For What It's Worth

Monday, April 23, 2018

my monday musings: Tbr pile–conquered!



Dealing with TBR piles are part of being a blogger. It’s an endless cycle because we can’t seem to resist shiny new books. It’s worse if you accept review books and go to book conferences *points at self*.

I’ve been dealing my own overwhelming TBR pile ever since my first BEA in 2011 and have never fully recovered.

Over the years I’ve hunkered down and tackled one group at a time. First up, in 2016, was my Kindle. I had hundreds of books on there and most were freebie/impulse buys that I totally forgot why I got them in the first place and never read. I sorted them into bookshelves by genre, deleted what no longer appealed to me and read, read, read. I’m now down to about 40 and usually read anything new right away. I’m comfortable with that.

Next up was where it got tricky and harder to control – review copies/Netgalley. For the past 2 years
I scaled WAY back on requests and hunkered down to read what I had accepted already.

I currently only have 1 book ready for feedback on Netgalley and zero review requests pending. I only accept 2-3 requests per month - and request no more than 2 at a time on Netgalley - and for the last few months I didn’t take any. So that’s totally under control.

That leaves my physical TBR pile which I have been working on since January of 2017. I started with 139 books and had hoped to get down to 50 but barely made a dent by January 2018. I had gotten down to 89 but, to be perfectly honest, that was more through purging than reading.

20170116_114142_thumb[1]20171021_111037
   
          January 2017 - 139 books                                        January 2018 - 89 books

Better, but still not where I wanted to be and still stressful because I’m such a mood reader and nothing from this pile was appealing to me. And HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? Instead, I bought new books and watched this stack stay stagnant and even grow. 😭😭

I foolishly registered for ALA (The American Library Association conference) this year so I NEEEEEDED to get this pile down before I bring any new books in. I became laser focused and mostly read from this stack – with few exceptions – since January and I DID IT!!! I am down to 50 books!!!!!!

20180420_111910

               April 2018 - 50 books!

I knew that reading for review can take some of the joy away but it’s amazing how having that pressure lifted has changed everything.

I feel so freeeeeee! I love reading again, I’m enjoying almost everything. I’m less critical because I’m reading for fun and not on a deadline. I can switch up genres, dnf at will, not read for a week.

Now, I may screw it all up again by going to ALA lol but I don’t think so. While I went absolutely crazy for books my first two cons – I’ve been very selective since then and go more to hang with friends than to grab all the books.  And the conference is in June so I still have a few months to get that pile down even more.

It probably would be closer to 30 if I didn’t keep getting unsolicited books from publishers. I’m not complaining though because they’ve been pretty awesome books.

I don’t think I’ll ever be down to 0 books – nor do I want to be – that would set off a different kind of panic lol but it’s nice to be free of the pressure of having so many books that were given to me for review (mostly at conferences) just sitting there for years. It felt wrong. And I’ve learned my lesson!

Now if I could just find a blogging groove again - that would be fantastic! I shouldn't be greedy though. Hahaha!

How is your TBR pile? (btw – I’m only discussing books I actually own or have for review – I’m not talking about a Goodreads wish list type of TBR) 

Do you ever think you’ll get it under control or how you keep it under control?

Or do you love and embrace your TBR pile?

50 comments:

  1. Yeah when I got rid of m TBR it was mostly purging too. I am down to 30 now, it went up this last year since I have no time to read my own books.

    But dang! Your ebook purging is awesome! I so want to do it, but omg could they make it more difficult! SIgh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm better at not grabbing all those freebies lol

      30 is awesome!!!! I think 50 is a number I'm good with. I mean...we need a reasonable number of books to choose from right? lol

      Delete
  2. Oh, those TBR mountains that start as molehills. Bad enough the pile I can see without having a whole other mountain of digital reads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The digital one is bad for different reasons. I can't see it so it keeps getting worse and I completely forget what's there or why I got it in the first place.

      Delete
  3. First, THE DISAPPEARANCES AND LETTERS TO THE LOST ARE AMAZING AND FAST READS! (especaially letters!) BUMP THOSE UP...ehem...

    I'm almost 99.9% sure we got THe Weight of Zero at the same time (ALA-Orlando?!) Still currently on my TBR as well!

    I've been purging like crazy lately. Books i've had for years. Just when I think i've gotten my TBR under control i gotta go be all grabby hands. Shame on me!! BUT YAY YOU!! So proud of you, Kaykay! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting there! I'm getting there! The Disappearances and Letters to the Lost are on my next up shelf so maybe I will have read them before I see you at ALA lol

      And yes The Weight of Zero is from ALA. You understand the shame. *hangs head*

      Delete
  4. I'm lucky because mostly living in a caravan for the past few years has meant I simply didn't have the space to build up a TBR pile of physical books. It was strictly one out, one in! My Kindle however is a bit overladen at the moment. I've probably got about three dozen books awaiting reading, but some aren't due for months.
    Congrats on your TBR decreasing. I admire your discipline!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, my problem is we bought Ikea bookshelves after my first BEA so I had PLENTY or room. When they started being left in boxes on the floor - I couldn't ignore the problem any longer. Now, I have empty shelves!

      I think - I hope - I won't ever get that overwhelmed again.

      Delete
  5. You're doing fabulous, Karen. I remember a time about ten years ago where I actually read, right away, any new books I got and didn't have more than ten books unread. Then my husband bought me a Kindle and I discovered freebies. Then I started reviewing and discovered Net Galley and ARCS. Now, I am in a mess of trouble. LOL I've been purging and reading from the pile and taking way fewer freebies, sales and arcs, but the battle still rages. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My problem was the book cons and early blogger - I'll accept EVERYTHING for review! I honestly didn't think there was a way I couldn't read and love every book that came my way but it happens. And that's how you get all the slumps and burnout.

      Like I said, I learned my lesson. I'll always have too many books but a reasonable amount of too many books lol

      Delete
  6. My physical TBR pile is actually not as bad as it once was. When we moved, I donated a lot of my older arcs to a local library (some of the titles just didn't appeal to me anymore), and most had come from cons. You weren't the only one that went a little crazy! I remember mailing sooo many boxes home. There have been a few times I've looked for a book only to realize it's one I donated or gave away, but not too often. It's really helped my stress levels.

    I make a point to read from my physical pile every other book, so it's dwindling! After I do that, I want to go back and do a few re-reads. :)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also have no trouble dnfing a book now if I'm not into it. That has helped SO MUCH. I don't feel as obligated to read everything--just what I'm enjoying!

      Delete
    2. I REALLY want to do re-reads again! I used to all the time but haven't in years because I just haven't had the time.

      Right now, it's been fun to bounce all around with different genres and reading what I feel like instead of what I have to by a certain date.

      I mean - 80+% of that TBR pile is arc's but I'm years overdue anyway so what's one more day? lol

      Delete
  7. Since we have a good local library I don't buy as many books as I used to. So I have a list of books I want to read and I place them on hold when I'm in the mood to read them. Having a due date when I have to take them back also helps me read them faster. I still have a physical TBR pile at home, but it's not as overwhelming. I think I have about ten at the moment, because I bought some at the library sale and also went to Barnes & Noble the other day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just started using my library again. I don't do so well with the time limits even though I read SUPER fast. Once I HAVE to do something I don't wanna lol

      Delete
  8. I've taken to referring to books I want to read but don't own as my wishlist and if I own it it's TBR and my TBR pile is an absolute shambles.
    My wishlist is an ever growing monster.

    I tried when I first set up SBB to list all the books in my TBR - physical and ebook - with the intention of wheedling it down but I pretty much thought it was impossible until I read this! You've done it so it IS possible but it'd be one heck of a challenge that I'm probably not up to! lol

    Luckily - unluckily? - there aren't too many bookish conventions that have authors that really interest me over here so I'm safe from that temptation at least! Either that or there are loads of them but I'm blissfully ignorant and should remain so. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My whole problem was the book cons. I don't care about books I buy just because financially that will be limiting to certain extent.

      My problem was the book cons. I know I missed all the release dates but I feel like I should at least try to read and review them since they were given in good faith by the publishers.

      And I'll never make that mistake again!

      Delete
  9. Figment is not thrilled by your latest progress LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's like...are you still going on with these stupid books that take time away from MEEEEE????

      Delete
  10. Oh my goodness! That's a lot of books! I have a lot that I've gotten from library book sales and Kindle freebies. I try to read one for every handful of books I want to read at the time (library or review). I rarely purchase books since I don't have the space so my physical TBR is pretty low.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't mind if they were purchased books. I've always been good with that maybe because when you're buying you limit what you get...it's the conferences that killed me. I brought home 90 books from my first BEA!!! Then 60-ish my second one.

      Now I only get about 20 and that's doable but I have this HUGE stack going all the way back to 2011. It's ridiculous.

      Delete
  11. That's great actually, you're doing fantastic! And I love how you have the books all lined up on the floor- fun pics! And yes you have a little time yet til ALA. It's probably a good thing it's in NO since if it was closer I thought about going, but that's too far. Sounds fun though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My goal was 50 and I'm there but 30 before ALA would be even better.

      If you get a chance to go to ALA one day you should. It's a nice conference. It's much mellower than BEA and you really have time to walk around, meet people and look at each publishers catalog of books.

      Delete
  12. Way to tackle your TBR!!!

    I tackled mine last year (mostly through culling) and now it's a much more manageable number. I totally agree with you, I can't imagine having Zero books! I need some choices. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah - let's not get TOO wild! We still need at least a small pile lol

      Delete
  13. My entire house is a TBR PILE. I need to strategize like you. Tackle a pile and try to stick to it. Currently, my bedroom bookshelves are filled with TBR books. I so wish I have the time to sort them all out by year so I can prioritize. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they review books? See, that's my issue - most are from BEA or ALA and I feel like I *need* to deal with them and possibly review them. Even though I soooo missed the release dates.

      I dont' really care about any books I've acquired on my own.

      Delete
  14. You're kicking butt!! :) I'm the same way, it builds up and I have to be focused on knocking some out or it just keeps growing haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This pile has been building since my first BEA in 2011. I really feel like I need to deal with those older books so I can move on.

      Delete
  15. Hurray for getting through so much of your TBR! I'm not quite as strict as you about things, but I don't need to be. I don't have a NG limit, so if I find 10 books I want in one month, I go for it, but I've always been super picky about review copies, so I generally float at around 20 unread copies at any given moment. Non-review copies I haven't read... that's a bit of a diff story lol. I've given up on organizing my kindle. I figure it doesn't hurt to keep the freebies and stuff, who knows what I might want to read in the future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really bad with deadlines. Despite reading really fast I rebel if there's a set date. I automatically want to read something else lol

      But with the 2 book rule for Netgalley - I might still read 20 per month - just 2 at a time.

      Really this TBR pile stresses me because almost 90% of it is review copies from Book Cons going back to 2011. It just feels wrong to keep taking in new books when I have so many that were given in good faith to review.

      Once I get that behind me I'll feel better. In fact I already do!

      Delete
  16. Now why has it never occurred to me to sort my Kindle book into bookshelves? I want to go do that NOW. :) You must be pretty brutal with your purging. And I *really* need to do that soon. It's been over a year since I really went over my physical shelves and I know there are plenty that I can weed out that I've lost interest in. That's so awesome that you've got it down to 50!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't even know about it for years lol

      It helped me find books that I had totally forgotten about. When the # gets to big you lose them.

      Delete
  17. That's absolutely brilliant Karen and no easy task for readers to be able to limit ourselves either. I'm absolute pants at it. I really need to get my shit together and do the same. Awesome work Karen, you've inspired me <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think we'll ever have ZERO books. That's impossible!

      Delete
  18. OMG - We're not worthy, we're not worthy!!!! You deserve some major props for conquering this problem that you know we readers deal with daily. I need to get hwat's new because I feel like it will disappear if I don't get it right away, which I know is ridiculous.(lol) My TBR Pile is over 600, and still growing. Add to that my 3 time weekly visit to the library to get even more books! What in the heck is wrong with me, right? (lol) I need to get a handle on it, I know. Your post gives me hope, and I thank you so much! Hugs...RO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really bad with deadlines. I read SUPER fast (a book per day) but once you tell me I have to read by a certain date I shut down lol

      I don't worry about books that I bought just for me - it's those book con/review books that I would like to get out of the way. I feel obligated to review them in some way since they were free.

      Delete
  19. So few books! I'll never get that small of a pile since I have 3000+ physical books and another 3000 kindle books. But I don't mind that. I use the physical books as a sort of room feature and the kindle eh. No worries. I am like you with my review books, though. That's pretty awesome you're down to one book there! I'm trying to get to that, too. I'm at 6 now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those aren't all the books I own - just the ones I got from cons or for review - which I feel obligated to read.

      I'm not counting the books that I keep or I bought. Those don't pressure me at all. A girl needs her books for browsing and decor! lol

      I got my Kindle under control just because I couldn't find anything anymore. lol

      Delete
  20. Okay, well regardless of whether you purged out of necessity or because you actually READ many of those books (and it sounds like you did a combo of both)--the before and after pictures are pretty impressive! I feel overwhelm when I have that many books to read; as much as I love when friends gift me books to read, I always feel like I lose the enjoyment of reading, because I'm forced to give that book back. Of course, I'm sure they don't mind if I hold on to them, but it's a weird pressure I put on myself, and I imagine I'd feel much the same way with Netgalley reads. Anyway, back to your pile--feel proud! I'm sure you'll come back from ALA with new books and renewed appreciation/excitement to dive into those hardcovers :)

    Hope you're having a great week! XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  21. Go you! I've definitely tried to get rid of a lot of books from my TBR - e-books and physical copies - but it's still a lot of books (and these are mostly non-review books, which is good, but still a bunch of books that I really want to read still!) That's awesome you're doing ALA this year. I really wish I could go - New Orleans would be awesome. But I just don't have the money for it this year. Sigh. You'll have to let me know what awesome LGBT+ books you see! I'm curious what all is coming out, beyond the few I know.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well my physical TBR is weird, there's two categories to it, the ones I really want to read and those I got either as gifts or bought at some point but never planned to read - we have a lot of book sales and 1$ books at the flea market here and I can't resist them even though I might never read them I stil buy them!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've got 2 from NetGalley, 25 on my book shelf and 30 on my Kindle right now.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have probably twenty or so for NG to review, but I am finally getting a handle on that pile. I am so glad that I am not getting unsolicited books from publishers anymore. I really want to get my NG caught up this year, that is my ultimate goal. You rocked it. So happy that you are finally making a dent.

    ReplyDelete
  25. You do not want to see my physical or kindle tbr pile. It is absolutely shameful. I've been collecting them for a very long time and am have just recently started to part with the one's I'm no longer interested in reading. You are so right about the reviewing stress. I seem to be enjoying books so much more now that I'm reading what I want, when I want. I can also put it down or toss it out the window if it's boring me. It's harder for me to do that with a review book. It's nice getting ARC's but there is a dark side . . .

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh Karen, asking me about my TBR is akin to asking me how much I weigh lmao...
    Good job though. I’m doijg much better this year but my “book past” is still in disarray. I don’t think I’ll ever clean up my NetGalley dashboard

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'll never be done with my tbr pile. My review tbr pile only has 2 books currently on it, but my other one... well, let's not discuss that shall we? LOL

    WTG on getting it to zero!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am just going to sit here and admire your discipline, because I have none. I have years of BEA ARCs, and I will pass those books, and I always say I will read them, but you know, new books get in the way. I am actively trying to read all my NG/EW books, and I have done a good job. I have also tried to request less for the second half of the year, because my digital review books are out of control right now.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You're totally my hero right now! I wish I had the will power to do what you've done, not to mention the organizational skills. Ever since I installed the kindle app on my ipad my ebook TBR has been seriously out of control -- whenever I get a handle on that one, my physical TBR explodes. For now I'm just sticking to my "reading my own damn books" challenge of reading 12 backlist physical books this year. Honestly? It'll be a miracle if I make it since I've only read 1 so far this year. 🤣

    ReplyDelete
  30. Your doing awesome!! I'm trying to use the library and buy less books. I've also been able to get a lot of reading done this year so that helps.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    ReplyDelete