Let’s be honest. Let’s be brutally honest, just for a moment, okay? Your tbr is the hacking worst. It’s so full of books that you have piled up there, thinking that you will one day read them, books that you bought on a whim because you saw them on Twitter or Instagram or wherever. One day it will fall on your head, bury you under all those books. You put more books on there, probably more that you can ever read.
On the other hand, your tbr is also the very best, the best that ever was. A huge supply of books that you can read whenever you like, pick what ever you are in the mood for. It’s a memory box, a surprise gift, a collection of all the books you could ever read, your treasure, your preciousssss.
As we have established here, we all have a love-hate relationship with our tbrs and most of us know the underlying stress that comes with it. That’s why we all have ONE GOAL:
For our tbr to shrink. To read all the books that are on there until there are no left.
But you know what, I think I did it. I managed to get over it and to reconcile, with my tbr, with the idea of my tbr and all the books that are on there.
Here are tips of how I made peace with my tbr. You can do it too!
POINT 1: Accept that you have one
Sounds weird but listen: I know it would be easy to just, you know, not admit that you have this or that or that book. Not to put it on any list or conveniently forget about it.
But in the end, it would not help anyone, let alone yourself. So, accept that you have a tbr, accept every single book on it and make a proper list. Make an excel sheet or put them all in one Goodreads shelf or write it in a pretty notebook. Take stock.
But don’t omitt any books and don’t lie to yourself. It won’t help you in the long run and hey, better to know what books you have exactly than not to know, right?
POINT 2: Sort through it
Granted, this one is a little bit like Point 1. But it helps. I swear.
Sort your tbr and only keep the ones that you really still wanna read. I mean, yeah, it’s hard to get rid of books. I know. Who could ever get rid of their paper babies? And what if suddenly you do wanna read that book that has been neglected on your tbr for thirty-five (35) years and caught dust and has yellowing pages and you really, really needed to have it when it came out? I’m not gonna lie to you but the chances are rather slim. Not impossible but slim nonetheless.
So, take your time and sort through your tbr. Take a look at each book and decide if you are really still gonna read it or not. Hey, tastes change. It’s plausible that you don’t wanna read that super schmalzy romance novel you were really into when you were a teen anymore. Or that super gruesome thiller from your psycho thriller phase? What about the rest of that trilogy you bought and then decided after the first book that it’s just not for you? Do you really wanna keep those?
My Tirilu Top Tip (no, this will not catch on and please don’t ever make me repeat that) is that you put those books you’ve sorted out into a box and close it immediately. Don’t let them just on the shelf. Take them out and put them in a box. And don’t leave that box there too long. You might be tempted to take some of the books out of the box again and then where will you be? And then you can do with them whatever you want. Wanna donate them? Great, somebody will defintely be happy to find them! Wanna sell them on a used books site? Get more space AND make some money. Wanna give them to a family member that might like them? Hey, they even stay in the family! But don’t hold on to them when you don’t even want them anymore and slowly get crushed by their numbers.
POINT 3: Don’t compare
Don’t compare two things with others: The height of your tbr and your reading speed.
There will be a time – and it will come frequently, make no mistake – where you will take a look at your tbr and then take a look at somebody else’s tbr and you will cringe and falter and be utterly embarrassed, horrified, maybe angry at yourself and probably jealous. Because how can it be that this or this blogger’s tbr is so small? How can it be that they totally have a lid on the whole book buying and you don’t? How come your tbr just doesn’t shrink and theirs does?
Look. You have a tbr, it’s done. No reason to cry over
toppled books spilled milk. Furthermore, it’s yours. It’s shaped by your personality, by your likes and passions. It represents you and there is no reason to look at somebody else’s tbr since, hey, just like two people are not completely alike, there’s no two tbrs that are alike. So, no reason to compare!
The same principle works for comparing your reading speed. Just…don’t. You are your own person and you read at your own pace. If you’re a mood reader or a stickler for monthly reading lists, read in the morning or evening, able to stop right in the middle of the paragraph or have to finish a chapter each time. Others might read faster or more or whatever but they are not you and have different backgrounds and habits. Don’t compare and make yourself miserable.
POINT 4: Understand that you can actively work on it
This is proabably one of the most important point I have to put up here:
A tbr is not something that is beyond your control.
It’s not spiralling, it’s not sentient, it doesn’t have it’s own mind. (Even if it feels like that from time to time.) I mean it, you have the power and you are in control and you can actively work on it if you really want to.
I know that sounds preachy. And I don’t really care because it’s what the boyfriendTM keeps telling me when I complain about things that are actually changable. But it also makes me feel powerful everytime he says it, so maybe you need to hear it too. It’s not out of your control and you can do something about these stacks.
Say it with me:
It’s. Not. Out. Of. My. Control. And. I. Can. Do. Something. About. It.
And now, get to work. Read books from your tbr before you buy any more or get some from the library or fall down the ebook rabbit hole. Pick something from the list you have and don’t think too much about what others do or how fast others read. It’s not their tbr, it’s yours. And you can read away all the books.
I know, it seems rather easy to say and harder to do. But I’ve noticed that once I saw my tbr not as an unconquerable force anymore, I felt much better about my reading. I hope you can feel better too!
Now tell me, do you think you can do something with this advice? Is there anything you wanna ask, or have tips yourself?