About a month ago, I faced the fact that my TBR (to-be-read) book pile, if unchecked, stood a good chance of taking over the house. (I assume the only reason it hasn’t already is that the prospect of ruling two middle-class adults and one self-important cat isn’t particularly compelling, as coups and takeovers go.) I couldn’t shake the thought that there’s a certain silliness to buying more books when I have dozens of perfectly good unread books at home. (Readers everywhere will understand, though, that you have to be in the right mood to read a book, and sometimes that means putting off the TBR pile another day.) Also, I like to subscribe to literary magazines, but ever since I sold my first book, issues of these journals have been piling up unread.
As an inveterate list-maker, I decided that making a list would help me put a dent in the TBR pile. Nothing thrills a compulsive list-maker like crossing off items on a list, or getting to add to a list of accomplishments! I decided to do both: to make a list of all newly-read books and magazines that were already in the house as of April 17, 2011; and to list all books purchased since then, and record whether I’ve read them or not.
I know you are all waiting breathlessly for my stats, so here they are for the first month: Since starting this project, I’ve read three novels that I already owned; seven issues of the literary journal OneStory; and one issue of the literary magazine Tin House (likewise). I have also purchased ten new books, of which I’ve read six. That’s a net decrease in the amount of unread material in the house! I’ve also reread some books, as I always do, but they don’t count toward this list.
I’m not sure how I’ll handle library books—I don’t have any checked out at the moment. *ponders* The nice thing is that, read or unread, library books don’t hang around the house for long, joining the TBR pile in whatever act of rebellion it’s plotting.
How do you manage your TBR pile—or do you manage it?
Jennifer R. Hubbard writes contemporary YA stories, including The Secret Year (Viking, 2010), “Confessions and Chocolate Brains” (a short story in the 2011 anthology Truth & Dare), and the upcoming Try Not to Breathe (Viking, 2012). She blogs at http://JenniferRHubbard.blogspot.com