TBR reorganization

Remember the Great Read My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge? It worked so well that I decided to overhaul my whole TBR system. I was more specific in my 2016 books on month published, but kept it a little looser in prior years seeing as how those books are probably already in paperback so there isn’t as big of an urgency. I waited until my kids left for their grandparents’s for their summer vacation and then got to it. I have two bookcases in my living room where I keep my TBR books. A few years ago I found separating them from the read books helped me stay focused.

IMG_1779I used to have the nonfiction separated from the fiction, but I realized it made the nonfiction easier to ignore so I added them. This turned less into a hardbacks to paperbacks challenge as it was just a read my TBR shelves. Which lead to a few problems, one namely being not all the books on my TBR are hardback. So do I read them in the order of the book published originally? Or just that edition? For instance, I have some classics on my shelves so do I put that copy of Wuthering Heights in its original 1847 place or do I put it in 2004 which is when my Barnes and Noble Classics was published. I decided to keep to the publishing date of the actual copy I had. Otherwise I know it will be forever before I ever get to 1847.

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This also gave me an opportunity to update my database inventory. I had previously only been keeping track of books read, but recently decided to add books owned. Which makes it a lot easier when buying books. Too bad I didn’t have the app up to date on my recent trip to City Lights in San Francisco and bought a second copy of The Buddha in the Attic. I knew I loved that book, but this is ridiculous.

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The project only took me a day so it gave me hope. False hope as it turned out because I also have an e-library and still have no idea how to balance the two. July turned out to be a busy travel month for me so I stuck to digital except I kept getting hooked on new romance series and not really jumping into the stuff on there. Too bad the Kindle app doesn’t have a great way to organize your shelves.

The only bad thing about making July the month off ebooks is I got A LOT of book mail and traveled to new bookstores (I am newly in love with First Drafts Book Bar in Phoenix, AZ) where I’m obligated to buy a book (or four). So where my shelves started like this: IMG_1782

They now look like this: IMG_2021

This isn’t even talking about the stack of comics I need to catch up on (you see them, top shelf, right bookcase). So now that I don’t have anymore traveling until November (Any guesses? hint: I’ll probably be bringing back way more books.) I have some time to jump into this.

Enough chatter! I have books to read! How do you prioritize your TBR?

April TBR

Since I had so much fun reading nonfiction last month, I decided to keep it going. This time I’m focusing in on history books. I’m also trying to get some books off my shelf that have been loaned to me from friends (don’t judge, they have my books too!). I’m also trying to make sure I read those hardbacks that I bought because I had to have them before they come out on paperback. Then there are some on my iPad that are begging for me to get to as well. Some are left over from last month that I just didn’t have time to get to.

Physical Shelf

Digital Shelf

Of course, that’s not counting all the books that are coming out this month that I’m gonna probably pick up, but this is my rough draft. I’ll let you know how I did!

What books are you hoping to get to this month? Have any been sitting on your shelf for longer than you would have liked?

March TBR

I’m not sure what happened in February, but I found myself picking up a lot of nonfiction. That’s generally not my main interest, not counting celeb bios for the gossip. Apparently my brain is asking for more substance right now.

Also late February and all of March is just ripe with urban fantasy. There’s always urban fantasy being published, don’t get me wrong, but these are all the authors I’ve stuck with and adore. I decided that I would round up all the other UFs that I haven’t got to and we’ll try to rotate. Read a nonfiction, get an UF.

Print nonfiction

Digital shelf for Urban Fantasy (note: With exception of Borderline which is a debut novel, all of these are from ongoing series)

Digital Shelf for Nonfiction

What’s on your TBR this month?

Upcoming March Books

March looks like a nice chunk of Urban Fantasy. I can’t wait. There are a lot of great books coming out in series that I adore.

  • Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires #12) by Chloe Neill (Mar 1) – I’m so here for Merit and Ethan.
  • Chaos Choreography (Incryptid #5) by Seanan McGuire (Mar 1) – A family of cryptozoologists. Need I say more?
  • Borderline by Mishell Baker (Mar 1) – Seanan McGuire put this one on my radar. I’m really looking forward to reading this one about a paraplegic woman who has mental illness and fights fairy tale and mythological creatures. Sounds pretty intense.
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (Mar 1) – I really enjoyed Lutz’ How to Start a Fire (and no, not just because a lot of it takes place in Santa Cruz) so I’m interested to see how this book goes.
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Kin Liu (Mar 8) – I’m still trying to up my short story game and this looked interesting.
  • What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Mar 8) – I loved Mr. Fox and Boy Snow Bird and did I mention I need more short stories in my life?
  • A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Bad Ass Girls by Jessica Spotswood (Mar 8) – That title is amazing and the concept is right in my wheelhouse.
  • Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs (Mar 8) – Didn’t I say this month was chockfull of Urban Fantasy? I’m pretty fond of this series about a mechanic/coyote shapeshifter and her shenanigans.
  • Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop (Mar 8) – So many books on this release day and I wouldn’t miss any of them. The Others is a great version of shapeshifter mythos. I highly recommend.
  • The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar (Mar 15) – This sounds like an amazing adventure with ladies leading the way. Did someone say book kryptonite?
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (Mar 15) – I’ve seen the buzz around this book and want to be part of it.
  • Because of Miss Bridgeton (Rokesbys and Bridgertons #1) by Julia Quinn (Mar 29) – I binged the Bridgerton series around the new year so I can’t wait to see what the Bridgerton progeny will be up to.

What books are you looking forward to this month?

#24in48 Readathon Book Stack Commitment

Another readathon you say? Yes, I did. I didn’t post about the #boutofbooks one because I started it while we were on our way back from vacation and then setting up for my youngest spawn’s birthday so shit got complicated. However, this weekend is different. This weekend I don’t have any plans except sit while my husband yells at the tv for football (I’m not gonna lie, I’ll yell a bit too since both our Packers and Panthers are in the playoffs) so I can participate in the #24in48 readathon.

Since I had all that pre mentioned craziness, my reading has been sporadic so I wanted to see where I was in my TBR before plotting my book stack for the readathon. I’ve already kind of talked about little things I do for readathons. No doorstoppers usually. Nothing too complicated.

What did I decide on? Here it is.

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I know! There’s glare. I’m horrible.

My digital shelf is

  • My Life on the Road – Gloria Steinham
  • Saint Mazie – Jami Attenberg
  • A Thousand Naked Strangers – Kevin Hazzard
  • The Dirt on the Ninth Grave – Darynda Jones
  • The Piano Teacher – Janet Y.K. Lee
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • Midnight Taxi Tango – Daniel José Older
  • The Last Hellion – Joanna Shupe
  • White Trash Zombie Gone Wild – Diana Rowland

As usual, these are pretty much just guidelines. There’s no way I’m going to be able to read all of them, but this gives me something to work with, without being overwhelmed by my shelves of unread books (Did I mention I have TBR bookcases? Two of them. That’s not counting the digital shelves).

I don’t think I’ll be getting up ridiculously early though to start. I tend to take my time. I have two kids so sleep is valuable. But once I’m up I plan to hit those book stacks hardI have a casserole I made last night and there are catfish tacos tonight so I think dinner should be okay this weekend with leftovers. Other meals they can fend for themselves. I have a bunch of Diet Dr. Pepper in the fridge for daytime reading and a couple bottles of pinot noir for night time. I even have a warm blanket my mom got me for Christmas. Add in cashmere socks and fleece lined leggings and I’m in business. Anyone have a chaise lounge for me to borrow? No? I see how you are.

If you’re participating, I’ll be on Twitter for my updates I’m sure. Also make sure you’re following #24in48 and @24in48readathon. Tell Rachel (she’s running it) Hi and let her know if you’re enjoying yourself. She’s good people and spends a lot of time and energy putting this together for us.

Also, if you’re participating, what are you planning on reading? What’s your strategy?

August TBR

Wow August already? My oldest starts second grade toward the end of the month. I’m not sure I’m ready to get back to the grind. Anyway, no theme this time, just titles that caught my interest for one reason or another. I’ve done a good job making some room on my shelves. Maybe September’s theme will be all ebooks so I can catch up there. Without further ado…

  • Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by Marion Mead
  • Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
  • My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Lexicon by Max Barry
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Henna House by Nomi Eve
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-eight Nights by Salman Rushie
  • The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin
  • My Real Children by Jo Walton
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  • Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Dickinson
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Paradise by Toni Morrison

I know, I know. There are a few titles that have carried over a few months (Lexion I’m looking at you). I’m going to double down on getting to them. I swear. There are a few on my Kindle/Kobo apps that I know I’ll be delving into as well. Jennifer Estep’s new Elemental Assassin, Spider’s Trap for instance. I’ve also started The Novice by Taran Matharu. I’m barely in the beginning of it, but so far I like where it’s headed.

What books are you hoping to get to this month?

TBR

Recently I read a piece on Book Riot with the author talking about their TBR (which stands for To Be Read) list as if it was this ironclad thing, a ‘commitment’ in their words. If that’s how you use your TBR, more power to you. This isn’t an argument with them, on what is better. I want to explore what TBR means to me. I’ve just never thought of them that way. I’ve always used my TBR as a list of books one day I’d like to get to. I cull it quarterly. Sometimes a book that caught my eye and I added it on impulse has lost its luster. I have no qualms about removing books that have been sitting on the list forever. I’m obviously not going to read them. I do like to keep it a bit organized, but I’m not at all married to the idea they have to be read in some kind of strict order.

I did go through a phase where I added ALL the entries from all the years from 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. WTF was I thinking? I can tell you actually. I was thinking that I was coming from this very limited range of books and I wanted to be cultured and educated. It took me a bit, but then I realized…I’m really not that cultured. I read a few books from the list that made me what to bash my head against the wall. I kept a few that I really do want to get to, but the rest were cut. I’m not going to force myself through this subjective list (which ends up being way more than 1001 if you start adding all the revisions) to read books that don’t interest me. I could be reading these other really great books. I already came to terms with the fact I’m not going to be able to read all the books. But I want to try. I want to read all the books that interest me. I can’t do that if I’m stuck reading books that other people think I should be reading. I would understand if I was in the same place I was three years ago, just reading urban fantasy and mystery novels, but I read pretty widely now. I am keeping books like Jane Austen on my shelves. I have two kids and they might want them one day. I tend to do my genre fiction on e format because those tastes are pretty much mine and tend to be a little more depending on my age and what’s going on.

I do make a monthly TBR as you probably aware of if you read the blog regularly. I take books of my TBR shelves (I have separate bookshelves for the unread books and the read books) that look the most interesting to me at this time. Sometimes I get to them, oftentimes they stay on the shelf for the next month or they get removed for awhile. This sounds crazy probably, but I found I get through books a lot quicker if I have a (somewhat loose) plan. The only hiccup tends to come in the form of my ebooks. I like both my print books and my ebooks, yet the physically of the print books tends to cause me more panic to read them. Because I can see them literally piling up where my e books are really just ones and zeros on this nifty electronic device. That’s a dilemma for another day though. It doesn’t stop me from picking random books from either medium though. I tend to have an ebook going on each of my apps, Kindle, Kobo, and Scribd as well as an audiobook on the Audible app.

But again, I never feel like my book choices aren’t spontaneous. I still randomly pick a book of any of my shelves. In fact I raved about a book I’d read so well to my friend that I just went and picked it up off my shelf for a reread (note: it’s The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey). TBRs do help me also with my diversity goals. I’ve already noticed if I get too spontaneous, due to the problems in publishing, I end up with a pretty narrow batch of authors (hello all straight white people). I do tend to lean more to women authors automatically so that part isn’t problem for me, but like I said, my book picks by other marginalized authors suffer.

How do you treat your TBR? Is it something you HAVE to stay committed to? Is it fluid? Is it just a list of books you’d someday like to read? A list of books to keep track of?

July TBR

I updated the TBR shelf a little early since the husband and I are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow for Pride weekend. I generally don’t take a lot of print books on vacation anymore, as it’s a lot easier to slip the iPad mini in my bag. We’re taking the train up so I do need something to read. I’ll have these lovelies waiting for me when I get back.

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You may notice some from last time that I didn’t quite get to.

  • The Grace Keepers by Kristy Logan
  • Henna House by Nomi Eve
  • The Scarlet Sisters by Myra MacPherson
  • The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
  • The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  • The  Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
  • Kindred by Octavia Bulter
  • Lexicon by Max Barry
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novick
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I also have a hell of an ebook TBR going so we shall see. I tend to have more front list on my e reader. Not counting my Scribd books which I use more whimsically, some of those are going to be:

  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
  • The Novice by Taran Matharu
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra
  • The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak

You can always check my Goodreads shelf on the sidebar to see what I’m reading currently.

 

Week Between the Pages

This week has been pretty fucking good for books. I loved every single one (one exception but it is strongly in like).

Finished:

  • Come As You Are by Emily Nagasaki. I’m going to keep coming back to this one. I can feel it. It’s already made me realize things about myself that I had no idea about. I want to buy a stack of them and hand them out to both the women AND the men in my life.
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. A great story. I might finally getting on the YA bandwagon if there are more books like this one. A girl friendship that doesn’t involve them tearing each other down and actually helping each other? Sold.
  • Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin. An interesting read about a woman who quits her job in books (I can haz?) to become a carpenter’s apprentice. I didn’t love it, but I applauded her bravery. It’s scary to quit something you’re good at to to something brand new.
  • How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz. This one was my favorite of the week. Possibly the month. All the books I read after this one have quite the challenge to overcome. It takes place, among other locations, in Santa Cruz which is my town. Lutz uses real streets and it was fun to go, yup I’ve been there. Another book about friendships between friends, this one is a lot more complicated than Under a Painted Sky’s as adult friendships inevitably become although it felt a lot more real than some of the other ones where it’s over some weird misunderstanding or jealousy. Did I mention I loved this book?
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim. My knowledge of Korea is sorely lacking I realized as I read this one. I have been trying to get to this book for awhile now and I’m glad I finally did. It’s beautifully written and the main character’s struggle with her family’s traditionalism and religion and her own desire for education and progression is well developed.

Currently reading

  • The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. For some reason I was thinking this one was YA and I was resisting it because I wanted fantasy with some steam, not just some stolen kisses. I’m not far enough for the steam, but I read on Goodreads Tiffany Reisz was raving about the first book so I’m thinking if my personal kink hero loves it, it has to have something naughty in it. This is 3 books plus a novella so I might be in trenched in it for awhile.
  • Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. I devoured her fairy tale series and wanted to try more. There is something about this one that keeps turning me off though. I’m going to try to read a bit more, but so far, it’s not hitting the right notes.

Books Acquired

  • The Marriage Game: a novel of Queen Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. I have been trying to keep my book acquisitions to a minimum right now, but I couldn’t resist a book about the Tudors. They’re a weakness. I don’t know why. There’s just something about this family that sparks my interest. Also it’s a library book so it makes it easier that it’s not here to stay.

What has your reading week been like?

June TBR

As you can tell the TBR shelf has been rotated out! Some are still there from last month, specifically the feminist/women’s study type books like Birth of the Pill and Flow. In my efforts to read a good chunk of my print books, I did a count of the books that appear to be “fun reads.” Ones that appear to have not a very complex plot or wording. You won’t find any classics here (I’m looking at you James Joyce) or immersive historicals like Bringing Up the Bodies. Sometimes you want to just roll with the plot or the characters and not decipher’s metaphors. I could be wrong on a few of these, but when I do a pull like this, I try to trust my gut. I’m often gleefully surprised.

Some of the titles I’m looking forward:

  • How to Start A Fire
  • Under a Painted Sky (not pictured)
  • Hammer Head
  • The Anchoress
  • Lexicon
  • Henna House
  • Kindred

I really need to make sure I get to my library books this time. I’ve been bad the last few times and just renewing them until I can’t anymore then having to return them unread, but that feels like a whole different topic for later.

Are there any books on your TBR you’re hoping to get to this month? Any suggestions on my shelf that I didn’t mention that you think I’d really enjoy?