Let’s Talk Bookish: The Care and Keeping of a TBR

Hello, lovelies!

I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post, as always hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! For this week, our topic is:

The Care and Keeping of a TBR

I think this is such a fun topic, because this is something that I’ve tried to do in so many ways and definitely am always trying to do it a little bit better, because, as so many of us know and relate to (I believe, but if this next statement doesn’t resonate, please, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS), but TBRs are notorious for being out of control and impossible too control.

So, how do I try and wrangle mine? A few ways:

This year, I started using the AMAZING template from Kal @ The Reader Voracious to track my books online. I love the idea of having a notebook dedicated to my reading habits and my little personal library, but my handwriting is atrocious and I’m nervous about making this amazing catalog in print, only to lose it or get it ruined. I love Google Drive and how it’s connected to my account, instead of a device, and Kal’s template is INCREDIBLE. I love being able to track my stats, have graphs that I’m not talented enough to make, plus a reading spreadsheet and the planning calenadr for my blog posts?!

Honestly, Kal’s spreadsheet changed my life.


I used to just track via Goodreads, but it isn’t my favorite because of multiple reasons:

  • Owned by Amazon, so already don’t like it
  • Not the most user friendly, especially on the mobile app
  • I’d always forget to update it

So, that last one is my bad (oops), but I mostly use Goodreads to track my reading progress in whatever book I’m reading currently and to post reviews to help out authors. I am also trying out StoryGraph, which I need to mess around with more, as I think I’m leaning towards abandoning Goodreads to use that more exclusively (though, I would still post reviews on both sites, as I know Goodreads still affects authors sales). I am also trying to get Notion sorted, after seeing it take Book Twitter by storm and am thinking about trying to emulate Kal’s spreadsheet on there, somehow? But honestly not sure if I’m talented enough, so…

A book gets the pleasure of making my TBR impossible by:

  • A gorgeous cover (honestly, I’ll add a book just because the cover is enjoyable to me, even without reading the back, because I’m a fool)
  • It sounds interesting to me or fits my tastes
  • It’s by a trusted author or recommended by a trusted reviewer
  • It’s published by Orbit 🤷‍♀️

Currently, if you look at my Goodreads, I have 349 books on my TBR. That number isn’t accurate, because there are plenty of books that I haven’t added yet that I’ve seen recently and I haven’t done a cull in a while (and I want to, especially since Goodreads makes it so difficult to update your lists, so a lot of books on there, I’ve prolly either lost interest in or forgot about). Even knowing that, I know I have way too many books on my TBR, since I own 162 books that I haven’t read it…

In A Box Reaction GIF

I am so curious to see what everyone else thinks about this topic! How do you track your TBR? Is it out of control or properly managed? Have you tried StoryGraph, Notion or use a different form of tracking? Are you as obsessed over Kal’s spreadsheet as I am? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!


6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: The Care and Keeping of a TBR”

  1. My TBR hovers in a near-constant state between 30 and 50 books. That’s far fewer than there’d be if I had an infinite lifespan, but since I’m probably looking at only about 1500 books left in my life, I’m super picky about what ends up there. Also, just to keep myself sane, I only have the next book of any series listed. That way I don’t fee as bad about not continuing a series that doesn’t hook me.

    I add new books to the bottom so I can see what’s been languishing, but recently I’ve stopped using the order for deciding what to read next. I look over the whole list and see what grabs me. (Some books zoom straight to the virtual top — e.g. Once and Future Witches. Same will happen with The Fall of Babel when Josiah Bancroft publishes it.)

    I use Excel to keep track. Tidy, simple, and I already love spreadsheets more than I should. 🙂

  2. I started using Kal’s spreadsheet this year and it really is amazing. I’m thinking of taking the “owned books” tab and making a separate workbook with it, actually chronicling ALL the books I have – both on my kindle (ARCs, samples, and purchases) and on my shelves. I might do that to waste time AFTER I move house!

  3. I’ve never really kept s list – so this is interesting to me. I own almost 300 unread books (I live near a free book warehouse, great and bad, lol) so that’s my “list” I guess?

    I wonder if having a list would help me though. Last year I made my first reading goal and made that, and I’m halfway through my goal for this year.

    It’s an interesting thought tho. I usually just read what I’m in the mood for too. So maybe a list wouldn’t work for me.

  4. Kal’s template is so great! I use it for keeping track of my ARC TBR, and my reads in general. It gives me so many useful stats about my reading habits!

    I’ve got way too many TBR lists. I try to keep an updated “reading queue” on Goodreads that is all the books that I actually own but haven’t read, to remind myself of what I have (especially for Kindle reads), but it is also woefully out of date. Honestly my most accurate TBR is probably the cart I have sitting in the middle of my room with books going READ ME.

  5. For tracking, I use Goodreads exclusively. I can see myself switching to StoryGraph some day but the social aspect (in particular being able to see all of my friends’ reviews of a single book in one place) of GR is important to me. I also signed up for Notion because of the book blogger buzz. (I want to use it to organize blogging instead of tracking reading, though – haven’t started yet). My Goodreads TBR has I think ~950 books on it. I have a pretty laidback attitude towards it 😛 I read whatever I want whenever, whether it’s on my TBR or not. I separate the GR TBR into sub-TBRs so when I’m in the mood for a particular type of book, I can check that list. I do review the whole thing once a year to remind myself of all the great books out there and to remove ones I’m no longer interested in.

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