Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rearranging the TBR pile...

I receive the DorothyL list serve updates and recently a fellow DL'er asked how people determine the order of their To Be Read piles and what causes them to rearrange the order. I thought this question would make a great discussion topic for a post. Thus, today's post!

I have a ridiculous TBR pile...actually it is three large boxes, some overflow, and a list of books I don't own personally - probably somewhere in the vicinity of 200+ books. I don't guess there's an actually "established" order to that pile. And since I've started receiving books from authors and publishers, that's caused the way I read to change a bit.

In the past I just picked a book out that fit my mood. Or if I got started on a series, I'd read a bunch, if not all, of those consecutively. And then if something new came out by one of the authors I love, that would shoot to the top of the list. If I borrowed something from the library, that, of course, would have to go to the top of the list because it had to be returned. If someone recommended something to me or loaned me something, that moved up the priority list. There was no organization to this process. It was pretty much just chaos. Especially because I continued to buy books and add to the pile.

I still buy books to add to the pile - I don't think I'll ever be able to stop that. But this year I tried adding a personal goal of reading at least one book purchased prior to 2008 each month. I did really well until this month. For August I didn't fit one in. I'm not complaining. I had a couple months where I fit more than one in, so it will even out in the end. I've had a pretty good time with the books I did fit in this month, so all is well.

Now the top priority goes to books sent to me personally by authors. Next comes ARCs sent by publishers. And after that, it's back to the unorganized "system." There are certain authors that I will drop everything for; sometimes someone recommends a book that I just have to get right away. I've tried to curb my library habits in that I don't go and aimlessly roam. That typically results in me bringing home more books than I can read in the allotted borrowing time. I try to just request what I want online and go in, pick it up, leave. That prevents me from "over-borrowing."

The most important part is...there's always something there to read. A Goodreads friend had this quote on her profile and I snagged it, too. It pretty much sums everything up:

Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity... we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access, reassurance. — A. E. Newton

So how do YOU determine the order you'll read your books in? Share with us in the comments. In the meantime, Happy Reading!


Corey Wilde August 31, 2008 at 12:52 PM  

I love the quote from Newton, so very true and beautifully articulated.

I seem to have much the same chaotic lack of system as you do, save no one sends me ARCs and only once has an author sent me a book (Julian Stockwin, and he inscribed it with a quote from Byron, my favorite poet), so my TBR stack may not be growing at the same rate as yours.

Earlier this year I did go through the entire TBR stack, cataloging them all into a spreadsheet and assigning a 1-4 ranking, 4 meaning 'I really want to read this soon' and 1 being 'I don't care if I never read this one.' The ones were all packed off to the Friends of the Library, I've made a start on the fours, but I've added several new purchases and there are some favorite authors with new books coming along in quick succession that I want to purchase.

And I still have those library books to get through. I promise myself I won't check anymore out until I read some titles in the TBR, but I get so many good recommendations that it's difficult, impossible even, to avoid the temptation.

Now you know what I mean by 'drowning machine.'

BTW, Jen, if you could use a laugh, look for a blog called Cake Wrecks. It's not about books, it really is about bad cakes, but I spent 90 minutes last night going through their archives and laughing myself sick.

trish September 3, 2008 at 6:15 PM  

What an awesome quote!

My TBR is now a whole bookcase. I just go through and pick what I'm in the mood for. But, like you, books from authors and publishers are taking priority...and yet there's more books I still want. Go figure. :D

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