Friday, 9 March 2018

Why I Have 4 TBR Lists

We all know the struggle of an overflowing TBR. Wanting to add all the books to your Goodreads shelf, knowing very well that you will never read them, is something I think we can all relate to. What those of you who follow me on Goodreads will have noticed, however, is that I don't just have one 'Want To Read' shelf. I have four.

I love lists. What I don't love is long lists. Something in my mind automatically clicks when I see a long list that puts me off doing anything on that list altogether. For me with lists, it's all or nothing. Instead, I break them down.

List 1. To Read
Number of books currently shelved: 44
This is the basic list that everyone has when they start their Goodreads account. The books I place on this list are all reading priorities for me. I genuinely want and intend to read every single one. These consist exclusively of:

  • Books I own (physical/kindle) - This helps keep the unread books on my shelf to a minimum.
  • Sequels to books I've already read - I read a lot of series' and this helps me keep on top of them all. Also, I never add ALL the books in the series to my TBR. Sometimes I lose interest mid series, and it saves the hassle of deleting them all.
  • ARCs I've been approved - I feel a responsibility to read as many of the books Netgalley and Edelweiss approve me as possible. I'm pretty good with only requesting eARCs I genuinely want to read, so this doesn't add too much to the list.
  • The upcoming releases of my biggest author loves - I'm reading the next V.E. Schwab or Alice Oseman book, no questions asked.

List 2. To Read for Studies
Number of books currently shelved: 9
My study shelf was the first additional TBR shelf I added, and I do not regret it. At the start of every semester I add all of the books that I'm required to read for my modules. Visualising them helps make the task a little less daunting. Plus watching the little number beside the list title drop as I power through the books is very fulfilling. 

List 3. To Read Library
Number of books currently shelved: 33
I've recently become a more frequent library user, so this list felt necessary. Everything I put on this list is available in my local library, either in physical, or on their Overdrive. A lot of these books used to be on my original TBR as books I was meaning to buy. But a quick search of the library catalogue showed they had dozens of the books I had been meaning to read. Having a separate list like this means that I don't buy any of them unnecessarily. The library is free, kids!

List 4. To Read Backup
Number of books currently shelved: 53
List 4 is the longest, because it features all the books that I don't own, I'm not studying, and are not in the library. These are the books I add mainly because of friends and reviewers that recommended them, or occasionally because of their cool concept. These books aren't a reading priority for me, but I keep them listed in case I spot them for a bargain or I need to treat myself.

I am aware that I have created a system that is more complicated than necessary, but it works for me. In two years I can see myself having read all the books currently sitting on lists 1-3, which would have felt impossible had I only stuck with the single To Read shelf. My method of defeating the endless TBR? Divide and conquer.

How do you manage your TBR? Is somewhat organised or an endless list of books you no longer remember adding? Do you rely on your list too much or do you borrow and buy books more on a whim?


  1. Oh wow this is very organized! I only have 1 tbr shelf, which is the want-to-read shelf, and it's such an unconquered mess xD I have like 800 books here and I don't see how I could finish them all in the next five years xD For my owned tbr, whether it's physical or ebooks, I have a google spreadsheet and just crossing them off felt really statisfying!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Haha thank you! I'm a bit of an organisation freak. Woah, 800 books - I don't think conquering that is even possible, but I hope you can do it! Crossing off books from a list once you've read them is the most satisfying thing. I'm glad that you're still powering through them, Tasya!

  2. I love how organized this is! I should have done it this way when I was in college.

    I have two TBR, a primary list and a secondary list. I also have separate "to-buy" and "to-check-out" lists so I know if I should buy it or get it from the library. Our systems are actually pretty similar! I just broke it up list this earlier this year and I've been loving it so far.

    1. Haha thanks, Emily! School is actually what inspired me to make all these lists. It makes the uncontrollable nature of life feel a little more managable :')

      That's awesome! I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes multiple lists when one could easily suffice. Breaking things into chunks makes it feel like less work and easier to handle. I'm glad it's been working for you!