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KEV67

Keeping your TBR under control

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Does anyone have a problem keeping their TBR list under control? Books are so much easier to buy than read. I currently have seven books on my bookshelves waiting to be read. One of them is 1700 pages long. Another looks about 1000 pages long. I am trying to restrict myself to one new book for every two I read. It's a bit like paying off the national debt.

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11 minutes ago, KEV67 said:

Does anyone have a problem keeping their TBR list under control? Books are so much easier to buy than read. I currently have seven books on my bookshelves waiting to be read. One of them is 1700 pages long. Another looks about 1000 pages long. I am trying to restrict myself to one new book for every two I read. It's a bit like paying off the national debt.

I have a kindle and my TBR list does not have to have books that are bought. I can put as many books as I want on the list and then either download them from the library or put them on hold when I am ready to read one of them. Digital Libraries and the kindle are one of the great advances in reading.

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I lost control of my TBR years ago.  Restricting my buying isn't working. I have nearly 700 books and have read around 80% of them. I don't let it bother me because having a lot of unread books is actually good for your mental health, apparently.  Studies have shown.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I have a vast TBR, justified in my opinion by living in a foreign country and not having easy access to an English language library so I have to stock up when I can both with paper books and on my Kobo. I also have several titles on both, I'll buy something on special offer on Kobo then if I come across the real life version I'll get that too as I prefer reading in print and like being able to lend favoured books to the family. Then there's my Audible library too...

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Not mentioned in my post above I also have ebooks on my Kindle.  I can't resist getting a book for pennies and then there's the whole works of for pennies, so that's getting out of contorol too.  Like France, I prefer print books but it doesn't stop me and in my defence there are some authors (such as Emile Zola) whose selected books are ebook only.  It's a full blown addiction.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I long gave up trying to control my TBRs (note the plural!).  It is an addiction but it's sort of comforting.

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23 hours ago, KEV67 said:

Does anyone have a problem keeping their TBR list under control? Books are so much easier to buy than read. I currently have seven books on my bookshelves waiting to be read. One of them is 1700 pages long. Another looks about 1000 pages long. I am trying to restrict myself to one new book for every two I read. It's a bit like paying off the national debt.


I mainly go for used books but also buy new occasionally. I don't worry about the TBRs - I have about 1400 books at the moment and there are probably a few hundred on my TBR "pile"! I have books all over the house. I buy a book because I think it will be an interesting read. I'm not always in the mood to read about whatever that one is but I have the book for when I am. Which is fine. :)

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On 26/09/2021 at 9:04 PM, KEV67 said:

I am trying to restrict myself to one new book for every two I read. It's a bit like paying off the national debt

I love that :lol:.

 
I also have a huge TBR, and although I do feel bad sometimes buying a book when I still have loads to read, I really love having a stock of unread books! I know some people feel overwhelmed by having too many unread books but, when I look at mine, I just feel excited about reading them. 
 

On 27/09/2021 at 8:38 PM, Flip Martian said:

I buy a book because I think it will be an interesting read. I'm not always in the mood to read about whatever that one is but I have the book for when I am. Which is fine. :)

That pretty much sums up my approach too!

 

On 26/09/2021 at 9:51 PM, lunababymoonchild said:

having a lot of unread books is actually good for your mental health, apparently.  Studies have shown.

I haven’t seen that study but I’d agree based on my own experience! 

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Without having counted, and including over 100 Kindle books I've purchased over the years, I suspect I have somewhere in the region of 200 to 300 books I have not read. 

 

I use a small angry terrier to keep them in check. 

 

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I long ago gave up on keeping my Kindle and hardcopy TBR lists 'under control'.  I have around 300 on the former and 1400 on the latter, out of a collection of around 3000 books - I have recently divested myself of around 1000 books from the combined lists, mostly those that I've read and am not likely to reread. My fiction library, in particular, mainly consists of books I have yet to read, as I nowadays only retain favourite authors and books once read.  I firmly believe in Umberto Eco's concept of the anti-library, as cited in this much quoted section in Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan:

 

"The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary."

 

 

Edited by willoyd

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Although I have donated lots of books in recent years, we still have shelves upon shelves of them remaining, and we wouldn't have it any other way. We both also have kindles, which are comfortably heaving with books. I need reading glasses now, and often find it easier to enlarge the print on my kindle then to wear them, especially when I am tired. 

 

I am most at ease when I am surrounded by books, and notebooks, and pens and, and.....so what's to control? :) There are worse addictions to have. 

 

 

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I have been good in not buying any books recently. I now only have two left on my TBR shelves (not including the three I have on the go at the present). One of those is Notes by Boz by Charles Dickens. That's only half a book. It was in a collection of six hardbacks I bought for a tenner in a charity shop. I expect their original owner passed away. Once I have read Boz, they're all going to Oxfam. The other book I have is Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, which is about 1700 pages long. so I am not counting on finishing that this year. However soon I am going to have another splurge, although I might wait until the new year.

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I feel relatively virtuous compared to most of you. My TBR list was relatively under control. One thing that helps is I don't read ebooks. Also, I don't have any shelf space left. I have long wanted to get another bookcase, but the only way I could do that is to get a shorter sofa. Also, while I Oxfam most my read books, any book with some sentimental attachment I keep. Sentiment can be a strange thing as I have a bunch of economics books, engineering books, renewable energy books and foreign language dictionaries which I will probably never use again. However I have invested so much time in them I am reluctant to get shot of them. Perhaps I should put them in cardboard boxes and shift them somewhere.

Edited by KEV67

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Also, I have splurged and I have not finished yet. Apart from Clarissa, which is truly humongous, I have three Osprey duel series books, one Jack Reacher, Bonjour Tristess & Wide Sargasso Sea, two science fiction, one western, one book on WW2 aircraft engine development, and another teach yourself Latin book. Also A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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9 hours ago, KEV67 said:

I feel relatively virtuous compared to most of you. My TBR list was relatively under control.

 

Hmmm. There's quite a value judgement there.  Why is it 'virtuous' to have a TBR list 'under control'?  I adore reading and having books around me - why wouldn't I have a huge TBR pile?  What's virtuous about having a small list?  As I said in my earlier post, I long ago abandoned any idea of keeping my TBR list 'under control', simply because that didn't work for me - I have a philosophy that means a fairly large unread library of books is a good thing (virtuous)!

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2 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

Hmmm. There's quite a value judgement there.  Why is it 'virtuous' to have a TBR list 'under control'?  I adore reading and having books around me - why wouldn't I have a huge TBR pile?  What's virtuous about having a small list?  As I said in my earlier post, I long ago abandoned any idea of keeping my TBR list 'under control', simply because that didn't work for me - I have a philosophy that means a fairly large unread library of books is a good thing (virtuous)!


 

I agree entirely. Studies have shown  that having a large unread library is very beneficial to good mental health. Mine is modest compared to Willoyd's but I won't be without my books, read or unread.

 

This article also mentions not having a large TBR : https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/do-i-own-too-many-books/

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I enjoy buying books, but when I buy them I intend to read them. I may as well leave my anti-library in the bookshop where I have not paid any money for them.

 

Umberto Eco was definitely a clever fellow. Reading Focault's Pendulum convinced me of that, although I found it exasperating. Not as exasperating as The Island of the Day Before, after which I stopped reading him. The Name of the Rose was good.

 

I am reminded of the bit in The Great Gatsby in which Gatsby shows his bookshelf full of great books which he has not read. I took it as a criticism: that he was trying to pretend he was more learned and cultured than he was. Not that I am accusing you of any of that.

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58 minutes ago, KEV67 said:

I enjoy buying books, but when I buy them I intend to read them. I may as well leave my anti-library in the bookshop where I have not paid any money for them.

 

Umberto Eco was definitely a clever fellow. Reading Focault's Pendulum convinced me of that, although I found it exasperating. Not as exasperating as The Island of the Day Before, after which I stopped reading him. The Name of the Rose was good.

 

I am reminded of the bit in The Great Gatsby in which Gatsby shows his bookshelf full of great books which he has not read. I took it as a criticism: that he was trying to pretend he was more learned and cultured than he was. Not that I am accusing you of any of that.

 

Each to their own, which I think Willoyd - if I may say - and certainly I was making the point of. The Great Gatsby is a work of fiction and I wasn't impressed by it I'm afraid but all of my books are in my bedroom, all of my father's books are in his bedroom and all of my brother's books are in his bedroom.  If you came for a visit you wouldn't know that anybody in this house read anything at all, except for the wall paper in the living room which consists of books, that might give you hint.

 

13 hours ago, KEV67 said:

I feel relatively virtuous compared to most of you. My TBR list was relatively under control.

 

Does read a little judgemental as Willoyd pointed out. Just putting my point of view across.

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I keep it to around 7 or 8 books before I buy another. 

 

My concern is that if I have an endless amount of unread books, I'll inevitably put pressure on myself to read quickly to get to the next one.

 

I want to savour the experience.

 

With that in mind, people who read more than one book at a time perplex me. For the same reason. 

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4 hours ago, Hux said:

I keep it to around 7 or 8 books before I buy another. 

 

My concern is that if I have an endless amount of unread books, I'll inevitably put pressure on myself to read quickly to get to the next one.

 

I want to savour the experience.

 

With that in mind, people who read more than one book at a time perplex me. For the same reason. 

 

I read quickly anyway.  Obviously it depends on the book and I do get caught in the perennial reader's dilemma of being desperate to find out what happens next and savouring the book but I do tend to run through a book (except Zeno's Conscience, current read. That's taking as long as it takes). I've been choosing my own reading material since I was 4 so I can no more slow down (and I deliberately did that with last year's Faulkner to no apparent avail) than fly in the air. I have also had to get myself out of the habit of reading more than one book at a time - I was in Aberdeen when that manifested itself out of desperation really, there was nothing else to do there, I'd seen all the films, they only have one theatre and I don't drink.

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9 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

Does read a little judgemental as Willoyd pointed out. Just putting my point of view across.

 

Apologies.

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On 04/01/2022 at 8:26 AM, KEV67 said:

I enjoy buying books, but when I buy them I intend to read them. I may as well leave my anti-library in the bookshop where I have not paid any money for them.

 

From my perspective there are several reasons why that doesn't work for me: I buy a lot of hardbacks, particularly for non-fiction, as I find print sizes in the paperbacks too small to read pleasurably.  They often go out of print or unavailable quickly.  If they are available they are often far more expensive even second hand (most of my buying of new books is in sales etc).  I also buy a lot from specialist charity bookshops and 2nd-hand shops, and those books aren't there when I go back. IN terms of paperbacks, I read a fair amount of series and, being the sort of geek/nerd I am, I like to have them in uniform bindings - and publishers have a habit of changing them, so I tend to buy several books in a series at one go, or as soon as the next one in that series is out, ready to read later. I also dip into books a lot - not easy to do if they are in the bookshop. And I enjoy sitting in a room with lots of full bookshelves (would love a proper library!).  So, having a library/anti-library works at several levels for me; it won't of course for everyone (my wife thinks I'm mad - she's probably at least partly right, she usually is!).

 

On 04/01/2022 at 8:26 AM, KEV67 said:

 

Umberto Eco was definitely a clever fellow. Reading Focault's Pendulum convinced me of that, although I found it exasperating. Not as exasperating as The Island of the Day Before, after which I stopped reading him. The Name of the Rose was good.

 

I'd agree with all of that!

 

On 04/01/2022 at 8:26 AM, KEV67 said:

I am reminded of the bit in The Great Gatsby in which Gatsby shows his bookshelf full of great books which he has not read. I took it as a criticism: that he was trying to pretend he was more learned and cultured than he was. Not that I am accusing you of any of that.

 

I think your interpretation of that is spot on.  For me, it underlined the fundamental shallowness of Gatsby - showing off all those books, which he's got for display not to read. My book storage is very similar to luna's. We don't even have the book wallpaper, although I do have a large cushion on one sofa in the sittingroom covered in a booky fabric!

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On 1/4/2022 at 11:51 AM, Hux said:

I keep it to around 7 or 8 books before I buy another. 

 

My concern is that if I have an endless amount of unread books, I'll inevitably put pressure on myself to read quickly to get to the next one.

 

I want to savour the experience.

 

With that in mind, people who read more than one book at a time perplex me. For the same reason. 

I have to buy loads of books - there is an English bookshop in Bordeaux but it's small and by necessity expensive, there isn't an English library within 250 km and the nearest charity shops with English books are 150 km...  There is a big charity booksale held twice a year which is good for stocking up on the thrillers my husband likes reading. So I trawl second hand sites, get anything that looks interesting and if a book comes up at a good price that looks reasonably interesting I get it. I know authors need royalties (I'm one myself) but I can only afford to buy a very few new.

 

I agree though that sometimes the sheer quantity of books can seem oppressive but if I do a cull I rapidly find myself restlessly searching books sites for something to fill the gap.

 

I often read more than one book at a time. If I've borrowed a book I only read it where I can keep it in absolutely pristine condition, so not at breakfast or in the bath. Ditto books with pictures don't go into the bathroom and when I'm tired I'll read something light that doesn't need too much concentration.

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