Maintaining the TBR list

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Maintaining the TBR list

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Jun 16, 2011, 11:42am

I've a system that works pretty well for me. I've a handy text file of all the TBR I own, divided into logical categories. Within each category I've ordered them in terms of the most likely reading sequence. Almost daily I look it over and tweak it. Maintaining a list has its advantages:

- prevents me from forgetting about anything, keeps everything fresh in mind.

- Sometimes (okay, rarely), I give up on books at the back of the list that I know will never get ahead of new arrivals because I'll never find sufficient interest.

- Makes themes more evident to me. Had no idea I had so many books with India as their setting, so I spaced them apart in terms of reading. I could have done the opposite, might have been interesting.

Mar 27, 2012, 8:38am

I like reading in clusters of theme.

Mar 27, 2012, 9:03am

In a sort-of-similar vein I have a TBR dartboard that I fling mental darts at when I am having trouble deciding what I want to read next (here). It's not to scale or it would be 90% fantasy, and that's on purpose to make sure that other stuff gets read.

I do tend to buy/wishlist more books on weekly themes (last theme was sff dancers), but they never seem to get read that way.

I'm ok with having more than a lifetime's worth of books though. I like knowing there will always be something to read. And I'm a re-reader, too, so it's even harder to get through the TBR pile because I always want to read something I already know is good.

Mar 29, 2012, 8:09am

One thing working against me in an organized system, is that the books within each category that interest me most will rise naturally to the top. Meaning all those books I feel like I ought to read but am dragging my heels for some reason start collecting at the bottom, like a big pile of sludge. Either they drop of the list, or else I have no choice - I have to reach past a bunch that really demand my attention to pick up one of those where we've been avoiding each other for months. Happily, more often than not I'm pleasantly surprised. It didn't land on my TBR pile for no reason at all, after all.

Nov 10, 2017, 9:52am

My method is semi-random, and constantly in flux. Sometimes I read according to a theme, right now it is "Marvelous pieces of clothing." Other times, I decide which genre I want to read, go to that shelf and start counting in a random place, but stop when I reach 42. Some of my genre piles are only 7-10 books, but I count again and again until I reach 42, that's the book I pull out to read.

At the beginning of every year, I select the thickest book from each TBR shelf/case and make a stack. I try to read through those in that year. Doing this means that I will read some of those dusty old tomes I've inherited which sounded interesting enough to keep at the time.

Nov 10, 2017, 10:14am

>5 MrsLee:, so you're saying, if I'm book #1 on the shelf and you're going to count to 42 every time, I'm pretty much out of luck, right? Unless you count backwards sometimes, and happen to start at the 42nd book, then I've got a chance.

I like the theme idea, when it's a theme where the books will inform one another. If the theme is "India" (which I've done), by the fifth or sixth one or hopefully sooner I'll know something now that helps me understand and appreciate that one better.

Other things that may determine what's next: a movie's coming that's based on that book; something about it is topical in the news lately; the author recently died (morbid, but true) or just published a new book or won a prize; I happened across a great review/insight/article about it that got me thinking; etc.

Nov 10, 2017, 3:16pm

>6 Cecrow: I sometimes start counting in a random place of the stack, so number 1 has a chance, too.