From Stacks to Lists—What’s On Your To-Be-Read?

Woman Reading on CouchWhether it’s a stack or a list, all bookworms have one.  The To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile.  No matter how many books I read, my pile never seems to get smaller.  Oh, I hide it now.  I invested in digital e-reader devices, so now the stacks of physical books are neatly stored on a Kindle, a Nook, a Kobo or my iPhone.

Yes, I actually bought one of each.  And I wrote them off as business expenses. Now I can read everywhere.

But I saw this online article the other day about Marilyn Monroe’s personal library, and it made me a little homesick for the days when you would visit someone’s home and learn all about them from the books on their coffee table and on their shelves. The photo of Marilyn surrounded by books made me look longingly at my bookshelves in my office.  There are some “keepers” on my shelves—a slew of old Georgette Heyer paperbacks, plus some Jane Austen hardbacks, an old edition of The Count of Monte Christo.  I have my E.B. White books, including the autographed Charlotte’s Web, and Peanuts Treasury by Charles M. Schulz. The Harry Potter books and most of The Clan of the Cave Bear series. My complete collection of The Williamsburg Novels by Elswyth Thane and a volume of Rudyard Kipling’s Verse.

19 Jan 2005 --- Row of Old Books --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI have books on writing, from Robert McKee’s Story to Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat. I have Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  Plus there are research books on the Civil War, period clothing, the medieval and Tudor periods, and a dozen books studying The Wars of the Roses. And I even have Windows XP for Dummies and QuickBooks for Dummies.  I’m hopeless when it comes to Windows and accounting…

My TBR stack/list contains an eclectic mix of books:  For I Have Sinned by Kathleen Irene Paterka. (I started the first chapter, and it’s beautifully written.)  Contagious by Jonah Berger. (Recommended by fellow muse Edie Ramer, looks excellent!)  Lost in Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel. (Read the teaser in the back of another book and was totally hooked on it.)  The 5th Realm  by Constance Gillam. (My husband borrowed my Nook months ago, so I recently bought a second one–and discovered this in my library. Can’t wait to read!)  Deadly Recall by Donnell Ann Bell. (Read and loved her first book, so eager to see if this one’s even better.) Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener (I’ve had a chance to skim and can’t wait to totally dive into the characters!)

What about you?  What’s on your TBR pile?  Is it a stack of physical books, or a list on an e-reader?  Or both?

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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15 Responses to From Stacks to Lists—What’s On Your To-Be-Read?

  1. Brynn Chapman says:

    omword. my goodreads shelf says it all. the place scares me. I’m pathological in my wanting for books. I’m anxiously awaiting a book called The Madman’s Daughter. Thats one. See my shelf for further pathology. 😕

    • Amy Atwell says:

      LOL, Brynne. Isn’t it fun that we can now all share our bookshelves at places like Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing? The article link I posted even had a link to Marilyn Monroe’s book list on LibraryThing. Very cool to know she enjoyed the plays of James Joyce and Anton Chekhov.

      The Madman’s Daughter sounds *very* promising.

  2. I went to the library and only took out seven books and returned five. My Nook has fifteen books waiting to be read. This should keep me for the week.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Wow, Mary Jo. You ARE a reader, aren’t you? I used to read so fast, but now it feels like there are so many things pulling at me. I did mention to read 8 books in a week to meet a recent contest judging deadline. Granted, 3 were category length and 1 was a novella, but still… I like that I can hide all the books on my digital reading devices. My husband has no idea how many books I’m reading!

  3. Edie Ramer says:

    I’ve been reading non-fiction books lately, and when that happens, my fiction books tend to pile up – because I keep buying them! It’s so easy with my Kindle. I’ve read several on your list that I loved, including Michelle’s and Kathleen’s. My Kindle is downstairs and I can’t remember titles, so I’ll just say I have MANY books waiting for me to read.

  4. Angi Morgan says:

    Physical and e-list.
    Donnell’s on mine, Gone by Barb Han, The Marriage Bargain by Kat Cantrell, and two Intrigues by Cynthia Eden. All sitting there, tempting me not to make this deadline.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      I hate when I have to balance writing and reading–that may be the worst part about deadlines. Good luck on staying on track with yours. I hope you get to treat yourself to enjoyable reading to celebrate turning in your manuscript!

  5. Amy says:

    Oh my goodness, Amy, if you have a way to get a handle on a TBR list, please let me know! I have definitely learned a lot of the past year. I used to love entering giveaways so I could read new books. Well, now my TBR pile is so big I am overwhelmed and can’t take it anymore. I actually long for the days I had to go out and look for my next book to read. Now I just worry about letting authors down if I don’t read books fast enough to review – especially if I can’t read them around their release date. I have stopped entering giveaways for books I don’t know about and I don’t advertise that I will review books anymore to authors I don’t know just so I can get a handle on the TBR list. I have also stopped downloading free books unless it is one I already know about and want to read.

    I have all sorts of books on my list! I love to read in different genres so I have Contemp Romance, Historical, Rom Susp, Young Adult, Women’s Fiction, Erotic Romance, Paranormal Romance, etc. I used to keep my list in GR but now I have an excel spreadsheet of digital and hard copy books and sort them by author and release date then prioritize them. It is crazy. I really want to catch up.
    Amy`s last blog was …Review, Interview and Giveaway: Craving Her Soldier’s Touch by Wendy S. Marcus

    • Amy Atwell says:

      LOL, Amy–I hear you on the giveaways. When I go to conferences and they give me free books, I always get panicky. How am I supposed to read them all? And while it’s tempting to download all the free books that are marketed on my Kindle, I’m like you. I have to pick and choose. I guess that saying really is true: So many books; so little time!!

  6. I hate to admit it but I have 2 TBR piles. One with physical books and it’s teetering as I type. The other on my Kindle. Oh, and now the Cloud. I can’t seem to quite buying books when they appeal but my time for reading is so limited.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Potholes, Corned Beef & Life

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Casey– yep, I haven’t gotten rid of my TBR physical stack, but it’s not quite so high now that I subsidize it with ebooks. I’m afraid to count how many books I have waiting on the various devices!

  7. Willa says:

    Since I have my ereader it is ebooks all the way . . not that I don’t have bookshelves stuffed to the gills . . I do .. but being able to slip them on the reader helps with that little guilt problem that raises it’s ugly head every now and again when you see the bookshelves groaning 😛

    Forget Goodreads – then I would really have to fess up and I can live obliviously without it .. *makes chicken noises* 😀

    I have a Donnell Ann Bell too . . and some Nora Roberts and Leslie Tentler, Laura Griffin and Nalini Singh and Larissa Ione for a PNR fix. Oooh and am due an Angi Morgan – I won one of hers on a Blog a couple of weeks back 😛 *waves*

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Willa, I’m on Goodreads and all those other reader sites, but I have a heck of a time updating my reading lists. It’s just one more time commitment. What I need is an ebook that auto updates Goodreads as soon as I open the book file to read it. (Hmmm, is anyone over at Amazon, B&N, etc., listening??)

  8. Hope you enjoy Daughter of the Sky, Amy 🙂

    I am being very strict with myself, because I’m trying to write to a deadline at the moment. I won’t let myself get anything new until I’m done. Then I get to reward myself with a week of just reading before plunging into the next deadline.

    Like you, my Kindle hides a multitude of sins, though. 🙂

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