Monday, 23 February 2015

Monday Musings: The To Be Read Pile

This meme is everywhere at the moment, but I borrowed it from Victoria at Eve's Alexandria.
1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I am obsessively well-organised, so I have two distinct TBR piles. One (about 10 or so books) lives at my dad's house and consists of books that I cannot imagine reading in the next year or so, but still can't bring myself to give away. The second (15 books) lives with me and I'm constantly trying to make myself finally demolish it. Given what other bloggers have said on the matter, having only 25 books (plus a few on the Kindle, which don't really count) TBR seems incredibly few, but I hate having them hanging over me. My dream is to have zero books TBR so I will be totally justified in buying new books.
2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
Print. I actually tend to read ebooks once I buy them.
3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
If I've promised to review a book on my blog, I always read those books first. At the moment, I'm prioritising books from my Mr B's Reading Year, because it's now finished, but I still have five or so of the books so kindly chosen for me to get through. If I have a free choice (which rarely happens, so I get very excited about it when it does) I will make a shortlist and read the openings of the books.
4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest:
The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner, which I bought second-hand as an undergraduate (!) because I was interested in the wave of proto-feminist novels appearing in the 1880s and 1890s. This unfortunate novel has never even managed to graduate from my dad's-house-pile to my-house-pile.
5. A book you recently added to your TBR:
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher.
6. A book that will soon be added to your TBR:
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. It won't be there for long!
7. Numbers of shelves used to house your TBR:
One. The pile in my dad's house is not worthy of a shelf and sits on the windowsill in my old bedroom.
8. On a scale of 1 to 10, how painful is it for your to discard will-never-be-read TBR books?
7. I don't like admitting failure, but I love getting rid of stuff, so my emotions are very conflicted.
9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you:
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.
10. Name your sources of powers– where do you get your books from?
Waterstone's Oxford, Blackwell's Oxford, Mr B's Bath, borrowed from family, evil Amazon for e-books.
11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read:
There aren't any, or they wouldn't be there. (The Northern Clemency doesn't count as I only acquired it yesterday, and will read it soon). I think this question cuts to the heart of my problem with my TBR pile. The book on it I'm most looking forward to reading is probably Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny, which I'm reviewing for Amazon Vine.
12. A book you’d recommend others add to their TBR shelves:
So many, but my most recent favourite is All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld. I've also finally found one friend who agrees with me about how amazing it is!

13. Is your TBR a force for good in your life?
I think it's pretty obvious that I absolutely hate my TBR pile. In my ideal world, all my TBR books would have been read and I would never have more than two or three books waiting for me at the time. I don't think TBR piles are a bad thing - it does sound rather exciting to be able to browse your own unread library - but for me, they don't work. I miss re-reading, I miss choosing new books without feeling guilty, and few other undergraduate mistakes have stayed with me as long as The Story of an African Farm.


  1. I really do envy your sane approach to your TBR! Sometimes mine feels like a great weight pressing down on me, and I wish it was all gone. But I know that even if I got rid of every last book tomorrow, by next year it would be building again. You won't be surprised to hear that Story of an African Farm is also on my shelves somewhere...though I've no idea where.

  2. I do find the idea of being able to browse among so many books exciting though! Part of the problem with mine is that I'm always staring at the same seven books, because I often buy books and read them immediately to avoid adding to/dealing with the TBR. (I'm already 100 pages in to the Northern Clemency and really enjoying it!)