Why I Won’t Delete My TBR List

Book Riot recently came out with an interesting post, Throw Away Your TBR List: A Radical Reading (un)Plan which I do find terribly interesting but to be honest, to the that concept I must eloquently say: wha da hell.

OK so before I go into the deep end there are certain points that the writer makes that I agree with. If your list is causing you stress, then sure, get rid of it. If that pile of books in your room has been sitting there since the dinosaurs roamed the earth then maybe someone else would like it. But to get rid of your entire TBR list?

Look everyone, I’m very much type A and I love me some lists. I have tons of lists, on my phone, on my computer, on GoodReads (which has revolutionized my list taking), and I have stacks and stacks of books in my home waiting for me to return to them. I feel them cry out, come-hither! So what do I do when i see these mountains of lists? All in all, I have at least 1000 TBR books on my GoodReads and at least 50 at home in The Bahamas, 10 in my college flat with me now, and at least another 200 on my Kindle (that I somehow bought randomly, the minute I see ooh, discount, *clicks* purchase). And you know what? It doesn’t stress me out. Because I like my lists, I respect these lists and they respect me. They call to me, but they don’t shove me into a bag and beat me around. No, your list controls you as much as you let it!

When trying to find something to read next, and nothing immediately comes to mind, what do I do? I engage my lists. I scroll through physical copies available, and I stare for hours at my GoodReads pile, till something catches my eye. And you know what I also do while I’m trolling for reads? I clean. I prune. (Again, I don’t let my list control me, it is I who calls the shots! *said in Disney prince voice*) So if I’m scrolling for a good book and I see something that I no longer 1. Want to read 2. Can’t remember why the hell I added it or have it in the first place, then I either delete it from my life or give it away. It’s that simple. I prune quite regularly and find some joy in knowing that my lists reflect my tastes.

I do not mourn the loss of the lost potential, no, no, I embrace the fact that it’s gone, but I sure as hell will find something else to read to add to the damn list probably within minutes. What would I be if I lost my lists? I’d be miserable is what, I like having potential in front of me, not a chasm of must-find-random-book-from-somewhere.
Yes so that’s my opinion, and that’s my way of doing it. Everyone’s different, again, if you’re the anxious sort and you don’t like lists, give me your lists, and I shall generously give your old TBR a new life!

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About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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35 Responses to Why I Won’t Delete My TBR List

  1. Pingback: Weekly Digest 03 | Read Me Away

  2. Oh no, would never get rid of the list. I love it and it’s invaluable. I use it on Goodreads though and categorize everything.

  3. Emily says:

    As a fellow list lover, preach it! I love my TBR list. It’s huge and sometimes feels never ending but that’s the best thing about it. I always have another book lined up and I take an obscene amount of pleasure in organizing my TBR (and other) lists and I’m not ashamed to admit it. More power to the lists (unless you can’t handle those lists, then throw them out!)

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  7. Sophie says:

    I totally agree! My TBR list is a great reason for me to procrastin-uh, I mean, it’s a completely necessary part of my book choosing experience! I love my lists, and can’t imagine what I’d do without them. πŸ™‚

  8. flipthatpage says:

    You’re not alone! πŸ™‚ I’m not deleting mine, either, but that’s because it’s not that hefty to begin with. Unlike most readers, my TBR pile isn’t so unreasonably big, like a hundred books or so πŸ˜€ Actually, most of the books I buy come from impulse, like books I’ve never really heard of– I base a lot of my reads on the synopsis XD But I quite agree! As long as you use your list of books and feel that in a way it represents you and your tastes, there’s no real reason to delete it πŸ™‚

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  10. Cee says:

    NEVER EVER GONNA DELETE MY TBR LIST EITHERRR.

    I like knowing what books I want to read, or else I’ll forget about it. (We can’t have that since I’m forgetful.) I don’t necessarily feel obligated to read any of the books because I know I will eventually get around to reading them. To me, a TBR list is almost like a gentle reminder that says “hey, remember that you want to read these books.” If I’m no longer interested in one on the list, I just take it out. I don’t need to delete the entirety of it.

  11. You made such an awesome point for someone who is Type A: your lists control you as much as you let it. I like my lists as well, which are plenty and long but I’m always cleaning, always pruning what I don’t want. I’m keeping mine! Great article!

  12. DoingDewey says:

    I won’t be getting rid of my lists either, although I would like to start using them more. I’m hardly ever at a loss for books and rarely have a plan when I enter the library, so it’s more uncommon than I would like for me to actually pick up a book from my TBR list. I don’t have enough books around to stress me out though, so even if I don’t use my list more, I plan to keep it πŸ™‚ Great post!

  13. Throw away TBR list? Unimaginable. That’s my favorite list!

  14. Kelley says:

    I’m with you, Claire. I love my lists, and without them I would feel lost and even MORE stressed!

  15. I couldn’t throw away mine – for starters the majority of it is books I actually own, so I’d be adding them back eventually anyway… I don’t think removing the list will make any difference: I’ll still get around to those books sometime.

    I do the exact same as you – consult my list to choose my next read, and remove other books whilst I’m at it πŸ˜‰ Completely agree with you on this point!

  16. Anahera says:

    I thought my TBR list was getting pretty big, but I decided to prune it and cut out books that I felt that i wasn’t really interested in. I do like making lists too, and like Amanda said, checking off books makes me feel real good. πŸ˜€

    So true, I don’t let the lists control my life! I look at them and yell “I made you! I CAN UNMAKE YOU!” (Note: I don’t actually yell at my screen, that’s a ticket to the happy house.) But yes, with proper control, a nice TBR brings me more happiness than stress. πŸ™‚

  17. I’m the same way! My TBR list doesn’t scare me at all – a lot of times my Goodreads “Want To Read” list is something I look at when I’m in the library and can’t think of what to read. I have a regular written TBR list that I love checking off & crossing out books from…it makes me feel like I have my enormous book pile under control πŸ˜‰

    I think if somebody’s TBR list makes them anxious, it’s actually their organizational style that’s causing them grief. Don’t take it out on the poor list D:

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