Chitter-Chatter: To Be Read (TBR) Lists

Chitter Chatter

I’ve been thinking about TBR lists for a while and decided to create a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics and which I can kick off with a TBR list discussion.

Some of you may recall that in my previous post, I mentioned my approach to owning things is in line with a philosophy of minimalism, I talked about mindful consumerism and how I’m trying not to feel owned by the things I own.

What I noticed whilst I was writing that post was that being owned by things may actually not mean only physical things. I think we could end up being owned by things that don’t physically exist or rather by certain expectations.

Closer to the end of last year, I started feeling uncomfortable about my TBR list.

Just looking at it started causing me anxiety. I felt like I could possibly never ever finish reading all of those books on that list. Rather than making me inspired and bringing me joy, my list became this dark and looming presence that screamed at me: “read faster, read more, keep up, you should add more books – you may be missing out”. I started that list when I joined GoodReads in 2012. And it grew since then. It grew much faster than what my reading pace was.

I started going through it in greater detail early this year and did not understand why some of those books actually made my list. It may have been a fear of missing out, it may have been an excellent review or a friend’s recommendation… or simply, my reading taste and preferences have just changed.

The list, with over 400 books on it, had to be minimised so I could feel I was in charge again.

I started deleting books one by one and it was a tedious process. And then I just could not be bothered anymore, took a deep breath and deleted it. Yes, very dramatic, I know. 🙂

I admit it was a radical solution and probably may not be for everyone. I reasoned with myself that if a book is meant to be then it would find me. I also rationalised that the amount of anxiety it would cost me to filter through that list, as I would end up obsessing for a long time if a particular book should go or stay, was just not worth it. It seemed like a sensible solution at the time.

Side note: I wonder sometimes if I accidentally deleted ‘The Book’… but at the same time, I got rid of that anxiety and that made it worth it overall.

What can you do if you feel like your TBR list is getting out of hand?

You could try following suggestions but ultimately, it is all an individual choice.

  • If you like a balanced approach, you could start with spring cleaning. We are now in the midst of spring so why not to prune your list a little via starting with your oldest titles (from the date you added them) and asking yourself – do I still want to read this book?

There are some great blog posts out there that talk about TBR lists’ spring cleaning.

One of my favourite ones has recently been written at The Orangutan Librarian’s blog  And if you don’t know that blog, I wholeheartedly recommend it for its wonderful posts. 🙂

  • You could also create several TBR lists.
    • You could create a short term TBR list, where books you want to read in the near future can wait.
    • Then you could have a mid term TBR list, where books you want to read in the next year or so can live.
    • And then there could be the one day TBR list. You know that day, when you will have lots of time and no work to do. 🙂

You could move books around these lists. Let’s say your short term list is ‘to read in the next three months’. If a book stays there longer than those three months, you could move it to the mid term list or even the one day list as it may just be something you are currently not keen to dive into.

And vice versa. Your one day book may become your short term book if it all of sudden starts appealing to you and you want to read it now. You could also put an arbitrary number on how many books you want to keep in those first two lists that is in line with your reading pace / time to read.

My inner organiser screams in delight about this idea. I like colour coding and organising everything. I may create different reading lists at some point but right now,  I have a relatively short list (under 20 books), which I constantly evaluate, so I am, rather than my TBR list, in control. 😉

  • Or you could just delete it and start a new one or…. not even have one at all. 😉

The idea of not having a TBR list somehow fills me with dread. Maybe I will do it one day so I could prove my TBR list that I am that BOSS I keep on telling it about. 😉

Whatever you do – there is no right or wrong way.

We, book lovers, know how precious those lists can be as books mean a lot to us. I am reminding myself that the purpose of my TBR is to serve me. As long as it does, it can stay. 😂

Happy reading everyone. ❤️

Chitter-Chatter Time

What do you think about TBR list?

  • Do you have one?
  • If you do: Do you maintain it or do you allow it to grow?
    • Do you spring clean?

Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

32 thoughts on “Chitter-Chatter: To Be Read (TBR) Lists”

  1. This is such an interesting discussion! I’m a mood reader, so I tend to not put too much stock in any lists I make for myself. I do have a shelf on Goodreads for books I want to read (just the shelf that it gives you automatically) but at this point it’s basically just a bunch of random books that seemed interesting to me at one point. It feels so nice to not have to worry about following a list and instead just read whatever suits my fancy at the time! 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great idea Holly. I am also a mood reader and following reading lists backfires in my case because of that. I could not agree more re reading whatever suits my fancy, nicely put.
      And thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation, I really appreciate it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a TBR wishlist with over 400 books and I really want to read all of them ;-). OK I deleted 3 books, it’s a start right? I did have more books believe it or not and my criterium for deleting was the overall rating. Not 4 stars then it was almost good to go. I have only kept a few because they have special reasons but otherwise I think that’s a good standard. I know not every book is appreciated by everyone the same way but if the overall majority really loved it then it has to be a must-read :-). I’m in awe though that you pushed delete!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s great that you have a 400+ long list. Even if it’s longer, let’s say 1000+ books long.. as long as it’s not a problem for you, it can be as long as you wish it to be. 👌👏 I really like your decision making process re how you decide what gets added to it. It makes perfect sense to me!
      Ha ha, pushing that delete button is not that hard. I once deleted my entire email inbox after 2 week long holiday with ‘if it’s important, I will be reminded of it again’. 🙈🙈🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to organize my TBR by their release date, so the new ones often get priority and then ones that are 1-3 years old and so on. But I REALLY like your short term/long term way! I have 300+ books on my GR TBR (and like thirty physical books lying around in my place) and I wish Goodreads had a better way of organizing of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you have a good system in place already. I agree re Goodreads system. I created extra shelves that I now flag my TBR books with so I have a little bit more clarity. Thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a lovely post! 😀 I myself actively avoid creating a definitive TBR list because as you say, it gives you anxiety, which is so detrimental to my enjoyment of reading. And I totally agree with this: “I reasoned with myself that if a book is meant to be then it would find me.” I feel like we’re all so anxious to nail the “perfect read” every single time we choose a book, but that somewhat prevents us from making creative, spontaneous choices along the way (and thus, you do miss out on the perfect read).

    Of course, there’s no right way to do this as you way, but I’m totally with you: if a TBR list serves me and makes me happy, great. But if it’s the one pressuring me to read, it’s gotta go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad it makes sense. 😊 I got quite ill today and thought after a long sleep: I could read for a bit and chosen a completely random book on a whim. So I’m reading Renegades as I needed something entertaining. 😂

      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment, I always enjoy our conversation. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course 🙂 You always have something wise and insightful to say, so I look forward to speaking with you as well. I hope you are feeling better, and do be sure to get plenty of rest. ❤

        (I am reading My Lady Jane btw; I needed something fun to read as well (it's turning out great), so here's to hoping you enjoy yours too. Cheers 😊 )

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh thank you, that’s so kind of you. And I am on the mend, thanks! ❤️

          I have My Lady Jane on my kindle. Glad to hear it’s going well, I’m planning on reading it sometime soon too. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I think that if your tbr is bothering you more than it’s helping you, deleting it seems like a sensible step. And thank you for sharing my post! I did find spring cleaning my tbr to be very helpful 🙂 Totally agree that there is no right or wrong way- and I think you summed it up perfectly, it’s there to serve you (not the other way round 😉 ) Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s so cool that you just deleted 🙂 I spring cleaned mine. I’m also starting to group my physical TBR’s into groups- books that are good for summer, fiction about witches, books about mental health and things like that to try to read them closer together at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your grouping idea. That could absolutely work in my case as I am a mood reader. Thanks!
      And glad to hear your spring cleaning went well! 😊👌


  7. I totally understand being overwhelmed! I have always been a big reader. Then two years ago, I ran into some health problems and just quit. Yup, crazy… but I only read a couple books here and there. Most of my Goodreads challenge were cookbooks and craftbooks. Then January this year, I found my passion for reading again. I decided that the over 800 books on my TBR list was crazy. So, I went through them and got rid of half! I’m not going to lie, it’s starting to grow again. One reason, that the Goodreads giveaways sometimes make you add a book to your TBR list to enter, even if you don’t want to. I figure, every 6 months I’ll go in and do a “cleaning.” Now, with booktube and blogging, it’s hard to not want to read everything but I’m trying to be better and a lot pickier, when it comes to e-ARC’s too! I started blogging in February and I have LOVED it. All the wonderful people that I get to talk to weekly, or even daily. I applaud you for deleting your whole list and starting over! 🙂 Sorry.. this got crazy long! Have a nice day, Vera!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bravo for deleting 400 books. That takes guts and I am really impressed. 😊
      I don’t think not feeling like reading is crazy, I love reading, adore anything book related but I can have years when I don’t read that much. I still consider myself a reader though.. just temporarily preoccupied with other things. 😂It seems to help me as I know I’ll read again when the time is right for me.
      Cookbooks and craftbooks sound like a lot of fun. Both of those are creative activities I love practising. I was going through stages last year when I predominately read philosophy and pondered about minimalism and psychology. And then I went back to my favourite fantasy again. I think our guts usually tell us what we need and you were very wise to listen to yours.
      I’m sorry about your health problems and really happy to hear from your post that you are on the mend. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I totally agree. I’m so glad that you get what I meant! haha. Usually, I’m more of a fantasy reader but the last month, I’ve been reading a lot of Contemps. It’s funny, how your reading habits change constantly! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still reading fantasy! 🙂 Yeah, I craft a lot of things, mostly for gifts. I spent a lot of time the last two years working on various things. So, it was good for me! Thank you! I am definitely on the mend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s amazing. 👏 I think it’s brilliant to have aspiring reading goals (as long as they motivate us – which in my case unfortunately went a bit wrong).
      Thank you for stopping by and happy reading! 😊📚

      Liked by 1 person

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