In the spirit of transparency: The TBR Book Tag

I came across this on the Cleopatra Loves Books blog (which is a real treat of a book blog, so do go and pay it a visit if you are not familiar with it already). Cleo was very brave to admit her bookish foibles, and a few of her readers have followed suit. So, in the interests of transparency, it seems only fair to attempt my own form of accounting. I’m sure it will help rein in my book-buying or requesting (yeah, right!). I define TBR as the books I do actually own but haven’t read, rather than my wishlist.

BookPile2HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TBR PILE?

I have’t to date, so this is my opportunity to be a star pupil now. Before, I would scroll down on my e-reader and sigh. Stare at the double or triple pile of books up on the shelves and learn to avoid them when they fall.

IS YOUR TBR MOSTLY PRINT OR E-BOOK?

Let the painful counting begin. 172 currently on my tablet, but another 10 or so in pdf or trickier formats on my laptop (I get sent a lot by author friends). Plus another 15 or so on my husband’s account on Kindle, which I conveniently forget about, books I downloaded back in the days when I had no e-reader of my own and didn’t really like those ‘dang things’. So a total of 200 or so in electronic format.

My collection of physical books is comparatively slender: only 78. Of course, I don’t include any library books in that pile.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHICH BOOK FROM YOUR TBR TO READ NEXT?

As a reviewer for Crime Fiction Lover, I often have deadlines linked to the launch of a book or a broader feature such as ‘Classics in September’ or ‘New Talent November’, so those will take priority. I occasionally take part in reading challenges such as ‘German Literature Month’ or ‘Global Reading Challenge’, so that influences my choices.

Most of the time, however, I just go with my gut instinct, although I do find that one book will lead to another in a mischievous, conspiratorial way. For instance, I will find myself embarking upon a series of reads about bad mothers or male midlife crises, whether French or elsewhere. After such a bout of misery, I will then need to find something funnier, lighter to rinse out the bitter taste from my mouth.

MorgueA BOOK THAT’S BEEN ON YOUR TBR THE LONGEST?

This would be amongst the ‘forgotten pile of books’ on the Kindle. I believe it’s a tie between Jutta Profijt’s debut novel ‘Morgue Drawer Four’ (shortlisted for the Glauser Prize in Germany back in 2010 and translated by Erik J. Macki) and Stanislaw Lem’s ‘Solaris’ (I loved the Tarkovsky film, less so the more recent adaptation with George Clooney, but the author apparently didn’t think much of either of them).

A BOOK YOU RECENTLY ADDED TO YOUR TBR?

poisoningJust this morning, I made the mistake of going to Netgalley (to post a review) and lingered there… so I ended up downloading Lauren Holmes’ Barbara the Slut and Other People (who can resist a title like that, hope it will give me loads of insights into the younger generation) and Jean Teulé’s The Poisoning Angel, translated by Melanie Florence for Gallic Books. This latter is based on a true story about a 19th century female serial killer.

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT YOU NEVER PLAN ON READING?

I live in hope of reading all of them… but I did discard one or two recently where I thought: ‘Was I drunk when I clicked the “buy” button?’ It’s just too easy to order things on Amazon – one more reason to avoid it.

AN UNPUBLISHED BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT YOU’RE EXCITED FOR?

besidemyselfI’ve been an admirer of Ann Morgan’s thoughtful reading and reviewing back in the days when she completed her ‘Year of Reading the World‘ challenge. I got to chat with her via Twitter and email, and even got to meet her when she gave a TEDx talk in Geneva. So I was very excited when she told me that she has a book coming out on the 14th of January, 2016. ‘Beside Myself’ is a twisted psychological tale of identical twins who swap places for a day – but then one of them refuses to swap back. Sounds like just my cup of tea!

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT EVERYONE HAS READ BUT YOU?

bookthiefOK, I’ll stop feeling ashamed and admit that I’ve not read ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak. I’ve read about it, I’ve seen the film, I’m sure it’s the kind of subject I would be interested in… but somehow I never got around to it. I bought a second-hand copy of it this summer at a friend’s house clearance sale, so I finally have a chance.

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT EVERYONE RECOMMENDS TO YOU?

I’m a big Pascal Garnier fan but haven’t read ‘Moon in a Dead Eye’ yet, which is the favourite Garnier for many of my fellow book bloggers. So, if it’s as good as ‘How’s the Pain?’ (which has been my personal favourite to date), I will be delighted!

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT YOU’RE DYING TO READ?

No particular book but there are certain authors whom I really look forward to reading or rereading: Eva Dolan, Clarice Lispector, Virginia Woolf, Neil Gaiman, Simenon, Stefan Zweig.

You may not think so, given that in some cases I have more than a couple of books by them on my TBR pile but haven’t dived into them yet. Life just got in the way… and it’s sometimes easier to keep those ‘sure bets’ in the background for when you need some reading/writing inspiration.

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE IN YOUR GOODREADS TBR SHELF?

Viennese tram stop.
Viennese bus stop.

785 but that’s a wishlist, so it doesn’t count. I keep adding to it as soon as I read a review of a promising book or someone mentions a new to me author or a topic I’m interested in. (Basically, anything to do with Vienna, Brazil, immigration and expats gets an automatic look-in.)

However, the most amazing fact is that before 2009 or so I did not have any TBR pile or wishlists. I would mainly borrow books from the library and only buy a few books which I read almost immediately. In 2010, however, I started writing again myself, and my reading has increased exponentially (not that I ever was a lazy reader). Plus, my husband’s misguided attempt to cure me of buying physical books by getting me an e-reader has resulted in double the number of books!

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21 thoughts on “In the spirit of transparency: The TBR Book Tag”

  1. Have you read WEGENER’S JIGSAW by Clare Dudman ? It’s a wonderful and truly poetic book based on the life of German explorer Alfred Wegener.

    1. Naughty, naughty, as I need any more recommendations…! I’m trying to block my ears with wax to avoid the siren call of all you readers, translators, writers, book bloggers out there…

      1. I love the beginning (and the rest):

        Let me tell you about ice. There are a few things you should know: firstly, it’s not white. Usually it’s blue, almost a turquoise, almost warmly Mediterranean. Sometimes, it’s not even blue, but yellow or maybe orange. That’s when the sun is setting. Sometimes it seems that the sun is always on the point of setting up here. It’s not of course. It’s just that often it is so low, that all the light is scattered, and for a small while, just a few seconds, it is so beautiful you could forget to breathe. Stupid to forget to breathe, I know, but it happens. You forget to breathe and then you have to take a great mouthful of air and gasp at the coldness of it.

  2. Hahaha!!! I may do this ….my TBR is getting ridiculous ….I have 3 : Books in English ; books in French and Kindle ….I often conveniently forget my kindle books to make me feel less guilty !

  3. E-readers and NetGalley are a dangerous combination so I’m trying not to go there as I already have enough books on there that I keep forgetting about. I couldn’t possibly do this meme – I doubt I could actually find all the books on my TBR…

    1. That’s what I thought, so I resisted this initially. But then I thought it might be a useful nudge (and also get me to take some of the ‘read but not worth keeping’ books out to libraries).

  4. Very nice post.

    I have very few ebooks on my TBR because I can have them whenever I want them. So I’m not tempted to buy them right away.
    Most of my TBR is made of physical books and I keep track of them on an excel spreadsheet. I’ve started this when I realised it was getting out of control.

  5. I give you credit, Marina Sofia (Cleo, too) for really taking a look at your TBR. I’ve found, as you have, that having an e-reader increases the TBR exponentially. It’s soooo easy to just ‘click here,’ isn’t it? And I suspect a lot of people add to their wishlists or physical TBR based on one or a few themes/topics (i.e. I love books that treat this topic, so I’ll add).

    1. Oh, dear, and between when I posted this and now, about five more have sneaked onto my Netgalley list. Requests I made a while ago which have all been approved today… So this blog post is out of date already!

  6. Haha! I’m not sure I have the courage to add on all the Kindle books etc – my TBR is restricted to the books I intend to read soon. Admittedly there’s more than a year’s worth there already so ‘soon’ might have to stretch a bit…

    I’ll be intrigued to see if this confession stops you from adding to the piles – real or virtual! 😉

    1. Given that I just added another 5 from Netgalley this afternoon, it’s clearly not working very much as a deterrent… Ooops! (However, they were all items I had requested a week or so ago…)

  7. I am still laughing at Barbara the Slut and Other People. What a great title! I also have a copy of Beside Myself that I’m looking forward to. I don’t think you need feel any shame about your TBR – it’s not very large in comparison to mine….. 🙂

  8. I agree with ‘litlove’ that Barbara the Slut and Other People is a title to make one of the many piles of TBR. I would also add The Poisoning Angel to the pile or at least the list (which is endless). While I do buy a great many books, I’ve a friend in London who frequently posts one or more my way. In addition, she maintains a flat here which I look after and her vast library is also at my disposal. I don’t have any ebooks but the number of books in this house must be several thousand. There is also a monthly book exchange and a library right down my street. The possibilities are endless. While there is more than one ‘Me next’ pile, when I finish one book then next one seems to jump into my hand. 🙂
    Do yourself a favour and put The Book Thief high in the pile like NEXT!

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