TSS: Fun with TBR Lists

sunsalon1Just a short post today, because I have to get working on my NaNoWriMo project. When I am not thinking about plot and characters or worrying about how I will reach my word-count goal (in a meaningful way), I like to think about my reading plans for next year. I keep a notepad next to my computer, and throughout the week I jot down the names of books I read about online that look interesting. Yesterday I decided to put everything in a spreadsheet (what? procrastinating on NaNoWriMo? me?), and here’s what I found: I currently have 179 titles on my TBR wishlist, which consists of books I do not own. Scratch that: I have 179 fiction titles on my TBR list. I haven’t created the non-fiction spreadsheet yet!

As for my actual, physical TBR piles: I have several stacks of unread or partially-read books around the house, so I decided to count those as well. I have 82 unread books here at home–again, this is only the fiction–waiting for me to read them. That’s 261 titles, total!

I like to think of ways to tame the TBR list. The most obvious thing to do, of course, is to stop adding books, to keep the list under control. The problem is, at the end of six years, I would probably find that there were at least 261 interesting books released in the six years I was not adding books, so I would be right back where I started. The other thing I could do is apply the 50-page rule with a vengeance: if I pick up a book and it doesn’t grab me after 50 pages, I stop reading and strike it from the list. The only problem with that is I tend to be moody about my book choices, and I have ended up loving books upon the second read that I hated the first time around. Perhaps I could just move the title to the bottom of the list and give it another chance?

Another problem I have is how to choose which books from the TBR list to read. Should I print out the titles cut them up, and pull them out of a hat? Should I print a wallpaper-sized version of the list and throw darts? Blindfold myself, spin around and play “pin the tail on the TBR”? Ask an objective third party to choose?

Hm. Maybe I am procrastinating, just a little bit. But tell me, how do you tame your TBR? Or do you even try?

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6 comments

  1. Given that you are a moody reader, I’m not sure that randomly selecting titles off of your TBR list is the way to go… I’m a similar kind of reader, and sometimes I agonize over which book to read for a day or two, but I know that it’s important for me to read a book that’s got the right kind of vibe.

    I think all of us book bloggers have the problem of the never-ending, only-increasing TBR list, whether it’s books we own, or ones we want to own! I guess I could be all defeatist about this, realizing that there are more books out there in the world than I can ever hope to read, but instead, I look on the bright side and focus on the fact that with that many books I’ll never be without something to satisfy me. And even if I can’t read them all personally, all those book bloggers out there in some small way make me feel like I kind of have!

  2. Hi Steph! Yes, I was having some fun with ways to pick TBR books (hence post title). Generally I just pick things up and read until something grabs me. I personally think the TBR list is fun. Sometimes I enjoy making the list more than anything.

  3. I have roughly 200 unread books around the house, and my project for next year is to read mostly from those books, starting with the ones I’ve had the longest. (I’m not being legalistic about that, just giving myself an easy way to choose the next book.) Lucky for me, I’m not much of a mood-based reader, so that usually works out okay. Like you, I give myself 50 pages, and if I’m not liking the book it goes off my list. If I do get the feeling that I’d like something more at a different time, I’ll set it aside for later, but most of the books I give up on are books where my dislike is less about my mood and more about the book itself.

    I also do have a wishlist of books I don’t own, but I think of that less as a reading list and more of a list of books I don’t want to forget about. That takes the pressure off 🙂

  4. I’m afraid that I have no idea how to keep the TBR pile under control as mine is in a worse state than yours. I think the only solution os to stop reading blogs and stop buying more books until you’ve read all the ones you have, but since that is never going to happen we just have to accept that we have a TBR problem!

  5. Teresa, I use my list of books I don’t own as either a wish list or a library list. Next year I also plan to focus on books I already own (although I’ve said that for the last two years, so we’ll see!), but I know that I’ll also be going to the “wishlist” for library picks once a month or so. It makes me feel like I have a bit of a break that way.

    Jackie, I think I added six more books to the TBR wishlist the day I wrote the post, and book blogs were fully responsible for it! I don’t mind the wishlist as much as I mind the unread books around the house. I dislike clutter, for one thing, but for another: they stare at me! They taunt me! 😉

  6. I’m a moody reader too, so I tend to just pick a book that I think will suit my mood. But controlling the TBR list and pile? Impossible! And I don’t feel too guilty about it either (especially not the list, since as long as I don’t buy them, it costs nothing!) I have been trying to focus on reading my own books in the last few months though.

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