Thursday, August 2, 2012

TBR Management - Myth or Reality?

If you follow my blog, you know I don't keep a schedule. (Sometimes I forget it's Thursday. You'd think loud garbage truck in the early morning would clue me in. I grew so embarrassed calling the garbage company all the time to apologize over forgetting to leave my garbage "out" that I quit bringing it "in".  So, yea... sometimes I forget what day it is.)

So, I catch PJ's weekly blogging hints eventually. Today (yep! It's Thursday!) she has some great pointers on Managing our TBR.



Do you remember when you asked, "What's 'TBR' mean?"  Do you?!  I feel like I've always known, ("To Be Read" books, of course!!) but there was a time I didn't. Back in the (distant) beginning, I couldn't read a post without getting confused over some book blogger jargon. I finally posted about it in January under Book Blogging Terms. (I had figured out ARC just by the use of the word, but when HEA came at me, I was at a loss.)

Waaaay back in December, I didn't even have a real TBR pile. I referred to my Wishlist as my TBR. When I received that first email asking if I'd like to review someone's book for FREEEEEE!!!!!!!  I about flipped.  I will never, ever, ever, EVER give away or trade or whatever my very first ARC. When I look at that book, I remember the wonder of an abundance of books just waiting for me to dive in.  Rather like my response to finding NetGalley:


Of course, I had NO IDEA that was just the beginning of an unmanageable pile. I quote:
First thing to remember. You can’t read them all. There is no way that I can, my intake is way larger than my output. - PJ
As delightful as this sounds, it's also kinda stressful. I mean, what book-lover wouldn't want more books than you could possibly read?  Right?  I mean, isn't that "heaven"?!  Well... missing a deadline - whether promised or self-inflicted is not fun. Personally, I was so thrilled that someone wanted me to read their book that I said "yes" to everyone.

*____*

By the time I realized that I needed a calendar & spreadsheet just to manage my reading schedule... I also realized that assigning myself books to read took the fun out of reading for me.  The logical question, then, is "Am I blogging for fun? Or is this a job I get paid for with free books?"

I decided that I'm blogging for fun.

(That led to "I love promoting books!!" which led to "How can I promote more books if I don't have time to read all the ones I want to?" which led to "Author Interviews & Giveaways are fun!"  But I digress.)

We all manage our TBR pile (getting back to the subject of this post). PJ is very systematic. She's got a great system for being organized and planning ahead. If you would like some great ideas on keeping your TBRs more organized, check out her post.  I don't pre-plan very well. Planning (for me) is like throwing Obligatory Goop all over my beautiful TBR pile. The more committed I am to read a book, the more I squirm.

In my defense, reading is guilty pleasure. So announcing to the world that I'm allowed to read, even, is sort of a thrill-killer. I'd much rather sneak my reading in and around all my activities, which is exactly what I do.  And I absolutely love reading something that's not even in my TBR pile, like I'm playing hooky. Now, tell me it isn't more fun if you're not supposed to be doing it!!  You know I'm right!!

So how do I manage my TBR pile? 

First, I gather books I can't wait to read. From authors. From series I've read in the past. From NetGalley or Edelweiss or BookSneeze or various tours or groups.  From the library. From book sales. From other readers. From giveaways I win!

I keep a calendar for Colorimetry. Keeping track of my posting commitments frees up my reading time. There are always a few reviews I would like to post, which requires reading the book. My calendar keeps me aware of my druthers even if I don't do 'em.

I keep track on Social Sites. My Wishlist is on Goodreads, along with all my reviews with the dates I finished the book. I've made it kind of messy, though, so on LibraryThing I also post my reviews, so I know exactly how much I've read this year. Then on Shelfari I'm gathering all my books... all the books on my shelves and the books I've read. It's incredibly soothing. :-)

With these three things in place, I can read whatever I feel like and I'm still keeping some resemblance of good timing. Here's a picture of my TBR pile. Doesn't it make you feel like reading right now?  :-D  The selection on my Nook is even sweeter.  *sigh*  I love books!!


So, What do you do to keep track of your TBR pile?  

Do you have a cool trick you can share?

23 comments:

  1. No cool tricks to share I'm afraid, I'm trying very hard to stay above water with my TBR myself! I keep a spreadsheet with my review books as well as a google calendar for the blog. I've just started really looking ahead to plan what I need to read when, which does take a bit of the fun out of it :-/ I do find that read-a-thons are great for motivation, and make me much more likely to just sit down and read :) Good luck!

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  2. I do not have a special method. I just write my books down on a legal pad in the order I get them and the source I acquired them from. I also have a little code of what format it is in. I have a special notation if it is strictly for review or something I got for myself. I don't necessarily read them in that order, but I do make a completion mark each time I finish and review a book.

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    1. Completion Marks!!! It's amazing what I can get accomplished just to check it off on a list. That's a great method even if you don't call it "special".

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  3. This is why there is no possible way for me to create my own blog, read, FB, Twitter, clean house, cook, take care of two boys with behavioral disorders, and keep my sanity (not that I was THAT sane to begin with)! I love to read and I could probably read upwards of 20 books a month if I stayed away from the contests, reading book blogs, scanning FB and Twitter feeds on a daily basis, and lowered my housekeeping standards LOL! I can read 600+ wpm if I am not at all distracted and if I start reading a book at night while left absolutely alone I can burn through it in a couple of hours or less (depending upon length). I don't really "manage" my tbr pile as much as I just go through the list and read whichever one piques my interest the most after I finish the previous one (if I have books in series those are always read in order). I probably own more digital books than I can ever read in this lifetime and I have some hardcover and paperbacks that I read once or twice a year just because I love them so much. I keep waiting for technology to advance far enough for us to put books on a flash drive and upload them directly to our brain so we can "read" them instantly ;-)

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    1. Ha!! Are you saying my house isn't clean?!?! That's because I'm re-arranging, NOT because I'm blogging. I explain this DAILY to my husband.

      I could read 20 book a month if I stayed away from stuff, too. Sure. But, what's LIVIN' without all the fun stuff?! Besides... you still wouldn't read ALL you wanted to!! :-D

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  4. I have a shoe box with the top books that I really want to read and the rest of my stash is kept separately. To pick my next book, I will pick 2 or 3, pick a random page number, and then I will which book sounds better based on that one book. Why do I do this? No idea, but it's kinda fun.

    It is sad that I kinda skimmed your post and went straight to the pictures of your books. *Ooh, pictures of books that I may not have read yet!*

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    1. Lol. I had to laugh. I do bold stuff for easy skimming, you know. Lol. I'm a skimmer, too, and I love getting to see the whole post before picking which bits I want to read.

      So... you probably skipped the bit about garbage day, hey? Lol.

      The pictures turned out fun, didn't they? I threw the one with the old books in there for no real reason except I like 'em. Ha!

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  5. LOL same here, I saw *pretty pictures of books* and lost all sense of space & time ;D

    You are so beautifully organized, Laura ... managing a spread sheet has got to help keep things streamlined! *sigh* I wish I had a hefty TBR pile to worry about, maybe one of these daze. hehe

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    1. Ah... just speak the word, my dear MAD, and I'll send delightful authors your way!!

      The spreadsheet didn't work. You missed that part, right? I ditched the spreadsheet when my computer died. We weren't getting along. We're much happier without each other.

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    2. Hey... thanks for calling me "organized"!! I'll totally take that!! Lol

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  6. Ooooh, I love the first picture *stares... maybe for hours* You know you're right! Reading a book for any other reason aside really wanting to read it, is not worth it.
    That's why sometimes I loathe my TBR. I stare at it until feeling like reading something from it (like Divergent... I've had it since January, but I don't think I'll read it THIS soon.)
    (though I manage a TBR box!! Box as a representation of the Barnes & Noble boxes I get sometimes. (& because the PO Box fills until someone goes there, jajaja))

    Also, I manage them in my agenda (along college projects, ugh. Oooh, I'll send you a pic later!), particularly to know what will come next as a releases issue.

    Do I totally need a blog to have review books via NetGalley? Isn't Goodreads enough??

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    1. Hm... you'll have to sign up on NetGalley and see how that works! Lemme know!

      I can't wait to see a pic of your agenda. jajajajaja Sounds like you keep track of all the important stuff!!

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  7. Oh my ... let's put it like this: Before I started book blogging my TBR was usually no more than maybe 40 books. Today it's over 350 and barreling towards 400 *cough*. Honestly, if it weren't for Goodreads and LibraryThing I'd have completely lost count. Will I ever manage to read them all? Answer: If I go on a book buying ban for the next five years I might. Otherwise I need to get 137 years old, hahaha!

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    1. I had to laugh. You can't ban book buying for 5 yrs *shudder*. I opt for living to 137.

      I think we should have a Book Hoarder contest!!! 'Cause 350 is definitely excessive. We should reward your obsession!! :-D

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  8. I need to implement some of these strategies. My only management is having the books piled on my dresser staring at me.

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  9. Sadly, I don't do anything special... Sometimes I use the notepad in my phone so that I can keep track of the books... But most of the time (or all of the time), I don't do anything... Then when I really want to read my pile, my teachers seem to think we have a lot of free time... I really can't wait for school to be over!!! And I want to have a blog!!! But sadly, I'm too busy, then when I'm busy I'm stressed, and then I don't do anything at all (and that's bad for my grades)... =(

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    1. "If you're reading, you must need something to do" - yea... one of my pins on Pinterest. You really must get a blog some day. It's wonderful. Lol.

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  10. I think you have worked out a great system. I keep track on the calender of what has to be read, by when. I also have books on my shelf in the order I think I would like to read them. Sometimes I switch things around or read other books. I loved seeing your pictures- I have Eon next to my bed. Haven't started it yet. Happy reading!
    ~Jess

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    1. Eon!! I started reading it in a B&N one day and I'm excited to get past chapter 1!! :-D

      It's the book club choice for September. I'm looking forward to sharing reviews!! If I can wait 'til Sept!!

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  11. I keep a list and schedule too! Dang I never had a TBR before blotting but it is fun so I think I'll be around for a while.

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  12. Wow, everyone is so much more organized than me >.> My TBR pile is only about three deep right now (gulp) mostly because I'm still small and don't get a lot of requests and don't go looking on Netgalley unless I'm down to nothing on my pile. Since I'm a grad student, reading is very much a for me thing still, and I make it clear when accepting review copies that I will definitely write a review eventually, but I can't promise any time in particular because if I need a break from a review book, I take it. I have to read required books enough as it is :(.

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