5 Ways to Plough Through Your TBR Pile

It appears, from the extensive research (or, going to Twitter and hearing the shrieks) I've been doing, that the main problem most bookworms face is a massive, near-crushing TBR pile. And, whatever we seem to do, it just keeps getting bigger.

And bigger. And bigger.

As book buying bans are clearly the work of utterly desperate - and therefore motivated - bibliophiles, there's only really one course of action for those of us with no willpower. We must develop techniques to help us get through that pile.

Never fear! If you're drowning in books, I'm here to help:

Tip #1 - Would you? Could you? In a car?

If I couldn't read on the move, I probably wouldn't have read half the books I have: assuming you're anything like me, there's a lot of time there just waiting to be used. It's also very relaxing, because being on my way to somewhere is the one time when I don't feel like I should be doing something else. Multitasking is, like, organised.

Or something.

It could be a little bit of an . . . issue if you get carsick - it's a good policy in life to avoid anything that may result in projectile vomiting - but trainsick isn't a thing, right? I also found you an article on reducing motion sickness, so never let it be said that I don't care about my readers. Even the ones that might throw up on me.

Anyway, my point. Think about the amount of time it takes you to commute in the morning, and back home again: if you usually drive, take the bus (or make your slave drive you) and that time is there to escape into fictional worlds.

Tip #2 - Variety is your friend.

Reading slumps (days or weeks or even - library forbid - months when you don't want to read anything) are pretty much the natural enemy of bookworms trying to beat their TBRs. There's no shame in having them, especially since it means that you give every book you do read the proper attention, but if you really want to crack on a reading slump can be exceptionally frustrating.

The secret to avoiding them is simple enough: vary what you read.

I usually find that I find myself in the deep pit of a slump due to boredom, and boredom stems from doing the same things over and over again. That's not saying that you shouldn't re-read (some days it feels like I live to relive Harry Potter books) but that reading several books from the same genre back-to-back can get even the best bookworms stuck in a rut. Branch out! Try something new! Or even *holds breath* . . .

Read some non-fiction. 

I have this horrible feeling that I might have gone too far.

Tip #3 - Always carry a book. Always.

I'm not even fully sure why I'm calling this a tip, quite frankly, since I'm all but certain that most bookworms bring books with them as a reflex, but always having that back-up book (and being fully prepared to use it) will do wonders for the amount of books you get through.

Waiting for someone to pick you up? There's a book right there. Are you okay just waiting for a second? It's fine, I've got my book. Teacher hasn't arrived to the lesson yet? Read. (They're always super-impressed when they come in and you're the only one not throwing things at the ceiling.) 

The fact is that implementing this tip will not just make you a more efficient reader, but also make you happier, because you can always escape to a book if you really need to.
     Disclaimer: It may also make your friends and family mad if you insist on reading when they try to talk to you, or more accurately they insist on trying to talk to you when you're reading. Employ tip wisely and don't say I didn't warn you.

Tip #4 - Clear out your TBR on a regular basis.

This post exists purely because of the terrifying power of a looming, so-tall-it's-mutant TBR. If you cull the number of books it has available as an army, then it loses a lot of that power.

I'm serious! It may seem like a daunting task, but go through your to-read shelf on Goodreads  (or Amazon wishlist, or whatever you like to use) and cut the books that don't seem interesting anymore. You'll be suprised at how cathartic this feels, and how many books you actually lose.

And, on the off chance you don't manage to cull any after all, you need to be ruthless-er. Remove all Ruths from the immediate vicinity and try again.

Tip #5 - Don't expect to really get on top of it, like, ever.

A non-existent TBR is pretty much impossible for bookworms, when you face the cold, hard truth of the matter. The best we can really hope for is "managable" (and that's if we're lucky, to be honest). But, be content with controlling it just a little, because . . . isn't a TBR a good thing?

Having no TBR pile would mean that YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE READ. Nothing. You'd have to pull novels off shelves at random to find your next fix I mean book; then it could be the worst thing of ever and you'd go in with absolutely no warning.

*shudder* TBR, I'm sorry! Come back . . .

In the comments: Come on, confess! How big is your TBR? How do you keep on top of it, if at all? And do you think a big TBR is a bad thing?
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  1. Ah, yes to all of these! I rarely get reading slump but when I do it's mostly because I am lack of energy (you'll understand this once you're older, like I am lol). I steal time to read though, usually during lunch break and thankfully my kids are independent enough so I can have me some "me time".

    I wholeheartedly agree with regularly trimming your TBR. Your taste will change overtime, what seems interesting today may look meh two months later. I myself like to limit, my TBR consists only 30 books :P This way, I realize that TBR can be less scary, and it can be helpful, too especially in getting myself organized.

    Great post as always, Lara!

    1. "Great post as always"? Aww, you flatter me, Citra. Thank you so much.

      Now I think about it, lack of energy is definitely bad for productive reading. I mean, how is one to keep one's eyes open? It's horribly difficult.

      Wait - did you just say your TBR is 30 BOOKS LONG? How? You're obviously some kind of bookworm superhero, and we should all learn from you. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Yes, yes, yes! My family went on vacation to MA last week, and all that time going to and from Boston on the T helped me to finish my book. I'm a big believer in bringing a book with you everywhere. Plus, lugging those hardbacks all around town counts as exercise, right? ;)

    1. It ABSOLUTELY counts as exercise! (I mean come on, how did I never think of that before. Smart move ;-)) And I really hope you enjoyed Boston - is it a good place to read?

  3. Absolutely! The movement doesn't make you as sick as a car might, it's actually very soothing. :)

    1. Sounds like I need to go to Boston to read on the train . . .


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