Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 TBR: What Should I Read?

I manage my home shelves and TBR books (ones that I own) in LibraryThing (klpm if you want to friend me or see my books).  I know that I have at least six books on their way to the house that are unrecorded and yet LT still tells me that I have 189 unread titles here.  For the record, that number used to be around 30 in my pre-blogging days.

Last year, I bought a small bookshelf that is next to my bed so that the unread books have better visibility and so that most of them can reside in a single location in the house.  But this year I wanted to take things one step further and make a To Read 2011 list on LibraryThing to help keep me on track with getting through some of this backlog.  With review books and RIP challenge reads and all, I thought that it would be reasonable to put 50 books on the list.  I have the books there right now but I may switch some of them out.

My biggest dilemma is one that I would love some input on from fellow bloggers -- if you had multiple books from multiple series and were trying to clear your shelves, would you finish off what you had from a single series or read the next book in each series that you were working on?  For example, should I read the two Maisie Dobbs books I have here, buy one more and get caught up to the new spring release?  Or should I keep reading one every few months and always have an unread one on hand?  Also, I have the first two books in the newer Charles Todd series.  Do I begin this series this year or wait until I have finished up/caught up with another series?  What would you choose to do and why?

Spending as much time planning as reading,


  1. I agree with you about keeping TBR books in one place - before we moved house, mine were just piled up on top of our small filing cabinet next to the computer, as there was no room anywhere else to put them. Now they have their own bookcase.

    As far as series go, I find I can't keep reading the same kind of book, I have to have a break after finihing a book and read something from a different era, or a totally different style. So if it was me, I'd definitely alternate between series and have several on the go at the same time.

  2. It always feels like such a luxury to me to be able to read several books in a row from one series -- and I love how fresh the last one still is in my mind. I'd work on finishing what you have, I think.

  3. I had to laugh at your going from 30 unread books pre-blogging to 189 now. My norm preblogging was one shelf, maybe two, and now I can't fit my (215ish) unreads on a single bookcase!

    As far as the series go, if an ongoing series is still being published, I like to stay caught up with it as much as possible, so I'd probably choose one of the series you mention and get caught up soonish. But that's me. I just like to be ready to read the new books when they come out.

    If on the other hand, it's a finite series, like a preplanned trilogy, I might wait until all the books are released and read them all at once.

    And your sig line cracked me up. I sometimes plan more than read as well.

  4. I don't like to be reading more than one series at a time -- I like to plow through a series with speed and momentum. So my advice would be to finish one series before starting another. You don't want to get the characters confused!

  5. Looks like I'm in the minority! (won't be the first time) I don't think I've ever read a series completely back to back, even a series like LoTR which is already published. As a child I always used to take my time eating my way through a box of chocolates or Easter Eggs, spread them out over several days or weeks rather than all at once, I'm the same with books.

  6. Definitely finish one series at a time for me. I think it's just preference, though. I see the benefits of doing it the other way. I just get really single minded once I start. :)

  7. I prefer reading at least a couple of other books between books in a series. I'm afraid I will get bored with the same series if I read them all in a row (depending on the series of course; I think trilogies, for example, would be easier to read back to back). The problem with this is that if I leave it too long between books, I might have forgotten some of what has happened before and will have to back and look things up. On the other hand I don't have to wait for ages until a new book is released. :)

  8. Tracy - Yes, I had some that were just in piles and I had trouble looking past the first few titles. Now that they are in a bookcase, I browse them more regularly and rearrange them according to my current moods. I have trouble reading the same books over and over but I also hate having so many series going at once. That's why I asked for opinions. :)

    Buffy - I love that feeling too, especially when it's a series that picks right up in the story with each new book.

    Teresa - I'm so glad to hear that you've gone through the exact same thing! (And I'm not fitting on a single 3 shelf bookcase either, I'm fudging with two stacks on the floor next to it and the bottom shelf of my nightstand included.)

    Jenny - I've never had this many series going at once (I don't even want to count how many because it will stress me out) and so that's why I've hit this point of indecision. In the past it's been at most two or three and wasn't a big juggling act like it has become now.

    Tracy - I don't think I've really read a series back to back either. The closest is probably reading a couple of Agatha Christie books in a row or with only a book or two in between but those are usually fairly unrelated. I just feel like I have too many going at once and that I should maybe finish some off. I would still probably need a filler book or two in between though.

    Paige - I think that's just fine too! I'm glad to see both points of view actually!

    Hilde - I think I might have to find some sort of compromise here -- maybe focus on a single series but with some stand-alone reads in between each series read. Then I can finish off a series but not as a serial read! I'm terrible about forgetting characters and plot lines if I wait too long too.

  9. I don't know if I'm answering your question but I'm learning that I do better when I space out reading series over time ... then I don't get too burned out on them or tired of what is probably a perfectly good series that I read too close together.

  10. Jenners - I think I do best in a sort of middle ground, where it's not too close so that I'm bored with the characters but not so far away that I forget key points about the series. My biggest issue now is to decide how many series to have going at once!