Scaling the TBR Pile

CVlmXGkXIAEUQg6.jpg largeI’ll be giving a workshop via Skype on building romantic tension and conflict for the Orlando Public Library. You can register here. I assume the event is designed for people to attend in person, but I'm not positive. If you have questions, though, ask them, not me. I just do what I’m told.

Recently I embarked on a project to deal with my vast pile - both physical and electronic - of books To Be Read (TBR). I hoped that if I could quantify what I had, it might help me sort what to read next and also provide a cautionary number to slow me from acquiring more books.

I put all the books - paper, digital and audio - into a spreadsheet, listed by format, reason to read and priority.

As of this writing, the list stands at 269 books, which is several down from the original 272, especially given that I added several more, two to read for the Nebula Awards, one that was a gift, and one I'd pre-ordered that was released.

It has been worth the effort! I did discover several duplicates between digital and print versions. Also, being able to sort by priority and reason to read has proved to be surprisingly handy. For example, I discovered I had Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE as both a digital copy and in audio from the radio production. I'd been on the fence about that book because I love Gaiman's work on the one hand, so I've been reading all of his stuff, but on the other, that story didn't sound all that compelling to me. So, having finished an audio book (I'm usually "reading" an audio book, an ebook and a paper book at any given time), I spotted the NEVERWHERE audio production. I figured it would move faster than the actual book and give me a taste of the story. Sure enough, it did - and I didn't love that whimsy. I listened to the show and feel like I know the story now.

Boom! Done.

I'm also trying to read works in time to nominate them for awards - hence the Nebula reading - so the spreadsheet helps there, too.

I'm excited and hopeful about scaling the TBR Mountain and whittling down some of the glaciated layers. How about you all? Does anyone else have great methods to stay on task with reading?

Jeffe Kennedy
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Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

3 thoughts on “Scaling the TBR Pile

  1. I need to do this, Jeffe. I have books in bookcases in four different rooms, books on my Kindle and books on Nook. As I try to read more and shrink my library to one bookcase, I’m finding a lot of stories by authors I’ve never heard of that don’t grab me in the first twenty pages. Makes me wonder why I bought the books in the first place.

  2. I use Calibre. It’s allowed me to keep track of my FictionWise, Nook, and Kindle libraries at the same time. It allows me to search on Science Fiction or sort by oldest or by best loved authors, which helps me choose what to read next. I have a system for marking (and unmarking!) TBR books. It allows me to keep notes: “This book failed to carry conflict from scene to scene.” or “Wow! She did an amazing job of keeping everyone at each other’s throats while the bad guy got away with WAYTOOMUCH!” So when I see a new-to-me book on Kindle sale, I can look up the author and see if I already have a book by them and/or how much I liked reading them.

  3. I do the same thing, Pat! I’m ruthlessly implementing my 25% rule to get this pile manageable!

    That’s a great idea, Adrianne! I use Calibre to convert and store books, but it never occurred to me to use it for this. Of course, half my pile is paper or audio. too…

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