Sunday, October 9, 2011

Teetering towers of TBR books

A few of Erin's fiction shelves
Erin (of Erin Reads) wrote about The Dreaded TBR in her Sunday Salon post today.
TBR lists: We all have them. Whether physical or digital or paper, teetering towers or orderly shelves or modest stacks, lists or spreadsheets or tags, readers have to-be-read lists. And I’m guessing there are as many approaches to organizing them as there are TBR lists to be organized.
Right away I noticed her photo with the caption "A few of my fiction shelves" and knew she had a serious book addiction.  The picture shows not a few of her TBR books, but a few of her TBR shelves.  There's more?  Uh-huh, more than whatcha see here.  Her problems are familiar to me, like buying a second copy of a book already on her shelves.  Can I get a show of hands, here?  Has that ever happened to you?  Of course, it has!  On occasion, I've ended up with three copies -- it should be against the law (book law, or something) for publishers to re-issue books with different covers I don't recognize!  After discussing spreadsheets and Goodreads, Erin asked what we other readers do.
I’d love to hear about your TBR list. Is it physical, paper, digital, or a combination? Does it include the unread books you own, or just the ones you’ve heard about elsewhere? Do you separate TBR books from the ones you’ve already read, or mix them together? How do you sort or tag your TBR list? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share with me? Do tell!
Okay, I'll tell.

First, though I have lots of TBR titles floating around in my head, I don't have a TBR list.  With so many on my shelves waiting to be read (see the accompanying photo of mostly-unread books), I would likely never refer to a list if I had one.

A few of my mixed-together books
Do I separate TBR books from ones I've read?  No, I have -- correction, I try to have -- my books on shelves by topic, and that may mean mixing fiction and nonfiction, according to how I'm using the books.  I don't use the Dewey decimal system, but I have a shelf for books I'm using to study (a whole shelf of 31 books by and about Jurgen Moltmann and his wife, for instance) or to teach (books about writing for last year's class at Chattanooga State) or to write (see my tentative book titles, posted three weeks ago).  The subjects of the books I'm writing:
1.  Women ~ how book blogging not only sells books, but also shares what "wise women" have learned in a lifetime.
2.  Genesis ~ looking at the first book of the Bible as a soap opera with a twist.
3.  Traveling in books ~ around the world, and also to all fifty states.
By the way, did you notice she and I have the very same shelving units?  My books are a little closer to the front edge than hers, but the shelves are identical.  They are perfect for anyone who ever moves her shelves, since the units are three shelves high and can be stacked atop each other to save floor space.  Her photo (top) shows the bottom three shelves, mine (below) shows the top three shelves.

You really should go read what Erin wrote.


Erin said...

Oh my goodness, we DO have the same shelves! I had three and had always used them in tight places in a row, until about a year ago when I wanted to stack them two high. Thankfully I was able to find a fourth! They really are excellent, very versatile and stable but pretty, too.

I really enjoyed your take on my post. I love hearing about (and seeing) other people's bookshelves and cataloging systems. It sounds like you have a grouping system that works well with how you use your books.

Thanks for taking the time to write this response, Bonnie!

Wendy said...

I'm amazed at how many digital books I've already bought and downloaded and haven't read. I couldn't wait until I I wanted to actually read it?

The books you are going to write, I'm putting on my TBR list. Love them!

And thanks so much for your support at my place.

Helen's Book Blog said...

TBR shelves overwhelm me, but I do have them. Currently I have one and a half shelves so that's not too bad. Of course, the library I work in is like a whole bunch of TBR shelves!

I do have a list, on GoodReads and on my blog, but it isn't really up to date. However, it is a way for me to let go of remembering what I want to read

Gavin said...

I love the fact that you two have the same bookshelves and it is wonderful learning about everyone's TBR lists.

Bookfool said...

I'm afraid I don't have a system. I collected books for *years* because our library is awful and I figured I needed my own personal library to draw from. Well . . . I overdid it a bit. And, then I started getting ARCs. For now, I'm only reading what I've got. A few books are straggling in from publishers and PaperbackSwap, but nothing like I was getting for a while (first I overdid the purchasing, then I overdid acceptance of books for review). I've been donating books like crazy. Once the books in the back of my car go to the library (they closed early for the holiday -- if there's a federal holiday, our library closes for 3-4 days, argh), I'll be at about 700 books donated, so far this year. So, the TBR shelves are starting to get some spaces, which is nice. I have more than enough to keep me busy for a decade.