Today, let’s talk about the dreaded to-be-read list (TBR).
They can be a bookworm’s worst nightmare because they represent all the books we haven’t had a chance to read yet. They come in many forms; the stack you’ve already bought that are dangerously placed somewhere at your house, the digital one on your device that you’ve already downloaded, your Goodreads to-be-read list, maybe pictures on your phone of book covers you’ve spotted, and even a library hold list.
Less than a year ago I decided to try and migrate all my various forms to Goodreads and keep an accurate record on that website. That’s how I came to know that I actually have over 450 books on my TBR.
So, let’s talk about my TBR.
(All numbers used in this post are valid as of 11:28 AM this morning 11/19. I can’t promise it hasn’t changed since then.) The actual number of books on my Goodreads To-Be-Read list is (drum-roll, please) 464. I believe (although I’ve been wrong before) that this represents all the books I’ve already purchased, been gifted, heard about, saw in a store but didn’t buy, own on my digital devices and haven’t read yet, or plan to read from my library.
As you’re aware, I recently opened up my YouTube channel to review requests. I am also officially an advanced reader/reviewer for NetGalley and BookSirens.
Down review request lane you’ll find 19 titles.
These are titles that have already been sent to me for review, are on my reading schedule, and will be reviewed in the near future.
Similarly, I have a few more books that could use reviews. These are independently published books but they aren’t on my official reading schedule because they weren’t sent to me for review. They’re books I’ve purchased myself and want to review as soon as I’m able to.
In this category you’ll find: 6 paperbacks, 20 ebooks.
So 26 titles of independently published books I’ve purchased myself that are awaiting review.
Of the rest (419 if you’re keeping track) I had to make sure I tracked the ones I have already purchased and have at my house but haven’t read yet. These are traditionally published and range in release years. Some of them were purchased brand new, some were purchased at a second hand shop, some were impulse buys. Never-the-less, I own them and I really should get around to reading them.
28 physical books (paperback or hardcover)
That meant my total after keeping track of these rather obvious categories was down to 343 books.
Still not a manageable number.
So, I sorted my Goodreads TBR by the oldest books on the list, the ones I have wanted to read the longest. I went through the first 10 pages or so (100 books). If they weren’t already in one of these categories, I searched the library for them. I found 38 are available as audiobooks from my library, 23 are available as ebooks from my library, and 21 are available as physical books.
I did notice a few of the books were what I would categorize as “Hard to Find”. These are titles that my library doesn’t carry, titles that would have to be ordered from a smaller bookstore or directly from the author.
There are 21 titles on that list.
Doing that math, it turns out I only have 240 books that aren’t categorized at this point.
I have everything neatly organized on a spreadsheet (as I’m known to do) so that I can vary between books I own, library books, independent books, and so forth as I choose my next book each month.
Sure, I didn’t actually make progress while typing all this out for you. But I did learn something and I feel a little more in control of my suddenly out-of-control TBR.
I also think I may have reasonably explained how someone’s TBR can be so large even if they read over 100 books a year. I’m just a voracious reader who has never met a book she wouldn’t be willing to read.