Discussion

Having a Big TBR pile is Good.

I touched upon this issue a couple of days back when I did the Intimidating TBR Pile Tag and I just feel that I need to talk about this more. The topic in discussion is that having a a large number of unread physical books is good.

Firstly, let’s talk about TBRWhat is a TBR? Widely known as ‘to-be-read’, TBR means any book which you want/have to read. However – among a lot of bookish platforms nowadays (Booktube, Bookstagram etc.) TBR has exclusively come to mean ‘physical books which you own but have not read’. And, this general notion is something I dislike and disagree to.

I don’t think a TBR pile can ever have a limit. If I see/get to know about a book which interests me/which I want to read, it immediately makes it to my TBR list, regardless of whether I own that book or not. Nowadays it’s like the deciding factor of a book making it to the TBR is not whether one actually wants to read the book, but rather whether the book has been purchased or not. Which is shallow, and meaningless, and stupid. If I want to read a book, then that should be when it becomes a part of my TBR, not when I buy the book, which might take ages. Which takes me to the conclusion that technically, since there are innumerable books I want to read, I have an infinite TBR. 

A lot of people consider their TBR as the ‘unread physical books they own’ and (now we get to the second topic I’d like to discuss) complain about the vast number of books they own. Almost everyone (including me) are worried about their bad book buying habits, but for the wrong reasons.

Excessive book buying can be bad for your wallet, unless you’re a millionaire, and that’s the only reason why I look down upon buying too many books. I don’t care that I have a lot of unread books. I don’t care that I buy books at a faster rate than I read them. I don’t care. As long as I’m reading, I don’t care that I own so many books I’ve still not touched. I feel like it’s an alright situation till your unread books are lower than your read books. Even if you own more unread books, as long as you’re reading something, it’s fine. Doesn’t matter. As long as you don’t own a thousand books and have read only a pitiful fifty of them (which then becomes being pretentious), you’re doing fine and you don’t have any need to be ashamed or sad or feel behind because they are your books, you are the one buying them, and you have the right to decide what to buy and when to read and so forth. 

So I especially dislike people who judge others because they apparently ‘don’t read books they own’. That day, a friend of mine came over to my house and fingered my copy of The Colour Purple (which I haven’t read) and she has because of some school assignment or something. The moment I revealed that I hadn’t yet read it, her nose twinged and she looked at me in this sick, haughty air that I felt like banging her head with that same book.

I like having lots of unread books in my home. I like to have my options open; so that when I finish a book, I can rush to my bookshelf and have a variety of books to choose from a variety of genres, at my disposal. I have books with me which are as old as 8 years and I still haven’t read. I have books which I bought in a moment’s excitement and came home and instantly regretted. I have books which I bought with a lot of hopes and then later got disappointed with. I have books I have lost interest in.

And you know what? I’m not ashamed. 

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10 thoughts on “Having a Big TBR pile is Good.

  1. My TBR is huge. Not only do I have a box full of books but my Kindle is packed. I find so many books that I want to read that I just have to get them now. And when I try to make a dent in the list I find something else to add and so forth. But on the bright side, at least I know I won’t run out of things to right, right?

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  2. Sometimes I feel that a huge TBR can be a bit intimidating rather than inviting. It’s good that I will always have something to read but I do get overwhelmed by just thinking about all the books I want to read coupled with the books I have to read (i.e. review books, books for school). I think I have more books on my TBR list than an actual physical TBR, if that makes sense! My Goodreads TBR is way bigger than the number of books I physically own, whether on Kindle, audio, physical.

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    1. Even my GR TBR is way more than the books I actually have :) I feel that being intimidated by TBR is just a state of mind, and yes review books and books for school are stressing but I guess that can be solved by prioritizing :)

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  3. I have a big TBR, but I haven’t really bought all of them. I don’t have my own copies of physical books that I haven’t yet read because I can only buy one or two books at a time, and when I do, tey’re usually the ones on my Goodreads TBR.

    Then again, I own a lot of ebooks too (some from my TBR, some I just saw somewhere and thought of reading). Those ones, almost half of them I have yet to read. Then again, I’m also all right with it. At least I’ll never run out of books eventually, right? That’s a better feeling than finishing a book and realizing you don’t have any other book left to read.

    Really great discussion post!

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  4. My TBR isn’t only books I own either. And I agree that if you want to own books you haven’t read yet, why not? If you own them, there’s a better chance you’ll get to them eventually, right? Unless you’re struggling financially and buying books instead of things you actually need, I don’t see why anyone should look askance at that.

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  5. My TBR is not based on just books I own. It is just something I want to read. Some books can (and have been) on my TBR for years simply because I cannot find a copy for a reasonable price (gotta love out of print books) or I an curious to read it but don’t feel like it is worth $10+. Many others I do own but just haven’t gotten to them. Plus I am an avid library user.
    Now I will admit that my Unread books on my shelves outnumber my read books at least 5 to 1. Why? Mainly because once I have read a book, I get rid of it. Unless I am very confident I will re-read it (or it is part of a series I haven’t finished) I give it up. So for me the majority of my bookshelves are unread. I don’t think of that as pretentious since I have read many, many other books. They just have since found other homes. Books are constantly coming and going from my shelves.

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