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"Throw Away Your TBR List..." article

10 years ago

Found an article on Book Riot blog where the author argues in her op-ed piece that the best plan for readers is to "throw away your TBR list":

And that's the point of it all, right, to get something out of what we read? To get knowledge or pleasure or escape or entertainment or a window into a different kind of life. If your TBR is not giving you these things, if it's not giving you more than it is taking from you, get rid of it. Go into each new book-choosing moment with an idea of what you want, and then pick up the book that feels right in the moment.

Selecting books should be pleasurable. It should be exciting. It should promise you the thrill of discovery. It should not be about ticking boxes and satisfying arbitrary, self-imposed requirements. Goals for reading are good, and being mindful of the ways you'd like to expand your reading life is good.

Forcing yourself to read books simply because you at some point in the past added them to a list is, well, kind of pointless.

(Credit: Rebecca Joines Schinksy).

So - do you agree? Are you a fan of the TBR list? Or do you just run with the wind wrt book selections?

Here is a link that might be useful: Article from Book Riot re: TBR or not TBR?

Comments (5)

  • rosefolly
    10 years ago

    I'm a sit-on-the-fence moderate here. I go through my TBR list from time to time. Some of the books get donated, others (nonfiction) get set aside as books I'll keep for reference but may never read from cover to cover, while others retain their place at least until I give them a try. Only a few become favorites that I will read again and again, but it does happen.

    I do agree that if you change your mind about a book, there's no sense in piling on guilt. Release the book to another reader who may indeed love it as the author hoped. That's one of the many excellent reasons for Friends of the Library book sales!

  • yoyobon_gw
    10 years ago

    Unless you're in grad school, it difficult to imagine any adult feeling obligated to read any particular book.

    The goal of reading is a very personal thing and certainly not something that should be defined by a journalist.

    My TBR is a selection of books that I know I will enjoy and which stand neatly on shelves waiting to be read.
    No rush.
    It's nice to know I have a good book waiting.

  • sheriz6
    10 years ago

    I agree with Rosefolly. My TBR bookcase does get culled every once in a while and the books I no longer want get donated. I tend to hang onto the ones that are OOP or were otherwise hard to find, as I'd like to give them a fair shot at being read eventually. In the meantime, I read by mood, and if something from the TBR pile fits the bill, I'm happy to have it on hand.

    It took me decades, but I no longer feel compelled to finish every book I start.

  • netla
    10 years ago

    I don't think of my TBR as being carved in stone. It's simply a list of books - or rather a couple of full bookcases and a short written list of TBR books I don't own - I would like to read some day, or that I wanted, at some point, to read and might want to again.

    Every now and then, usually when I get one of my periodic urges to purge my belongings, I do a cull, usually in small numbers so I will not hurt too much. My experiences of trying to do reading challenges with set lists have usually ended in disaster and I find the best policy is to read whatever I feel like reading at any given time.

    Having a TBR list gives a bit of structure and helps me keep down the number of books I buy. When I see a brand new, expensive book I want to read, it is usually enough for me to look at the list of the TBR books I own and then I think 'nah, I have so many other exciting books to read that this one can wait'. Then, usually only a few months later, I sometimes find it second hand and buy it at a fraction of the original price.

    This post was edited by netla on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 8:36

  • lemonhead101
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Like Netla, I try to wait a few days/weeks after I have found a new title and before I buy it. (Most of the time the urge leaves, and most of the time I can wait. Not easy sometimes though... And just discovered adding to the Wish List at amazon! That's a whole new world right there.)

    I think that the article about the TBR pile had resonated with me as I had been struggling a bit with a small and informal challenge that I had set myself. Numerous other bloggers were implementing the "TBR Challenge" whereby from Jan 01 until Mar 31, one doesn't buy a book or get a new title from the library. You can "only" read what's already in your possession and in your TBR pile. I had been doing ok with that, but then the challenge started to chafe me a bit and so I caved in.

    Still, I did do the TBR challenge for about 5 weeks, and removed a few (six) titles from the TBR mountain. In doing so, I learned that I am not that fond of limiting what I can read!

    So - the challenge is no longer an issue (as in I'm off it now), but it was good whilst it lasted. I became more aware of the book selection that I have already on my shelves and I realized how much I loved my local library!

    And, like Sheri, I have become better at DNFing any titles that aren't working for me. Off with their heads and into the charity pile they go!!

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