal.

    1. Yep, sorry, even the extended deadline has passed! But please do feel free to continue working from your list and dropping by to see what everyone is up to! Would be great to have you back (officially) next year! Sign-ups usually open in November – long-term plans! :)

  50. Three read, two reviewed and half way finished reading the fourth (it’s a big one). I’m so glad this challenge got me to read “Going too Far” by Jennifer Echols. LOVED IT!

  51. I just found this challenge and I am looking forward to 2014. I have MANY books that have sat on my shelf for way too long. This will be a great challenge to help me clear some of them out. I donate most of them to the local library (unless I just can’t part with them).

  52. Oh man–I don’t know that I’m going to make it! I have to read and review three more books, and with the holidays coming up, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to myself! But to be so close is bittersweet, so I’m really going to push myself! :) Whatever the outcome, I’ve had a lot of fun participating in this challenge, and definitely intend to join up for 2014!

  53. I commented on the more recent post that says I was supposed to comment there when I was done, but then I remembered… I’m supposed to comment over here too (Right?)

    All this to say… I finished! Here’s a link to my list:

    I had an epic reading year. I’ve never actually recorded all of the books I’ve read in a year, but I did this year on a whim and am amazed to discover that I read (or listened to) 100 books!

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