Book tags: the TBR tag

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is one I have already done two different takes on (I must learn to stop anticipating prompts), so I’m go off piste today with a book tag instead! I’ve been eyeing a few to jump on board with, so let’s talk TBRs…

This awesome tag has been around a while: it was created by A Perfection Called Books and Dana Square and I’m tagging myself in because it sounds like fun.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

When we moved house in 2010ish, I took the opportunity to catalogue all our books in LibraryThing as I unpacked. This led to a compulsive need to tag them, and suddenly I had an unavoidable guilty conscience: for the first time, I knew how many books I owned that I hadn’t read. It still keeps me guilty (I’d say honest, but the number only seems to get bigger…)

I use my Amazon wishlist very badly – things I’m most interested in buying / tracking price drops on; but it’s not comprehensive at all – and my Goodreads and Litsy lists very generously (almost anything that catches my interest in passing).

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

My TBR is a glorious mix of both. Those LibraryThing tags let me know whether to find the book on the shelf or the Kindle, so I can see that it’s about half and half, at the moment.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

My next read is a combination of obligation and whim. I’m a mood reader: I can bounce off a book several times if it’s not the right time (or give it an average rating if I force myself to finish it) only to love it if I revisit it in the right mood. However, between review copies and Subjective Chaos I do have reading deadlines, which means more discipline has crept in over the past year.

Gotcha. No, it means that I have bouts of ‘must pick what I’m in the mood for from THIS list’ followed by a month of reading whatever the hell I fancy!

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest:

Book cover: Moby Dick - Herman Melville (all caps text on a cream background)Book cover: Dreamsongs - George R R Martin (fictional coat of arms, with a red and black dragon)Moby Dick is up there – it was a gift from my ex, and we broke up nearly 20 years ago. The Little Friend by Donna Tartt is another – I read about half before I gave up, and I’ve never gone back because the hardback is intimidatingly big. Dreamsongs by George R R Martin suffers from the same affliction. I’ve not read it because I can’t hold it one-handed (I read on the train a lot; I don’t always get a seat).

A book that you recently added to your TBR:

Book cover: The Near Witch - V E Schwab (a tree of coiling green and red vines reaches out across a white background, a crow saw on one branch)The beautiful new hardback edition of The Near Witch by V E Schwab arrived on my doorstep this week!

The Women’s War (Jenna Glass), The Tiger at Midnight (Swati Teerdhala) and Never the Bride (Paul Magrs) have all been added to my Goodreads TBR recently.

Book cover: The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan (a citadel of domes and minarets perched atop a cliff against a orange-brown sky)A book that’s on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:

I never add a book purely because of its beautiful cover, but the cover stirs me to pick it up and read the back. The book that had me reaching to find out more (and went straight on my TBR) was the gorgeous American cover of The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading

I still have ambitions to read Moby Dick! Melville’s prose gives me thrills – that opening paragraph – so I will make at least one more attempt. However, I’m pretty sure I should send Umberto Eco’s The Island of the Day Before and Jon McGregor’s If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things to a better home.

Book cover: The Survival of Molly Southbourne - Tade Thompson (a woman prays, blood trickling down her hands)An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for:

The Survival of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson. The Murder of Molly Southbourne was one of my favourite reads of last year, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you:

Book cover: The Stone Sky - N K Jemisin (a green archway)Depending on who I’m talking to, Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain is one I’m regularly told to read (I’ve bounced off it three times; like Moby Dick, it’s beautifully written, but the characters haven’t hooked me in). Within my preferred genre, it’s all about sequels: Ancillary Sword (and Mercy) and The Stone Sky. I will get to them!

Book cover: Updraft - Fran Wilde (a figure up aheight, seem from behind, looking down at towers and cloud)A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:

Updraft by Fran Wilde and The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. Although I suspect that if more of my friends knew I hadn’t read V E Schwab’s Vengeful yet, that might rocket to the top of the list (don’t worry, friends, I’ll be reading it this year for Subjective Chaos).

A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read:

All of them! …no, that’s clearly not true. Of the books that have been on my shelf the longest, the one I want to read the most is Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset – her take on the Matter of Britain. I adored her trilogy of the Legions (Legion of the NinthThe Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers) and I just need to make the time to settle into her version of Arthur.

The number of books on your (goodreads) TBR shelf:

443. But that only includes some, not all, of the books I own and am yet to read (which is what I consider my ‘true’ TBR) – it’s a real mix of TBR and wishlist, which I should probably sort out in favour of one or the other. It bugs me that GR doesn’t easily differentiate this. Hey ho, time for more shelves (a thing that gets said frequently at my house…)

I’m not going to actively tag anyone, but if you’d like to have a go please share the link in the comments so I can come and enjoy your answers!