Misty’s Shelf


“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Steven King

We here at MW always say there’s no one way to write your novel.  If sitting on the couch writing on a laptop works for you, then that’s how you should do it.  Others of us work at a desktop, or in longhand on yellow pads.  Some people write only in the morning before the rest of the family rises, and others write after dark.  This guy writes the scenes that come to him, filling in the rest later, and that girl never deviates from the line her story follows, writing the end only when she actually reaches that chapter.  And every way is right, as long as it works for the writer.  The thing, though, that I think everyone must do…is read.

It isn’t enough that you read books as a child.  It isn’t enough that you read all of Tolkien and you think there’s nothing new out there to try.  You have to make time in your schedule to read books, classics and brand new work.   Reading what other people have done is the best way to learn what sells, what works and what drives a great story.  It’s also a good way to learn what doesn’t work for you, so you don’t make the same mistakes.  

I read every night before sleeping.  Even if I’m very tired, I’ll still indulge in a few pages.  I don’t read as quickly as I once did, so I’m by no means going to finish a book in two days (maybe not even in a week.)  But what I read makes an impression.  It teaches me things even today.  The publishing world is constantly changing and flowing, and I want to be able to keep up.  

This is my TBR shelf.


There’s fiction, nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy. Some are library books, at least three are lent books, and the rest are mine, all mine.  And I’ll eventually read every single one of them. 

So who wants to tell me what their TBR shelf/stack/bookcase looks like?  Do you have any of the same books on your shelf that I have on mine?  Want to recommend something I should try? 

EDIT: Okay, since you were wondering, the mysterious box is a jewelry box made of some sort of pink stone (or stone-like material – it’s very heavy)  with horses carved in white stone on the top.


Unfortunately, the lid hinges broke years ago.  So now it holds bookmarks instead. 


You really didn’t think I’d admit to keeping magical secrets in there, did you?  🙂


13 comments to Misty’s Shelf

  • I haven’t had the free money to actually buy books for a while, so it’s actually more a TBR list. Some of these I’ll probably have to hit the library anyway.

    Most of Faith’s Skinwalker series (those are coming out awesomely fast).
    Second book in the Thieftaker series.
    The rest of the Winds of the Forelands books.
    The rest of the Theft of Swords books.
    I’ve heard good things about the Vorkosigan Saga from Lois McMaster Bujold and want to go looking for those when I get the time.
    The Ptorix Empire works from Greta van der Rol.
    I want to give Zoe Archer’s Collision Course a shot.
    Been meaning to read Daily Life in Medieval Times, which is on my shelf, but haven’t gotten around to doing so.

    There’s more, but those are just some of them.
    Not enough time in the day…

  • My TBR shelf, which is more like a TBR bookcase these days, is bursting because I’ve got a lot of books I’ve picked up from authors I know and want to support, including pretty much everything by authors here and those I’ve met, and series I’ve begun and haven’t had a chance to finish because of time. I’ve been working on whittling it down, but there will be no shortage of choices, ever. And despite my collection, lately I’ve plundered my library’s collection of YA high fantasy, so that I can answer the inevitable question, “What’s your novel like?” I’ve just recently enjoyed Eilis O’Neal’s THE FALSE PRINCESS, and Rachel Hartman’s SERAPHINA. On the next-to-read list are Sarah J. Maas’ THRONE OF GLASS, Rae Carson’s, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, and R.L. LaFevers’ GRAVE MERCY. I’m enjoying this a lot!

  • sagablessed

    Sweet boogery flatulence. The NSA does not have a computer big enough for my TBR list. I have currently books on Indo-European cultures from pre-Christian to medieval eras, MZB, Paganism, The Bagdava-gita, Buddha’s words, the Vedas, old Andre Norton, Faith’s stuff, David’s books, Diana’s, yours, Percy Jackson things, CE Murphy and Patricia Briggs works(who I would like to see a guest blogger here), various YA novels, histories of the Aztecs and Mayans, Hawai’ain myths, quatum and string theory, hypothesis on alien life and planets…

    Kill me, please. My brain is on overload.

    Laura…Throne of Glass…good book. I leave at that. Also the Mortal Instruments are good. A bit Christian for me (I am a bit prejudiced, I admit), but worthy reading. I enjoyed them. The movie will no doubt suck.

    I got a massive gift card for my birthday for B&N. I spent the whole thing in swoop. I also read a few pages every night. Reading the works of others not only give me ideas on how to write, it solidifies how much I like my own voice.

  • A couple of years ago I cleaned out hundreds of books from TBR pile (I worked for a bookstore then, so got lots of advance and free copies). I swore I wouldn’t buy so many books, that I would just use the library. Well, I got that half right. I use the library, but I still buy books. Honestly, at this point I probably couldn’t read all my TBRs if I read all day long for the rest of my life! But here’s what’s currently on the top of the list:

    Thieve’s Quarry
    Countdown City, by Ben winter
    After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, by Nancy Kress
    A Dangerous Fiction, by Barbara Rogan
    Make it Stick (non-fiction book about the art of persuasion)
    The Last Word by Lisa Lutz
    Frost Burned, by Patricia Briggs
    The Lost, by Vicki Pettersson
    The Lion is In, by Delia Ephron.

  • Never mind the books; I want to know what words are in that little box!

  • Taking TBR as books I actually own…

    Cyberadad Days
    King Maker by Marcus Broaddus
    Mario Vargas Llosas’ Nobel speech on the value of fiction (long speech, short book)
    Medieval Folklore
    a book on the history of “Amazing Grace”
    Heart of the Night by Naguib Mahfouz (highly recommend his stuff for anyone who wants to read a non-Western modern author.)
    Iron Knight
    Goal Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon
    Twenty Things Adopted Children Wish their Parents Knew
    America’s Four Gods (nonfiction)
    Rocannon’s World by Ursula Leguin

    That’s what I can remember off the top of my head. There are about double that amount actually on the shelf. And I second Reziac – I want to see what’s in the box. Mystic treasures, I’m sure. 🙂

  • Ken

    My TBR shelf is groaning under the weight of all the books. I can hear it, even now while I’m at work. Here’s (some) of what’s on it:
    The rest of Faith’s Jane Yellowrock books (I’ve got space set aside for the ones that havent even come out yet 🙂
    The rest of David’s Thieftaker series (Even the ones that haven’t come out yet. Those books-to-be are competing with Faith’s for space…which, having seen the two of them on a panel…isn’t all that unusual)
    Kevin Hearn’s “The Iron Druid Chronicles” Check em out. You’ll be glad you did.
    Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine’s “The Janus Affair”
    (Actually, Kestrel is waiting to see who wins between David and Faith, then she’ll sweep in and shove the tired winner aside…if you’re going to be a pirate after all…)

    And so much more…

  • Razziecat

    My list is more of a “to be bought” list, including some books that I read years ago and want to reread. On my list are:

    In Search of the Dark Ages, Michael Wood (read this years ago and learned more from the preface (let alone the rest of the book) than I did all my years of school).
    The Crown Conspiracy, Michael J. Sullivan
    When Women Were Priests, Karen J. Torjesen
    Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond,
    Marleen S. Barr
    Future Females: A Critical Anthology (Barr)
    The “Lace and Blade” anthologies
    Storm Lord Rising, and Storm Lord’s Exile, Glenda Larke
    Walking With the Green Man, Dr. Bob Curran
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    Violence: A Writer’s Guide, Rory Miller
    A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
    Plus a bunch of books about writing, and several fantasy novels that aren’t out yet…:D

  • quillet

    Oh, man. If I start listing titles, we’ll be here all week! I have bookshelves full — make that crammed with books, most of which I’ve read but some I haven’t, plus piles (literal piles) more in a closet, plus a stack of TBR on the floor, plus more books tucked away in various other places. Oh, and e-books on my phone, several of them TBR.

    I…might have an addiction. 😉

    I’ve recently tried to keep away from the library, because I kept bringing home more books that I “had” to read first (before the books I own) because they had due-dates! And of course the wish-list keeps growing, even though I read every day. I average a book a week at least, usually more. I read fiction (including fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, mysteries and more) and non-fiction (mostly history but other stuff too). My dad used to call me “the reading-est girl in the world.” Gee, I wonder why? 😀

  • Oh, great! Now I have MORE books on my TBR list. Thanks, Misty (and everyone else who posted intriguing titles)!

    Most immediate on my TBR list is:
    Metropolitan and City On Fire by Walter Jon Williams
    Singer by Brigid Collins
    Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis
    Celtic Religion in Pre-Christian Times by Edward Anwyl

    You don’t want me to post the long list… 🙂

  • Misty, I just went through all my old books (the ones left over after I gave my nephew almost 200 of the old hard sifi, fantasy, and UF) as I put them up on my shelves. And I found one on Ikebana(sp?), three on herb gardens, one on bread making, several old Cajun stories, one on world archaeological mysteries, and a stack of UF I forgot about. 🙂 I’m a happy gal!

  • NewGuyDave

    My current To-Read shelf has too many to list them all. The ones near the top are
    Thieftaker by DB Jackson (actually snuck a peek on the weekend!!)
    Prince of Thorns by Marc Lawrence
    Empire of Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Clash of Kings by GRRM (I know, I know, but they’re soooo looooooong)
    and a bunch of books I won in a contest last year.


  • Ooh, I see Anne Lyle on that shelf. Awesome books.

    My TBR is either very short or empty, ’cause when I buy books, I’ve read them all by four days later. It’s currently empty. 🙁