The ‘To Be Read’ List Monster

The To Be Read (TBR) list that never ends

Those of you who are friends with me on Goodreads, will know that I have one rather scary TBR list. One could be forgiven for mistaking my TBR list for something like this (albeit less tidy and a fair bit more virtual – but you get the idea)

I would also forgive you, if you’re staring at your screen like this after seeing that picture.

It’s actually sitting over 1650 books (let’s see that face again!), which equates to approx. 16 years of reading at my current speed, with the top 50 or so being mostly written by independently published (Indie) authors. I’ll go more into my indie books in another blog post later.

What I’m curious about is that crazily happily I’m not the only one who has a TBR list that is this out of control. I am joined by many others on Goodreads from all over the world with TBR lists that reach up to the sky like mine. Is this a normal occurence? Or should we all be rushed off to Bookaholics Anonymous and sign up for the 12 step program? Is our book habit any less debilitating than other habits?

I’m sitting on the fence with this one, I think in a way, having a list of books 30 storeys high is an issue, the time it would take to read all of those books (not to mention the money it takes to buy them) is huge! Some people have said just the idea of having that quantity of books waiting to be read sends them into shock, why doesn’t it for me or those others who’s lists are even bigger than mine? Am I just a collector of pretty things (read: book covers), I can hear you asking if I’ll actually read them all. The short answer to that is yes. I fully intend to read every book on my TBR list, unless I haven’t bought it yet and when I get around to reading it and buying it, they no longer sell it on the kindle (I have had that happen a couple of times already!)

So why do I keep adding to this already huge list you ask? Quite simply, I can’t keep up with the authors of this world. They keep producing fantastic books, books that pique my interest, books that make me think, books that make me laugh and/or cry or make me want to throw it across the room or hug it close and never let it go. Those of you out there who are avid readers will understand the almost physical pull towards a good book. You’ll probably have experienced it at some point, where you’re dying to go to sleep, but you just can’t put the book down or you need to cook/clean/shower… function as a normal human, but you can’t put it down. I think this is why I keep adding. I think this feeling is why the list keeps growing.

Now we’ll be realistic here, not every book I read creates this buzz (does it sound like a drug now?), in fact it’s only a select few.

So why do all this reading? Why keep building on this mammoth pile?

I think it’s the anticipation, what if every book I added to my list was AWESOME!? In reality, more than half of them will probably be only OK, a few will be really bad, but those few, the sparkling gems buried in there that are awesome, will be worth the wait!

What makes these books so fantastic? I couldn’t pin it down to one thing, or even a few. There are many reasons why a book makes this grade, why they become the drug book of choice, to list them all would take an age and a vast number of blog posts I am sure.

What about you, my dear blog readers, what do you think makes a great book? What are some of your favourites? Some of mine can be found here. How big are your TBR lists? What is your reaction to a TBR list over 1600?


8 thoughts on “The ‘To Be Read’ List Monster

  1. It’s why I love GoodReads too. I used to buy most books I wanted to read and ended up with 40 boxes full as well as five bookcases – and no savings. The boxes are in storage. Now, I just add a book to the GoodReads list until I actually have time to read it. Well, mostly. I have to admit there are a few books in my Kindle, Kobo and Overdrive apps waiting for my attention …

  2. …and this is the reason I don’t have a TBR list on GoodReads. I’d have at least that many, because it’s so easy to add them. Instead, I have a handwritten TBR list in front of my monitor where I jot down the books I absolutely, positively need to read. At the moment, there’s about 40 books on that list.

    (Although that number isn’t entirely accurate because I read a lot of series and I only add the next book in the series to my TBR list. So if I were to add all the books in all the series I’ve started, I’d add at least another 40.)

    • You are totally right, it’s the reason I have such a huge list! It’s just too easy to keep adding, and all those fantastic looking covers, or reviews by friends, or free giveaways!

      I like the idea of a hand written list, I’d be less likely to add to it, because I tend to be a bit lazy that way, but then I may end up with several lists, thus creating another problem.

  3. My TBR list definitely isn’t as long as yours. In theory, it would probably take me maybe up to 2 years to get through it if I made a real effort to get through everything. However, whenever I read a book and take it off the list, another one always gets added and I also get distracted by other new things I find from the library so it definitely never gets shorter even if it doesn’t end up being that much longer!

    • Oh! Yep I am guilty of that too, just finish a book and something new goes on! I did notice today though, that my TBR list is just under 1650, so I seem to have curbed my habit for the moment! 😀

      Happy reading!

  4. 1600 is far too many to keep track of. I usually have books lined up about five in advance, but sometimes it drop to zero and I spend ages thinking about what I might like to read next.

    • That’s one of the reasons I love Goodreads so much, it lets me put them all in a list and I can view it all whenever I like.

      If you have a spare 16yrs handy I could add another 1600 books to my list 😛

      Happily I seem to be reading more than I add at the moment.

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