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The Monster In My Bookshelf

Sorry to have disappeared on you, folks. Part of the reason why is because I was in the middle of overhauling my personal website. Go take a gander and kick the tires if you want. I like it. It is, […]
| Feb 12, 2014 | 13 comments |

Sorry to have disappeared on you, folks. Part of the reason why is because I was in the middle of overhauling my personal website. Go take a gander and kick the tires if you want. I like it. It is, to quote Malcolm Reynolds, shiny.

But now that I’m out of that particular corner of cyberspace, I figured I’d better come back here and talk about the monster on my bookshelf. It’s been glaring at me lately. And growing. Oh, yes. It’s growing ever larger.

It’s my to-be-read pile.

I know, I know, we all have them. That stack of books that we’re intending to read when we just get the chance. I do my level best to prune it back regularly, but it still continues to multiply.

Here’s a picture of it in its natural habitat:

John's To-Be-Read Pile

I know, it doesn’t look all that threatening right now. I was able to sneak a picture when it was resting. But I think the flash of my camera angered it, for it rose up and called on its ally, my Kindle, which contains even more books that are waiting to be read. And when I saw my to-be-read pile in its full glory, my friends, I shuddered. In the spirit of adventure, though, I managed to take another picture before I ran screaming for cover:

Back Away Slowly

A truly awe-inspiring sight.

Okay, so I’m being a little silly. But I do honestly get intimidated by my pile at times. I manage to thin the herd, only to have more pop up. It’s like fighting the mythical hydra. As a matter of fact, Patrick Carr’s A Draw of Kings arrived in the mail the day I took those pictures. By the time this posts, another book may have arrived as well.

It’s a sickness, I tell you. I just like having a lot of options to read. That’s why I’m grateful for my Goodreads account. I can keep track of all the books I have, either digitally or tucked away on a shelf, waiting to be read.

So how about you? What’s on the top of your to-be-read pile right now? And are there any books you think I should add to mine? Let me know in the comments below.

John W. Otte leads a double life. By day, he’s a Lutheran minister, husband, and father of two. He graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a theatre major, and then from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. By night, he writes unusual stories of geeky grace. He lives in Blue Springs, Missouri, with his wife and two boys. Keep up with him at JohnWOtte.com.

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Hmmm. We share a couple that I’ve either read or are on my own “to be read” shelf. I would recommend Brandon Sanderson to also check out Sir, particularly his Mistborn books.

For any who might be curious, here is my own “to be read” list, on Goodreads.


Michelle R. Wood

Congrats on the new website: it looks great! (bonus points in your contest for plugging on another site?) 🙂
On the topic at hand: I spy Phil Vischer’s memoir in the lower-right corner of the second picture. I heartily recommend it. Not only did I learn more about Big Idea (and its rise/fall), but also a great deal about what it takes to pursue a creative vision.

D. M. Dutcher

I don’t have much on my reading list at the moment. I’m reading “Good Luck, Yukikaze,” a light novel about a man and his intelligent fighter jet fighting aliens on another world, and a biography about Ishiro Honda, director of the Godzilla films. I’d like to read more Christian spec fiction but it seems to be a drought of it at the moment. Any recommendations would be helpful here too.
I’m more interested in movies at the moment. Ender’s Game came out, and to my surprise it was a faithful, dramatic adaptation of the book. Did anyone else notice too that G.P. Taylor’s Mariah Mundi series has a movie out, called the Midas Box? I plan to rent it soon, hoping that Taylor’s Christianity shows in it.

Shannon McDermott

I back the recommendation for Me, Myself, & Bob. Really, a tremendous book.

At the top of my reading list is One Realm Beyond (I only have to review it early next week). I’ll also have A Draw of Kings in my to-read pile, as soon as I get it in the mail. Another book I’m supposed to be getting, and adding to my to-read pile, is … Numb.

These are my to-read books in the sense of must-and-shall-read books, because I got them on condition of reviewing them. My to-read pile, in the sense of books I have in the house and want to read someday, seems pretty much endless. But at least I’ve started Days of Fire. (Two pages is a start.)

I joined Goodreads about half a year ago, and since we’re all sharing, here’s my to-read shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/23902198?shelf=to-read

Julie D

Well, I just dropped off a huge stack yesterday, so I’m trying to finish up the library contents–a few Catherine Valente novels, a series by Rachel Aaron that I’ve heard of somewhere, and series three of the Gallifrey audio dramas by Big Finish.  My to-read list is both somewhat elongated (as I use it to keep track of Doctor Who tie-in novels) and abbreviated (I have nowhere near all the Big Finish dramas listed, and there might be other things and rereads that take my fancy)
Goodreads list if anyone cares https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/17253265-julie?page=1&per_page=100&shelf=to-read&utf8=%E2%9C%93


Holy crap. I didn’t know there WERE that many recent Doctor Who books.


I recently (within the last year) found Goodreads and it has been a life saver! As an organization freak, I love having all the books I want to read lined up in a neat little list. I also love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I can move one of those “to read” books onto my “read” list. Okay, there’ s my plug for Goodreads.
Honestly, I have never felt very intimidated by my to read pile. Looking at it makes me excited about all the great stories I have yet to experience. It’s also an instant boredom-fixer. Right now I’m looking for some good military science fiction to add to it. I’m up for suggestions if anyone has any.


What’s your Goodreads page, Ma’am?

For military sci-fi, I’d check out Timothy Zahn or Honor Harrington.

Arizona Mike
Arizona Mike

I have a whole 6′ tall standing bookshelf of to-be-read books, some dating back decades. I prune it regularly of volumes in which I just no longer have any conceivable interest, but there are always new arrivals. Plus already-read titles that I look at, think that would be worth re-reading, and put back onto the Shelf of Things Waiting. 
As I get older, I sometimes calculate how long it would take to finish off everything on the shelf, if I started reading every available title, and compare that to my expected life span from the insurance company actuarial tables. Then I wonder what my wife will do with all those unread books if I pass on before finishing everything in the house. Then I remember that some of those books came off my; father’s bookshelf after he passed away, back when I was in college.
Then I feel guilty about spending time on the Internet, like now.