There are so many books to read. Of course, I love reading and so this makes me very happy in many ways. I love checking out new and old releases and thinking about what I want to read next. But if I’m being honest, all this choice can also be overwhelming. There are so many books that sound appealing to me. How will I have enough time to read them all? How will I choose? The books just keep coming!
Add to that my tendency to plan what I’m going to read as if I’m scheduling appointments, and it takes the fun out of it. If a new book has to go on the bottom of some list, I take away my own ability to start spontaneously reading something new right now just because it appeals to me. And I don’t want to miss that.
I know I’m not the only one who deals with this. There are plenty of articles and blog posts about TBR guilt and how to avoid it. The bottom line is that reading isn’t a chore – it should be enjoyable! For me, I went through a little exercise at the beginning of January that made me feel like I was starting fresh.
I started from scratch with my TBR list.
I had a monstrous list that had been accumulated over years and years. I took everything off and started from the beginning. I weeded ruthlessly. I looked at all the titles on my list (and looked them up if I had no idea what the book was even about anymore), and I only kept books that I was still genuinely interested in or that really appealed to me.
What really inspired my purge was this article from The Guardian: “Three thousand reasons to choose your reading carefully.” The author estimates she’ll read around 3,000 books in her lifetime: “Life is short and books are long. We don’t get to read many of them and I’m starting to realize that some books don’t deserve to be among my theoretical 3,000.” Some books just aren’t worth it – not necessarily because it’s a “bad” book but because it isn’t a book for you.
So the books that went on the chopping block when I cleaned up my TBR were the ones that weren’t for me – the book that I put on because someone told me it was a “classic,” or the book that I put on just because it’s a bestseller. They’re books that don’t really interest me, although they may be wonderful titles for someone else. Those are all gone. What’s left are books I really want to read. I’m excited by what’s on my list, and that’s the best type of TBR list around!
Right now, my “Next to Read” list contains Ru by Kim Thuy, Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar, and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill. I’m currently reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m excited by all of them.
What’s on your TBR list right now? How do you decide what makes the cut?