The Sword and Laser discussion

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How do you handle books you want to/are planning to read?

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message 1: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1060 comments I was going to put this in the too many books thread but decided to start another so....

I love books but after moving several times, I have made the changeover to ebooks, new ones and slowly replacing those I had in paper. Also I don't have a lot of cash for spending on books so what I do when I see a recommendation or just spot something interesting while cruising around Amazon is -

I send myself a sample. Or add it to my wishlist. I don't much use the goodreads shelves. Then when I finish my current book I can go thru the samples and whichever one grabs me I buy and read.

Even when I only bought paper books I tried not to have more than 5 or 6 unread books sitting around, since it just seemed wrong to keep buying more books I was not going to have time to read for months. I do like to have a few to choose from since my mood changes but more than that, I don't get.

Don't get me wrong, I love books and would have shelves and shelves of them if I had space, but they would be books I have read and enjoyed, not shelves of stuff I haven't read.

I find that if I buy a book and don't read it within a month or two, it gets that "I am avoiding it, so I probably won't read it ever" vibe, like a bad smell.

Do you guys have a years worth of reading material sitting around? Do you find you are actually reading the stuff in those piles? Are your piles getting smaller? By the time the year's out there will be even more new stuff in those piles - do you ever think maybe you should read what you've got before buying anything else?

Ebooks are making it much easier for me to control impulse spending - strange how knowing I CAN buy it whenever I want makes it easier to put off actually spending the money until I really am ready to read the book.


message 2: by Crissy (new)

Crissy Moss (CrissyMoss) | 16 comments I have a wish list on amazon, and a kindle full of books. Then my living-room is filled with more paperbacks.

However, I only download a handful of books that I actually want to read soon. Everything else stays in the cloud. though I have back up copies on my PC.
Of the paperbacks I own, I have one shelf beside my bed where I keep the "read soon" list, and a shelf on my mantle where I keep the very old, antique books that I want to read, or collect. (Read paperbacks, collect hard backs usually.) everything else is packed away on another shelf to wait for me to either get tothe them, or get tired of thinking "maybe some day I'll have time to read that" and donate it.


message 3: by Serendi (new)

Serendi | 743 comments My TBR list definitely increases, but I'm okay with about 90% of that; those are the books that even if I die before I read them, I genuinely want to read them, or did when I bought them.

The books I bought for stupid reasons (usually everyone going ape over it when I know perfectly well it's not for me) are the ones that bug me. You know, the peer pressure books. (It's even worse when I actually *do* read them. At least five people told me I would *love* Cryptonomicon. I read it. All of it. Hated most of it.)

About once a decade or three I go through my books and get rid of bunches of them (i.e., I've done it twice and I really need to do it again). It doesn't bother me if I haven't read them; I still interacted with them at least some (I nearly always read the first and last few pages). The ones I regret are the ones I will never see again that I want to read later. About an hour ago, I was regretting some of those (category romance author from around 30 years ago, Jane Donnelly).

And I do read some years after I bought them, when for whatever reason the time is right.


message 4: by kvon (new)

kvon | 555 comments I keep a list on my phone of upcoming books that I know I want, usually series/favorite authors. When I'm at my local indie bookstore, a month to a week before expected publication date, I ask them to order me a copy. Sometimes it triggers the owner to order an extra copy, or the first few books in the series, since she knows I have good taste .

And those books I usually read. My TBR shelf is more books bought on sale (I still have several from Borders) or while travelling.


message 5: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 1812 comments I have years of backlogged books to read. My problem is I have to read what I'm in the mood for so if I'll don't have something I want to read, I buy something.


message 6: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 4657 comments Mod
I have more unread ebooks than physical ones. I only tend to buy ebooks when I catch a sale or the humble bundles. Ebooks makes it much less apparent of my backlog.

There are 7 books in my house I've purchased and haven't read. 5 of them are scheduled for the next 6 months. I have another pile of books I was given I haven't read though.

In general I only buy books just before I plan to read them.


message 7: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Stirling | 80 comments I keep a running list of next-book-in-series, and other things to read on Goodreads. A wish list of stuff people recommend but I'm not that into on Amazon. A list of books not-yet-read, but owned, on Goodreads. Normally I keep about 20 books on my Kindle at once, so if I finish something I have a selection based on my mood for my next read. Each time my Kindle books drop to about 6 I search the free Kindle books for new stuff, or buy a few from one of my lists, and I always watch the Daily Deals for interesting things too.

Most of the time this bizarre shuffle works out, but I have a few books that have lingered through several months and I still haven't gotten to them.


message 8: by Alicja (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 63 comments I am able to find most books I read in the library or borrow from a friend. I used to buy whatever seemed great but I ended up with many books, some never read and others read and then forgotten... it was like a money black hole. Now, I read them for free (unless only available in ebook format and then I mostly get them on sale).

In terms of spending money on a book, I only buy it when I wish to re-read it because it was so awesome the first time. I even have two copies of some (the best) books, one all read, re-read, and re-read again with notes in the margins while another nice, new copy to look pretty on my bookshelf.


message 9: by Trike (new)

Trike | 3999 comments Although this may be changing somewhat with the so-called "long tail" of publishing, I learned growing up that if there was a book I wanted and the library didn't have it, I needed to buy it because it stood a good chance of disappearing forever.

This still happens for whatever reason, and all of the art, design and photography books I buy are not suited for the limitations of ebooks.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2186 comments My to-read list is almost to 2k, but I intentionally tackle the list by speed-dating chunks of them at a time, and I fearlessly discard the books that don't grab me.


message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan | 101 comments I have about 3-4 years worth of reading material backlogged on my shelves, and I'm totally fine with that, because unless I die suddenly, I will actually make my way through them, as long as I was the one who purchased them. My problem lies in the fact that all my friends and family know that I really love to read, so they buy me the most random shit that I really have no interest in reading, thinking "Hey, Bryan likes to read! I'll get him this." I usually keep those around for a year or two until they've forgotten they gave it to me, and then take it to a used book store or donate it.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2186 comments Bryan this happens to me with cookbooks, argh.


message 13: by library_jim (new)

library_jim | 212 comments I was feeling bad about the unread books i had around the house when i git a kindle and decided i needed a system. So i made a spreadsheet listing all the unread books i own and all the books i want to read but dont own yet. Black means i dont own it. Red means i own it and its either a book or a kindle book. Green means its an audiobook ive gotten (usually from the library). I should probably split them into two different lists because i usually have an audiobook and a book im reading going at the same time. But the color thing works for me. So i go down the list in mostly alphabetical order. I read a Scalzi, then a Westlake and now im reading a James S. A. Corey.

This way it gives precedence to books i own but its flexible too and doesnt feel as constrained as reading down a list in strict order. When i go to the next letter i might have three or four books listed. I may be in the mood for something new or ready to get something off the shelf thats been there for a while. Of course i can readjust for book club books and whatever.

Ive been happy with it because im finally getting some things read i e owned FOREVER but still getting newer stuff in there so i dont feel like im missing out. There was over 80 titles when i started and now theres about 50 but it swells and shrinks as i hear about things and also sometimes read through the list and think, "who am i kidding, im never gonna read THAT."


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2186 comments library_jim wrote: "I was feeling bad about the unread books i had around the house when i git a kindle and decided i needed a system. So i made a spreadsheet listing all the unread books i own and all the books i wan..."
Jim, you know you can do this in Goodreads? I've moved all my lists and tracking here. You can create new shelves that are "exclusive," so you can add to the to-read, read, and currently reading grouping if you want to. Not that you should change a system that works, but if you're recreating it....


message 15: by Scott (new)

Scott (Dodger1379) | 110 comments My TBR list is about 200 and I'm fine with that.

My list of books that I've actually bought - I try to keep that stack to about six or seven, any more and I start to feel a little bit guilty for spending money on something that I'm not getting anything out of.


message 16: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (MatthewDL) | 298 comments I've decided to work my way through all the Hugo and Nebula winners (novels only) so that fills up most of my tbr list here on gr.

As far as a physical shelf I don't separate the books I've read from the ones I haven't. My books are all organized by genre/alphabetical. So, I'd estimate that I have about 20 or so books that I haven't read. Often I can't remember what I have. But I kind of like being able to say "I'm really feeling like a Fantasy" and just walking up to my shelf to see what I have there that's new. Or maybe on that day I'll be feeling a reread. Whatever jumps out at me.

My biggest problem is that I now go to Chapters on an almost monthly basis (thanks to S&L) and I can't help but check out their clearance racks. Over the last 6 months I've picked up Reamde, The Strain and it's sequels, Briarpatch and others all for around $5. They're starting to pile up and I don't know when I'll get around to reading most of them so I might have to force myself to quit that habit.


Olivia "Don't Blame Me I Voted for Hillary" | 43 comments I admire the discipline of people who can keep their TBR list (books they've actually bought) to seven or fewer books. I don't have a TBR pile--I've TBR mountains. Part of the fun of being a book collector is anticipating reading the books. When I've decided on the book I want to read next I look for it and make sure it's easily findable.


message 18: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 4657 comments Mod
Olivia wrote: "I admire the discipline of people who can keep their TBR list (books they've actually bought) to seven or fewer books. I don't have a TBR pile--I've TBR mountains. Part of the fun of being a book c..."

My TBR list on Goodreads is over 250 books. I just try to be disciplined about not buying books too long before I intend to read them.

I haven't been as good about ebooks. I probably have 20-25 unread ebooks.


message 19: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina | 32 comments I have almost no to-read list. I'm usually the opposite, always trying to figure out what to read next. (Which is why I joined Sword and Laser.) Normally I pick up books as I feel like reading them, but I do try to start making to-read lists closer to Christmas / Birthday to provide my friends and family as present ideas. Right after the holidays are my favourite times of year when there are stacks of options waiting for me.


message 20: by Ruth (tilltab) (last edited Sep 09, 2013 12:40AM) (new)

Ruth (tilltab) (till-tab) | 1348 comments Dara wrote: "I have years of backlogged books to read. My problem is I have to read what I'm in the mood for so if I'll don't have something I want to read, I buy something."

I'm kind of like that but worse. On a few occasions, I have felt I needed something new to read, then got that book home, or onto my kindle, read the first couple of lines, and decided to read something I had bought ages ago instead. I feel like every book has a time to be read, and that time is not necessarily right after I buy it. I have some books I do read right away, and others take years for me to get around to reading them.

The kindle hasn't helped me at all with my book buying habits, since I frequently get tempted by daily deals and the like. With books not on offer, I used to get samples to use as a 'to buy' list but I a) forget to look at this when looking for new books and b) discovered that samples are not saved the same way as books are, so if your kindle breaks, they are gone. My list of books I want to buy is now almost entirely mental, and as it's very very long, it's more a case of 'ooooh, that book is on special offer, and since it's on my 'list' I'll grab it now' than any sort of 'must find x, y, or z book to read now' (I likely wouldn't read it right away anyway).

I recently decided that I would aim to read through all the books I bought this year in an attempt to get through the many unread books I own. However, I have since then enrolled on an English Literature and Creative Writing degree at University, so I expect my pile will only grow. Oh well. :)


message 21: by library_jim (new)

library_jim | 212 comments Jenny wrote: "library_jim wrote: "I was feeling bad about the unread books i had around the house when i git a kindle and decided i needed a system. So i made a spreadsheet listing all the unread books i own and..."

I guess I could. I guess I'm too lazy to move the lists. Especially because I have marked which ones I'll be able to get at my public library and such. But thanks, I'll consider moving it at some point.


message 22: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 1812 comments Ruth wrote: "I'm kind of like that but worse. On a few occasions, I have felt I needed something new to read, then got that book home, or onto my kindle, read the first couple of lines, and decided to read something I had bought ages ago instead."

Oh, I've done that. If I had a dime for every time I did, I could probably buy a new book.


message 23: by Shaina (new)

Shaina (ShainaEG) | 163 comments Not well, that's how I handle them. I try to keep my to read list on goodreads. But somehow my kindle ends up with a few hundred to read books. I've always been a book hoarder. When I read paper books I had shelves of unread books. Now that I've switched to ebooks I have unread files sitting on my kindle. All of those daily and monthly deals along with cheap books make my buy way too much. Maybe someday I'll get my pile under control, but I'm not holding my breath.


message 24: by Katie (new)

Katie (Calenmir) | 211 comments I'm rather scattered at the moment...I have moved in with my parents while my husband deploys so all my books are in boxes in the basement and my library went through some brutal cuts before the move. I have a pile of my Dad's books that I want to read, lists on Goodreads and Overdrive and lists I've scribbled down to take to the library. I'll only be buying things that I will send to my husband overseas when I'm done with them so I have to get organized again. Moving really disrupts everything!


message 25: by Casey (last edited Sep 16, 2013 05:22PM) (new)

Casey (casey_lovescritters) | 20 comments I usually have a small pile of physical books always to read, but these are generally books that have been given to me as gifts or books I have picked up for free. Those I usually take my time to get to, and usually start them if I am waiting for a library book on hold.

I try not to accumulate a lot of physical books anymore. I move too frequently and live in too small of an apartment to justify a large book collection. Always dreamed of a fancy library however.

I read through my paid ebooks as soon as I buy them, and I have a rule that I won't buy a new one until I finish it, and it's working out for me. It's been keeping me from going into a one-click fever on amazon.

If I see a book I'm interested in buying, I add it to my to-read list on goodreads. I usually think about any book purchase for some time before I get to it - more from a tight wallet than some hard-edged planning. I assume some books are going to be on that list indefinitely.

I have many free ebooks that I have amassed, however. I'm in no hurry for them. They're sitting in my cloud, just waiting for them day when I'll randomly get to them.

In some ways, it's not great for a wallet to have so many unread books laying around, but then it can be a comfort to know there is already a few books lined up, waiting to be read.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Reamde (other topics)
The Strain (other topics)
Briarpatch (other topics)