My “To Be Read” list is stressing me out

This is going to sound ridiculous.  Since starting this blog, being on Goodreads, and just getting approved with Netgalley my “To Be Read List” has grown exponentially and it’s causing me real stress.

When I first created a “To Be Read” list, about a year ago, I intentionally I wanted to keep it small.  I hate lists because they tend to become “To Do” lists.  (Excuse me a moment, I have to get rid of the terrible taste that left in my mouth.)   It was crucial to me to be able to remember each book added and why I added it.  The only way I knew I could do this was to keep it contained.  It had to be doable, and my memory isn’t fantastic.  

Lately, I’ve been reading wonderful reviews from great bloggers and the reading community at large.  This list has grown to a towering metaphorical stack. I have no idea what half the books are about or where they came from anymore.  I’m tempted to go in and delete some, but I know I added them for a reason.  I’m choosy!  I know I am.  – What am I supposed to do with 148 books, and these are only the official ones on my TBR list – not ones that get picked up on a passing fancy in my audible wish list or kindle account.  I’m a touch overwhelmed.

I recently just got approved for Netgalley.  I couldn’t be happier…but, I requested five books because I figured maybe only one of the publishers would approve me because I was so new.  That didn’t happen and now there is stress and obligation, or at least I feel stress and obligation.

My most loved hobby and stress reliever is slowly morphing into a lurking monster of guilt.  In all fairness, I am a worry wart by nature and it doesn’t take a lot to tug on the strings of guilt for me.  My lovely books – my friends, however, are not allowed to morph into ‘The Guilt Beast.’  Also, I want this! I love the opportunity to be part of the process of reading new authors and Netgalley.  I’m not giving it up.

On the other hand, I have been adding two books a day, at least, to my list and I don’t see that changing with all the good books and reviews you have provided.  I’ve been chipping at it consistently but I’m not seeing the progress.  Please tell me you have some idea of what I should do about this! I’m quite literally begging for your help…I know it sounds humorous, but it isn’t, at least not to me…

Thoughts, comments, ideas??? I’m looking at you reading community.

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About Steph

As C. S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” I am an indiscriminate reader. I can find a way to enjoy almost all books. I find they are like people – you can find something endearing in almost every one of them. I love to write reviews. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful. View all posts by Steph

17 responses to “My “To Be Read” list is stressing me out

  • Mogsy

    The good news is, you’re not alone. The bad news is, having “too much to read” is going to be a problem that will never go away, I’m afraid! 😛

    What I’ve found has helped: Tip #1 is prioritize – the books I request for review are usually up at the top of my list, and I’ll fit in personal reads here and there. And second, life is too short to read books that you aren’t enjoying, don’t be afraid to DNF and just say, “hey, this isn’t for me”. I’m actually working on this myself, I hate not reading a book cover to cover, but sometimes my compulsion to do that stresses me out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • lynnsbooks

    Definitely listen to Mogsy. Don’t read books that you’re not enjoying. Plus become selective about what books you request. It’s a bit like being in a sweet shop at first and you go a little bit crazy – plus you don’t expect everybody to grant you the request! You can do other things as well like when you’re sent a book or approved for one – you can blog what books you’re looking forward to reading, not in some sort of showy way – just, you know, ‘I’m really looking forward to these…’ it’s all a bit of recognition for the book/author. One of my good friends literally gets sent at least 10 books a week, without requesting them! She’s a pretty quick reader but that level is impossible, so tweet about what books you have or tweet your thanks to the publisher and name the book. A lot of bloggers do this – you’re not recommending the book at this stage because you haven’t read it, you’re just saying ‘ohh, look what’s coming out – looks good’. etc. Plus, and this could be just me because I like lists – but, make a list – just put on a few deadlines when books are due out etc. It gives you a bit of perspective and also helps you to prioritise – you still want to read the books you ‘want’ to read after all! Also, some publishers are not stressed about you posting a review before the book is issued so also bear that in mind. It’s your hobby and it’s meant to be fun so keep reading the books you love.
    Sorry, went into essay mode!
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephswint

      I love essay mode. Thank you for the help. I’ve seen some of the blog posts you mentioned but didn’t put two and two together. Thank you for that. I guess you know you will see one of those coming in the near future from me:)

      Like

  • Karen

    My TBR list is also quite huge. Books with a deadline come first, the ‘for fun and a review’ are processed whenever they fit in. Finding awesome books thanks to fellow bloggers is something I wouldn’t want to miss.
    Don’t get scared – just relax and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rabindranauth

    Story of my life right here. I’ve had to delay reading Steven Erikson nearly a year and a half now because of this. ARCs don’t help, most of em are stuff I ordinarily wouldn’t even bother myself with looking into. Anyways, some tips/rules I use/adhere to that help me control the nebulous beast that is the TBR shelf:

    1. Unless it’s a book you’ve been looking forward to for months, or sequels, or new releases by favorite authors, don’t request it on NetGalley. That site is addictive; next thing you know you’ll find yourself obligated to read nearly half a year’s worth of books in two or three months. And most of them will be books you ordinarily wouldn’t have spent money on.
    2. Before I actually add a book to my shelf on GR [I use that to keep track of books I want to read/buy], I take a good look at it. Is it a book I’ll like, or a book I’ll love? Cuz I really only have the time for the latter, not the former. Quite simply, “good” reads aren’t good enough, it has to have the potential to be a “great” read for me; too many books and too little time. It depends on what you expect from a book. Some books I know I won’t love, but I want to read them for the experience.

    3. Find folk with common tastes in books with you; GoodReads’ Compare Books option is the perfect indicator of this. Follow them, add them, whatever, and keep track of what they read. After a while, you’ll be able to tell based on their ratings if a book will work for you or not, and you can use that to further weed out good reads and make room for great reads.

    4. Periodically check back your list/TBR, and weed out the stuff you don’t think you’ll enjoy now, as much as you might have enjoyed it back when you added it. Tastes change, the more books you read, the faster your tastes will, and odds are in a year or two you’ll find books you were all crazy to read back then would be either average or trying reads now. You don’t need to do this often, pretty much whenever you have the time and feel like it, but trust me, it helps a lot. And last but maybe most important:

    5. Don’t buy a book unless you know you’re going to read it in the very close future. That way, you won’t build up stacks of books you’ll feel obligated to read because of how much you spent on them, and then find you don’t like them as much as you thought you would because you’ve had them so long your tastes have changed since you bought em. I can tell you firsthand how bad this sucks, I have a room’s worth of books I’m little more than ambivalent to anymore.

    This stuff isn’t ironclad, find how best to work it for you and you’ll find the lion’s share of your problem no longer exists. Mogsy has it pegged true, though, buckle in because you’re almost always going to have more books to read than you can possibly read. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you can find a way to make the vast majority of them books that’re at on par with your favorites 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  • booksbrainsandbeer

    I struggle with the same problem. I use NetGalley, too, and, not understanding “the rules” when I first signed up, requested 10 books on the first day. Oops. Now I only request authors I know or books that I’ve heard something about (currently reading You by Austin Grossman). I went to school for library science–you have to think of your “to read” list as a collection. Have a “collection development” statement for yourself, and stick to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Lisa

    This is a topic that always strikes a nerve with book bloggers! Does it help at all to know that you’re not alone? I’ve had the exact same experience — assumed I wouldn’t get approved for much, over requested, and then ended up with way more books to read than I could possibly handle! I’ve tried to move away from feeling pressured and focus on reading what appeals to me in the moment. Yes, there’s a huge stack constantly waiting to be read, but sometimes you just have to take a step back and think about what makes you happy right then. I have to remind myself from time to time that I read for pleasure. Blogging isn’t a job, it’s supposed to be fun! But it’s hard to keep sight of that sometimes when the to-be-read pile gets overwhelming. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  • The artist's room

    Wonderful post!
    Mogsy is right, you are not alone.
    I suppose there’s many of us… 😀

    I add a little advice. Keep following your heart, which means keep your “antennas” well-trained. Generally, booklovers come to a point when they simply are attracted to what is important for them in that period of their lives. Don’t buy too often if you can’t read them, as Rabindranauth says. Do it with heart, giving significance to each choice. If you begin thinking at the amount of books that exist… you will end up stressed (I was talking about this with Lena’s Ink Cage a couple of days ago). They mustn’t make you lose yorself, but find yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  • stephswint

    Thank you, I agree, and I will work on tuning my “antennas”

    Like

  • bmackela

    Just a couple of tips.
    Try to pay attention to publication dates when you request books. Reviews that come out within 1 week of publication are the most important for the publisher and author. So try to limit yourself to one book per week. You can always slip something in if you have time.
    If you like audiobooks, throw one in every once in a while. I love to listen to books when I am doing yardwork or going for walks, or longer road trips.
    If you can’t stand a book, stop reading it. Let the publisher know. Tell them if you may come back to it or not.
    Have fun, don’t let it consume you. Stop requesting books for a while, it will be OK.

    Like

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