RIFers! Tell Us About Your TBR Pile

We know you have books stacked on your desk or saved on your eReader. Tell us about what you're reading now and what you're reading next!

the tbr pile

To-Be-Read piles are our mini-libraries.

They’re a cheerful mess on our bedside tables. They’re an irresistible pick-me-up at the end of a long day. They’re tangible evidence of all the worlds that wait for us between the pages.

So … what’s in your TBR pile?

Are all the books in your pile the same kind of books?

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Do you keep several books going at once? Or do you like to finish what you’re reading before moving on to something new?

Do you move books up and down your TBR pile in some kind of order? Or do you grab the one on top and start reading?

How does your TBR pile grow? Do you get books for yourself at your local bookstore? Library? Online bookstore?

How far down do you let the pile go before you restock? Until the pile is down to one book? Three? Ten?

Do you receive books as gifts? Speaking of gifts … did you put books on your “wish list” this holiday season? Which books are you hoping to get?

Photo Credit: Thomas Bethge/Shutterstock.com

We want to know! Chat with us about your TBR pile! Or post a pic of your pile (easy to do – just click the little photo icon at the bottom left of your comment).

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Okay, I’ll go first! My TBR pile includes books that I’m reading at the moment. It’s so short right now! Hopefully it will grow next week. Wink, wink.

    I tend to read fiction on my eReader, so on there I have the new Donna Tartt and the new Jhumpa Lahiri. And I’m devouring the third book in the Divergent series (based on Emily’s recommendation here on RIF – so good!).

  • Marlyn Beebe

    I have multiple TBR piles, on the floor in various rooms, and on two shelves of my bookcase.

  • Vicki Garrett

    I have several piles around my house!! They are all different varieties of genres too. Sometimes I have several books going at once other times, I’ll just read one at a time. When I’m ready for a new book, I just pick one based on my mood.

  • Pamela Hall Steinke

    I have a large (almost 2K) TBR list on Goodreads…and have 250 books on my tablet’s “shelf”.The books on the shelf are all the galleys I need to read and usually the “next” book in various series I am reading. How do I choose what to read next? Depends on what I am in the mood for. I usually check the synopsis for the books that appeal to me at the moment and then once I narrow it down I read the first chapter…if it grabs me, I’m good. If it doesn’t grab me today, I set it aside and choose one of the others.

    • 2,000! Holy cow. I have to check out your GR page!

    • Kiera Gavegan

      I also use Good Reads. I love being able to keep a list of all of my books and also interacting with my chosen forum group, Book Buyers Annonymous. I also use Good Reads as a cataloging tool, since I have never been able to get the hang of spreadsheets.

  • Amanda Fite

    I give books away as I read them, I read way too much to keep them 🙁 I have a wall of bookshelves in my office that is my TBR pile (a little over 300 books). I keep them in alphabetical order and keep it full, I like to have a large selection of books to choose from.

    • Amanda Fite

      I’m reading my way through the Stephanie Plum series right now, Hopefully I will start on the Dan Brown series next, i have finally acquired them all.

  • techeditor

    I’m reading SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan now. I have many books in to-read piles at home and haven’t decided which to read next. Probably it will be NO WAY OUT by Andrew Gross for two reasons: I’ve never read that author before and I won that book from a blogger I like.
    The books in my piles are not all the same kind.
    I never read more than one book at a time.
    This is the order in which I read my books: If I’ve won a book from librarything.com or goodreads.com or readitforward.com, I read that first; next to read is a book I’ve won from a blog; next to read is a book I’ve purchased. Of those books I’ve purchased, I ask my husband to pick a book for me to read next.
    My piles grow when I win books online, when the Romeo, Michigan Library or the Rochester, Michigan Library has a used book sale, when one of my favorite authors has a new book out, and when my mother gives me books her bookclub has read.

  • anm_1986

    Practically every book I find. … I have piles in every bookstore I visit. But one of the books at the very top of the pile has got to be the second novel from Jonas Jonasson (the author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared). His second novel just came out in DK. It is described to be an African Pippi Longstocking story … ooh!
    I just finished university this Fall, so I a victim of the Dora-syndrome; “This is a great book! I better keep to this one and read and love it. Ooh look, there’s another book!”

    • The Dora Syndrome, ha! I remember when I finished graduate school I went on a total binge of pleasure reading – it was such a treat to read whatever I wanted. Enjoy!

    • Curtis Sanae Martin

      The Dora-Syndrome?

      • anm_1986

        Yeah — autocorrect. It WAS supposed to say DorY. Will be corrected asap. Thanks 🙂

  • carlawarla

    OMG…I have a list that I’ve now made into a excel spreadsheet! Yikes! I have several going at once. I usually only read novels, but I do stash a few non-fiction in their occasionally! I have six book cases in my house, five of which are TBR, and one is ones I’ve read that are my favourites and “keepers”. I also borrow from the library sometimes. I read 140 books this year, which is less than I read the year before. If I allow myself, I could get a little panicked, about trying to organize my reading!

    • Carla, a spreadsheet?! That’s impressive. What do you do with books after you read them? You can’t keep them all if 5 bookshelves are full of TBR!

    • Donna Bayar Repsher

      Great idea, but with my book stash, I rather read them then enter them on a spreadsheet.

  • Richard

    There are 1300+ unread books on my Kindle. There are 622 books in my bedroom (counted just now) unread. I have an Amazon shipment coming tomorrow (gifts! gifts to me!) with 11 books in it. (Also dog biscuits and allergy medicine, don’t call “Hoarders” just yet.) I enter every giveaway I can find!

    And once I’ve finished with a book, I give it to a friend, donate it to a library, or—in rare cases—stroke it and sniff it and revel in the fact that it’s MINE! (The last one I did that with was “The Luminaries.” Such an excellent book.) I hope I live long enough, and retain enough of my marbles, to read and enjoy them all. And their younger siblings who arrive seemingly daily. Because frankly, I am not interested in quitting the bookaholic behavior even a little bit.

    • Richard, I didn’t even know a Kindle could hold that many books! Good for you for giving yourself some books as gifts. I think I’m going to do the same.

      Did you see our article on Being a Book Hoarder? Might be you! 😉


    • Roe

      Ahhhhh, I so feel like you…..I love my books…I have to admit I don’t own a kindle and as of now don’t plan on owning one. I am getting very upset that all of the borders bookstore’s have closed., and now it looks like Barnes and Noble going down too. I love hanging out in the bookstore all day; its different then going to a library…..I pray that my B&N does not close….I only have 12 books unread in my stack, fiction and bio’s.

    • Michelle Chambliss Bacon

      Richard, it seems we are very similar. I never hold on to a book I’ve finished. I pass it on to someone else or swap it out with one I have never read. Glad to see I’m not the only strange brew. 😉

  • Donna Bayar Repsher

    Over 1,800 books in my TBR stash at the moment, romance, romantic suspense, erotica, horror, science fiction, thrillers, a couple of mysteries, some nonfiction/history, paranormal fiction and nonfiction and even a few biographies. I’m an equal opportunity book junkie.

    • Wow! Yes, you are an equal opportunity book junkie. Though if I remember correctly, you’re not a fan of eBooks?

      • Donna Bayar Repsher

        Correct, Kira–as a former English teacher, law book editor, copy chief and bookstore owner, I want to be able to feel the book in my hands and smell the ink.

  • Lauren B.

    My TBR list continued to grow as the past semester went on. I work at a public library part-time and it was so tempting to bring some books home with me every day; however, I did not have the time to pleasure read! 🙁 I just checked my Goodreads page and I was astounded to see that my TBR list has grown to 2645 books! I only have a few weeks off before the next semester of classes starts.

    I wanted to begin reading again with a festive pick: Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I started reading Deborah Harkness’s Shadow of Night last night. I read the first book over a year ago, but the second book had been sitting in my TBR pile for a while.

    I really do not have much a of method for choosing the next book from TBR pile. It depends on what I am in the mood for. I like to stick to reading one book at a time because it can get very overwhelming.

    I usually do receive books as gifts or gift cards to bookstores. I have my eye on a few books right now, such as Sarah Addison Allen’s Lost Lake, but I am going to wait until after the holidays before purchasing more books.

    • Thanks for the reply, Lauren! I’m astonished at your Goodreads list. Wow! I used to work at a bookstore and because we got a discount, I convinced myself that buying books at the end of every shift was appropriate. Oh, the TBR pile I had back then!

  • Kelly Morrison Galan

    So many books… Reading ‘A lesson before dying’ and ‘Kansas City lightning’ and enjoying both. Looking forward to reading books received as gifts.

  • Warren Benton

    Well i have lots of stuff that i picked up while listening to podcast or books referenced in other books. about 95% of my TBR pile is nonfiction. Stuff from They Call themselves the KKK, Bonk, The Mole People, White Bread, to the New York diaries.

  • Kiera Gavegan

    I have 368 books on my TBR “Pile” (Or should I say TBR ROOM). Most genres: Sci-fi, fantasy, action, drama, children’s, YA, comic books etc. I have 8 sitting on my bedside table- three of which I am currently reading, four of which are just being made into movies/TV series which I want to read before I watch them and one by Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. I have never read the original and will be starting it on Monday- the beginning of the Christmas week, even if I haven’t finished the others. It was a vow I made to myself when I purchased it earlier this year that I would read it for Christmas. I don’t have any sort of order to my TBR pile, simply just “What do I feel like reading now?” I have a lot of series, but tend to split them up by reading other books in between, otherwise I get a bit bored. I get my books from wherever: Book stores, online (usually Amazon) and at charity book sales. In October, I bought about 20 books for $40 at a Rotary Club book sale (I was stoked!) and I have recied my Amazon Christmas order already: A series of Bernard Cromwell books. My TBR pile rarely gets low, because I buy books almost every week. I buy them way, way faster than I can read them! (Oops, sorry. Didn’t mean to put a massive, random pic with my post, I thought it would go into my profile pic. Bugger. Embarrassment!)

    • Keira, I love your pic! So cute – the dog, too 😉

      I wouldn’t call yours a “pile” I would call it a LIBRARY.

      Have a favorite series to recommend? I’m coming off GAME OF THRONES and DIVERGENT, need a new series for the holiday….

      • Kiera Gavegan

        Have you read the Hunger Games? I have read the first two and will be reading the third very soon. It is so awesome and intense. I cannot quite believe they are Young Adult! I also enjoy Philippa Gregory’s YA series, The Order of Darkness and Stephen R. Lawhead’s King Raven series.

      • Curtis Sanae Martin

        Try The Reluctant Prophet trilogy by Nancy Rue. It’s not a fantasy series, but I really loved it. Another of my favorites is The Bean Trees, and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (not quite a trilogy, but you can add Prodigal Summer if you like her style).
        I also liked the Sushi Series, by Camy Tang starting with Sushi for One? – The series follows four Asian cousins in SF trying to balance love, faith, inter-racial relationships and a meddling, matchmaking Grandma.

  • Kiera Gavegan

    Oh, at the moment I am reading Beautiful Creatures; A collection of Children’s Fairytales (Coz I am a big kid at heart) and a non-fiction one called 1001 Days That Changed The World.

  • Orangemom

    Right now I am reading Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth. Come 2014, I want to start on the books of Jhumpa Lahiri. I bought 3 of her paperbacks and will start with Interpreter of Maladies, her Pulitzer winner. Then The Namesake and maybe later on I’ll buy her newest novel.

  • Kate

    I have Tampa under the tree right now. It’s not my usual “type” but the reviews were awesome and I’m psyched to read it. (Gift from the hubby)

  • RosemarySimm

    I am currently reading The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank. I have worked my way through her series, although each is a stand alone book. I love the descriptions of the low country of South Carolina and the gentleness of the southern ways. This book is a little different than her normal form of writing, but I’m finding it to be worthwhile. As for my TBR piles, I generally just close the door to one bedroom. Not set up as a bedroom, but my sew machines, single bookcase and piles up the wall of books. Sorted with some pattern. All my autographed books are in the bookcase and are mine forever, but as I read a
    book they are passed forward for others to enjoy.

  • S.K.

    I have 365 plus or minus on my TBR: biographies, cookbooks, historical fiction, travel, history and more.

  • ceblain

    Counting all of the book in our house to give you an exact number would take me hours actually, but suffice to say that I need to live to be 127 to be able to read all of them. I also have many more books on my computer (I used a Kindle app for these) somewhere around 1000 of them. I get more books daily from Amazon too, so like other people, I guess I am a book hoarder. But I give away all we read except a few signed copies that I treasure and will as long as I know what is going on around me. 🙂 I feel “wealthy” when I know that I have all of these great books ready for me to read when I am ready to read them. It is like having a fully stocked pantry and refrigerator-a very comforting thought!!!! Most of my favorites are the cozy mysteries by the Henery Press women authors, and I am reading Island Practice by Pam Belluck which is for my neighborhood book club reading and that is a phenomenal book; especially since it is factual and relates to lots of us New Englanders. There are many more books that I have read and loved but I am out of computer time right now needing to get prepared for a big New Year’s Eve meal. Happy New Year to everyone; and keep reading!!!!!!

  • Silver’s Reviews

    I have five bookshelves in different rooms in my home.

    I keep my favorites on certain shelves in no particular order.

    I have another “few” shelves of books that need to be read either for pleasure or for review on my blog.

    Each shelf has a “reason” they are there. 🙂

    Thanks for letting us share.


  • Mark Goodwin

    If I read 1 book a week, I am good for the next 600 years or so ….

  • Jennifer Tenerowicz

    I recently read the husbands secret. It was picked for me to read by another book club member. It was not a book I would have picked out but I was pleasantly surprised. The next book I will be reading is being mailed to me by, again another book club member. It is about Tuscany and I’m really looking forward to reading it because it’s out of my standard choice.

    • MimiB

      This book was recommended to me by a friend also. Like you, Jennifer, I might not have chosen it for myself, but her recommendation was strong so I bought it for my Kindle to join my TBR list. I’ve browsed the first chapter and it looks good. As soon as I finish one of my current books, I’ll start in. I’m thinking it’s good to break away from our usual genres occasionally, if for no other reason than to be able to talk about these books with friends.

  • MimiB

    I have at least a hundred books in my TBR pile. I often have several books going at once, to match the moment or my interest. For example, I just read One Summer:America, 1927, and at the same time I was reading The Goldfinch and also a travel book on Turkey.

    I have books going in several formats including almost always having a recorded book on my iPod for walks and driving, books on my Kindle, from the library and purchased paper books. I often patronize a great used book store near me as well as indie book stores when I travel. The only mainstream book store near my home is a B&N. Yes, I buy books there too.

    Top of my TBR pile right now… The Luminaries, Sycamore Row, The Signature of All Things, Istanbul the Imperial City, Orphan Train, Police [Jo Nesbo], Birds Without Wings, Longbourn, A Street Cat Named Bob, The Orphan Master’s Son… whew… this eclectic list is just off the top of my head. By the way, I’m currently reading The Son… an excellent literary western/family saga. It’s a library book and due back in two days. I’d better get busy!

    I don’t have a real organizational scheme for my physical books other than keeping unread books on one shelf, library books on my bedside table, non fiction and references together in their own bookcase and read novels in their own. I cull the read novels from time to time, giving away or re-selling those I don’t think I’ll read again. I tend to keep classics and the best fiction. One reason I bought an eReader is because my shelves are too full.

    My Kindle has hundreds of books loaded onto it. I have those well organized into collections.

  • Curtis Sanae Martin

    I have lots of TBR piles. I have a stack near my bed, and several stacks in different places around my workstation. Do my on-hold lists at the library count? I have three active on-hold lists. Two are holds for e-books and one is a physical hold list at a brick & mortar library. E-books like, The Way of the Warrior, On Stranger Tides, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Door in the Wall. Others on hold are Reading Judas, Legacy (Danielle Steele), and Too Far to Say Far Enough (End of a Nancy Rue trilogy)

    I’m actively reading Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon (e-audio), The Living Reed (Pearl S. Buck), The Maid and the Queen (Joan of Arc), Eat to Live and my Giant Print ESV Bible.

    Out of all the books on my TBR piles, I want to read The Seven Storey Mountain, and Don Quixote. The City of God by St. Augustine has been on my list forever, but I don’t have a copy yet.

    I have a re-read pile as well. Pay It Forward, Dances with Wolves, and The Blue Sword (just finished re-reading The Hero & the Crown).

    I have a business book TBR pile, but they always seem to slide to the bottom.

    I can never get enough books. The problem is having enough time to read them all. The most gut wrenching TV episode that I ever watched was Time Enough at Last (Twighlight Zone). Just like Henry Bemis, I’m horribly nearsighted (& even work at a Credit Union).

  • Julie

    I have read a tremendous amount of books in my lifetime and have come across too many to count that I would love to read…story of my life. I have many on reserve and have picked 8 so far to read in the next two months. I generally do not read ever so slowly, but I am also in college so I am busy reading and researching for that as well. I love to read! I have rarely came across a book that I have not been able to say at least one positive remark about, nor have I found one that I have not in some way learned something from reading it. I have also took it upon myself to read unfamiliar territories. Reading a variety of genres and authors has given me new insights, different perspectives, and opened up new and exciting world’s to me. The titles I chose to read are as follows: John Sandford’s Dead Watch, Jeffery Deaver’s The Blue Nowhere, Barbara Delinsky’s A Woman Betrayed, Tami Hoag’s Guilty As Sin, Jimmy Buffet’s A Salty Piece of Land, Karen Rose’s Have You Seen Her, Jayne Ann Krentz’s Light in Shadow, and Dean Koontz’s One Door Away From Heaven.

  • shorechick

    My Goodreads list, which I just pared down, is over 1000 books. Yikes, I need to take some time off from working and mothering to sit and read!

  • Val

    I’m a book hoarder. I admit it. Is there a 12 step program? I can’t pass a bookstore. I look at the “free downloads” every day. I brake for “books at yardsales.” My home office has 3 bookcases; the living room only has 1; there are 5 boxes of books in the attic. My iPad has over 100. At any given time, I’m usually reading 4 or 5 books. It all depends on fitting book and mood.

  • MimiB

    I must have a hundred books waiting for my time and attention. Many are on my Kindle, but others are hard covers, paperbacks and recorded… so little time, so many books… such a busy life… I think I’ll go read. ;>}

  • reddwhine

    Too many to count, stack of books in my book case, many on my Kindle. I also try for ARCs and frequently get Netgalley ebooks to review. I will often download the free ones that Amazon offers. I also am a member of 2 book clubs. Being able to read any time I want is the best part of being retired…and I take advantage of it.

  • I just finished Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond, and predict that she’s going to go big! I’m now reading The Innocent Spy by Laura Wilson – a crime fiction mystery set around WWII. I’m reading a lot of WWII set novels lately. Also much historical fiction and women writers, which elements tend to be in my reading bliss zone.

  • So many books! I’m currently upset because I went to crew spring break and forgot to bring some of those books with me, so I have a bunch of books waiting for me but have none of them. Booo. But I have:
    The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    Moonwalking with Einstein by Joesph Foer
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    Absalom! Absalom! by Faulkner
    Emma by Jane Austen
    The Godfather by Mario Puzo
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
    and more!!!

  • I’m a multi-lister! I keep a handwritten to-read list, another as a Pinterest board, one in a file of clippings from magazines, one in an email folder, and others online.

    Right now I’m reading Belle Cora Phillip Margulies — barely in, but I think it’s going to be delish! And I’d love to read Frog Music by Emma Donoghue next. Both appear to be historical fiction novels about interesting women in San Francisco, and I like to read books around a time or theme in bunches.

    Lately I’ve also been concentrating on WWII era novels, including Dante’s War and The Innocent Spy.

  • Toni

    So many books, so little time. I’m a bookaholic. My pile is an assortment of fiction and non fiction. And then there’s my kindle….

  • octoberwoman

    I have over 2000 unread books in my house, many in boxes as I’ve nowhere else to put them. I tell myself that one day I’ll retire and then il have much more time to read. In the meantime, I’m addicted to collecting books. Some new, but more used – amazon, Half Price Books, thrift stores, trading on bookmooch.com and bookcrossing.com, and (my favorite) library sales. I rarely keep a book after I read it. I rarely reread books – too many books to read to go back and reread!

  • Michelle Chambliss Bacon

    I have over 1700 books in my TBR. That’s including all the soft and hardbacks I have and over 900 books to load to my Kindle. I am currently reading Blood Canticle by Anne Rice and will then read Still Life With Murder by P.B. Ryan.

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