Merin’s Musings #7: Let’s Talk About TBR Lists


Today’s Musings post is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, in a rather abstract “my TBR list is out of control and yet OOH NEW BOOKS” way. Most likely I have been thinking about it specifically because I’m not doing a lot of reading, so I’m not ticking a lot of books off said list, and yet I just keep finding new ones to add to it. As you do. Or I do. And I definitely do.

So, let’s talk about TBR Lists, shall we?

First off, I shall direct you to my Goodreads to-read list, which stands at a ridiculous 991 titles. Now I know full well I am never going to read all of those books. It just isn’t going to happen. And probably, I should take some time to go through it and get rid of titles that I’m not actually interested in reading any longer. But even doing that, the list will still stand at a rather staggering number, and while a part of me is sad that I’ll never get all the books read that I want to read, I do kind of like to keep track of the books that struck my fancy at some point or another. Probably because I am a list person at heart, so that particular feature speaks to me on a personal level.

And yet, should I really be adding books to said list that I know full well I’m not ever going to get around to? I mean, interests and tastes change as you grow as a person, so something you wanted to read five years ago probably isn’t actually going to be something you’re going to pick up now. Or at least, that tends to be how I roll. I also have a rule of only adding the next book in a series I’m reading to the list, and not all the subsequent books, unless I already own them (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, I’m looking at you, even though book two was such a disappointment that I’m thinking I actually don’t want to read them). This helps keep the number of books on the list smaller, but it isn’t REALLY smaller, because I’ll just be adding them as I get time to read them. So we’re right back to the whole “my TBR list is ridiculous” issue.

Of course, all of this refers to an overarching, huge, massive TBR list that probably all avid readers have. So let’s talk about something I see a lot around the blogosphere – and that I’ve actually started doing myself – and that is Monthly TBR Piles/Lists. I’ve talked to a few of you who have stated that you don’t have TBR lists, because  you’re a mood reader and would never be able to stick to it. I fully commiserate with this, because I am the same. However, I have library books and galleys that I need to read/want to read, so to some extent there is a certain “list” quality to what gets read each month. (And talk of galleys and how you balance them out is a whole other topic that I shall save for a different date. Suffice it to say, it can be overwhelming and – if you go on a requesting spree – turn into something you’re forced to do, which isn’t fun for anyone. But I digress.) I will typically look at galley release dates and try to schedule the book in at some point prior to that date. Library books can be renewed – unless they’re new and have holds on them – so I will typically renew them several times before actually getting them read. And then there are the new releases that might have caught your fancy that you need to read in a fairly timely manner to avoid spoilers.

Which basically turns itself into a TBR list. Or at least, that tends to be the case for me.

So, here’s a question for those of you who say you don’t make lists. What do you do with your galleys/ARCs? Do you schedule them in? If there’s a new release you’re super excited about, do you sort of schedule that in? What about library books? Or do you just have such an assortment that you have a built in variety that keeps you from falling into a “I have to read this right now” mindset in an “ugh” way instead of a fangirly, fun way?

For me, I like the list. I’ve already established that it just sort of does something for me; I like creating lists even if I don’t follow them exactly. I also like seeing which books I really need to try to make time for, and having it in a list makes it organized and easy. And also I just have a thing for book stacks and pictures of said book stacks, and a TBR list post is a perfect excuse for those. Ha.

So hit me up! What are your thoughts on TBR lists? Do you create them? If so, do you stick to them? Inquiring minds (namely me) want to know!


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6 Responses to Merin’s Musings #7: Let’s Talk About TBR Lists

  1. I definitely make use of my Goodreads to-read shelf, although there are lots of times when I don’t add books I want to read to that list. I’m trying to get better at that. That to-read list, though, is mainly just a place to help me keep track of books I’m interested in reading, and they really aren’t in any order there.

    I’m definitely a mood reader, and making TBR monthly (or even weekly!) lists don’t work for me. My mood just changes so frequently, and reading something I’m not in the mood for makes me not like that book as much. However, I do have some ARCs and I of course want to read those in a timely manner.

    Over the past 6 months, I’ve really cut back on the number of books I request, especially from Netgalley. Even when I come across an ARC that grabs my attention, if I don’t think I will want to read it before the release date, then I don’t request it.

    But I do still request books, and I’m auto-approved for a lot for a lot of things on Edelweiss (yay librarians!) so I have a simple Spreadsheet in Google Drive. I’ve got any ARCS I have listed by release date, so I am able to see what books are coming out soon. And I do try to read these before the release date, but because I’ve become very picky about what I request I’m able to keep up with things fairly easily.

    I love lists, too. I’m a big fan of the to-do list, and nothing else helps me get stuff done that those kinds of lists. But TBR lists just don’t work for me. This was an interesting post, Merin!

  2. Claire (BWB) says:

    Uh… Mine is 1,800 titles and I plan to go through that and start deleting books because some of them, I don’t even know why I TBR’d them.

  3. Yvo says:

    Wow, 991 titles! Now I don’t feel so bad mine has ‘only’ 345 titles on it… I love lists and try to make a monthly TBR list, although I don’t always follow them. I do have a waiting-to-be-read and need-to-get-soon list on goodreads to sort out the enormous list of books, and I try to keep the amount of ARCs to a minimum so I can actually try to size down my TBR pile. (I think that’s the main reason I don’t even want to look at Netgalley or Edelweiss; too much temptation.)

  4. Rachel says:

    I had this EXACT same problem a little while ago, and I spent a couple of hours sorting it out. Basically, I wanted my TBR list to be the actual physical books I own and haven’t read yet, so I could track them more easily and know when to go on a short ban etc. But I also wanted an active wishlist, books I don’t own yet but I know I want to. I also wanted a separate list of books I am thinking about, I can’t say for definite that I 100% want to read them, but they’ve got my attention somehow. So I created new bookshelves on Goodreads, but you can make them “special” shelves (I can’t remember the exact name). You know how you have currently reading, read or want to read, and a book can only be in one of these categories at any one time? Well I made more of these categories for the shelves I mentioned above. See here – I should maybe do a blog post with screen shots to illustrate it better…

    As for NetGalley/review books, I really want to do a spreadsheet style scheduler, and I’ve attempted it a couple of times, and surprisingly (considering how OCD I am) it just never worked for me. I don’t want reading to become too much like a job or it’ll suck all the fun out of it. I don’t get paid to do this, and I had to learn to pull back a little. That, and I’ve discovered I’m a massive mood reader, so a schedule for reviews doesn’t always work for me, BUT I’ve made it my goal to clear my outstanding NetGalley reviews by the end of the year… Wish me luck!

    • Merin says:

      Oh, I have several special GR shelves, too. I have a “not-yet-released” one for books I’m curious about but aren’t out yet, an “on-hold” one for books that I started but set aside (and might go back to), and an “unfinished” shelf for those I gave up on and don’t ever intend to read again.

      I also don’t request nearly as many titles off galley sites as I used to, unless I know I can get to them. Most of the ones I have right now release in 2015, so that gives me some time to get around to them. I use my calendar on my computer to keep track of release dates – I just put the title on the day it releases – so I can see what’s coming up and what I should think about getting to. I’ve also started avoiding Goodreads’ pages for the books because if I see others rating negatively or reviewing negatively it will impact my desire to read the book, and I don’t want anything else messing with my ability to get things read and reviewed!

  5. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves & Wrappin’ It Up November 2014 |

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