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?