How long is your TBR (To Be Read)?
Pre-covid I had about ten books on my list- ten books that I 100% wanted to read.
During COVID that numbered ballooned up. I was reading so much more than normal, I was just throwing about everything onto that list. I didn’t want to fall short and not have a book in the cue. This was my particular form of neurosis: not having a list of books to read at the ready.
Three week ago I had 383 books on my TBR.
Three hundred, Eighty, Three.
I knew that it was time to stop the madness. I know that I will never again have a year where I read hundreds of books. I know that next year I will probably hit somewhere in the 75-85 book range. And I know that I will just keep adding books to my TBR. I REALLY KNOW THAT THIS MANY BOOKS ON MY TBR WILL STRESS ME OUT.
So I began to do what I normally do when I find a situation spinning out of control: Make a plan.
- Get rid of books that I really don’t want to read.
- Determine a number of books on the list that seems reasonable.
- Figure out how many of each time of book should be on the list, with the realization that I will always be adding books because they are books and books are awesome.
The hardest thing about step was was dealing with Goodreads. After I would successfully take off a few books, I would begin to get LOAD ERROR message. This was frustrating and slowed me down as I shut and restarted the APP. But I was able to get from 383 to 200 rather easily.
But going below 200 has been, slightly, a challenge, because as it turns out, there really are 200 books I am fairly interested in reading.
If I break it down, I am most likely to read 50 rom coms, cozy mysteries or light books. As I like to read before bed, I like something not too taxing. We all learned last week that I have little to no brain power after 4pm.
I am most likely to read six memoirs or essays, because books like this I read a chapter a day and it probably takes two months to read.
I occasionally need a psychological thriller, because sometimes you have to live vicariously through the actions of a fictional character. And who doesn’t like a twist? Four on the list sounds about right.
You know I love cheery self help books, but as with memoirs/essays, six is probably a good number.
No more than four non fiction of various ilk. I know myself, and reading a non fiction over a three months is about my speed.
I also like to have some fiction appropriate to book discussion available for my book clubs, though I’m probably choosing no more than five books for clubs.
This makes my maximum TBR 75 books.
So, with my reading habits in mind, I have gotten myself down to 155 books. 80 more to go.
I see on my TBR that I have SO MANY self help books. This is going to be my greatest challenge- getting that number down by looking for the ones that really aren’t going to interest me. I don’t like overly clinical books- they are way to dry for me. I prefer less psychological jargon and research studies, and more Rah Rah go team. I want to read a self help book and be happy- not read one and find ways to be sad, which is often my problem with this genre.
I also love a good organizing book- but my mind files that under self help and not non fiction, and I really don’t want to get into my brain and tell it that it’s classifying books incorrectly. My brain can’t handle criticism too well, especially when it’s coming from me.
So every day I try to take off two books. And if I add a book, I make myself take off five. I’m very hard on myself.
January 1 is my self imposed deadline to 75. I’m holding myself accountable by posting it. You are all free to mock me if I don’t get down to 75.
And now I’m off to take off two books…wish me luck.