Overwhelmed by the TBR


I have 35 book on my Shelfari “Plan to Read” shelf, and I’m not sure it’s complete.

I think that it is a common thing for those of us who love to read to feel overwhelmed by the number of books we have sitting in our TBR (to be read) pile. Lately, I’ve really been feeling the weight. The drawers in my night stand are packed with books waiting. . .

I’d like to know how the readers of BBB deal with this?

Last week I had three people ask me, “Have your read ___________ yet?” (Fill in the blank with either a book they’ve recommended or let me borrow.) Typically, I’m not one to feel a lot of externally generated guilt, but this is one area that gets to me. I want to read them all! And at the same time! And I’m practically incapable of reading more than one fiction book at a time! Agh!

I can divide my ‘want to read’ into several categories:

I own them: (I own these b/c they came highly recommended.)
Abide with Me
A Girl Named Zippy
One Thousand White Women
Saints at the River
The Sorrows of Young Werther (I’m also trying to read a couple of classics this year, and I remember liking Goethe in college)
The Thief Taker
Out Stealing Horses

I have these borrowed: (Friends have said, “you will love!”)
Sarah’s Key
The Middle Place

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Other High Rec’s but don’t have possession of yet:
Shadow of the Wind (an upcoming club read)
Perfume (an old read of a group I’m in that they constantly refer to)
Devil in the White City (for years I’ve been hearing about this one)
Handmaid’s Tale (another rec from multiple sources)

BBC’s Top 100 List:*
Jude the Obscure
His Dark Materials
A Town Like Alice
(a couple of others that have already been included above)

*The BBC put out a list of the top 100 books of all time several years back. A “false” list circulated around Facebook for awhile, but I found the real list & then felt the need to improve ‘my number’ on this list.

If my current state weren’t bad enough, I’ve recently added myself to the list to receive the weekly NY Times Book Review. Enter, The Missing by Tim Gautreaux.

So when it comes to “what to read next?” what should I do? There are some obvious ways that some choices rise to the top – like an upcoming book discussion or such. But other than that, given all things equal, how do you make your choice?

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2 Replies to “Overwhelmed by the TBR

  1. **Sorry to delete–I noticed several typos and I am too OCD not to fix!**

    Dude. You are a lightweight. When I was going through my books last weekend, I started counting the ones in the TBR shelves (notice plural of shelf). I stopped at SIXTY–yes, 60!–because I was ASHAMED! Some are borrows (several from you!), some are pass ons (from my mom, mostly), some I purchased, some from PBS. But, dude, 60?? That’s like 2 YEARS of reading for me. And I keep right on getting more. It is a sickness.

    As far as “what’s next” (other than any obvious), I go on my mood and available time. Do I need a laugh or mental stimulation? I have a weekend with little to do so what’s the quickest read? Do I feel in the mood for a romance or a mystery? It’s all about the balance.

    Of course, I have lots of time right now, so maybe I can knock a few more out this year! 😉

  2. I pick what strikes me as the most interesting and try to not get caught up in “getting it read” because it’s on my list. My “To Be Read” on Shelfari is at 150. Maybe I should delete some! 🙂

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