Musing Mondays: Oh, that TBR mess

musing_mondays Here’s this week’s question:

As a follow up to last week’s question, Joseph asked how you keep track of your TBR list. Do you have a paper list or on your computer? Do you take it with you when you go shopping? How do you decide what gets added to it?

My TBR stack, circa February '09. It's now... bigger.

My TBR stack, circa February '09. It's now... bigger.

Oh my! I’d love to say there’s an absolute method to my TBR madness, but that may not be true. I mean, I do have some steps in place . . . like, say, reading a ton of blogs, looking for books that appeal to me and then adding them to my BookMooch wishlist. This usually works pretty well! It’s in a list format, which I love, and it’s easy for me to see if something I want will become available that way. BookMooch just tells me.

But many newer books are hard to get your hands on, so I typically put those on a separate list in BookMooch — my “saved for later.” I scout around LibraryThing, too, and check out what might appeal to me based on the recommendations of other users. That’s really how I find my books! I just listen for and read recommendations online, and talk books faithfully with friends and coworkers.

When I go shopping for books in the ol’ brick-and-mortar stores, I usually do take a little snippet of paper with some of those TBR titles on it — though I’m more likely to just go in looking for one book, take a coupon and be on my way! I’m known to grab books on a whim, though, based on cover art and/or the synopsis. I’m pretty bad about that, actually. Before I buy a book, I really try to do some research on it . . . checking it out on blogs, reading reviews on LibraryThing or Amazon. But every now and then, a book just speaks to me from one of the little themed tables at Borders! And I’ve found some great literature that way. Probably things I would have never chosen had I really thoroughly “researched” them, but books I love all the same!

And as you can see above, once something is officially added to my TBR stack — when the book is in my hot little hands — it just goes in the stack. There’s no rhyme or reason to the stack . . . I have too little room to actually organize it. At one point, I was trying to put quality paperbacks on the left and mass markets on the right, but that soon became too much to keep up with. Now, I just throw the next batch on top and pray it doesn’t topple over!

Bookshelf update

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My bookshelf is more organized than it has been in forever! Mostly because I have this on the floor nearby:

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But it feels good to have it mostly separated out. The above shot is part of my “to be read” stack, while the bookshelf contains only my beloved, finished novels. I’m in the middle of Elizabeth Berg’s Joy School now . . . I’ll hopefully have that finished tonight with a review to come later in the weekend. We’ll see how ugly the weather is, and whether or not it all keeps me house-bound!

This is getting ridiculous

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To be read

And this is only part of it.

I reiterate to scold myself publicly — I joined BookMooch to clear off my shelves and make room in my room. And now look at the mess I’ve made . . .

Is it bad that looking at that massive stack actually gives me a little anxiety? Like I’m never going to catch up on all of the delicious books that are out there, just waiting for me to stumble across them?

Musing Mondays: What are you reading now?

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Musing Mondays is moving over to Just One More Page in the near future, but here’s this week’s question from Should Be Reading:

What are you reading now?
innocence_tessaroI started Kathleen Tessaro’s Innocence at a Books A Million a few weeks ago, but put it down to finish up Summer Blowout by Claire Cook. I just returned to Innocence last night at midnight!

What did you recently finish reading, and what did you think of it?
Finished Summer Blowout late last evening, and I thought it was all right — but not spectactular. I’lll have a book review posted later today.

What do you think you will read next?
After Innocence, I plan on picking up Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I just received it through Book Mooch this morning!

Will you read any holiday-themed books soon?
I don’t really plan on it — though I feel tempted to buy The Magical Christmas Cat out of pure, unadulterated curiosity!

Too many long-lusted-after novels

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A fraction of my “to be read” stack, which is slowly — or very quickly — becoming out of control. I thought that after I joined Book Mooch and started to clear out some of my older books to make room for new ones, I’d actually be coming out ahead. More space, less clutter, and the hope of new books eventually meandering into my room to be enjoyed — someday?

Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. I went a little crazy. Got a little cocky. As I was sending out more and more books to Moochers all over the country and earning more and more points to get new books in return, I started . . . ordering more books. Book after book after book. As I added titles to my wishlist and watched it grow, as soon as a long-lusted-after novel became available I snatched it up like a wanderer coming across a cool drink of water in the Sahara. I couldn’t get enough.

And now I’m right back where I started — with a million books to read and a million more on their way into my house and office. Of course, I sort of love that, too . . . but the pressure is on to keep reading. I don’t know if anyone else ever gets that nagging feeling at the base of their skull that they’re just not reading fast enough . . . that there are way too many books sitting there, waiting to be discovered and discussed and digested, and far too little time to actually get through them all. There is a certain amount of stress associated with my TBR stack getting way too extensive. And I’m starting to feel like I’ve overextended myself a bit!

Though too many books is way better than the alternative.

I’m in the middle of Sandra Kring’s Thank You For All Things and know I should be much farther along than I am . . . I just need to buckle down.

Or simply succumb to the chaos!

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Pained photo by Rick the Sportswriter 🙂

Booking Through Thursday: Sitting on my shelf

book_through This week’s Booking Through Thursday question comes from an article by Christopher Schoppa of The Washington Post, who relayed this story:

“Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.”

In that vein, then, the BTT question is this:
“What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?”

I have several sitting around, unread, that I just can’t seem to let go! As an avid fan of Jane Austen, I’m truly ashamed to tell you I haven’t finished Pride & Prejudice since I was a sophomore in high school — and I don’t really count that, because I was a little more concerned with the guy I had a crush on in English or History class than learning about the social norms and eloquence of Mr. Darcy.

Next up on my list would be Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss — I got it as a promo from work and haven’t ever settled myself down enough to get through it. I’ve heard the reviews were mixed, but I’m willing to give it a shot . . . someday.

I also have Ian McEwan’s Atonement waiting to be finished (absolutely loved the film and James McAvoy, but haven’t gotten around to wrapping up the novel); Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love In the Time of Cholera; Jon Spence’s Austen biography Becoming Jane Austen; Stephenie Meyer’s The Host; and probably countless others I can’t recall for lack of emotional connection to them!

Like all avid readers, I’m constantly forcing myself to not purchase books in an effort to pull ahead on my never-ending to be read stack . . . but this rarely works out. As soon as I see a great ARC at work or a fascinating book just released in paperback or that one novel my friend has been recommending for ages or . . . or . . . It’s a never-ending struggle!