I have a bit of a confession to make: I’ve been hawking a lie for a while now. It’s a little, slightly white lie that is basically a technicality, but a lie nonetheless. Like many of us, I often mention my reading list or TBR (to be read in bookspeak) pile, but the truth is I don’t have one. And I don’t really want one either.
What Makes a TBR List?
In the strictest sense, I suppose the unread books on my shelves could be considered a TBR list, though I certainly don’t see them that way. They’re more like visitors that will eventually either move along or stay for the long haul. And while I do use Edelweiss to make lists of upcoming titles that pique my interest, I delete them once a book is published. Even the books I check out from the library and ARCs I receive are books I hope to read, not a stack of titles I require myself to work through in a specific order.
Getting Rid of the TBR List
I used to keep a TBR in the form of several hundred books that were carefully chosen and cataloged on Goodreads. I told myself that the list was a tool for book shopping, but you can imagine how much the organization and lightning speeds of the Goodreads app helped me find what I was looking for. Getting rid of the list wasn’t a conscious decision, really. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to eliminate my TBR ONCE AND FOR ALL!! I just gradually realized how truly useless it was. I started to delete books I knew I’d never read and, without new additions, it gradually whittled down.
Turning the TBR Into Library Holds
I know that many people use their TBRs to remember the interesting books they encounter and I totally understand the utility, but I’ve found that I either need to take action on those titles right away or just let them go. Instead of just throwing them on a list for someday, I try to take action on them. If a book grabs my attention, I add it to my library holds (or Edelweiss list if it’s not yet published). Do I read all of my library holds? Not at all. Sometimes this system means I just don’t have time to squeeze everything in, but it also helps me filter things out and the books I really care about end up coming back to me.
Do you keep a TBR list? Is it overwhelming or useful?