The Joys of the TBR

August 27, 2009 at 6:43 am 19 comments

Super LibrarianWelcome guest blogger Wendy Crutcher. The fiction buyer for a large southern California library system, Wendy has been blogging for the past six years at  The Misadventures of Super Librarian .

In one guise or another, I’ve been floating around the online romance community for roughly ten years.  I’ve seen the rise of online review sites, message boards, listservs, blogging, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve seen sub genres declared dead, then miraculously reborn.  However, one thing has always remained constant…..

My insane To Be Read mountain range.

It ceased being a mere pile years ago.

It all started innocently enough with some of the listservs I was on.  I discovered I liked historical western romances, and boom!  I suddenly had readers from all over the world giving me suggestions on what authors I should try.  Then I discovered the wonderful world of category romance and boom!  I had suggestions for what lines and authors I should try.  I’d always loved mysteries, discovered that I also liked romantic suspense and boom!  Another host of authors to consider.

Soon the suggestions were coming not only from my listservs, but also review sites and blogs as well.

Is it any wonder that my TBR can currently be seen from space?

Readers ask me all the time if the sheer volume of my TBR ever becomes a crushing weight on my psyche.  Sure it does.  I wonder if and when I’ll ever have the time to read all those yummy, wonderful books.  But you know what?  As much as the anxiety sometimes gets to me, when you get right down to it?  My TBR is all about possibilities.

Every book holds the key to the universe.  What type of story will it be?  Will it be the next keeper?  Will I discover a new favorite author and find myself going on a massive glom?  Or, perish the thought, will I discover I don’t care for the author’s voice or a plot theme that doesn’t work for me?

My TBR is like my own undiscovered country.  A lost city waiting for an explorer to discover it’s buried treasures, hidden depths, and the dangers that may be lurking within.  So yes, while having a TBR that currently equals the gross national product of most third world countries is a bit daunting, it’s also a bit exhilarating.  New characters to discover, empathize and fall in love with.  New worlds to explore, journeys and adventures to be had.  I could succumb to TBR Anxiety, and heaven knows it would be easy for me.  However, I think instead I’ll sit back, ponder the possibilities, and dig through the mountain range to uncover my next great read.


Entry filed under: reading. Tags: , , , .

Countdown to launch We have lift-off!


  • 1. Caroline  |  August 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, for a place to keep that many books…I HATE having nothing to read. Of course, I have no self-control, and a book bought is a book read (like, that same night. Or afternoon, if I can get away with it). Librarians have all the luck.

    Also, I love your avatar, but shouldn’t she have an open book on her super suit instead of a bat?

  • 2. KathleenLong  |  August 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Wendy — I love your observation about our HUGE TBR piles being all about possibilities! I’m going to keep that in mind as I try to reorganize mine this fall. I find I’m typically either on a reading binge or a writing binge, never managing to blend the two. As of 9/1, I’ll be all about the writing, so I’d better tame my TBR mountains now…or at least buy more baskets to make the books look like they’re supposed to be on every available surface. Thanks for the great blog today.

  • 3. Teresa Bodwell  |  August 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Well, you all can do what I did. I left my TBR mountain range in Montana–where mountain ranges fit right in. I’m here in Ohio with the books on my Kindle and not a whole lot more.

    That B&N I can see from my living room window is taunting me.

  • 4. Carrie Lofty  |  August 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    That must be the attitude that editors and agents have to keep from going crazy–the potential. I was ruthless last night, culling out the Nationals books I’d looked over and didn’t actually want to read. But those that remain…delicious opportunity!

  • 5. Wendy  |  August 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Now Caroline, I didn’t actually say I have the space – LOL.

    It’s actually getting pretty dire again. I need to take some time off work and go on a serious reading binge. As in, turn off the TV, unplug the DSL cable, and do nothing but read. I’m not sure how terribly realistic that is though……

  • 6. Teresa Bodwell  |  August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Gee, Wendy! Now I’m disillusioned. I mean you are the SUPER librarian. Can’t you just fly counter-clockwise around the world and create a few extra reading days?

    P.S. If you do that would you let us in on it so we can have the extra reading time, too?

  • 7. Wendy  |  August 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    LOL – Sorry to shatter the illusion Teresa. And don’t I wish! Actually my biggest problem is distractions. I watch too much TV, and I spend too much time on the Internet. If I cut both of those activities in half, my reading totals would probably double.

  • 8. The never-ending TBR « Teresa Bodwell Writes  |  August 27, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    […] August 27, 2009 in Announcement Wendy the Super Librarian is talking about the TBR pile that never ends at Unleash Your Story. […]

  • 9. Sally MacKenzie  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hi, Wendy! I think I ran into you in line for the Librarians Luncheon at National this year.

    All those conferences–I think those are what have done me in. I come back with SO many books. And now that I’m a writer, I know too many writers, so I feel a pull to pick up their books, too. I’ve pretty much forced myself just to wave at friends’ books on the shelves when I wander into a bookstore.

    Like Kathleen, I don’t seem to be able to read very much when I’m writing. I hate to say it, but most of my reading these days happens when I’m judging the RITAs.

  • 10. JenB  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Can we have a number, pretty please? I wanna know how many books are in your TBR mountain range.

  • 11. Liza  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I really thought it was only me who doesn’t mind having a TBR mountain. I love that at any given time I can go to my bookshelves(yes it has spread to 2 now) and find a new read depending on my mood. I’m good on space right now, but only because I have some of my keeper books boxed up. Like you Wendy, if I would just give up TV and the internet at home, I could get a lot more reading done each day.

  • 12. JenB  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I just realized my # question sounds a lot like the book version of the pervy “What are you wearing?”

    And to a bibliophile, maybe it is. LOL Come on, tell me how many unread books you have. You know you wanna. 😉

    (I have right around 320 TBR at the moment)

  • 13. Wendy  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Sally: Oh Lord yes – conferences are killer! Even when I restrain myself I still end up bringing way too much home with me.

    JenB: At last count? Are you sure you wanna hear this?


    No, I’m not kidding. I seriously place most of the blame on my Harlequin addiction. Those little books add up quick and take up a ton of space! Who knew? It’s a big reason why I’ve gone almost 100% digital to get my category romance fix these days.

    Oh, and I’ve got the whole blessed thing cataloged over at LibraryThing. Because 1) I’m a sick little monkey and 2) because I’m a librarian….of course!

    Beware though. I’ve heard it’s a bit of a time suck.

  • 14. JenB  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm


    I’m speechless.

    And dizzy with awe.

    *goes to waste an hour*

  • 15. Teresa Bodwell  |  August 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I’m with you. Speechless.

    That is a lot of books. But I’m actually a bit more speechless at the fact that Wendy has counted them.

    I have no clue how many books are in my TBR pile. It’s probably in the neighborhood of 100, but what with Kindle and Audible books not really showing, it could be more.

    I did start a Library Thing account (because I saw Wendy’s link on her blog, I think), but I’m just not organized enough to actually get my books entered there.

  • 16. Wendy  |  August 28, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I blame my years reviewing and being a slow reader on the sheer volume of books I have.

    Teresa: It really wasn’t too time consuming to catalog them all. I spread it out over a few days when My Man was out of town on business. The problem is that now I know how seriously out of control I’ve gotten LOL

    Also, believe it or not, I have them all pretty well organized. No, not in alphabetical order, but I do have them corralled somewhat by genre…..

  • 17. Teresa Bodwell  |  August 28, 2009 at 2:20 am


    Thanks again for coming and sharing your joy of reading with us. I will never again feel quite so daunted by my TBR skyscraper. At least it is not a mountain range.

    When I get back to Montana, maybe I’ll even get all my books logged into Library Thing. Or maybe I should do it now since I only brought about a dozen books with me to Ohio.

  • 18. Lynn Spencer  |  September 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I’m with you on the TBR! I actually do read a lot, but it seems like I can’t keep pace with the treasure stack. Which actually has its own bookcase now – except that they don’t all fit on there anymore.

    • 19. Teresa Bodwell  |  September 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm

      I hear you.

      At our house we keep buying new bookcases, thinking now we will be able to contain all the books. Then they multiply and we end up with just another over flowing bookcase.

Donate now!

Support for your fellow readers and writers while you help fight cystic fibrosis! It's easy to donate online. Thanks in advance for your support!

How we’re doing…

In 2008, Unleash Your Story raised $11,366 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Our 2009 goal is $23,000. Dollars Raised
Free fundraising thermometer

What is Unleash Your Story?

A combined read-a-thon and write-a-thon that challenges readers, writers and published authors to unleash their stories and make a difference.

Our 2009 goal is to raise $23,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the leading organization in the United States devoted to cystic fibrosis. Register now!.

Questions? Check out our FAQs.

Subscribe to Unleash Your Story: Make a Difference by Email

Unleash Your Story

↑ Grab this Headline Animator


More questions? Check out our FAQs.

Can't participate in the read/write-a-thon? Click the UYS logo to donate directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


Print our 2009 flyer to help spread the word.

Support This Site

Pacesetter Author

Lori Wilde is our 2009 Pacesetter Author.

Lori has sold 47 books to 4 major New York publishers--5 books coming out in 2009. She's prolific and dedicated to writing regularly to keep up with all those deadlines!

Lori promises to set a sizzling pace for all our writers to follow! Her goal for the event is 60,000 words!

To learn more about Lori, visit her Pacesetter Page

Michelle Buonfiglio Pacesetter Reader

We are proud to have Michelle Buonfiglio as our 2009 Pacesetter Reader.

Michelle hosts Barnes &’s new “Heart to Heart” (H2H) daily romance fiction blog and is the creative force behind (RBTB), a fun and positive place where readers and writers hang to talk love, sex, family, life -- and, of course, romance novels

Michelle's goals are to read 10,000 pages and write 10,000 words in her blogs and comments.

To learn more about Michelle, visit her Pacesetter Page


%d bloggers like this: