That time of the year to take a look at your TBR pile…

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With the end of the year approaching I took stock of my library. There are 441 unread books sitting on the shelves at the moment – effectively my To Be Read (TBR) pile.


Which means if I meet my Goodreads goal this year, I’ll be left with 400 (not counting titles on my e-reader). And if I continue on the trend of reading around 100 books a year, it will take me four years to catch up… Without buying any more books.

It ain’t gonna happen.

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I have a mammoth wish list on Amazon as well, and add to it every time I come across an interesting title. Though, I have curbed my spending. Making a deal with myself that I am only allowed to purchase half the number of books that I read for a given month. And I’ve stuck to it this year. I must say I’m quite proud of myself. *pats back*

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I have also organised my shelves into genre, and select one from each section to be placed on my ‘reading shelf,’ to ensure I get to touch on a variety of styles and authors, keeping away from the dreaded reading slump.

Additional to that, is my attempt to Slay Those Series which I started half way through last year – and am continuing with. So many abandoned collections that fell off my radar – Now is the time to tick off the rest of the books before I am allowed to start a new trilogy or collection. (more self-bribery)

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So it has been a year of book bargaining with my inner reader.

What has all this accomplished? Well, although the number of books I’m reading has dropped back a bit, mainly because I’m not shying away from larger titles of 500+ pages, but I’m identifying issues with story, writing style, and ‘voice’ that I may have overlooked before. Subtext and arcs stand out more prominently. I’ve enjoy reading more widely. It not only helps develop my reader’s eye – but it provides me with tools to help improve my own writing.

Consequently, I’m doing some heavy re-writing on two novels I’ve already completed, with what I feel are massive positive changes.

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I’m letting myself experience life a bit more – I’m no longer falling into a reading hole where I’d marathon contemporaries or GLBT titles. They are usually shorter and easy to digest. And while fun, afterwards my recall over certain titles was sketchy because I’d consumed so much.

Everything in moderation has been the catch cry. I’m no longer tired, or putting off other aspects of my life to fit in some reading. It’s also helping in balancing out other parts of the day to day. Writing, housework, socialising, fitness… when you have a win in one area of life, it spurs you on to keep going with other aspects.

Though I must admit I do feel a lot less productive. It’s the sacrifice I’ve made to regain some balance. I just have to try and limit the size of my TBR… as daunting as that sounds.

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Do you have an out of control TBR? What methods do you use to help – book buying bans, read-a-thons, or take a few sickies and sit by the pool to indulge?


© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

8 thoughts on “That time of the year to take a look at your TBR pile…

  1. invisibleinink says:

    An over-flowing TBR-oh my God, that is my LIFE story. Though I do try to maintain is by not adding any new books until I finish a significant amount–but sometimes I’m afraid I’ll forget books that I have on my mind, and that’s why I have a ‘to-read’ and ‘to-check-out’ shelf on my Goodreads. It helps me sort out which books I absolutely have to read before moving on to others.
    Great organisation you’ve got there! Good luck on your novels!

    • femaleinferno says:

      Thanks a lot 🙂 It’s always a struggle in restricting the book buying – there are just so many fantastic stories tempting me. But I’m definitely making some headway.
      Thanks for the lovely wishes for my writing – it’s getting to the pointy end now and the excitement is growing. One more thing to tick off the bucket list.

  2. Eternal Gypsy says:

    Oh, gosh, YES! My TBR is huge and ever growing. It hasn’t helped that my reading tastes have been a bit a.d.d. this year as well. I haven’t counted but I would guess that I’ve got 30 to 40 actual, real books on my shelves waiting to be read and some insane, triple digit amount on my Kindle. Goodreads is definitely in the hundreds…..

    But back to your question – Since we are trying to get debt free by the end of 2018, I’ve put myself on a book buying ban of only 1 new book a month. Those BookBub emails for e-books? I delete them without opening them. It kills me because they come daily but the temptation to snag something for a few dollars is too great.

    • femaleinferno says:

      Marvellous self restraint for your book buying ban – hats off to you! 😀 I only wish I had that kind of determination. Instead it’s more about bribery and using books as rewards. For anything. Getting out of the house and doing something new, writing a new chapter, finishing off a series, or reading 10 books off my shelves… I’m Pavlov’s dog salivating at the sound of a turning page!

  3. daniellethamasa says:

    I have been participating in a TBR purge and have cut my to-read list from Goodreads in half, down around 415 or so books now, which is great. I have had zero luck with actual book buying bans…but I seem to do okay if I restrict myself only to books on my most anticipated list and my auto-buy authors.

    My original reading goal for this year was 75 books. I blew past that, made my goal 100, reached that and changed my goal to 125, and recently I changed it to 135, but I am finishing my 132 book of the year today, so I’m thinking I might be able to hit 150 this year. So maybe with a little more reading next year, I might be able to start paring down my TBR even more.

    I do find that readathons help me, but usually just the 24 Hour Readathons. I tend to slack off during week long or month long events. But I had one 24 Hour Readathon where I read 9 books.

    But yay for you being able to find more balance in your life. I think that is probably more important than feeling hyper-productive.

    • femaleinferno says:

      Such an amazing amount of books you’ve been able to get through. Applause for you! And to reducing your TBR – I know how hard it is to take something off my list once its there… Keeping the variety and using books as rewards for my to-do list has been the best motivation in whittling down the number of unread titles on my shelves. I’ve enjoying using reading to enrich my life rather than escape it.
      Always keep an eye out for your great reviews and recommendations. Keep ’em coming 😉

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