I have too many books right now. The TBR pile is now a full shelf. A rather large shelf. Ok, more than one large shelf. Fiction, non-fiction, classics, smart thinking, philosophy, science, long, short, new, old, fantastically free, bargain bucketed or painfully purchased. It keeps growing!
So, I really need to motor through them. I have therefore decided to constantly have two books on the go: one will be my “Pudding Book” and the other, my “Vegetable Book”. The premise is simple: when carousing a 7-year-old to eat her cabbage, you dangle the promise (or prohibition) of pudding. I will be doing the same thing, but, like a proper adult and stuff, chastising myself when I fail to finish my bookish broccoli.
This isn’t to say that the books I have purchased (or otherwise purloined) are dull or not worth reading – on the contrary. But rather that a fair proportion aren’t what you’d call holiday reading. The Vegetable books are many and varied, at this point in time, so the reasons why and wherefore they may prove trying, are equally many and varied. Their vegetable equivalents range from intolerable (e.g. Brussel sprouts) to quite-nice-actually-but-still-a-vegetable-so-will-never-beat-a-biscuit (e.g. carrots). My current Vegetable book is It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Written in the 1930’s, it is a political dystopia comparable to Orwell’s 1984, and US democracy is under threat from a demagogic President. Erudite in the extreme, with an agitated style, it is, on the vegetable scale, a runner bean. Crunchy and sweet, at its best, stringy and bitter at its worst. Review to follow.
Then comes pudding. This can take whatever form I choose, so long as I am excited by it. My current Pudding book is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind, which was one of my favourite books of last year and perhaps the best fantasy I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Witty, lyrical and spellbinding (in every sense of the word) it is pure indulgence. A rich chocolate cake, covered in thick butter cream, with succulent strawberries on the top. Yum. Review to follow. Click here for my review of The Name of the Wind.
But, I must eat my greens before I can eat my sweet.
In case anyone is interested, here is my current TBR list. I have divided them into puddings and vegetables, but this is purely a reactionary label. A vegetable might turn out to be a pudding, or vice versa, once I actually tuck in. Like one of those weird fruity courses that should be savoury but isn’t… Not my best simile.
Please let me know in the comments what your Vegetable and Pudding books are!
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
Alice by Christina Henry
Candide by Voltaire
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Cousins by Sally Vickers
Dictator by Robert Harris
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick
Moab is My Washpot by Stephen Fry
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
Noise Off by Michael Frayn
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Subtly Worded by Teffi
The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet
The Cairo Pulse by B.B. Kindred
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
The Waking Land by Callie Bates
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Waterland by Graham Swift