The Great TBR Crisis of 2019


Everybody loves em, but for book bloggers, it can be very easy for things to spin out of control.


Say someone reviews a book on WordPress, and it sounds right up your alley, so you add it to your TBR via GoodReads or whatever you use. Sounds great, right?

Well multiply that book recommendation by a couple hundred times over the span of a few months, and you could very well have a problem.


This is the state I found my TBR in just a couple short weeks ago. My Goodreads TBR pile was at an all-time high, and I had no idea what to do with it, but it was difficult keeping track of things. In an effort to keep my sanity, I knew I had to make some changes.

Change #1: Revamping My System

First and foremost, I needed to find a better way to manage my TBR. Sorting through my TBR at all was a headache and honestly pretty frustrating.

I personally use Goodreads for tracking my TBR.

Goodreads is a great tool for tracking books you’d like to read, as well as checking out new authors and getting some previews of books. The site allows you to create bookshelves to store potential reads on. But if you’re not using the tools provided, it can be quite chaotic.

It turns out that your boy Jonny completely dropped the ball on using Goodreads resources for the past four years.

Cue the throwing of tomatoes in 3, 2, 1!

Okay, so yes, I’m guilty, but to be honest, I’ve only been seriously reviewing books for maybe the past two years or so. It never really occurred to me that things could become unmanageable.

So back to the present. I had maybe 400 books on my TBR pile, but they were all clumped on one bookshelf, the default one that Goodreads provides you with.

Obviously, I needed more shelves on my account, but what exactly? So I gave it some thought and decided to cut my TBR into three bookshelves to start based on my interest level.

  1. Super Interested: Books in this list I am basically obsessed with. I plan on reading them within the next six months (or as soon as humanly possible).
  2. Pretty Interested: Books in this list I am intrigued by and fully plan on reading, but the want can’t be called obsession, at least not yet. I plan on reading these books once I’ve gotten through my first list, and will migrate them over as my first list gets to a manageable level.
  3. Mildly Interested: Books in this list are a combination of old books I’ve added to my TBR, books I’m unsure I want to read or not, or simply books on the verge of being deleted off my TBR.

These bookshelves will intersect with one another at some point. So for instance, if I knock down my Super Interested list enough, some from the Pretty Interested shelf will migrate over to it, and same goes for the Pretty Interested and Mildly Interested shelves. Makes sense, right?

Change #2: Assigning Books to My Shelves

After I created these shelves, I had to assign each book to each shelf. At first, I thought this would be easy, but it ended up taking a lot more thought than I previously thought. It took hours to get through, but I’m glad I did it.

So how did I approach this? Well, GoodReads has this nifty tool with your lists. You can sort by a number of criteria, like Author, Average Rating, Date Read. But I was looking for Date Added.

Sorting things this way really made things easier on me. I sorted to look at the newest books I added. These would be fresh on my memory and easy to file into a category of interest. This went well until I hit my one-year mark of books I’ve added.

I started to run into books that I actually didn’t remember adding to my list.


Earned shame aside, at first I attempted to research each book based on the synopsis as well as if a preview was available, and if so, taking a quick look.

However, this turned into a time suck relatively quickly, so I decided to filter all of these questionable books into the mildly interested category for later review.

Note: I have gone back and started the vetting process, but am by no means done with this step.

Still, assigning my books to my three shelves so far has been a godsend, and it’s simplified things for me by a long shot.

Change #3: Repeat Change #1 

Okay, so this probably sounds strange, but yes, I went back to my first step after reorganizing everything.

While organizing based on interest level definitely helped, there is still a lot more that I wanted to do with my book list. Seasonal things, special genres I want to get into outside the norm, etc etc.

For starters, I added a Halloween list. This was key to me, since Jaunts & Haunts and my tastes are all about the horror/paranormal/creepy. Halloween is coming up quickly (just 79 days away, can you believe it?!), and I plan on having an extended celebration of the season (more to come on that in another post).

I also plan on creating a Wintry list for when it gets really cold. I love curling up by my window and watching it snow outside as I read a book. I started doing this last year, and it feels amazing!

Anyways, going back and fleshing out my bookshelves a bit more adds just that little bit more sanity to my chaotic hobby.


Ultimately, I’m glad that I decided to revamp my TBR list. Not only does it have a system, but I can easily browse through what I want to read next without scrolling through hundreds of books.

It’s definitely not a perfect system (I don’t always stick to my reading plans, does anyone?), and I’m not done fleshing out all my bookshelves yet, but its a positive step forward, and I’m proud of myself for doing this.

That’s A Wrap

Well, that’s my journey through TBR hell and back. How about you?

Do you have a system for organizing your TBR? Do you use Goodreads or a similar site for this purpose? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to start a dialogue!

Have a great day everyone, and happy reading and organizing!




    • Yeah, I didn’t want to do my shelves by genre, as I don’t usually sort my books that way. That’s why I did the Halloween and Winter-y lists.

      LOL me too! The book avalanche is a real thing!

      Thank you!

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