The TBR Book Tag

So I don’t usually do book tags, but Erika in Bookventureland completed this one, and I really thought it was interesting.  I would love to see what other people’s methods are for compiling/tracking/dealing with their TBR are??  I was just thinking about this because I know that some people try to keep their list at a manageable (haha) level, while I tend to be someone who just extravagantly adds books with absolutely no self-restraint.  So no specific tags, but I would really, really enjoy reading other people’s thoughts on this one??


  • How do you keep track of your TBR pile?  So I never used to have a list at all.  Then, when I started blogging over on tumblr, I got a notebook and would just sort of write down books I thought looked interesting, mostly books by authors I had already read.  When I got serious and started blogging here on WordPress, though, I suddenly started following a BUNCH of other book bloggers, and I had to deal the fact that there are SO MANY BOOKS.  Point is, now I have an Excel spreadsheet.  The main tab is the basic TBR – all books that are either stand-alones or only have one sequel.  Then there are tabs for mystery series, random series, nonfiction, books the library doesn’t have but I still want to read, and authors I look for.  I’ve gotten a lot better – now when I add a book to the list, I also put down whose review inspired me and when I added it, which means that if, someday, I get around to reading the book, I’ll know who to thank!!  :-D
  • Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?  I get almost all of the books I read from the library, so the vast majority are print.  While I like my Kindle for random chick lit or something light that I can just grab whenever and then not go back to for a few days, I prefer my daily readers to be in print.  There is just something about having the actual book.  I especially feel that way about books I own.  The books on my shelf tell a whole other story just by virtue of when and where I purchased them, where and when I’ve read them, etc.  The way they smell, the way they feel, the way the book falls open, notes in the margins, underlines with dates – some of my favorite books bring back an entire flood of memories just by taking them off the shelf.
  • How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?  I just started using a random number generator, actually.  Fate now determines which books are next …  I use the number generator and then read that number book from the list!  It’s actually working brilliantly, and much better than periodically putting the list in alphabetical order and then reading from the top down, haha.  The other thing that I do that is probably weird but I can’t help it, is I read the books in a sort of round-robin method.  So I’m always working my way through a mystery series and a non-mystery series, and I’m also trying to read every book that I own (since there are a lot I either haven’t read in years or have never gotten around to reading).  So basically I read a mystery, then a book from my personal library, then a book from a series, and in between each of those I read a random TBR book.  That’s also why my reviews are kind of random – recently I’ve been reading Donna Leon’s Brunnetti mysteries and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, plus I’ve been in the “K” section of my personal library (Kjelgaard, specifically).  :-D  …sound familiar??
  • A book that’s been on your TBR longest?  This is hard to say because I didn’t start putting dates next to when they were added until very recently.  I definitely have books that I actually own that I haven’t read yet.  Someone gave me Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible like ten years ago and told me I would enjoy it, and I’ve never read it, lol.
  • A book you recently added to your TBR?  haha, if you read yesterday’s post for the August Rearview, you’ll know that I recently added way, way too many. :-D
  • A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?  15750874The Glass Arrow.  What.  So pretty.  I’m actually super attracted to cover art, and 100% judge books by their covers with no regrets or embarrassment.  No excuse for an ugly cover. I’m way more attracted to artsy viney covers than I am ones with people on them.
  • A book on your TBR you never plan on reading?  This seems like a weird question to me, because I’m not sure why I would add a book I don’t want to read…  part of my method, though, is to add books that sound even just a little bit interesting.  Because I read them from the library, I frequently will get them, look them over, and sometimes decide to not even start them…  even though I very rarely DNF a book, it’s not at all unusual for me to just not ever start them to begin with.  Incidentally, that’s part of the reason that I don’t really try to get galleys or ARCs, even though it sounds like something I would like.  I really enjoy having the freedom to just read random books whenever I feel like it, and to not bother if I don’t.  The library has basically every book I want to read, so getting free ebooks isn’t really enough of an inspiration for me to go through the hassle of ARCs, lol.  Sooo lazy.
  • An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?  I guess this ties into the last question…  not a lot of unpublished books, unless they’re ones that are coming out really soon that someone else just reviewed.  Although it would be really, really, REALLY nice if Robin McKinley would someday get around to writing a sequel for Pegasus.  I freaking loved that book AND IT HAS NO CONCLUSION she’s just like, “Oh yeah I’ll get around to finishing this story someday; in the meantime, why don’t you enjoy the first half of the book?  Oh by the way, I’m not actually sure how this book should end so I’ll write a couple of other books in between.  Oh and I think this may actually be the first book of a trilogy so even if I ever publish the second book, you’ll still have to wait for the third one to find out how the story ends.”  NOT COOL, ROBIN MCKINLEY.  I TRUST YOU.  PUBLISH THE SEQUEL.  I NEED IT TO LIVE.
  • A book on your TBR everyone has read but you?  ha.  Like everything.  I’m always behind on new, cool books.  Probably because I add them and then their random number doesn’t crop up for two years, lol. Ah well, it just means I can get it faster from the library.  ;-)
  • A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you?  Alllllll of themmmmmmmmmmm
  • A book on your TBR you’re dying to read?  Wow, so many.  Just posting the books I added in August made me excited about them all over again. It’s pretty rare that I reserve a book at the library that I’m not excited to see.  I’m a book addict.  It’s a problem.
  • How many books are on your GoodReads TBR shelf?  I actually basically don’t use GoodReads, even though everyone else does.  I just have too much going on.  I feel like I should post my amazing reviews on GoodReads and Amazon and other places, but I’m just tooooo lazy.  My spreadsheet, however, is sitting at 517 at this exact moment, which is only the stand-alone books and does not include 71 series, 31 mystery series, 48 books that weren’t at my library so I may try to find them some other way, and a list of authors who are actually still alive so I periodically check to see if they’ve published anything new.  Did I mention I have a problem??  :-D

Seriously, I would love to see other people’s answers to these questions, so be sure to let me know if you decide to answer this one!!




by Robin McKinley

Published 2013

First off, Robin McKinley, what the heck are you doing publishing ANY book other than the next installment of Pegasus?!?!?!!?  (Sorry, I realize I rant about this pretty regularly, but I’m still sincerely frustrated that someone would purposely published HALF A BOOK in 2010 and then say that maybe she’ll get around to publishing the SECOND HALF in 2014?!?!!?)

Still, while I’m waiting, I figured I may as well check out whatever book it was that McKinley deemed more important than finishing Pegasus.  Shadows was a solid read.  While I didn’t love it as much as Spindle’s End or Beautyit was still a lot of fun.

Per usual, McKinley does an amazing job with world-building.  What I love about her books is how she rarely bothers to explain what the world is like.  As you read, more and more things fall into place, but it’s through casual reference more than actual explanation.   Some things she never does explain, leaving the reader to put his own interpretation on what is happening.  In this book, we have this sort of alternate universe where magic is a thing, but in New World (read: United States), magic has been outlawed, and, two generations back (from our heroine), everyone who could do magic (it’s a sort of instinctive, natural talent) had that gene removed from their being, so that magic-doers will no longer be born in the New World at all.  What our heroine (whose name I can’t remember… sorry, it’s been over a month since I actually read this book) discovers is that magic is perhaps not as eradicated as the government would like everyone to think.

While I’m not always a fan of first-person narrative, McKinley usually does a good job with that voice (Dragonhaven, for instance …  a book I’m planning to read again if my sister ever returns it HINT HINT), presenting a protagonist who is easy to relate to and isn’t stupidly obnoxious.  I DESPISE reading YA books in first person where the narrator is constantly swearing and thinking about nothing but sex.  I’m not actually interested in everything you’re thinking – I’m interested in the story you’re telling so please TELL IT.  McKinley strikes the balance of keeping her first-person narrator personable without dragging us down into every single emotion that flashes through her being.

Here’s the thing that gets me about McKinley: she basically never does sequels.  (Yet another reason that Pegasus was such a betrayal.)  But this book truly felt like the beginning of a trilogy or something.  The story finished strong and undisappointingly (new word for today), but at the end, it really felt as though she had pulled together a team that was going to be fighting the government, except we just have to imagine how that goes because she’s never going to tell us.  (I also think I read somewhere that she is really against people writing fanfiction about her characters, so there isn’t even that small comfort.)  Far more so than some of her fairy tale books, Shadows left me with a slight feeling of dissatisfaction, simply because I wanted to know what everyone was going to do next.  There were also some nagging unanswered questions about why the government was so against magic and that sort of thing as well.

Still, overall this was a book I had trouble putting down (obviously, since my main complaint is that there isn’t more of it!) and definitely enjoyed.  4/5.