To Be Read Lists Love them or Hate them?

Library of books all waiting to be Read
So many books to read

Today I want to talk about something a little different than the reviews I have been posting recently. The often hated TBR pile.  I am sure everyone has a different opinion on them. I am sure that you will have a different experience to me but today I need to talk about them. I have been silent on this too long. 

This was not something that I was aware of for a long time.  I was introduced to the TBR list/pile by a booktuber katytastic and ever since have had a love-hate relationship with mine. As with most people’s the ever-expanding TBR list is held in a central place, mine is on Evernote, though most people will probably have theirs on Goodreads.  

There are great things about TBR lists and things that upset me so I have listed below some of the the positives and negatives about them. 


Knowing what you are reading next

Having a list of books you would like to read can be really helpful.  Once you have finished a book you are no floundering wondering where to go next. You are not umming… and ahhing… what did I want to read?  What did so and so recommend? Having a list helps to prevent all of that.  

This is great for those who want to get through a high volume of books, or for people who need to know exactly what they are going to read and when.  It is also good for those who are terrible at making decisions (I know I am one of them). I don’t need to think what to read next it is all in a neatly ordered and numbered list. 

It can be useful for book bloggers

This is something I have only found out recently.  TBR lists are great for book bloggers, they are probably just as useful for Booktubers.  They allow you to plan ahead, what you are reading, to slip those reviews onto your blog in time for your deadlines. You can glance down and if you have a short book or one that you know is particularly useful at a particular time of year you can time your reading just right.  

As someone who is used to meeting deadlines in her day to day work this has been so helpful to me. 

You can vary your reading

I know a lot of people who love to read in all the genres, I know some that only read from one, in particular, I know what I like and occasionally dip my toe in the other areas but TBR lists can help you to vary your reading.  

Your TBR list can help you to keep track of the different genres what you have read so far, what you would like to try.  This can prevent you from becoming fatigued of reading the same type of books over and over again. 


I know I will never get to the end 

I am a very goal-driven person (not that I am great at setting them), one year I wrote 100,000 words during Nanowrimo, just to prove that I could.  I have aimed to read 40 books this year (and I am so far on target to do so).

But having a list that I know will never end is a little disheartening. 

The TBR list is ever-expanding, as your tastes change the items on the list will do so,  as you discover new favourite authors, a new series that you absolutely must read or a book that has become a phenomenon.  They all get added to the list. While you can cull the list it will still get bigger. For me, a TBR list is a to-do list that you will never complete, much like trying to tiding a house with children still playing in it. 

I know exactly what I am planning to read

I am aware that above I said that it is great for book bloggers like me to be able to plan what we are doing but…

Spontaneity can be difficult to find in life.  If you work 9-5 and only have a couple of weeks holiday a year, have house chores and family and friends that you have to make time for it can be difficult to just throw off the shackles and do something completely on a whim. 

I find A TBR list can prevent me from randomly choosing a book, just pulling one off the shelf in a shop and shrugging my shoulders saying why not give it a go.  Hearing a friend speak about a book is such glorious terms that you just have to pick it up now.  

While a TBR list can be flexible, I can feel bad about leaving something on there for ages and starting something that never even made it on to my TBR list.  

You may forget a book is being published 

This goes along with the adage ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. If you live in your own little world often enough (like me) then you may not know that a book is even being published and if you are concentrating only on books which are on your TBR list then you may be missing on some golden new book. On a book which could be a new favourite.

I know I’m not the only one to have this love-hate relationship with TBR lists. Though I will certainly continue to use mine in the future. I may adopt a slightly more flexible approach to my list.  Go to a local book shop or my library and ask them to recommend a book based on a series that I loved, or pop into a local charity shop a pluck one book off the shelf at random to give that a go.

Do you love or hate your TBR list?  Do you have any tricks to dealing with the inevitable mountain? If you do please let me know in the comments below!! 


  1. Great post 🙂 I’ve tried to steer away from making TBRs but I still find myself planning ahead as if I can’t stop myself. I like the idea that they’re useful as a blogger though, and it’s nice to have something specific to look forward to.


    • I am still not certain I like them, but if you are a planner they are helpful if you schedule in when your reviewing posts are due you can work backwards to know exactly what you are planning on reading for them. I am glad my post has given you something to look forward to with them 🙂


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