Tackling Mount TBR

I have a problem.

If you didn’t know it by now, I like books. Writing them, sure, but just as importantly, reading them. I’ve been a lifetime reader, and I think I owe a lot of that to the circumstances of my youth. Nothing dramatic, books didn’t save me from a nasty homelife, no luckdragons appeared in a time of need. But I did spend some formative years without a TV, which in and of itself isn’t a big deal. My kids have spent a large part of their lives without TV, too, and they didn’t all turn out to be readers. Much to my chagrin. But in my case, I turned to that other source of new adventures and entertainment, the book.

So began my problem. If I come across a book I want to read, even if I’m not in a position to read it right now, I’ll buy it. Especially if it’s on sale. Why pay more for the book later when I can get it for a song now? In the world of paper books, this hadn’t been too much of an issue. A lack of used bookstores in my life, and infrequent trips to booksellers like the Books-A-Million outlet back in Virginia (where they sell used library books en masse in addition to new books) left me with little opportunities to fall victim to this weakness. Sure, there were the occasional library book sales, but not carrying cash has saved me there.

Then came the age of the ebook. What’s worse? Not only is it so easy to purchase a book 24 hour a day, but then publishers started getting smart. A new book in a series is about to come out? Then offer the first book for a buck or two to hook them so they’ll come back from the rest.

And so my To Be Read pile began to grow. Compounding that are the occasional, impossible to pass up, StoryBundle deals, where for a pittance I can get a dozen or so books and donate to charity.

Because of this bad behaviour, I have about 30-40 books in my TBR. Sadly, that doesn’t even count the sequels to books I really enjoyed but just haven’t bought yet. Obviously, something needs to be done about this.

First, I’m not adding to the TBR pile except under the circumstance that the book is on sale for only a few dollars. I know this is how I got into this mess, but by avoiding paying full price for books I want, I should at least be able to minimize further growth (those sales don’t coincide with my interests often enough to be a real threat).

Second, I’ve set my reading to ramming speed. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know I’ve had an uptake in books read lately. Expect that trend to continue. I’m filling my wishlist on Amazon (which should be reflected in my Wants To Read on Goodreads) with all of the books I would have spent money on if I had it to spare, but I’m focussing on getting that list of books down to 0 in my TBR.

I won’t read them all. Some have been sitting too long, the interest that fueled their inclusion in the first place fading away already. Some may not work for me – story, writing, what have you – but I will wind that list down. I don’t expect I will finish this project this year – there are a lot of books and only so much free time left to read in.

OK, back to Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names for me. I should have this one wrapped up in the next few days, assuming no major interruptions.