Sunday Coffee – Zeroed Out TBR

IMG_3950Well, it’s been just over a month since 2016 began, and I’m super happy to say that I now have absolutely no books on my physical TBR pile! Granted, I didn’t start with tons – I only had six unread books on my shelves on January 1st – but some of those books had been there for quite some years. I’m glad to have either read or culled all of them! (With the exception of How Sex Changed – an academic book that Adam sent me last fall. This is the sort of book that I will read over a long period of time so that I can get the most from it.)

Additionally, I either read or culled all the books from my virtual TBR pile, except of course for books not-yet-published. Same for my to-investigate list, not including those books I’ve added since the year began. Altogether, even with new books I’ve added, there are only three currently-published books on my TBR or to-investigate lists at this moment. This, my friends, feels wonderful!

People talk a lot about never being able to get to all the books they want to read. I’m not sure why I don’t feel that way. I do know, however, that it’s related to an active choice of mine not to keep extensive TBR lists. Over the years, both before blogging and in my nearly-eight years of blogging now, I’ve used many methods for the way I approached books. Sometimes, I kept no TBR at all, simply grabbing whatever caught my attention. Sometimes, I’ve had hundreds of books lined up for reading. In the end, the right balance for me ended up on the smaller-TBR side. I only keep books there that I absolutely definitely want to read, and even then, I’m willing to change my mind on that! My to-investigate list is purely a way to track titles that have potentially interested me, to remind myself to look into them. If it gets too large, I tend to just delete the titles.

For me, the stress of having a long line of books waiting for me far outweighs the fear of possibly missing something I’d love. When I have books waiting for me, I have a difficult time enjoying the ones I’m reading now. With nothing demanding my attention, I can spend as much time with a book as I want, even if that means reading it ten times in a row. And it’s not like I ever run out of things to read. The library is a wonderful place, and if I find myself without something specific in my hands, I can browse! Not to mention I have tons of beloved authors always coming out with new books, and all you lovely bloggers telling me about books I’ve yet to explore, and the San Antonio Public Library Wowbrary system, which tells me all the new books ordered every single week…

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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11 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Zeroed Out TBR

  1. Trish says:

    While I do have a lot of physical books at home–and half of them unread–I don’t keep a list of books that I’d like to read on Goodreads. Ok–I have noted a few titles onto Evernote BUT I rarely refer to it. Mostly it’s to keep in mind in case I have an Amazon gift card and have no idea what to buy. I’m not ready to get rid of all my books but I have been MUCH more selective over the years about what I bring in. Almost to the point where I don’t even like to go to HPB anymore because I know that those books will just sit for years.

    But I totally get the freeing feeling of not having to check anything off the list! I felt that way years ago when I was bogged down in reading challenges…always thinking about what I’m going to read next rather than enjoying what I”m reading now.


  2. Kristen M. says:

    Amazing! I am somewhere in the middle between needing a healthy pool of choices but also not wanting that feeling that I should be reading something else. Hopefully I will reach that sweet spot soon!


  3. Shaina says:

    I’m trying to think smaller since I’ll be moving sometime this year (but that isn’t stopping me from going to BEA and picking up ARCs!). I like the thought of having a small-to-medium collection of well-curated books in my home, but I’m just not at that point in my life yet and need to be picky about what gets packed up for the next trip.

    I’m glad that you’re feeling so good about your piles right now! I am the type to stress about all the books I have lined up, too, so maybe I should take a leaf out of your own book, as it were. 🙂


    • Amanda says:

      Like Marie Kondo says, there’s a level that just feels RIGHT for me when it comes to a home collection. If it grows too big, I have a tendency to rapidly cull, and vice versa. However, I *do* like making sure that none on the shelves are waiting to be read!


  4. kay says:

    That’s kind of amazing, and such an interesting point of view! As someone who is quite on the opposite end of the spectrum, I can’t imagine living without my lists of books. I found that taking note of possibly interesting books actually feels less stressful, and whenever I’m in a “meh” mood and unsure what to read, they usually help inspiring me. I’m fully aware I’ll never get to read them all though, and I don’t mind.

    I do get what you mean a bit though; part of why I stopped asking for books on netgalleys was because it perpetually left me stressed, a constant pressure whenever I wasn’t reading these requested books. And reading shouldn’t feel like that, whether you keep 1 or 100 books on your TBR pile!


    • Amanda says:

      I think it really helps me to have the entire library system just down the street. Any time I run out of books, I just head down and browse. Some of my favorites are ones I found by library browsing, and I can grab 20 of those without ever feeling guilty about returning them all unread if necessary.


  5. Michelle says:

    Congratulations! I’m sure it feels amazing!

    Here I was feeling good about being all caught up on galleys in general. I have a short list for April, May, and June, but I have been limiting that list to five books only so that I can get around to all of the other books I have. I do have a pretty extensive list of print galleys I received last year that I never got around to reading because I had so many e-galleys to finish first. I am going to incorporate those into my regular shelves and just count anything not yet published as a galley. That will reduce my stress levels tremendously when I get to that point.


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