06 April 2009

Musing Mondays: Mount TBR

Here's today's Musing Mondays question, hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page. Be sure to click the link to read the full meme and to see how others answered the question.

How do you keep track of your tbr list. Do you have a paper list or on your computer? Do you take it with you when you go shopping? How do you decide what gets added to it?

TBR Piles

I'm kind of a failure at taking control of my TBR piles. I have the best intentions of reading through the books in some kind of order. I'm always leaving blog comments along the lines of "Oh, I'll have to read that next." I played along with J. Kaye's What Are You Reading meme, I've made promises to friends.

The truth is I have no real plan. I have lists of books for reading challenges, and I have lists of books for book review blog tours. I do pretty much keep with those obligations, but other than that . . .

Wish List

Ha! I'm even worse with my wish list. I have scraps of paper that are worn and creased, sticky notes that have lost their stick, blog posts that I never look at again, computer files that I can't find. When it comes time to buy, I go by mood or by impulse. I'm at the store or at a website and my mind goes blank, my lists disappear, and I'm on my own with a blank slate.

Basically, I'm hopeless. But, of course, my wish list is so huge that I'd need a dolly to wheel it into the store and a winning lottery ticket to get it all—might as well just buy a bookstore and be done with it.

How about you? I'm sure you're more organized than I am. Tell me your secret.


Yvonne 4/6/09, 7:50 AM  

Believe me, I've often thought of buying a bookstore. That would be the perfect answer for organizing my books :)

I do keep my TBR on a spreadsheet and I carry a small notebook with the books I want to buy.

bermudaonion 4/6/09, 8:38 AM  

I'm exactly the same way. I'll stack a few books with the intention of reading them next and somehow it just never happens.

Anonymous,  4/6/09, 9:44 AM  

i keep a small spiral notebook next to my laptop and add to it as i go along from blog to blog. i also keep a small notebook in my handbag for library and bookstore visits.

MizB 4/6/09, 10:02 AM  

ROTFLOL @ just buying the bookstore. That's funny! I'm the same way... have a MILLION books on my wishlists, and can never keep track of all the ones I've got (I've got wishlists coming out the wazoo!) ;)

I need my own bookstore, too. :P


Dorte H 4/6/09, 10:38 AM  

You are right, Beth, I am sooo organized, and today is the day when I decided to show the world my impressive TBR ;) http://djskrimiblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/dj-now-with-tbr.html

Literary Feline 4/6/09, 11:35 AM  

Great post, Beth! I do have a formal wish list. However, much like you described, you're likely to find post-its and scrap paper with titles listed on them, computer files or what have you that just haven't made it onto that formal wish list yet. I'm so bad about keeping it updated.

And I pretty much handle my TBR piles as you do--I have my challenge books and my review books (fortunately this year I've worked it out so they often overlap). And then there is everything else.

People think I'm organized, but I'm not really. :-)

Meghan 4/6/09, 11:45 AM  

I'm really disorganized too, you're not alone! I try to predict what's going to be read next, but I'm a very moody reader and often it just doesn't happen. I'm lucky in that I can keep up with my review books, but challenges have proven my lack of finesse at choosing what to read ahead of time.

As for my wishlist, it exists mostly in my head. In general I can remember what I want when I see it, but I don't have an up-to-date list anywhere.

Jen - devourer of books 4/6/09, 12:04 PM  

I do the same thing you do, telling people on blogs that they've inspired me to read a certain book next. I really mean it when I say it, but I usually have a couple of books I need to get to first, and then end up completely forgetting. Plus, between review books and the library I haven't read much from my TBR pile lately.

My wishlist is in 3 places: the library, for things I want to read more immediately and may or may not want to own; Bookmooch for things I want to own, but don't need now or am hoping not to spend money on; and LibraryThing for things I'd like to buy at some point. There is, of course, huge overlap between these lists. I'll occasionally print out the LibraryThing list when I know I'm going to Half Price Books or a library sale.

Sandy Nawrot 4/6/09, 4:24 PM  

I'm fickle and slightly unorganized. I do have a shelf that I pull from, but I also have a hand-written list on a wrinkled up disgusting piece of paper that goes everywhere with me!

Unknown 4/6/09, 4:29 PM  

Well I virtually live in a book store! I have about 6000 books here and often read books from my sale stock, but I think it adds to the TBR problem rather than solving anything. I buy 100s of books, and always spot ones which other people have recommended. So I put them to one side to read later - the result is a TBR pile of about 500 books! I try to sort through it and remove some of them occasionally, but it doesn't work - it is getting bigger every day!

I don't really mind, but my husband gets irritated sometimes, and even my 3-year-old son says mummy has too many books!

Anonymous,  4/6/09, 6:54 PM  

I get interrupted occasionally by a book that I have to jump to the front of the line. Otherwise I'm pretty on top of the TBR pile. Unless I'm keen on a book, I would leave it on the acquisition. The bloggers have the power to materialize the book from my list as I count on your recommendation. :)

Molly 4/6/09, 7:26 PM  

Well, while I like to think that I am somewhat organized (I tend to use an excel spreadsheet) -- I much prefer your idea of winning the lottery!

Anonymous,  4/6/09, 8:08 PM  

Last year, I was dedicated to reviewing books. Year before, it was book tours. This year, book challenges. You'd think with all that, I would have a short TBR pile. Like you and every other bookoholic, there is no such thing as control over our TBR piles. We read one, we get five more in. ;)

I've had gobs of obsessions in the past. This has been the best one.

Nise' 4/6/09, 9:47 PM  

Our system sounds similar! I am getting great ideas, now just to put them into action.

Love your button ;o)

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 4/6/09, 10:59 PM  

I am totally all over the place. I make lists and make them again, and join challenges in my notebook and never post them. I'm trying to get better, but somehow it usually works out.

Melody 4/6/09, 11:48 PM  

LOL. I'm like you, Beth! Wouldn't it be nice if we own a bookstore, huh? :D

Bernadette 4/7/09, 4:34 AM  

I have TBR shelves separate from the already read shelves. I usually have 3-6 books in a spot on the top of the shelves that are "read next" - these includes books due back to the library soon, books borrowed from friends, books for imminent book club/discussion. And often I just ignore them and pull out something entirely different 'cos the mood strikes or someone has raved on a blog somewhere and I feel like reading something else :)

As for wishlist I am pretty organised. I have a spreadsheet on which I keep a note of whether or not it is available from my local library (if so, i'll read it from there one day - I'm pretty good about not borrowing more than 3-4 books at a time because I feel guilty if I have more than that on hand - it means some other poor reader is missing out). If it's not available at the library I add it to my bookmooch wishlist and also carry a printout with me in case I see it cheap somewhere or just can't help myself.

Rebecca Johnson 4/7/09, 5:44 AM  

Buying a bookstore; the perfect solution! Why didn't I think of that?

Beth F 4/7/09, 7:00 AM  

I'm so happy to know that I'm alone with my good intentions and fake organization.

Now we'll all just ignore Jackie's (Farm Lane Books) comment about how having a bookstore won't help. :-)

Winning the lottery would tho!

Beth F 4/7/09, 7:05 AM  

Thanks to everyone for some ideas of how to keep track of things.


I think I might try keeping a small notebook handy to jot down titles -- I could make sections for different genres. Then I'd have something to carry with me to the store or library.

I may look into my library's ability to create a wish list too.

I haven't used Bookmooch or PBS yet, but those are other good places to have wish lists.

As for the TBR -- I don't see hope for any organization there, but maybe I'm fretting over nothing!

Jenners 4/7/09, 10:08 PM  

I very much related to this ... I make a lot of "commitment" and often don't follow through because I forget about them. And then I'll sometimes order things on a whim from Paperback Swap and then they'll sit there because I don't really feel like reading them. And I have no rhyme or reason for how I choose the next book I read ... I like a little wiggle room to fit my mood. And since I started my book blog, I found I don't like to have too many "commitments" to books I feel I have to read ... I was surprised to discover that about myself. I like not feeling obligated ... reading is a pleasure, not a chore.

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