What Your TBR Pile Says About You

It is a new year, and with that comes a whole new set of reading goals. We all make them. Personally, I want to read 10 books this year from authors I’ve not heard of before. That is on top of the books from the authors I love. I’m a slow reader, so for me, this is a bit of a stretch, but I’m looking forward to it.

In order to accomplish this, I have a To Be Read (TBR) pile. Since I do all of my reading from digital copies, it is less of a pile, and more of a digital collection. My wife, however, prefers the feel and weight of paper. Hers is actually a pile of books near her favorite reading spot.

So, how do you organize your pile, be it electronic or physical? And what does the way you pull your next book say about you as a reader?

Alphabetical by Title : Organizing by alphabet satisfies that deep need in us to have everything in order.  Some may call it OCD, but you just call it “organized.” You may not have everything else in order, but you have conquered your books. You feel like you’ve accomplished something significant by visiting so many varied worlds and times in those written pages.

By Author, Favorite to Unknown : Most people use this approach, whether consciously acknowledging it or not. They will willingly read a book from an author they love before they will risk time on an author they haven’t spent as much time with. For you, it is less about the genre of the book, or the escape, and more about the relationship you’ve already formed with that author. There’s nothing wrong with this approach either. But speaking for the unknowns in the group, do us a favor and pull one off the bottom every now and then just to mix it up. Thanks.

By date acquired : Some people bring a new book into the house once or twice a week. Having that many books come through the house can tend to get unorganized in a hurry. You are probably a voracious reader, one that enjoys a wide variety of genres, from mystery to coming of age stories, and probably a few young adult stories in the mix. If you read that much, consider your TBR pile like a queue. Put the that book you just brought in on the top of the stack of books. Then, when you have time to read, pull the book from the bottom of the stack. Careful! If your TBR stack is too tall, you don’t want to knock the whole thing over.

By Shelf, Top to bottom : You have so many books that you enjoy, and you want to revisit them over and over. Most people I know who have this trait grew up with very few financial resources, so reading the same books repeatedly was their only option. And as such, you learned to enjoy reading by scraping out every last nuance from your favorites. You start at the top shelf and work your way down, revisiting old friends and adding in new gems every now and then. To you, reading is like mining for those treasures and wonders that the rest of us miss as we casually stroll through these hidden worlds. Instead, you linger in these worlds, absorbing every detail.

The Short Stack : Your TBR Pile is currently short enough that you don’t require much organization. Whichever one is on top, that’s the one you read next. You probably don’t put much stock into organization, as long as things are at least tidy. You have limited time for reading, but when you do get a chance, you block out the universe and submerse yourself into the pages. You’re a busy person, so you carve out specific times to read, just to make sure you actually finish the wonderful stories that you encounter.

For those that are wondering, this is my TBR style.

No matter how you keep the books flowing through your brain, keep it up. As I’ve posted in previous articles, science has proven that reading has significant benefits as we age. In the end, it doesn’t matter how I organize the TBR pile. What matters is that I have exercised my mind and allowed myself to be transported to worlds that I would otherwise never see or experience.

How do your oarganize your TBR Pile? Do you have more than one stack?

 Header image from Flickr

Leave a Reply