Overwhelmed by your TBR list?

books-1155565_1280It’s ok. You’re among friends here. Most of us have stacks of books that we’d love to get to (eventually) and have no idea how to keep track. Yes, that’s a TBR, a/k/a “To Be Read,” conundrum. I once started a spreadsheet but then quit after it reached 250+ books. There was no way I would get to all of those!

So, let’s say you know there are a lot of books you want to read, but you want to manage that list? It’s not too late to make that your New Year’s resolution, and we’re happy to give some helpful suggestions!

  • Use book sites like Goodreads, LibraryThing or Shelfari. You can utilize the social aspect of these sites, but you don’t have to. You can also make different shelves to help you prioritize your books. However, it’s a good idea to periodically review this list (and take books off the list if you don’t remember anything about it, or it no longer sounds like an appealing read).
  • Create a Google doc or sheet to manage. You can get as detailed as you want, but it can be helpful to include: author, title, and a few words about the book, and any series information.
  • Resist the urge to visit sites like Netgalley if you already have a long TBR list or stacks of books on your shelves that you’re wanting to read.
  • Create a TBR jar. I actually did this, and I find that it’s helpful if I run out of things to read (which does happen, despite the fact that I work in a library). It’s less of a list and more of a serendipitous kind of thing.
  • or… if your TBR list gives you stress, get rid of it. You will be ok, I promise. Rebecca Joines Schinsky wrote about it on BookRiot and says, “Selecting books should be pleasurable. It should be exciting. It should promise you the thrill of discovery. It should not be about ticking boxes and satisfying arbitrary, self-imposed requirements. Goals for reading are good, and being mindful of the ways you’d like to expand your reading life is good. Forcing yourself to read books simply because you at some point in the past added them to a list is, well, kind of pointless.”

Any tips to add on how you manage your TBR list?


About centerforthereader

St. Louis Central Library, Center for the Reader, is where you can find fiction, reading suggestions, author information, and much more!
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