So many books, so little time! It doesn’t help when the list of books we intend to read are out of control. That TBR list is supposed to help us keep track of books we definitely want to read, so that we don’t lose track. Once it has grown out of proportion though, that list no longer helps us stay on task. In order to combat this problem, I have put together a list that serves as a handy guide to managing TBR piles.
1. Acknowledge your problem
As long as you’re in denial, you won’t care about managing your TBR pile in the first place. You need to accept that you cannot possibly read everything. Even if you were to spend every minute of the rest of your life reading, books are infinite compared to you. This is why you need to reduce your list to a reasonable size.
2. Be realistic
How many books are you able to read in a year? A hundred, two hundred, a dozen or fifty? Don’t allow your TBR pile to exceed double that number. Triple only iff you’re certain you’ll have more time to read in the upcoming months. During that time your aim will be to make a sizeable dent in your TBR pile. A two-year projection isn’t as overwhelming because you’re not wondering if you’ll ever be able to read all those books in your lifetime.
3. Cull your list of books to read
Be merciless. A TBR list of a thousand books is so overwhelmingly redundant. That list is supposed to help you pick up books you’re looking forward to reading. This means it needs to be manageable enough that you’re very likely able to read a book within two years of adding it to the list.
4. Be picky
After you’ve culled your list, don’t use this as an excuse to add every single book that catches your fancy. Scrutinising the synopsis, the author, the ratings and reviews should give you a clear enough idea of whether or not you’re truly interested in a book.
4. Set up pile for books to consider
Sometimes you might be so taken in by cover reveals, you let down your guard. You want to add all your new discoveries but don’t have the time yet to sort through those new titles. Bookmark them by adding them to a list of books to consider. Then sort through when time permits. Add only those books you think you definitely want to read to your TBR list.
When you’re done, don’t look back. Don’t wonder, “what if?” Lot’s wife looked back when escaping Sodom & Gomorrah—she turned into a pillar of salt.
6. Resist adding 10 books for every 1 book you read
I mean it. This is the surest way for your TBR pile to spiral out of control again. You’ve come this far, don’t let your efforts come to nought.
7. Review your TBR list every other month
Reading tastes change. Maybe you’ve binge-read so many mystery books, you never want to see them again. Remove them from your TBR list. Seeing those books on your list might deter you from picking a book you do want to read.
8. Remember to check off the books
After all, the point is to read those books. This is also the most satisfying way to reduce your TBR pile because you’re not forced to sacrifice a book.