A Pile of Guilt: Do you fret over your TBRs?

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned.  The cause of the recent rainy weather is my TBR pile–it’s BLOCKING the sun, preventing it from shining. 

In an act of desperation, I recently moved my TBR pile from my desk, where it was taking up prime real estate, to a dark corner of my office, out of view.  Why did I do this?  Simple.  The guilt over the leaning tower of TBRs was eating away at me, gnawing on me each time I plopped into my chair.  I tried rearranging and restacking them, to no avail.  They didn’t go away or look less daunting, so I banished them to the corner.

How did I find myself in such a conundrum?  Way back in February, at my request, a book blogging friend sent me a box of books as I prepared to launch Book, Line, and Sinker.  I wanted to have some books to review and feared I wouldn’t have enough material.  This kind blogger sent me a box of 20 books and I was overjoyed.  I pawed through the box, reading dust jackets and flipping through pages.

I picked out a book and blazed through it.  And then I started jotting down other bloggers’ suggestions for books and I even started getting review copies from some publishers and authors.  And the 19 books began to collect dust because I was reading everything else first!  Even though the blogger has told me repeatedly that it’s no big deal, I still feel terrible!  

Then, as if I didn’t have enough stuff to do, I created an insane challenge in which I thought I’d read 30 books this summer.  So far, I’ve made my way through 6 (and want to KISS the person who suggested Gargoyle–it was UNBELIEVABLE).  I’m going to keep plugging away but will be content to finish all 30 by Labor Day 2010! 

So, the 19 books are still lurking in my TBR pile only now they’ve found themselves piled below 12 others that are lined up for reviews in August and September.  Will I ever get to them all?  I have a book review each week for the next 8 weeks but should be able to squeeze in some of the 19 between now and September. 

Are you guilty over your TBRs?  How do you handle it?!  I need an intervention or at least have to say a few Hail Marys to assuage my guilt!

34 Comments

  • At 2009.07.23 23:31, Anastasia said:

    Oh, 19 books ain’t nothing. According to my LibraryThing tags I’ve got 374 TBR books. Ha! (Though some of those books might not have been updated recently.)

    Wait, I totally forgot about my ebooks. Um. I guess that makes it around 400?

    Basically I’ve just stopped worrying about it. Every so often I go through and prune, but I figure I’ve just got a lot of choices for my next read. I keep most of them on three shelves designated especially for TBR books, but others have been squirreled away in closets and my brother’s old bedroom. And then whenever I finish a book, if I don’t have a stack of unread library books, I just dig something out that interests me.

    • At 2009.07.23 23:40, The Biblio Brat said:

      Whew, I thought I was bad. Anastasia has me beat. I only have a bit over 200 on my TBR shelves.

      Ahem.

      See. It’s not so bad. You’re doing fine.

      • At 2009.07.24 00:25, softdrink said:

        You can still MOVE your TBR pile?? Consider yourself lucky.

        I think I’m keeping Brat company in the low 200s.

        Give it a few years and you’ll look back at this post and shake your head.

        • At 2009.07.24 01:24, shareleann said:

          I deal with my physical TBR pile by making it pretty on my bookshelf… but the actual list I am afraid to even guess at the number! Don’t fret – you have a lifetime to read!

          • At 2009.07.24 04:57, jess said:

            I have a relatively small pile of TBR but I still get overwhelmed at times, so don’t worry! I have been reading a lot of posts lately where bloggers are overwhelmed or in a reading slump, it just comes with the territory. Just remember, blogging is for fun, so read what you want and enjoy!

            • At 2009.07.24 04:18, Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said:

              Don’t feel guilty about it! It is a great problem to have. Try alternating books from each pile, so that you are gradually working your way through each of them and not neglecting one source.

              Only read books that you actually want to read – pressurising yourself to read everything takes the fun out of it.

              Good luck!

              • At 2009.07.24 06:10, Brittanie said:

                My TBR makes me feel guilty too. I get several review copies and I feel bad when I do not get them read within a few weeks. These are the ones with no set date attached to them just soon as possible. I read the ones with tour dates first. But I keep buying/paperbackswaping books so the TBR has grown a lot this summer from these too. I just take a deep breath and move on the next book. 🙂

                • At 2009.07.24 06:52, vivienne said:

                  Mine doesn’t anymore. I gave back all the books people had lent me saying as much as I would love to read them, I knew it would be ages until I did – they were cool. I stopped reviewing books for a site, which meant reading ebooks ( really not keen on those) and now I only have to read my books and my library choices. So I no longer feel guilty!

                  • At 2009.07.24 07:08, Lu said:

                    When I first started blogging, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough too. I had recently gone through a dry spell, when I had no books to read, not enough time to go to the library (I was not at home, I was on an extended stay at my parents) and I was bored out of my mind – so I started a blog. Then I found all the awesome books on other people’s blogs and put them all on request at my library. Now my pile of TBR is the equivalent of where I keep all 38 of my library books.

                    Yup, 38.

                    • At 2009.07.24 07:53, Care said:

                      I won’t count my tbr; I have broken it up into 4 different piles (in different rooms). I only get a bit guilty when I start thinking of the challenges I’ve signed up for.

                      • At 2009.07.24 07:54, Thoughts of Joy said:

                        I just mentioned this topic in a recent blog post! I didn’t call it “guilt”, but more of a “yearning” that causes frustration at times. What I have done to try and eliminate those feelings (elimination is far off, but they have lessened some) is to 1. be thankful that I have shelving units full of great books to look forward to (focusing on how wonderful it is that they exist and that I have them – not on the fact that they are just sitting there AND being in a slump could be a worse feeling) and 2. to read one off those shelves every now and then – currently I’ve been reading a lot of ARCs. Even reading one is progress in lowering the amount! Also, I put all read books on other shelving units. It’s nice to actually see the progress.

                        • At 2009.07.24 08:44, Steph said:

                          I don’t feel guilty about having so many unread books lying around. In my mind, books never have an expiration date, so even if it takes me a couple of years to get to one, that’s ok. I’m also a big believer in the idea that there is a right time for every book and as much as I wish I were the kind of person who only bought one book at a time and read it then and there, I’m not, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood for books that have been around the longest. Ever the optimist, I believe their time will come and when they do, both they and I will be ready!

                          • At 2009.07.24 09:52, Hayden Tompkins said:

                            Huh. I don’t actually have a TBR pile, though to be fair I have a list of books I’d like to read.

                            • At 2009.07.24 10:20, Positively Present said:

                              I don’t fret over them, I feel excited by them! 🙂 Knowing I have some great books to read makes me very happy. However, I’m not writing a blog on books so it’s probably a little bit different for you. If you’re really frettin’ about ’em I’d suggest making a plan for when you’re going to read each one.

                              • At 2009.07.24 10:31, Michelle said:

                                I feel zero guilt about my TBR’s I feel sadness! I want to read each and every one of them now, like quicker than now. But since I don’t have super powers that ain’t likely to happen.

                                What do I do with my TBR pile? I put all my book in by bookcase and look at how pretty they are. Then I keep adding to my list and adding to my pile. Because, really they want to make new friends and have different people attending their party behind glass doors.

                                • At 2009.07.24 11:00, Amy Reads Good Books said:

                                  Fortunately, I’m too new to blogging to have much of a TBR pile. I do love that I now have heaps of choices thanks to all the blogs I read. I also honed a deep sense of guilt at not reading enough in graduate school. Perhaps that will re-emerge as my TBR pile grows! 🙂

                                  • At 2009.07.24 13:01, SuziQoregon said:

                                    It’s not the unread books in the house that intimidate me. It’s the 528 marked as ‘not-read’ in the TBR spreadsheet, plus the 81 on the ‘maybe’ worksheet in that same workbook.

                                    Excel keeps it tidy and sortable, but doesn’t keep it from growing ridiculous.

                                    • At 2009.07.24 13:59, Susan said:

                                      We bloggers are all guilty of this. I do feel guilty but things happen in our life that sometimes we can’t help.. The last few weeks I have been getting a pile of books. It , thank goodness has dropped a little.

                                      • At 2009.07.24 14:10, Angie said:

                                        I never feel guilty about my to-read stacks. In fact, I feel kind of happy when I look over and see all the books just waiting to be read.

                                        • At 2009.07.24 14:21, Megan said:

                                          Oh, my TBR stack haunts me, too! It used to be a literal stack before I got my awesome new bookcase… and it had grown from one pile to two massive, teetering stacks on the floor that threatened to take over my room. Every time I looked over there, I’d scan the titles and think about how many of them had been gathering dust since I’d gotten them a year ago! I begged my sister for several hardcovers for Christmas… and I haven’t cracked any of them open even once.

                                          So yes, I’m doing a few bookish rosaries over here, too… need to somehow rid myself of my guilt!

                                          • At 2009.07.24 15:41, Lisa said:

                                            Whatever you do, do not join paperbackswap.com. I used to have a box of unread stuff in the garage and maybe 20 or so in the house. Now I have hundreds. I don’t feel guilt, but it’s starting to see more like clutter.

                                            • At 2009.07.24 15:53, Cathy said:
                                              • At 2009.07.24 20:08, Jenners said:

                                                I only feel guilty if I got a book for free to be reviewed. I try to read those right away and “get the monkey” off my back. Otherwise, I don’t feel bad about the books I collect and hope to read some day — thought I am thinking of just working through my bookshelves next year and not getting any new books. Yeah right.

                                                • At 2009.07.24 20:27, Lisa said:

                                                  I don’t know that I feel guilty about my towers of tbr books but I am starting to feel overwhelmed and a little panicky. I’ve joined too many book clubs which is keeping me away from “my” books. It’s making me sad for those poor books that I’m ignoring–so I’m giving up all but one of the book clubs come this fall. Then maybe…

                                                  • At 2009.07.24 20:52, bybee said:

                                                    My TBRs are that extra food in the pantry, and those cords of wood, ready for winter. What if South Korea decided to do a book embargo? Bring it on — I’m ready!

                                                    • At 2009.07.25 09:25, Beth F said:

                                                      Waving my hand in the air: me, me!! Yes, I feel guilty that I requested review books and haven’t gotten to them. Why? Because my eyes are bigger than my time allotment and work has really picked up and summer is just not the time for sitting around reading and . . . .

                                                      I’ll get to the books eventually. I try not to stress.

                                                      • At 2009.07.25 14:34, Jessica said:

                                                        I do. I totally guilt out on them. I thought it was because I was Catholic!

                                                        • At 2009.07.25 15:27, bermudaonion said:

                                                          I do feel guilty from time to time, but the feeling passes quickly. I actually find pleasure in the beautiful stack of books beside me.

                                                          • At 2009.07.26 17:34, FemmeFairyGodmother said:

                                                            Ha! I don’t have TBR pile. I have a TBR bookcase. I will always have one, I think, because I keep buying new books and getting books from the library! It’s ridiculous. I keep saying I am NOT buying one more book until I read at least half of what I have. Then, I ignore myself. 🙂 Good luck reading yours!

                                                            • At 2009.07.27 10:43, sagustocox said:

                                                              I need an entire weekend to reorganize my TBR pile, so yes, I am feeling some serious guilt right now, but summer makes it hard for me to read when I love to do so many outdoor activities.

                                                              good luck

                                                              • At 2009.07.27 15:59, chartroose said:

                                                                I have a more than 350 book TBR list, so don’t feel bad. Guilt was mainly created for Catholics and Republican adulterers. The rest of us should be like Wall Street tycoons: how we live today is the ONLY thing that counts. Leave the massive book piles for another day and another housekeeper.

                                                                • At 2009.07.28 17:42, Belle said:

                                                                  No guilt here – I’ve come to think of my TBR piles as treasure troves, because it feels like every time I decide to dive deep in one (I have several, all over the place – I am not the neatest person in the world, either) I come up for air happily grasping a book that I’d forgotten that looks absolutely to-die-for-must-read-right-now. It works for me 🙂

                                                                  • At 2009.07.31 12:11, trish said:

                                                                    Isn’t it amazing how fast you can acquire books?? But I hope everyone has convinced you to FEEL NO GUILT. 🙂

                                                                    • At 2009.08.06 17:43, Rebecca said:

                                                                      From what I have been told (as a newbie myself) that newbie book bloggers often overwhelm themselves with books to read, review copies, and challenges. I know I took on too many challenges. I have had to drop a couple of them I knew I wouldn’t finish. I also had to stop taking in books that needed to be reviewed in a certain time frame because it started stressing me out, especially since I read slowly. Don’t worry, you are not the only one with a Mt. TBR looming over you. I think it comes with the territory.

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