Is Bigger Better?

2016-Discussion-ChallengeYes, my post title is a little tongue-in-cheek. It’s one of those days. Pick your mind up out of the gutter, I’m talking about TBR piles. Recently, Dani @ Dani Reviews Things wrote a post discussing how growing up and reviewing books has changed her reading habits. It’s a fab post and I highly recommend you check it out! I’d been thinking about how I read Before Blogging and After Blogging for a while, and her post inspired me to finally get my thoughts on to the screen. Here we go…

The Never-Ending TBR Pile

Before Blogging, as a young child and early teen, I was an AVID reader. Correction, I was a frequent reader, and an AVID rereader. As a kid with limited income of my own, I would reread my favourites often. Then the late teens hit and other things became a priority for me, and that mixed with a reading slump between the ages of 18 and 22, meant that I really stopped reading for enjoyment. These are more commonly known as “the University years”, where my required and recommended reading lists were hugely depressing (and mostly boring/difficult). Reading just wasn’t something I did for fun. Let’s be honest, I was a student. Fun = the pub.

When I graduated from Uni, oddly the first thing I wanted to do was read a novel. At the time, 50 Shades was all the rage, and that was the first thing I sank my teeth into. I quickly moved on to The Hunger Games, the Divergent series and The White Queen series by Philippa Gregory. I had a job and started buying books, because I could. After a short time, I built up a small collection of around 30-40 books (which I would later learn to call my TBR pile). My sister affectionately referred to this as my “wall of books”, because I stacked them on my bedroom floor having no where else to put them.

This was when I discovered Book Blogging. I was a blog reader and lurker for a few months before I took the plunge in March 2014 and started Confessions of a Book Geek. It was great being immersed in an online community where others also loved to read, and talk about what they were reading, and divulge their bookish idiosyncrasies (which no one in my “real life” really got), and my TBR pile quickly grew based on the recommendations of others, the great and hyped reads I’d been missing out on for the past few years, and the ARCs that I started to get access to. Over time, through my bargain hunting ways (and when I rediscovered charity shops), my little wall of books suddenly grew into a fort, which at last count was around 250 reads…

Initially, this was an exponential cause of concern. I began to feel guilty when buying books:

  • Where would I store them?
  • When would I get the time to read them?
  • How much was I spending on them?

Storing them became a non-issue, I have a dining room that is largely unused, now all I need are bookshelves. I comfortably read around 60 books per year, so granted while I currently own enough books to last me around 4 years, I’ve just made the executive decision not to stress over that. There are far more important things to stress over than how many books I own. Though I would like for it not to grow so large that it becomes completely overwhelming. When it comes to how much I spend, I’ve actually tracked the amount I spent on books for the past two years. This started as a means of justification, but it’s now something I want to keep doing out of curiosity (2014  spend / 2015 spend). Realistically, every hobby or interest has a cost associated with it, and judging by my annual review of my spend, I’d say I’m doing OK.

I think somewhere along the way, I stopped viewing my TBR pile as a literal pile of books I want/need to read, and started looking at them as more of a personal collection I can dip in and out of. Though it has to be said, Before Blogging I was much better at purging my read books, and After Blogging I seem to be hoarding everything, but that’s a discussion for another day…

Talk to me in the comments Book Geeks! How large is your TBR pile? Do you try to manage it, or does it stress you out? 

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16 comments

  1. My TBR on Goodreads tends to stress me out. I know that I’ll never get to read every book on my list, so several times a year I purge and remove books so as not to feel so overwhelmed by it. Especially as my tastes in genres and books change, it makes it easier to delete books I don’t think I’ll ever get to.

    As far as my TBR pile staring at me, that’s the beauty of a Kindle. I don’t have to look at the mountain of books and feel guilty. LOL. I have all of my books on my Amazon cloud, but not all of them are visible on my Kindle, and that helps me ‘think’ it’s manageable. I do have physical books on my shelves at home, most are books I’ve read first as an eBook and then purchased because it’s a favorite. There are some I haven’t read, but it’s not so many that it freaks me out.

    I do wish I was more of a re-reader. I just never make the time. I have purchased a ton of my ‘favorite’ books, but have yet to re-read ONE of them! I think about all of the new books I have waiting to read and I can’t bring myself to read something I’ve already read. I feel like I’m wasting precious reading time. It’s terrible. I hope my mindset changes on that in the future! I have several books that I would love to re-read some day.

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    1. Hello my dear!!

      My TBR on Goodreads stressed me out too when I was using the to-be-read shelf to track everything. I split it into to-be-read for actual books I own and need to read, ebooks-to-read for, well the obvious, wish-list for the ones I want to get my hands on when the time is right (i.e. the price is right), and thinking-about-it for the ones I’ve spotted that I’m interested in, but haven’t committed to yet. That helped. Now my to-be-read list is over 200 books, so I’m afraid to keep it up-to-date because if it reaches the 300 mark, I may have a mini break down lol

      Awww your books don’t stare at you. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. I tend to forget about the ebooks when I’m picking my next read because I forget they’re there! How many physical books do you own?? I used to be a BIG rereader, but since blogging I think I’ve only reread a handful of books. I want to reread more too, but then my tumbling fort of books screams at me from the other room. Rereading will happen one day. I’m making the Before Blogging and After Blogging thing a mini-series, to cover all the changes, and rereading will be one of the topics!

      I have DEFINITELY found that mindsets change over time with blogging – another topic in the mini series is big books (coming tomorrow), and I used to stress SO much when I missed a day of blogging (I used to do Monday to Friday but then work and life got busier). Now I post far less often (but wanting to increase it again to 3 times a week) and stress far less. Funny how things go…

      Hope you’re keeping well!

      R xxx

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      1. I probably own about 150-200 physical books. Over half of them are ones I’ve already read. I have a waiting-to-release shelf on Goodreads that helps separate my to-read books and keep me a little organized. My to-read shelf is strictly all books I already own. I don’t add anything I don’t own, or else it will get way outta control. LOL.
        I miss chatting with you!! xx

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      2. Do you have a shelfie up anywhere?! I’m dying to see these shelves of mint, never opened books! Lol I had to make a few exclusive shelves on Goodreads so I could separate out all the different types of books on my TBR, it’s so useful! R xx

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      3. I think my profile picture on Twitter and my blog shows a bit of my shelfie in the background. Those shelves hold my CoHo collection, Crossfire, Gabriel’s Inferno, Twilight, etc. All of my favorites that I’ve already read in eBook form. Except for one of the top shelves – I have a half shelf of unread books. I just bought some new paperback books this weekend – ones I HAVEN’T read!!! I am determined to read a physical copy of a book soon. I miss it.

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      4. Did you get around to a physical book, B?? I’m posting a couple of discussions soon on my relationship with eBooks, and what I think of them personally, as well as from an industry point of view. Lots of research! R xx

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  2. My TBR pile is made up mostly of e-books. However, I do have a bookcase full of mostly unread books. Before I discovered the online world of books, my TBR was probably in the single digits. I can remember roaming the library and the book stores looking for something good to read and not knowing where to look. I had a few authors I always went to and occasionally I would run out of their books and wouldn’t know which author to turn to next. Now, I have no problem with that.

    I believe you’ve seen my post on my blog, I’ve had trouble keeping track of my TBR list. I’d like to say that since I wrote that post, I’ve kept up with it better. But I haven’t. I started a spread sheet. I logged things regularly on it for a few days. Then forgot about it.

    For the most the size of my TBR list doesn’t bother me. The times it does bother me is when I have money to spend on books but I can’t commit to any because I think about all the books I already “own” (most are freebies) but haven’t read yet. Then there are the few times where I find a book and think “Oh, this sounds really good. I should get it and read it.” Then I discover I already own it.

    Oh well! We won’t ever run out of things to read.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting!

      YES! I used to find an author I really liked and then read their back library, now I find it harder to do that because I read much more widely. Though if I love an author now, I will try to collect their back library when I spot it on offer so I can get to it someday! I also used to be overwhelmed by choice, but can narrow down what I want now as I’m so much more familiar with genres and tropes. When I finish a book I’m now overwhelmed by the choice in my own collection though. I’m making this a mini series of sorts, so I think I’ll do one on back lists now too!

      I can’t recall if I’ve seen that post… Could you link me to it? I tried to do a spreadsheet for my to-be-read books, and my ARCS. But I found it was very time-consuming. I just use Goodreads now and try to keep it as up to date as possible. That way when I’m out shopping or scouring through charity shops, I can check my Goodreads list to see if I own it already before I buy it.

      I occasionally think about all the books I own when I’m tempted to buy more… but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you want to look at it) it rarely stops me. Reels me in a little maybe, but doesn’t stop me lol You said before blogging your TBR was in the single digits, what’s it like now??

      We definitely won’t!! 😀 R xx

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  3. First off, happy (belated) birthday – I hope you had a fantabulous day!!

    I’m right there with you – since book blogging, I’m suddenly a book collector (and a hoarder, since I never used to save read books). But I think you have the right attitude – if you just look at it as a great selection instead of a to-do list, it’s fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! I’ve become such a hoarder! It’s an affliction! Yea, they bring me happiness, what’s so wrong about that, right? 😀 R xx

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  4. I actually deleted my TBR list last year, it was causing me to much stress. Now I just browse the shelves at my library and pick out books that way 🙂

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    1. That sounds like a very enjoyable way to read! I keep my wishlist to remind me of books that have grabbed my interest, and for now I’ve kept my TBR as it reminds me which books I already own, and SOMETIMES helps stop me going on a book spree… So it’s here for now anyways 🙂 R xx

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