TBR Woes

When I was growing up my parents would take me to the bookstore or the library and each trip I’d spend at least an hour combing through the shelves. Eventually I’d emerge and always with a stack way too big to finish. So then I would pick out three or four from the bunch and write down the names of the rest on a scrap of paper to return for another day.

But of course I’d always lose that scrap of paper. So I never really developed a proper “TBR” pile until a few years ago when I discovered Goodreads.


I loved the site immediately. I could keep track of my 52 Book Challenge progress, create lists of books for each year of my reading, look up release dates and works by my favorite authors, and I could finally stop scribbling down titles!


Over the last five years I’ve accumulated a “TBR” list of about 300 titles. That fluctuates some depending on how thoroughly I stick to my list in any given year, but it generally hovers in that neighborhood regardless. There are always new books catching my attention or sequels to come back to which negates any progress I make or diversions.


What never occurred to me while I was using my old paper system however was that my interests and reading preferences would change. Because I wasn’t really keeping track, if I changed my mind about something I wouldn’t even remember it was on the list. But now that I track with Goodreads I can honestly admit that at least a third of the books on mt TBR no longer interest me.


So what do I do? If I remove the books from the list I may never find them again if my tastes shift back. But if I don’t, then I run the risk of letting them sit there indefinitely.

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