This post was originally about ways to reduce your TBR (to-be-read) pile but as I wrote the first draft, I asked myself a question –
Why do we have so much anxiety about our unread books?
And before I start, I fully admit that I fret about this quite often. We buy titles in good faith. We want to experience stories and learn new things. Books aren’t just decoration to us; they’re living, breathing entities. So when we don’t engage with them, we feel guilty and undisciplined.
But should we feel like that?
No we shouldn’t! A large TBR pile is the sign of a dedicated reader and we need to accept that we’re probably always going to have one in some form or other. Let’s embrace the book stack. To help you come to terms with the paper mountain, here are 5 reasons why you should love your TBR pile:
Having a TBR pile means there’s always adventure ahead
Just the thought of finishing all my books brings me out in a cold sweat. I love the fact that I have new stories to delve into. Each one is waiting for the perfect mood. The reason that I haven’t started them yet is because we haven’t found our synchronicity. Trust in your instincts and your subconscious will connect you with the right book at the right time.
I would add that it’s also absolutely fine to include DNFs (did not finish) in your TBR pile. To be honest, I actively encourage it! It has sometimes taken me three or four attempts to complete novels which I now consider to be favourites.
Supporting the book trade
The book industry needs our support more than ever and your TBR pile shows that you’re keeping the trade alive. Whether this be through buying, reviewing, sharing or simply displaying, owning titles means you are an active part of the bookish economy. If your collection has a healthy mix of old and new then even better. Just as natural ecosystems thrive on diversity, so too does the book network.
The fun of collating your TBR pile
I can’t be alone in enjoying the process of collating all my unread books. We have bookshelves in every room so titles have a habit of disappearing into the mist. They also frequently end up under my bed. It’s fun to locate all the ones I’ve lost and organise them properly. Recently I’ve used my bookcart for this.
I know I should be more organised about storing these and I’m sure some of you are, but daily life often gets in the way. Discovering books that I’d forgotten about is like receiving a little surprise gift. I’m grateful every single time I find one.
It’s also fascinating to watch the to-be-read collection evolve. What’s been on there forever? What gets snapped up? Why? Use it to understand more about your reading habits.
Setting yourself a TBR pile challenge
Most of the time I mood read, but occasionally I like to set myself a TBR challenge. Cue the TBR pile. I’m doing one of these now which is one of the reasons I’ve been thinking about how I manage my reading. You can see my full list here (actually it’s bigger than this because I found a few ‘hidden’ novels afterwards). There’s a huge sense of satisfaction from setting goals from time to time. I also often find that I end up including books from Al & Little M which widen my experiences.
If you need extra motivation to chip into a TBR mountain, look out for hashtags like #tenonmytbr on Bookstagram.
Owning a back-up library
There are times in our lives when it’s harder to access new books. Illness, library closure and lack of money can all stall our ability to find new titles. Having a to-be-read pile ensures that you always have fresh stock on hand. In fact, it might just be your sanctuary when things get rough.
I hope this helps you to love your TBR pile rather than feel it’s something that has to be hidden away. Celebrate those tottering towers of titles. Display them proudly. Let’s be honest, the great unread will always be part of your life.