Tackle the TBR

Posted April 7, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 20 Comments

Alternate title for this post: This is all Terri’s fault.

No, really. So Terri at Reading by Starlight made a post about her TBR and it convinced me(it didn’t take much effort) to make a concentrated effort on knocking out some books on my physical TBR(as in, books I already own but haven’t read).

So I began by counting books. Then my ebooks. Then my ARCs. The numbers were slightly terrifying. Ready for this?


Behold the TBR spreadsheet. I’ve drawn helpful arrows to the cell that is holding the current total of my books I own but haven’t read. I’m hoping this also helps with ebooks because I so often forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind.

When I made the spreadsheet it was actually at 185, so you know, progress(Edit: except a day after drafting this post I found half a shelf I hadn’t added yet, so that is actually back to 186). This number frightens me, and I’ve GOT to do something about it, so I’m working on tackling my TBR.

I’m not setting any super stringent goals because I’ve already learn I can’t follow those sort of strict guidelines. However, when I thought of the phrase “tackle the TBR”, it made me think of football(because tackles, obviously). So I’ve decided for every ten books I read from this list, I get a “first down”, aka some kind of reward. Bribing myself has always worked wonders in the past. The only thing I’m not rewarding myself with is books, but there’s still lots of options. When I reach ten books, I might let myself watch a TV show I’ve been wanting to watch or buy a bookish(but not a book) item.

I did highlight some books that I wanted to keep “on deck”, but it’s a pretty loose list and I’m not considering myself bound to it if something catches my eye outside that group. It’s just sort of a reminder to myself about the books I’ve been meaning to read soon.

Ideally I’d like to get the TBR to under 100 by the end of the year, which is feasible at my reading speed but not exactly setting myself up for success. It’d be close. Even if I don’t reach that, though, I’d like to think I can put a big dent in this spreadsheet.



20 responses to “Tackle the TBR

  1. Cait

    ooh GOOD ON YOU!! I hope you can get it down to 100!! ^-^ I…I was pretty crazy at the beginning of this year, but now I’m not too bad. I actually got mine down to 4 books this week. 😉 *flails forever* BUUUUUT. Now it’s back up to 10, so whatever. I love books. And I have like zero self-control in the library, so it’s come to a point where I’m not allowed on the library website (reserving is way too convenient and easy) until I’ve read ALL my current library books. haha.XD

  2. *wanders in cackling madly*


    I’m so proud of you and your spreadsheet and your color-coding. GO STORMY GO!

    • Stormy


      I do enjoy the spreadsheet, though. There’s something very satisfying about having a nice list of books I own that need to be read. It’s both panic-inducing & calming at the same time.

  3. It’s so daunting to see the exact number of books you own and haven’t read yet. A few weeks ago I cringed when I saw my review shelf being around 50 books, that is 50 books I received for review that I haven’t read yet and beside that I still have a lot of ebooks and physical books, so i think I can easily reach the 150 as well.
    That spreadsheet looks really neat and organized. I thought of making a spreadsheet, but for now I use my goodreads shelves to keep everything organized and keep track of what I still have to read.

    • Stormy

      Very daunting!
      Ha, I tend to make spreadsheets for everyone. I was putting off making this one because I didn’t want to see the number, but I think it would help. I use the GR shelves too, but I think those can also be out of sight & out of mind for me.

  4. I just…I don’t understand. I know you’re a blogger and books seem to magically appear in bloggers’ laps (this is my inaccurate interpretation of book haul posts), but seriously, HOW?

    • Stormy

      haha, I actually don’t get that many (physical) books through blogging–I prefer eARCs because shelf space(though I’ve been cutting way way back on review copies in general because, well, exhibit A spreadsheet), but for me it’s mostly snagging up cheap used books. Your comment actually made me curious, so I went through my spreadsheet & documented where I remember getting each book from, and this is what I came up with:

      -9 books for review(all electronic advanced reader’s copies)
      -8 books as gifts
      -50 through local friends of the library sale over two years(not local as in where I currently live, but when I lived in a small city that had an awesome friends of the library used book sale every year. Hardbacks for $1.50! paperbacks for $1! YA & younger for fifty cents! I tended to stock up)
      -35 through kindle deals(using gift cards for 25 of those 35, and the rest were never over $2.99)
      -47 used books through Hastings(I know I used gift cards for at least 15 of those as well, & 10 of those were bought during a sale where all used books were $2 a piece. I am a pro bargain book shopper)
      -8 books won through blog or twitter giveaways
      -11 books I traded for either on yabookexchange or got through paperbackswap
      -4 bought during a sale on BookOutlet
      -2 bought used on Amazon w/ a gift card
      -2 bought sticker priced(a beautiful copy of Persuasion & a copy of Unremembered b/c I was at an author event)

      When I added those up I got 176, so there’s a few I can’t remember, but mostly it’s daily deals getting me & that friends of the library sale!

      • That’s pretty impressive! Much more reasonable than I was expecting.

        I’ve always been terrified of spending money on anything but food (and yes, a $1.50 paperback counts in my terrified mind), so I never buy books, as much as I want to. I stopped getting books or gift cards as gifts years ago (why, relatives, WHY?!). I guess that’s why I’m always blown away when bloggers talk about their TBR piles, post book hauls, or show pictures of their bookshelves/stacks. (Seriously, some of them are CRAZY.)

        • Stormy

          Honestly I think a lot of the books I own I bought in college & were sort of a response to not having a bookstore around growing up. Like, I was so used to NOT being able to buy books, but then I went to college and there were 3 bookstores!(there’s only 2 in that city now, because we lost Books-a-Million, but while I was in college there were 3). I kinda went a bit overboard & it became such an ingrained habit. Like, if I had a bad week, I would go to the book store & find a used book or a clearance book I wanted and use it as a mood-lifter.

          I also tend to have a long TBR because I do a lot of bulk book buying. I can go months without buying books, but then I get gift cards for holidays or there’s a thing like the friends of the library sale so I end up buying 20 books at one time, or something like that. (I totally know what you mean though–I’ve seen book hauls, particularly on YouTube, where vloggers will get like 40 books A MONTH EVERY month. That would cause me so much stress, I’d feel overwhelm by that. I feel overwhelm by the state of my bookshelves, so I can only imagine!)

          • I can see why three bookstores would be a huge improvement over the grocery store!. Or the library stuck in the 90s. Better to binge on books than booze? (Let’s calculate how much money people spend on cigarettes every week. I’d stick with the books.)

            I knowwww, so overwhelming. As much as I love books and having them around me, having that many unread, with more coming in at a faster rate than I could possibly read them, would stress me out.

            • Stormy

              Oh man, the next time I go to the grocery store I’m gonna have to take a picture of the book area. It’s pretty. . . non-existent except in name.
              Yes, definitely binge-buy books instead of other things! I think part of it for me too is that I’d rather spend some money on books then things that are disposable/one-use.

  5. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    This sounds like a great plan. I should try to tackle some of my TBR books too. It must have taken you a long time to organize everything and put them into a spreadsheet. I might try something like this for the ebooks I have. Like you said, out of sight out of mind.

    • Stormy

      It actually didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would! About an hour, maybe even less, but it was easy to add books to the list because I could just look over at my shelf & go through my kindle. It probably would have taken longer if I had tried to sort them somehow(by priority, alphabetize, etc.) It’s definitely nice to have a list at least for ebooks. I always forget about those.

  6. This is such a great idea! I might have to do it too. I know my TBR is probably around the same number as you which is definitely terrifying, but I like the idea of a reward for every ten you read.

    • Stormy

      It is definitely terrifying! But yes, rewards are fun, & I can’t really tackle the TBR if I’m in the dark as to how many books are actually on it.

  7. I just did this as well, though my spreadsheet is not nearly as organized. And I am focusing on just my ebooks. I have so many books on my Kindle that I haven’t read and I would love to clear some of those out before buying more.

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