My to be read (TBR) shelf took a major hit last year due to my reading and slowly I’ve added more and more to it once again. Some of these are newly owned and some aren’t. Which books are on your TBR shelf waiting to be read?
One of the first things we realize as humans is how little time we have, right? I was thinking about how many books one could really expect to read in their lifetime. Yes, this is how I pass my free time. And I realized that we’re severely limited by time.
I used 100 books a year for 50 years as my reference point. Easy math says that’s 5000 books. You’re probably thinking: “THAT’S A LOT OF BOOKS!”, right? And then you remember that you’ve never read 100 books in a single year, much less in 50.
My average over the last six years has been 23 books a year. Put that number into my little formula and I get 1150 books over 50 years. That’s not very many. The idea behind “so many books, so little time” is as true today as it was when it was first said.
For me, this simply means I need to take advantage of these years I’m living now. At some point in the not too distant future reading will become increasingly difficult. And eventually I won’t have any more books on my TBR list. It’ll happen to every one of us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m off to start a new book. No time to waste!
Oh boy. The title of this post sounds utterly evil. 😂
But it’s a not THAT bad. In 2016 I bought a few books. 39, to be exact. But I already had too many and I wasn’t reading a whole lot until the end of the year. Which made my TBR shelves explode. For most of the year I had more than 80 books I had yet to read. Years ago I’d think having 20 was an insanely high number.
I just counted. I currently have 67 books I haven’t read. Which means I have more than enough for my personal goal of 50 books. I’ve decided not to buy a single new book until I read my personal goal of 50 or I fulfill a requirement from my 2017 Reading Challenge I don’t already own a book for.
Just look. These are them.
Have you ever had so many unread books you’ve banned yourself from buying new ones?
Yep. That’s right. Why? Because of this.
That’s my TBR shelf. It currently has 51 books on it! I don’t have too many books, but I have too many books I haven’t read. *sad face*
So I’m on a book buying ban for the time being. It’s only logical, right? I have been working on my current read the last few days and I’ll be finishing it soon, but that one book hardly makes a dent in my pile here. Not every book on the shelf is one I can read right away because of how I read different series and authors, but most are. And there are a few that have been on the shelf for years. Ugh. At least I know I have enough books to hit my yearly goal if I go ahead and start with what I have in January. I guess there’s a silver lining.
Have you ever had a TBR pile that started to take over your house like I do right now?
But I’ve been buying more books than I’ve been reading lately. And now my TBR (to-be-read) shelf has way more books than ever before! Prior to now the most books I’d ever had on my TBR shelf at once was 21. At least that’s what I THINK the number was. But now I’m at 29! I know some people have way more than that, like stacks on stacks of books. But I don’t make it a habit of buying books and not reading them fairly soon. Because I don’t see the point of that.
But July was a bit of a perfect storm, I guess. Discovering Half Price Books AND getting the rest of the Potter series is just one of those things that likely won’t be happening again. So I’m not too worried about my ever growing TBR shelf of doom. HA! Just kidding. A Little.
Here’s what it looks like right now:
I’m starting to get the hang of Instagram. So if you like this, then follow me!
What’s your TBR shelf look like these days?
On this day in 2014 I published Writing as a Hobby.
If you spend any amount of time on WordPress, then you’ve likely come across many of these. They could be for summer or winter or June or anything at all. And I’m trying to figure them out. I have one question that I’d like to ask all you TBR List-making people. How do you come up with them? I’m not asking because I have any intention of adopting the practice, I’m asking because it’s a mystery to me.
You’re just about guaranteed to find these lists for every month into the future, but why? Why does there have to be this set list and how does one even decide what to put on it? I mean, when I first started seeing them on WordPress I thought they were just books that hadn’t been read before by the post author. But I now know that not to be the case. People are picking random books to reread at random times. And I just don’t get it.
How do you come up with your monthly (or similar) TBR lists?
Hehe. Bet that title got your attention. But no, I’m not talking about sex. And I’m definitely not talking about male anatomy. I’ll leave that to the writers of erotica.
Anyway, I’m talking about books you filthy-minded people. We all have our own ways of deciding what to read next. I know I do. I have my TBR piggy that I’ve never once used. Which means that I usually just take a look at the last five books I’ve read, make sure I’m not reading the same author or series as any of those five, and pick a book. No special formula or anything.
BUT the length (size in the title of this post) does matter a little bit. The longest book I’ve ever read was 596 pages? I think. Which isn’t really too long. And I haven’t read any George R. R. Martin, even though I am somewhat interested in doing so. But his books are giant bricks, right? Eh. I just don’t feel like devoting such a long time to one book.
So yes, the length of the book matters to me. I like my books in the 300-450 page range. Not too long, not too short. What about you? Do you like your books longer? Average? Maybe a little on the short side? Ha. I really need to stop writing this now.
On this day in 2014 I published An Author’s Worst Enemy: Writer’s Block.
I have to be honest, very few of the books I read have prologues. And these aren’t all post-2000 published books, they’re from about the last 30 years. Mostly. And even the rare book that does have a prologue, it really doesn’t. On several occasions an author has used a very intense scene from later in the story as the prologue and just left you with a cliffhanger to start. Sometimes this is apparent and others it is not.
Now I’m just wondering what more current writers are doing. Cause obviously I’m not able to read every book or author writing today, so my experience with a lack of prologues may or may not be the norm. But personally, I don’t know that a book having a prologue makes any difference to me. Here’s my process when I initially begin reading a book…
1. Make sure that the book follows my rules of reading.
2. Steal it away from my TBR shelf.
3. Read the back cover cause it’s likely been waiting to be read for months.
4. Start reading.
See, it’s simple. At no point in time do I want to be distracted by a prologue that I’m likely to forget.
Now ask me this question as a writer. Do I include a prologue before my stories? Ha. No. Obviously. The real question is, do you?
That was my response yesterday when Jess asked me this question. My reasoning for it is simple. There are great books released in every genre every year. Which means there are always good books out there to be read, no matter the genre. I’ve stated so many times in the past on this blog that I mostly read crime fiction. I don’t think it’s better than any other genre. I don’t think the authors are inherently more talented. I simply enjoy good detective stories.
This is why I want to write crime fiction. Because of what I’ve read. Because of the authors I’ve come to read so many times. For instance, James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I know he’s always getting criticized for how his books are written and released, but I’ve never not been entertained by one of his Alex Cross novels and I think I’m ten books in. Robert B. Parker has probably influenced every crime writer out there today, and you can definitely see his influence in their work.
See, I don’t have an issue with someone who reads five different genres or dozens of authors all the time. But I think I do have an issue with someone asking this particular question in a manner that suggests one genre isn’t worthy of being read all the time. Because that’s absurd. No one says anything to those readers who only read classics. Or to all those readers who have a never ending YA TBR list. So don’t sit there and ask me how come I only read mysteries. The funny thing is that I’ve read a few different genres and authors in the last two years. JK Rowling. John Green. Anne Frank. Michael Lewis. So even though I might say I mostly read mysteries, I also dabble in other genres along the way.
So tell me, do you ever get tired of reading books within the same genre all the time? You know my answer.
Photo Credit: GoodEReader
This question ultimately asks if you read self-published books, but not all self-published books are free at some point. In my experience I’ve found that people are typically “I read a lot of free books” or “I will not ever read a book if it’s free.” I’ve rarely found someone who sometimes reads free books and sometimes doesn’t. I’ll never sit here and say that one person’s reasoning for their decision is wrong while another person’s is right, so this is just me repeating what has been said about why people do or don’t download books that are free.
“If it’s free it must be bad”
This goes along with the stigma that still exists for self-publishing. Maybe self-published authors are making strides when it comes to their literary merit, but talk to someone who knows nothing about the publishing industry about your book. One of their first questions is sure to be who published your book. I mean, there are MANY great books out their that have been self-published, but some readers will never find them because they don’t give them a chance. Like when they’re free.
“I have too many books I actually WANT to read”
There’s no doubt in my mind that when said in this context this statement is an excuse not to read a particular book or perhaps a book that is free. I understand that most avid readers have dozens and dozens of books they want to read, maybe hundreds cause some people are crazy, but the notion that reading one book that’s not necessarily on your never ending TBR list is going to mess with the alignment of the universe is simply absurd. After all, you have to keep adding new books to your TBR list if you intend to keep reading, right? Just say you don’t want to read the damn book and be done with it.
“I have too many books on my Kindle”
This is probably more valid than you might think. There are plenty of readers out there who navigate the Kindle free store on a daily basis just downloading books. This isn’t bad and I’m not going to knock anyone for it, but this really does create the dilemma of having too many books. I’m talking hundreds of unread books just collecting figurative dust in the depths of your Kindle. From what I’ve been told and understand, many of these readers just pick titles almost at random once downloaded because there’s no easy way to pick which book to read when you have hundreds at your fingertips.
I’m quite certain that I could continue the list here because the likelihood is that you’ve had some experience with this question. Maybe you’re a reader who never downloads free books. Or maybe you’re an author who has offered your book for free through KDP Select. Me? I’ve never actually downloaded a free book. And I have offered my book for free a couple of times. I think my best free promo garnered 6571 downloads in a couple of days, but obviously I don’t have a gazillion reviews of my book.
Do you download free books?