So Many Books, So Little Time

So this month on the Fiction Writers’ Blog Hop, our wonderful host Julie Valerie, challenged us to a theme. We didn’t have to stick with the theme, but I figure if she’s going to the trouble of setting one, I’ll go to the trouble of sticking with it. (Not that it’s any trouble. In fact, it makes it easier to have a topic picked for me:) )

The theme she picked was….Show Us Your TBR Pile!

the book ends I bought specially

the perfect bookends

I have blogged about my TBR pile before, but figured there is ALWAYS a way to look at something from a fresh perspective, so here we go.

Firstly, I thought to really look at my TBR pile, I have to get all my unread books in one place, instead of having them spread all throughout the house. So I gathered them all up and made one (3) big pile (s). Perhaps the reason I haven’t done this before, is because it’s scary…

after I took this I found a few more hiding...

after I took this I found a few more hiding… so a total of 95

Oh me, oh my! How long will it take me to get through all that? Well, thanks to google, I found out. On Read It Forward’s website there is a handy little calculator where you type in how many books are in your pile, how many you read last year and how old you are. Here are my results….tbr calcu

Admittedly, I am the world’s slowest reader. Just ask my poor, long suffering CP. She’ll tell you (wave Hi Lee if you’re reading). But boy is that sobering. And that’s assuming I don’t buy any more books in the mean time.

So then I thought, ok, how can I make a bigger dent in this pile, reduce that time? And I googled again looking for answers. Here were some of the top tips…

  1. Read More – well, yes. Obvious much? I have thought of that. But if I read more, I could justify buying more…see the problem?
  2. Read Multiple Books at Once – um, no. Can’t do that. I get plots and characters confused. Tiny brain can’t cope with that.
  3. Learn to Speed Read – I reckon this is how my hubby gets through all his reading, but I also reckon he must only get the gist, not the delicious layered nuances and plots and themes, and that’s the best part of reading. I don’t want to miss that.
  4. Get a Book Buddy or Book Club – I already belong to a book club, and we have books from the library, which just ADDS to my TBR, and I often don’t finish my book club books and then the ladies frown at me and make evil staring faces and I feel really guilty.
  5. Accept the Fact You Will NEVER Get Through You TBR Pile – think I might just have to go with this one.

So, that’s my TBR pile. As long as I don’t buy anymore books between now and 2032, I’m set. Hang on. The postie is at the door….

And look what he brought me…d’oh!

Once Lost by Ber Carrol

Once Lost by Ber Carroll

That might just push me out to 2033!

So, friends, how big’s your pile? Go on. Be honest.


Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here:

32 thoughts on “So Many Books, So Little Time

  1. lolshelley

    Oh Sandie that post just cracked Ella and I up!! Her words were ‘I like this lady!’ We often compare our TBR piles but are definitely too scared to tally them up. If I had to guess I would say 50, give or take a dozen.

    Like you, our biggest problem is that we are consistently adding to the pile in disproportionate relation to how fast we read them. But what can I say….WE LOVE BOOKS! Don’t you just love it when the postie swings by, or you find yourself amongst the towering shelves of Berkelouw or QBD or Dymocks or Bookoccino!!

    Re the tips:

    Tip 1 – read more – I am an avid follower of tip 1. And the current status of my home reflects this. Who needs clean clothes anyway??

    Tip 2 – read multiple books. Oops, also guilty of that one. But I don’t race through them. As you so eloquently put it, I savour ‘the delicious layered nuances and plots and themes.’ I just happen to like reading whatever strikes my fancy in that moment (perhaps that’s my mindfulness practice at work.) The biggest issue is that whenever I purchase a new book, I am so excited to read it that it joins the multiple book reading list!

    Never been a speed reader and no plans to start but I am just in the process of setting up a contemporary women’s bookclub!


  2. Gail

    Hi Sandie – I loved your rainbow coloured pile of books – even if you don’t read them they are pretty to look at, ok that doesn’t help. I have found a somewhat scary hiding place for my unread pile…on my ipad hiding in my kindle app. The pile is small but the number is too easy to grow as it is so easy to buy kindle books. Also, I can keep reading when hubby says lights out….I love a real paper book, but I have been seduced by the ipad….

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      Thanks for noticing the attempt at colour-coding!
      I haven’t yet converted to a kindle. I love the feel of a book too much. And then I would have my rainbow books…

  3. Krystal Jane

    I love those book ends! ^_^
    But YAY giant pile of books!!

    I love calculators, by the way! So far my ETA is five years. Not too bad. That doesn’t include all of my unread books, just the ones I think I’m actually going to read. Lol! This leaves plenty of room for other things, I think. I’m #5 on the list, clearly. 🙂

  4. meredithgschorr

    That’s a lot of books!! Mine are all on my Kindle, but I’m definitely over 100 at this point and it keeps growing and growing because I can’t stop myself from downloading more each week. I’m #5 as well. The only way I’ll ever get through it is if I quit (or lose) my day job, stop writing, or gain self-control with respect to buying more. Never. Gonna. Happen. Happy reading!

  5. Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie


    So your TBR pile will take 15 years to complete?!?!? I wonder if that app calculates our typical intake of new books each year. Meaning, in those 15 years of reading – how many new books on average will you take in and add to your TBR pile while you’re reading?

    Hm . . .

    But you know what, even though I’m always overwhelmed by the number of books I own and have yet to read, I’m so happy to be a person with a TBR pile. So many people don’t have one and aren’t in the least bit concerned about one. I think everyone in the world should not only HAVE a TBR pile, but also be aware that those books are calling out to them to be read.

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      I don’t even want to think how long it will take if I factor in how many new books I buy each year!!

      Yes, be thankful that we love books enough to have a TBR pile, AND ever so grateful that I live in a society where women read and that I’m lucky enough to be able to afford my “addiction”.

  6. Pauline Wiles

    My gosh, your pile is kind of scary: but also beautiful, too. I have a few physical books in a very small pile, but mainly I just have a long list on Goodreads… most of which I suspect will never happen.
    Incidentally, I get most of my “reading” done in the car with audiobooks. It’s not my preferred method of consuming a book, but it’s OK. And I find I can have both fiction and non-fiction on the go at the same time… like you, I don’t think I’d blend 2 novels.

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      Scary and beautiful, yes. I’m not on Goodreads yet, but suspect that my list would get very long, very quickly.

      I’ve never tried an audio book, but then I don’t have a long commute (or any commute actually), so maybe if I did, I would???

  7. paulinewiles

    (Sorry if this is a duplicate comment – I had some browser trouble)

    My gosh, your pile is kind of scary: but also beautiful, too. I have a few physical books in a very small pile, but mainly I just have a long list on Goodreads… most of which I suspect will never happen.
    Incidentally, I get most of my “reading” done in the car with audiobooks. It’s not my preferred method of consuming a book, but it’s OK. And I find I can have both fiction and non-fiction on the go at the same time… like you, I don’t think I’d blend 2 novels.

  8. marychrisescobar

    I would be terrified to use that Read it Forward site! Wonder if it ever tells anyone that it’s unlikely you’ll finish your pile in this lifetime. I have no idea of the size of my TBR pile (it’s paper AND digital– those are super dangerous because you can’t see them). Great post, and I LOVE those bookends!

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      I don’t have a digital TBR, I think it would be quite scary if I did. So easy to just add another…

      It would be funny if the calculator spat out a result of something like “I hope you believe in reincarnation because you’ll need at least three lifetimes to get through that pile”.

  9. Cassandra Piat

    Your post cracked me up! That sure is a hu-ge TBR pile I must say but I reckon that’s so exciting! Plus they are ‘real’ books! So lucky. So many books to read and so many to choose from. Doesn’t matter how long you take to read them at least they are there for the taking. Nothing more depressing than having nothing to read. It’s funny because when I was young my sister and I did a speed reading course thinking it would be great for Uni work etc. We came out of there thinking that it had been rubbish and hadn’t worked – but it did! I’m one of those people who finishes a book in a day or two and it’s SO DEPRESSING! I would really love to be a slow reader again. Wonder if they have ‘how to read slowly’ courses??!? Anyway, savour your TBR pile – even if it takes you to the year 2032 🙂

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      I reckon I could teach you how to read slowly – I am an expert after all.

      Yes, I’m very lucky to have so many “real” books. I just hope hubby doesn’t read this post….

      1. Cassandra Piat

        You crack me up! My husband would freak out too if I had that many books – it’s easier to hide them on the Kindle 😀 Now he only finds out when he checks out the credit card statements so I do my best to hide those. I often come out with ‘nope, haven’t received this month’s statement yet’!!!

  10. cinthiaritchie

    OMG, that’s quite a pile! I’m a fast reader but tend to read slower when I’m reading books that I love. Reading too fast isn’t always a good thing. Books are over much too soon and when you reach the ending, there’s that disappointing feeling of loss, especially if it’s a book that feels like family and face it, almost all good books feel like family.. So read slow, my dear, and enjoy every single word.
    Cheers and happy reading.

    1. sandiedocker Post author

      Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of a book you’ve loved. You just don’t want to say goodbye.

      I’d like to be a touch faster, though 🙂

  11. Jayne Denker

    Embrace your TBR pile, Sandie! Be proud that you have plans to enjoy so many books! Revel in their beauty! Utilize them as…furniture! LOL I have a lot of books waiting to be read, both “in the flesh” and on my iPad. Some I accept that I’m never going to get to. Some I have started and been brutally honest with myself, acknowledging I likely never will continue with them. But oh, the ones that pull me in and keep me reading. Treasures, every one. 🙂

  12. macjam47

    Sandie, what an entertaining post. The woes of being a book hoarder. I understand completely. Hubby is retired and complains that he has to answer the door when the postman brings another book (Hubs home office is next to the front door, mine is at the back of the house.) I agree with you since I am a slow reader and afraid if I try speed reading I’ll miss the nitty-gritty, I am going to have to go with #5 – Accept the Fact You Will NEVER Get Through You TBR Pile. At my age, I don’t have enough years left to read them all, especially since I can’t resist adding to the TBR on a nearly daily basis.

  13. Shelly Hickman

    I’m a super slow reader too, Sandie. Plus, my attention span is for crap these days. I’m with you and just accept the fact that I will probably never get through my TBR pile. 😉


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