Beware: Drastic TBR Measures Are About To Be Taken!

Friday, February 24

Last year I had a TBR plan.  It was pretty simple actually.  It involved actually reading some of the books I already owned.  Fancy that, right, LOL.  

My plan was to tackle at least one book each month, or one series each month.  It seemed doable, and I stayed on track for the first few months of the year.  I felt really great about it especially since one of my ventures lead me to reading Pamela Clare's I-Team series, because all but one of the books in the series was in the TBR.  I got to read fantastic books by a new favorite author, and made TBR progress!  Woo hoo!  Score one for me.

But all kind of fell apart.  After March (or thereabouts) I didn't read, but maybe one or two books from the TBR the rest of the year.  As you can see, my plan for last year didn't work out so well.  Chalk it up as a failure.  

Since a new March is practically upon us, and I don't want my family to turn me in to the show Hoarders:  Buried Alive for the number of books in the TBR (which I could in fact get buried in) I need to take a new approach.  I've got a new plan.  One that I think will help at least a bit, while still trying to adhere to what I tried to do last year (because I still think it was a good plan).

So, here it is, my new plan.  This weekend I'm going to go through book by book...all of the books in my TBR (we're talking hundreds) and check them out on Goodreads and any book that doesn't meet a certain star rating qualification, is getting removed from the TBR. Gasp!  I know right.  Think about it this way though....ultimately, I want to find time to read the really great books, not the so-so ones.  I want to find the books in my TBR that I would regret not having found the time to read.  I don't like having regrets, so this is my attempt at avoiding that. I'm hoping by relying on my fellow Goodreads members that I can weed out the mediocre and less than just "ok" reads to save my time for the ones that have potential to be favorites.  

Not too long ago I went through my reads from 2011 and compared my ratings with the Goodreads ratings to come up with my threshold limits of what would constitute an:
  1. automatic TBR keeper, which means it earns a place on the TBR bookshelf and hopefully ultimately a place on my nightstand :)
  2. a questionable keeper, which means that the books needs further consideration.  After that consideration the book will either become a TBR keeper, or a TBR removal.  One or the other, and no going back.
  3. and a TBR removal.   I think this is pretty self explanatory.  It's going and not coming back.  I'll either donate it, or sell it depending on what I have time for.
Here's what I came up with:
  • Any book that has an overall rating of 3.76 and above is an automatic TBR keeper.
  • Any book that falls between 3.4-3.75 is going to go into a questionable keeper pile, which I have a feeling is going to be big.
  • Any book that has received less than 3.39 stars is destined to a second life somewhere else.  I almost mid range 3.00 star rating isn't a keeper?  But I've got to draw the line somewhere and if I convert that to a grade rating we're probably talking a C to C+, which is just...average.  And I'm not looking for average for the TBR.  I want more.  I deserve more.
I've come to realize that the reason why I have a TBR is that it seemed at the time that they all were books that had potential to become a favorite for one reason or another.  And with all of the new releases I'm no longer interested in holding on to books that are just....OK, or mediocre...or run of the mill (i.e. average).  I want the really good, to great reads.  The ones that are special.  Why waste my time, which I already know is limited and my valuable bookshelf space with stories that aren't special in some way?  And I'm hoping that with the lure of all of these potential great reads just sitting there on my bookshelves that I might be more tempted to try and read at least one of the TBR books each month.

I used Goodreads more last year than I had anticipated, and for the most part it's fairly reliable as long as a book has a fair number of ratings, but that doesn't mean that it's fool proof, which is why I'd like to have your help too.  I'm going to make a list of the books that are "questionable keepers" that I am unsure about, and I'd like to know what you think...because my biggest fear in trying this out is getting rid of something that I would love just because of a star rating.  Most of you have been followers for a while so you know what types of books that I like...or at least I hope you do :)  I'm thinking I'll probably have some kind of poll or spreadsheet where you can tell me whether it's  should be a keeper or a tosser on the books that fall in the 3.4-3.75 range that I am still on the fence about.  Unfortunately I have a feeling that that list could be somewhat large...but we shall see.

So what do you think?  Am I completely insane for trying to weed some of them out of the TBR?  Do you have any advice?  Have you done anything like this, or are you more discerning when adding books to your TBR?  If so, what are your criteria?  And would you provide input if I were do to a poll...maybe separate it out into several polls based on sub-genre of romance so it's not too time consuming?  I know, lots of questions, but this is serious business my friends!  LOL.

p.s. I focusing on my print books first...then depending on how well that goes I'll attempt to tackle my e-book TBR (yes I have one of those as well), then maybe my Goodreads wishlist :)  Sad, isn't it, LOL

p.s.s If you're an author that ends up in the TBR tosser pile, my sincere apologies...hopefully it's new owner will become a new fan :)

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gamistress66 February 24, 2012 at 1:07 AM  

I've been thinking something similar. my tbr pile is way more than I can hope to catch up on with new books coming out each month that I want too. I've been thinking about going through the books & seeing what I know I'm not likely to ever read for what ever reason (sort of the bottom 3rd of the list if I put them in order of interest) and them "force" myself to tackle at least a couple from the pile (if not more) each month while also trying not to add more than I subtract from it (at least on average). must be the urge to spring clean that has great minds thinking along the same path ;) good luck with your plan.

Kathleen O February 24, 2012 at 5:39 AM  

I have a TBR pile that would rival the Rocky Mountains..
So in one day last year, I decicded to go through my books and to the cut... I now have almost three boxes of books that are going to be donated to my library.. Which left me with well of over 200 books to read. To date the list is 250 books.. I need to get a couple of more bookcases to hold what I have..
I take two books off the list and then I had three or four..
I keep a list of books I have read for each month.. Then I have a master list of the books I have read for the past 4 years. Only started keeping track of my reads when I was home all the time.. Now that I am retired, what else do I have to do..
I keep a list by Title and then a list by Author.
I also put my books on Goodreads and FictFact..

If I could stay off my computer, I would really get more reading done. But then how would I find out about all these wonderful books I keep adding to my tbr pile... It's a catch 22 for sure..

I know I have addiction, but I know I am not alone. But this one won't hurt me, just keep me in the poor house..

Wishing you lots of luck in your endevour to get your books in order.

Carol L. February 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM  

I have the exact same thoughts. But your plan is a very logical one. I figure if you do it that way you'll eventually get caught up and if there are books you discarded that may be something you would have loved despite the rating you can always go back and give it a shot. At least you'll narrow your TRL a great deal. I'm going to do that as well. I'm sad to say I haven't really tackled my TRL because of winning new books and new books from my favorite Authors. So the line has to be drawn somewhere. :)
Good luck. I'll need it myself. lol
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Ivy February 24, 2012 at 8:28 AM  

I think your plan is a great one..In the past 6 mos. I've gone thru my TBR & bookcases twice. My tastes are in a state of flux right now. This happens every few years.

Elf2060 February 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

Somehow, it's really hard for me to discard a book that I haven't read. I probably would skim through at the very least but I can read quite a few books in a relatively short amount of time so I will continue to be a hoarder for awhile (provided I can keep my husband from evicting the piles, lol).

Alexa February 24, 2012 at 5:47 PM  

I think you have a great plan. I went through my 500 books a few weeks ago. I just couldn't part with many of them though because I knew I had picked it up and bought it at the time for one reason or another. So while I should have purged more I might have to go back and do it again soon enough depending. Then again usually I buy books in YA and Adult because I've heard nothing by amazing things from so many people. So a lot of my books are series that people just loved.

I hope you are able to weed out your pile.

Dalila G. February 25, 2012 at 5:44 PM  

I think you have an excellent plan, go for it! I like how you're going to sort out your books. You're one smart cookie, best of luck to you!

It's very hard for me to get rid of books, period. When I finally got around to sorting out all of my books, I have two very large bookcases, the books I really didn't care for I donated to the seniors nursing home here in town.

Let me tell you, they LOVED them! The ladies even go as far as to make recommendations, LOL, can you believe that!

My TBR pile turned into a TBR Tower, but I'm hoping to get it under control in the near future.

librarypat February 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM  

My TBR mountain is impossible. I have books/series that I have had for years and really want to read. The problem is, so many new books come out every month that also sound like must reads, there is no way to catch up. I have gone through and gotten rid of some questionable books that were given to me by friends, but for the moist part, all those I have purchased stay on my mountain. I literally have no room left in my house. I have been working on the quick little books like Harlequins. I read them, enjoy them, and they are gone. Unfortunately, that leaves all the bigger books I really want to read sitting there. I have 40 large bookcases, all over full, and more books in boxes and bags with no place to go. Many of those books are reference or collections, but the majority are TBR books. I need more hours in the day and time to read.
The next problem is my keeper collection. Some authors are keepers. Some series I have enjoyed are keepers, though who know when I'll be able to read them again. Then there are the books I have really enjoyed that I want to keep. I have a feeling Spring Cleaning will see me weeding my books again.

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