Skip to content

The Myth of the TBR Pile

We know how hard it can be to make time and space to read new books. Who else finds themselves going back to their comfort books over and over again? We certainly do! But finding new stories is such a fun hobby! And we’re here to help you figure out how to put the fun back into your TBR, and into your reading as well! 

But what is a TBR Pile?

Most readers have a TBR pile. Even if they don’t realise that is what the ever growing pile of books that sit by their bed, or on their floor, or on their own special shelf is called. “To Be Read” in case you were still wondering. And these waiting books are wonderous things. They contain so many stories we have yet to consume, whole worlds just waiting for us to discover. But they are also terrifying, doom piles waiting to fall over and crush us with our inability to complete them. 

And they keep growing!

There are always more books being published. The instant classics, and the newest bestseller, and the little indie print that you absolutely have to read. Not to mention the books from the movie adaptations that we’ve watched. The recommendations from friends. The must reads. The newly discovered and on and on and on. In a world with a constant stream of new media being produced, it can feel more than a little overwelmhing to look at all the new stories that you don’t have the time or headspace or energy to read. When did reading become some sort of a competition?

Do you even want to read these books?

It might seem like a silly question but hear us out. When was the last time you had a proper look at yout TBR? Some of your books might have been on there for so long that you no longer want to read them. Maybe you just aren’t in the mood for crime thrillers anymore. Maybe you want to read fantasy now.

So take stock of your TBR. Decide which of the books you are still interested in reading. And which can go. It’s an easy way to reignite your passion for the waiting books. And it gets rid of the ones that are no longer for you!

Have you set reading goals?

When you’re struggling with too many books and not enough time, setting (gentle) reading goals can give you something to work towards. It also lets you achieve something each day, week, or month, depending on your goal, which will let give you those wonderful dopamine hits that we all love to have! For us, we add up all the pages in the books we want to read and then try to read fifty pages a day. This gives us an ever shrinking number and a serious case of achieving something. If you’re an audiobook listener, you can add up the mintues and decide on an amount you want to listen to each day. Or there are apps like Storygraph that have a daily steak function! Whatever keeps you motivated! 

Do you have a reading routine?

Prioritise your reading and set aside a certain time each day to do it. The best way to do this is to find a gap in your day that already exists. This could be your commute, your lunch break, before you switch off the light at bedtime. Maybe you have kids sports practise that you usually spent on your phone, or cutting down on one episode of your favourite show in excahange for one chapter of your current book! Try and find a little time everyday that you can easily add in some reading! 

Have you tried something other than books?

Comics are a great way to read many different stories without feeling overwhelmed by lenght. Most comic book volumes, which usually contain six individual comics or one long connected story, are between 120 and 220 pages and contain amazing stories that are made only better by the increadible illustrations. You can get non fiction comics as well. Audiobooks are always good for people on the move, and the benefit is you can do something else while listening to a story. You can also get them free from the library. Short story collections allow you to read different stories in bite sized pieces and there are some incredible ones out there. 

Are you even enjoying your current book?

Life is too short for reading books that aren’t for you! There is no moral obligation for you to finish books you aren’t enjoying. Just put them aside and start something new! 

Remember, reading is supposed to be fun! It’s not a competition or a race. If you can only read one book a year, that is still one story that you got to enjoy. And if it ever starts feeling too much like you’re ‘failing’ or ‘losing’ because you haven’t read more, or completed your TBR, than it might be time to step away from the books for awhile and remember they’re only stories! Your favourite characters will aways be waiting for you when you’re ready to come back!