The To Be Read Pile: A Love-Hate Relationship. (Mostly Love.)

We all have one, constantly growing or shrinking. A heap of books; the to-be-read pile. (What did you think I was writing about?)

Mine expanded a bit in Florida. We stopped at a thrift store on the way to the airport. I wanted something to read while waiting for the plane. I grabbed three paperbacks to get the three for two dollars deal. I’m nearly done with a J.G. Ballard collection, Passport to Eternity. But waiting to be read are the other two, contributing to the TBR pile.

One is Bowdrie, from Louis L’Amour. You can never go wrong with L’Amour. If you’re in a hurry, uncertain what to buy, just grab one of his westerns. You’ll be entertained. The second is Pale Gray for Guilt. John D. MacDonald was an absolute master craftsman. I’ve read a few of the Travis McGee novels. But I’ve never truly warmed to them, and so I don’t go out of my way to track them down. MacDonald’s mouthpiece McGee has a way of preaching to the audience that I find off putting. All the great ones did it to some extent: Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, even Archie Goodwin. But their authors were more restrained. McGee’s bad mouthing the United States of America (to borrow a phrase) can stick in my craw and undermine my appreciation of the story. And that’s a shame, because MacDonald can damn well tell a story. Fingers crossed on this one. Maybe he was in a better mood when he wrote Pale Gray.

I am nearly done with T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Which means I can finally get to a book I’ve had sitting on a bookshelf for I don’t know how many years. I haven’t read The Book of Merlyn because it is supposed to be a sequel to Once and Future, and I’d never read it. I’m looking forward to it.

Continuing the renewed King Arthur kick I seem to be experiencing, why not add Steinbeck?

I have little familiarity with David Gemmell. I read Legend years ago, a sort of Alamo meets Minas Tirith novel and liked it, despite what I considered a few weak spots. I believe that was his first novel. I’m curious to see if Dark Moon is more polished, while still retaining that adventurous heart.

Glen Cook’s output dominates most of one shelf in bookcases. I re-read the Black Company series what, last year? Only the extent of the TBR pile is preventing me from wallowing about in the Garrett Files series again. (I’m tempted to do it anyway. Garrett is the closest thing I have to a fictional hero. And Cook almost unerringly nails the detective literature mashup and seamlessly integrates his portmanteau investigator into a fantasy milieu. It is a world I love to revisit.) How could I resist picking up The Swordbearer? 

What is on your TBR pile? Has it taken over a substantial portion of your domicile? If not, why not add to it?