Friday, 15 July 2016

How to Cut Down On that Pesky TBR

I'm one of the most bookish people I know, yet people are surprised when they see how small my Goodreads 'to read' shelf is. 'But Helia,' you cry, 'how do you not add every book under the sun to your TBR.' Fear not, for I can teach you my magical ways in just a few simple steps.

1. Ask yourself how much you want to read this book.
This is probably the most important thing, and will apply to almost all the points below. Does the plot genuinely intrigue you, or does it sound like a generic tale you've read before? If so, then scrap that off your list. Chances are you have plenty of other books that are really worthy of your time.

2. Question how you found out about the book.
I used to find books on my To Read shelf that I have no recollection of putting there. Perhaps a friend casually recommended it. Perhaps I entered a Goodreads giveaway for a random book I didn't end up winning. If you're not that interested by the premise and none of your friends are losing their minds over why you haven't read it yet, chances are you can scratch it off.

3. Ask yourself how accessible the book is to you.
Many books I want to read I have no desire in purchasing (i.e. I'd borrow them from the library). Often this is the case with casual recommendations. If the book in question is not in the library, you have no one to borrow it from, and as always if you're not dying to read it, say goodbye to that book from your list. Who has time to hunt down a book you're not that keen on anyway. Better to focus on the ginormous stack of books on your self first.

4. Read some reviews
Did every single one of the reviewers you follow like this book? Why did they like it? If they didn't like it and say why, think about the reasoning and if you think that kind of thing would bother you.

5. Make Lists
Lists stress me out. If they're too long then either I neglect them or begin treating it as a chore. Reading is a hobby, so the last thing I'd want is to feel like it's a responsibility. What I like to do is split my list into subheadings: Physical TBR, ARCs, and Kindle TBR. Then I make a separate list with the subheadings Unowned TBR and Unpublished TBR - only including books on that list I'm really desperate for. This also helps me control my book buying habits. If I have over 30 on my first list, I'll put myself under a book buying ban until I read all the books I actually own.

What are your techniques for maintaining a manageable TBR?


  1. I just wrote a 3 part discussion series about this. Here is Pt 1

  2. Great post. I have cut back my lists considerably. I'm trying not to add any more books pile this summer unless they are from my wishlist and the library. :)

    1. Thank you! That's a good idea - it also stops old books from being neglected!

  3. This is a great post! Within the past month or two, I culled my TBR from over 1600 down to around 1400. I know, it's a ton of books! Mostly they're books I have bought (and Kindle freebies) on my Kindle and never got around to reading them. Yet I added them to my TBR. I create a monthly TBR to help me decide what to read based on ARCs and review requests. Between those, I hardly touch the ones on my Kindle! Grah! I think I'm going to try to narrow down my list even further within the next month or so by using #1 on your list! I can't even say how many times I have got books based on the blurb, then later decided I didn't want to read it. But it's still on my TBR! Haha. I also like your point of figuring out how accessible the book is to you; that will be a big factor on the TBR books I don't own yet.

    1. Woah that's a lot! My goodreads 'to read' list is only 33 books. I do the same with blurbs - it might interest me but then if I hear something bad about the book I instantly don't want to read it. I'm glad you enjoyed my post!