Midweek @ Musings: My not-so-secret TBR shelf

Last week I accidentally spilled a little secret.  I finally used a gift card received for my birthday two months ago.  When my new books arrived, my husband looked a bit taken aback.

It’s only 3 books dear, what seems to be the problem?  Oh, the hardcover edition?  Well, that is a bit unusual for me; I know I nearly always wait for the paperback or borrow from the library.  But you see, I had this gift card, and I’m planning to read each of these in June or July so they won’t be gathering any dust around here.

I heard a little “harrumph,” followed by “That doesn’t sound like ‘not gathering dust’ to me.”

Suppressing a diabolical laugh, I gestured vaguely towards my TBR shelf (and this is where I took leave of my senses), and blurted out how some of those books have been sitting there since 2008.

“Oh, I see,” said he, and I could tell he was making a mental note.

I probably shouldn’t have divulged that little secret.  You see, I keep my TBRs tucked away in this bookcase (well, except for my Viragoes and Persephones which have their own shelves … ahem):

I love those doors; they allow me to remain in denial, and until recently allowed my dear husband to remain in blissful ignorance. But I take some pride in knowing these TBRs need only one shelf:

Yes, the shelf is full to overflowing, with upwards of 50 books, 7 of which have been sitting there gathering dust for four years (yes, I do keep track and hey, most of ’em were acquired in 2011, or maybe 2010).  But it’s still only. one. shelf.  There are far worse TBR management issues out there (you know who you are!).  I’m also rather systematically working on reading some of the longer-term members of this little club (for proof, see this month’s book stack).

I didn’t bother properly shelving my shiny new books because … well … there’s no room.  And after all, I’m going to read them really soon!  Just so you don’t have to squint too hard, these are the titles:

  • Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward
  • Gillespie and I, by Jane Harris
  • The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

Do you manage a TBR shelf?  Tell me about it in the comments!

17 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: My not-so-secret TBR shelf

  1. I have this in a way. I am a very swift (careless) reader and books I have truly enjoyed I keep in my “Re-read” place. Years ago I had an old revolving bookcase. It was destroyed–practically into mtchsticks, by Hurricane Floyd, in 1999 and now ast my husband found a modern reproduction and bought it for me for a Major Christmas present. Now it stores this go-back-to- again books and at last count there were 67; I took Nigel Slater’s “Toast” from it yesterday…

    I am sorry to say that I ground to a standstill with “Gillespie and I” and don’t know if I’ll return to it but it waits in my Kindle Archives.

    I enjoy your blog very much although I haven’t responded to it before now.

    • Erika, that’s a great story about your revolving bookcase. I’m glad you found a suitable replacement. And thanks for “de-lurking” to comment. Stop by anytime!

  2. hahahahahahahaha…
    Sorry, just laughing at the idea of only having one tbr shelf!
    I’ve got about 1200 unread books, so they’re all mingled in with my other books. Indeed, they outnumber my other books. And I’ve been buying seriously for a decade…

    • Simon, I’m in awe. Actually, having that many TBRs on hand would stress me out. I’m kind of glad I have a smallish space to store mine. That said, I have a whacking great bookcase for my Viragoes with about 150 TBR.

  3. I think your husband should amire your restraint. I’m in a similar situation to Simon and my huband has to endure piles of unread books that frequently fall over.

    It is good to see that you have a copy of Salvage the Bones. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    • Jackie, I definitely feel better when I learn others are in “worse” situations! I will keep you and SImon in mind as examples, if I encounter any spousal pressure 🙂

  4. My mind is whirring – TBR means??? Totally Bored Reading? No that can’t possibly be it if you have 50 books to read. Put me out of my misery – I might have one of these if I knew what it was…

    Just finished reading Gillespie and I. On the plus side it was long enough to sustain me through a transatlantic flight and a few nights of jet lag. But I was glad to get to the end….It’s now destined for the charity shop or the library whichever I can get to first.

    • Karen, sorry to send your mind whirring! “TBR” just means “to be read” … Maybe you’re just all caught up and don’t have a TBR pile? Ha ha!

  5. Since discovering this loving like-minded community I have filled a bookcase and made my way through nearly half of them. My husband is a huge enabler and keeps after me to buy another bookcase. I love that man! Thanks for the laugh, Laura, you’re lovely.

    Simon, you crack me up too!

    • Ha, thanks Darlene! To be fair, my husband (who builds really lovely furniture) also recently offered to build a new bookcase for my Viragoes & Persephones …

  6. My TBR stack from last autumn’s booksales stretches from the floor up to my heart and I’ve been attending those booksales for about twenty years and battling an addiction to library usage for longer than that…you can see where this math is headed… You should feel blissfully smug about your shelf!

    • BIP, I suppose I should. As I said to Simon, having “too many” on the TBR shelf is actually stressful. I don’t know how the rest of you cope with toppling TBR piles!

  7. My TBR (re-read) pile doesn’t bother me but my Kindle Archives do. I have added many classics, no charge, to these, of books I read years ago in school and university and also less well known books by standard authors and I only pull one back to read at infrequent intervals. I have fallen into the habit of using them for plane trips and doctors’ waiting rooms and long train journeys.

  8. Very impressive and organised! After my book cull last year I tried organising the novels into alphabetical order (double stacked), and freed up one very small bookcase with a shelf for library books and two shelves for TBRs. But things have reverted to their usual chaotic state and there are books (read and unread) everywhere…

    • Christine, I know what you’re talking about. I have some shelves like that, too. I love it when I achieve a nice state of organization, even if it’s only for one bright shining moment.

  9. LOL – you should see MY TBR shelves (yes, plural). It is truly a sickness! I am really looking forward to your thoughts on Ward’s novel…as you know, that one blew my socks off. It is tough, but oh, the writing…. Enjoy your new books…and don’t let hubby make you feel guilty about those unread books 🙂

    • Hello Wendy! Nice to see you here! I’m looking forward to reading Salvage the Bones, it’s rising to the top of my near-term TBR stack (not to be confused with the pile or the shelves or …)

      And as for hubby, trust me: I can dish it right back where some of his “collecting” is concerned!

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