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Curzon Tussaud

I immediately thought of the 48 Preludes and Fugues! I find it hard to believe that one could NOT have a TBR pile: taken literally it would mean that when you finish a book you have no single solitary unread book in your home waiting to be read.....that is very hard to believe. My own TBR pile is far larger than it oughter be, but I can always find something suitable for content, style and sometimes even the size of the book can be significant.

Simon T

I have three tbr piles... review books, really-soon-tbr, and general tbr. I try to keep the really-soon-tbr to about 25, and the review books to about 15... the general tbr is about 300...

Peter the Flautist

As invited by Cornflower I will comment and also I hope answer Curzon Tussaud too.

In the sense in which I see it used on the literary weblogs that I frequent I really do not think I have a TBR pile. Neither do I have a list (paper-based or electronic) of books awaiting purchase or desired. Of course Curzon is correct in that I do indeed have a some books in my flat which I have not read, but they are indeed few. I also do not regard them as "waiting to be read", perhaps they will never be read or maybe I'll pick one up tonight. I do sometimes have what might look like a small TBR pile next to where I sleep, but that will just indicate that I am reading more than one book simultaneously (don't take that completely literally!).
Why am I not acquisative? Well I think perhaps that I am not by temperament, I also live in a very expensive part of Central London where space is incredibly costly and I simply do not have space for any more shelves. I don't like piles of books (or indeed piles of anything) so I'm not prepared to start stacking things up on the floor to compensate. I also make use (extensively) of a large public library and my own university library as a repository of books which in some sense are waiting to be read by me. Cornflower's point about mood is interesting as of course I am sometimes not perhaps in the mood for the book I am reading, however I generally just plough on regardless, if I don't feel like reading it then I will do something else rather than accumulate a set of books from which I could pick and choose.

Dark Puss


I've just had a quick count of the books in a teetering pile at the top of the stairs and hogging the end of the sofa ... these are the ones that I have every intention of reading very soon, or library books that have to go back, and there's 30, which was beginning to feel overwhelming but doesn't seem too bad compared with yours! Of course, I haven't counted the books that have toppled under the bed because I think at that point TBR is more honestly described as 'started but abandoned.' I am always starting diets (book and food) and can never stick to them for more than a couple of days! Latest diet blown by a 30p copy of The Heir of Redclyffe in a very smelly secondhand bookshop where a dieter had no business crossing the threshold! By the way, my Penguin classic blog book arrived this morning months after I had given up hope of it ... so that's jumped high up the TBR pile.
I always feel sad about the books that slip to the bottom, always overtaken by something newer and more immediately enticing. Is anybody out there disciplined/prissy enough to read them in order of acquisition?


I have to add my 'Amen' to Peter's comment. I was feeling a bit inadequate for having only a book or two in the TBR pile...well, guess it can't really be called a 'pile,' eh? But we too live in limited space. It is easy for me to feel suffocated with too much of anything laying around. But yes, there are books yet to be read in the house. And likewise we are regular library attendees. I also like the freedom of going whichever way suits at the moment when it comes time for a new read.


I'm afraid there is no magic number for me. I haven't checked lately because I'm a little too embarrassed. However, the last time I checked, my tbr pile was nearing 300! If that isn't sad enough, I have three different book orders on their way to my house as we speak. I'm a librarian, but I don't check out books to read. Any book that I think I may want to read in the future -- I buy. I know it sounds as if I have a serious problem. But, I don't think so (denial?). I love books, I love to read them, and I love to be surrounded by them. Yes, I may never get around to reading them all, but it'll be fun trying.


I have got to jump in here! I am not organised enough to have a TBR pile. In fact if there was one in this house the last thing I would do is pick a book from it. I start a new book more or less every day but I may discard it or only read part of it if it is not the right book at the right time. I also get great enthusiasms which sweep me up and I have to follow where those take me, at the moment these are (1) A J Ayer ; (2) what is love? ; (3) the effect of violence and brutality on a life being lived quietly and carefully ; (4)does a murderer act freely when he/she kills someone etc etc etc


I'm the kind of bookworm who finds it actually physically painful not to have a book on the go, so I'm not sure I could cope without a TBR pile.

Piles, to be truthful. I don't have a magic number - I think counting them would scare me slightly. I don't allow them to get above a certain height, though, which means frequent moratoria on buying any more.


Interesting post.
I never count my tbr pile - too intimidating. I also have a 'books I want to read' list, which I add to regularly.
I have currently banned myself from the library on the basis that I get over excited and take too many. I also feel I shouldn't buy books on Amazon or ebay while I have so many waiting to be read, but can accept visiting charity shops looking for books, and I do like a bargain!


If all my "tbr"s were in one pile it would topple over and kill me. I worry more about the books that I have started and then lost interest in...


I just read a book by an autistic savant, and he wrote quite a bit about prime numbers.

Here is the thing I don't do - no piles of books and no double shelving. If I have that many books I haven't read, I go through them and donate 'em to the library. I just cleared out three bags, and wondered why I even owned the ones I got rid of. :<)

I've also stopped, forever, reading more than one book at a time. I listen to one and I read one, period. I truly find it too stressful to have a number of books going at the same time. I'm not a good multi-tasker in my non-reading life so that may be why I don't like many books in my reading life. :<)


The idea of being promiscuous made me laugh, and inspired me to write a post about my promiscuous nature and it's relationship with my TBR pile!

I agree with Rosie that my pile might kill me if I were ever to get the notion to pile it up!

Mr Cornflower

Readers with long memories may recall that last year I was struggling with "The Shield of Achilles" by Philip Bobbitt.
I lost.


No pile - but a fairly long list, which suits me fine. A house move 4 years ago cured me of the need to accumulate "stuff" that I don't need or use immediately, be it books, yarn, trinkets etc. and I must say I like it better this way.


How interesting to read about other peoples reading habits. I too have to have a book on the go at all times. Until recently I was of 'the read a book and finish it school' but have now become a dipper - trying out books to see how they fit my mood and then devouring what takes my fancy. I have a physical tbr pile but it's not a deliberate selection as such, more a random collection of recent acquisitions. I do have themes and having recently retired have time to browse the charity shops and secondhand bookstores to complete collections - often sparked by another blogger's suggestions. I'm afraid I could never be so restrained as Peter, for me there is something wonderful about being surrounded by books that are yet to be read and I love the look, feel and smell of books. I do sort and weed out some books from time to time and used to donate them to my local cash-strapped library but now they say they can't take them, so they are recycled to the local charity shops. And like another of your bloggers I have managed (so far) to avoid the lures of Ebay and Amazon as that way lies bankruptcy. So yes, hands up, I admit I am profilgate and promiscuous in my book buying but I love reading. Now if you don't mind, I've a tbr pile to get back to...


I have absolutely hundreds of books waiting to be read. The ones I feel bad about are ones I bought years ago with good intentions but over time tastes change, they are perhaps not the 'right' books for me anymore. Interesting post!

Mrs C

I have tonnes of book that fall into the TBR category and I have to say that I'd be scared to count them all!

When Mr C and I moved house about 4 years ago we did have a massive clear-out, but I have to say that most of it was books that I had read a long time ago and were unlikely to read again.

My books come second hand from a variety of sources (my mum, my mother in law, friends, work colleagues, charity shops) and I've at least managed to get myself out of buying too many new ones (although I still have to cross the street to get away from the drug that is the 3 for 2 offer!)

There's something that I simply love about having all these new worlds sitting there on a shelf waiting to be explored.

Maybe I just need to give up work and read instead, then I might be able to make a dent into the TBR, but then I'd also have more charity shop time... A vicious cycle!

Simon T

What I tried to explain to myself in a post a while ago, and failed, is why I re-read books when there are SO many to be read!


Bit late but I had to comment as I am on the brink of getting my TBR pile below the magic number of 100 - hurrah! About half are non-fiction, which I read much more slowly than fiction so I can't see that bit of the pile being finished before 2010...but I am determined to go below 50 total in the next year, so I can start ordering books from the library with a clear conscience!
The only way not to buy is to not go in secondhand bookshops. When the desired book is in my hand, there is no way back.

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Please note

  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.


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