Getting rid of the TBR pile

I wonder what it’s like to not have a TBR pile, or at least to not have one that is so out of control you have to devise a selection system and institute a book acquisition ban just to rein it in. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and the truth is I can’t really imagine not having one, but I’m beginning to wish I could.

Imagine the freedom of being able to read whatever you want, whenever you want. Imagine walking into a bookshop, seeing that Lena Dunham’s book is finally out, buying it, and then just bloody well reading it. Crazy, I know.

Instead of living in this weird world where people buy books and then read them straight away, I will ignore the fact that Bone Clocks is calling to me, because if I don’t there are only two possible outcomes, neither of them good:

  1. I’ll let chaos rule. I’ll abandon the lucky dip system, devour the book in one sitting, then feel guilty about all the other books legitimately waiting their turn, or
  2. I’ll play by the rules. I’ll put an entry in the lucky dip jar, and then wait for what could be months (even years knowing my TBR) before it’s pulled out. By which time, the internet will be full of spoilers and Tom Hanks will have signed on to play at least three of the starring roles in the movie adaptation.

Do you see my dilemma?

I am genuinely trying to whittle down my TBR so I can be a ‘normal’ person (at least when it comes to reading habits…), but something always seems to get in the way of my good intentions. Clearly, the problem is that there are not enough hours in the day to read all the books – actually, that’s not strictly true, as Liv Tyler said in Empire Records, “There are twenty-four usable hours in every day”. It’s just that a lot of those hours are rudely monopolised by a silly little thing called work. So I guess until Eleanor Catton opens up her ‘reading’ grant to Australians (and decides I’m worth it), I’ll just have to quit my job – that way I’ll have more time and less money: the perfect combination for reducing my TBR pile.

10 replies »

  1. Hi. I had similar thought last night. I have to do long commutes for new job starting today so last night I tried to figure out which book to bring along. I’m hoping that my TBR will be halved with this new job. Will tweet you a picture


  2. LOL. the perks of unemployment, lots of time and no money to buy more books. I quite like your lucky dip system actually. Only thing is, I’d probably never stick to it. I’d pull out a book and be quietly disappointed because I didn’t get the one I really wanted to read – which is silly because if they are on my tbr list then I want to read them all right?

    Sigh, non readers don’t understand this sort of stress!


    • I get the boyfriend to choose from the lucky dip for me, because I would be exactly like you. I’d get weirdly disappointed, then I’d put it back and choose again, and then I’d feel guilty about the first book, and I’d probably still be disappointed with the second choice. Rollercoaster of emotions. This way I still get that disappointed feeling, but I don’t want him to know how much of a freak I am, so I always accept what he’s chosen. #booknerdproblems 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this problem. I’m only just reading a book now that I bought back in March with a gift voucher I got for my birthday. I think I may need to adopt the lucky dip system. I usually go by which book I feel like reading at the time.

    I try the “ban” thing, but it never works out. I usually see something I need and just HAVE to HAVE it. My retail therapy is…buying books. So when I need some, I have to buy something. Pity is, books are so goddamn expensive, and I’m a book snob. I like to buy my books new. Worst idea ever.I wish I were different, but I prefer the smell of new books to old books.


    • I found the lucky dip was a good way for me to get to all the ones that had been on my TBR for ages. Before, I would get distracted by all the shiny, new books, and ignore the old guys, so this way everyone has the same chance of getting read 😉

      I know what you mean about the smell of new books – man, so good. But I’m WAY too much of a tight-ass to buy all my books new – Lifeline Book Fair is the best and worst thing in the world for me!


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