Monday, December 15, 2014

Managing the To-Be-Read Pile

The irony of this post is not lost on me. I feel I must first clarify that when I drafted this post, I was on a roll. I had my ARCs listed neatly in my notebook, I had a schedule almost a month out of posts, and I only ever had about five books on my physical/Kindle TBR list (YES! FIVE). All it took was a wee bit of a reading slump, it lasted about two weeks or so, and things were out of control. 

But still, these are the thoughts I had before the reading slump when I had my A game. Hopefully we can all glean something from this....

tea and tales

1. Prioritize 

First off all, I like to sit down and list out all the books that I have committed to read from Netgalley, BookLook, or publishers. These are the books that I will read first. That lovely pile of books I just picked up from the library ('Fangirl'!!) or the books I won from giveaways, those books get pushed to the very bottom of the list.

When I am super organized, which is hopefully often, I list the review books by date as well. Books that are 'past due', coming up, and then a month or two out. I can then easily see what books I need to read straight away and which ones I can put off for another week or two. In the past, I have managed this with pen and paper but it is time for me to move on to an Excel spreadsheet methinks.

2. Purge

Yes, I said PURGE. When I am falling behind, I first purge all the library books I have checked out. It hurts, but I can always check them out again. It is a major plus side to libraries :) If I have books that I have borrowed from others (which is rare) and I have had them too long, I just immediately return them to their rightful owner. Again, if I really want to read the book I can check it out.

3. Stop the insanity!

Now this is going to be the hardest part, so bear with me: Quit adding books to your reading lists!! No more Netgalley, Edelweiss, or library. I literally block myself from Netgalley during 'busy periods' because I know that as soon as I log on, I request tons of books! Personally, I haven't even tried Edelweiss 1)because it looks so horribly designed and hard to use but mostly 2)because I know it will cause me to request ALL THE BOOKS.

4. Read, Read, Read! 

 I could write a separate post about this alone. Most importantly: pick books you are most likely to read. Seems obvious doesn't it? But how many times have we gotten sucked in by a pretty cover or a well-written synopsis? Know what you like and stick with it!

Secondly, make time to read. Read during baby nap times, read on the bus or listen to audiobooks while driving everywhere, or read on lunch breaks. Always keeps a book on you whether physical in your purse or ebook on your phone. Or both!

Schedule reading in if you have too! Negotiate time away from the family to read at the local coffeeshop. Block off an hour or two every weekend. Get up early, stay up late :)

I need to start myself over at step one and more strictly adhere to step three. And because I am in a crazy place myself, please share with me your tips for managing that *giant* TBR pile!


  1. I tried keeping an organized list at one time, but I'm a major mood reader. So, while I try to bump eARC's to the top of the list, I generally give myself permission to read whatever sounds good at the time. Trying to force myself through a scheduled book I'm not enjoying usually leads to a slump. :(

  2. Hmm, now I have another post idea! I'll have to share how I list and read my books. I'm kind of a mood reader as well. Like in January I have 3 book tours coming up. Knowing that I can start reading now and choose which one I'm in the mood for. And then making sure I only sign up for books I am interested in helps ;)

  3. I can't actually remember what it was like to have only five books on the TBR, such a beautiful thought ;-). I have given up on the library completely at this point since I have so many I want to read here. The one thing I would add which you talk about a little at the bottom is to read the book that is most appealing to you since you'll probably read faster and find more reading time when you are super excited about the book!

  4. And doesn't that just seem so obvious? Ha, we book lovers just get too tempted by a good cover or synopsis!

  5. This is a great step by step process for how to get back on track! I find it difficult to do though, (especially with stop adding to my TBR list!) but sometimes I need to organize! I feel like I've gotten off schedule lately too so I'm looking forward to my Winter break to really focus on making progress with my books!

  6. I still need to do a lot of these things myself. Like the fact that I just went to the library yesterday...yeah...
    But I am trying to get my list of review books back in order! Once I can see where I am going I feel a bit better

  7. Great points - priority books help with the pile, but purging is a necessary evil.

  8. Oh, the daunting impossibility of the TBR purge! I can't bring myself to do it, even though I know I must because mine is way too long. But I also think that tolerance for the length of the TBR list varies from person to person. Some can't tolerate more than five or six books on it. For others, it's 10 or even 100 times that many.

    I do keep an organized list of my ARCs, though I don't necessarily read them in order. And in a slump, I read whatever I want to, or I can't climb out of the slump.

  9. But a great excuse to grace others with those books ;)----> notice my big winky face....hahaha!

  10. Great points! I think my TBR pile has felt so out of control lately because I can't even see my bedside table anymore. I think it is all just one giant pile of books...