One day my sister Michele and I were having a chat about our TBRs. She had just added a bunch of new books and lamented that she would never get ahead, because she was always adding more than she was reading. I told her that she would always have a good selection to choose from and asked if she thought that she would finish her TBR someday. Michele said no, but that she wanted to feel like she was making progress and also not forget about books she added at the beginning.
That got me thinking - as readers, do we have expectations for our TBRs? When I started this year, I had 158 books on my TBR; at the time I'm writing this post, there are 123 books on it. Even though I've read A TON of books this year, I'm always adding new titles. If I stopped adding books, I could probably finish my TBR in about a year.
But that's unrealistic, right? I don't think most readers actually expect to read their entire TBR and get it down to zero. New books are coming out all the time and then there's all those backlist titles that you find out about. However, is it realistic to have some sort of expectations for your TBR?
There are a few things I want out of my TBR:
- A manageable number. I do try to keep the actual number of titles on my TBR pretty small. There are already books that I've put off for a couple years, and I want to at least have the possibility that I will see these books, remember I wanted to read them, and then actually pick them up. I feel like I'm too picky sometimes, though, and I haven't added enough to my TBR. Even with over 100 books, there are some days where I feel like there's nothing to read.
- Routine purging. I go through my TBR every once awhile and get rid of those books that I'm no longer interested in, wonder why I put them on in the first place, or have seen too many poor reviews of. I don't want the books I'm really interested in to get lost among those I'm not.
- Read my unread physical books. Although there aren't a ton of these, I do sometimes have a bad habit of buying books and then not reading them. One way to cut down my TBR would be to actually read some of those books! Likewise, instead of constantly getting new books from the library, one month my sister only read the books that were already on her e-reader, and that really helped her focus and cut down her TBR.
How big is your TBR? How do you manage it? Do you ever purge your TBR? Do you have any TBR expectations (i.e. getting it down to a certain number or finally reading all those unread physical books on your shelf)?