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The TBR Book Tag or Some Things Never Change

PicMonkey Collage TBR


On 6 November 2015 I put on my big girl pants and tackled the TBR tag which I saw on  The Quirky Book Nerd,  in a bid to get a grip on just how many books were sitting on the TBR, especially focussing on those books I already own.

So a year on, having exercised my willpower on a daily basis, I thought it would be interesting to answer the questions again and to reveal just how well my TBR Reduction plan has been working! You can read last year’s answers here.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

My TBR books are all listed on an excel spreadsheet, a tab for physical books, one for those on my kindle and lastly one for NetGalley approved books. There is of course, a colour code, required because some on the first two tabs are also review copies – and this has made the biggest difference, each Sunday, I publish the total. I can hear you all cheering with approval, those measures are guaranteed to make a huge difference.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

My TBR  is mainly print books. Over the last year or so if given the choice I prefer print books, don’t get me wrong, I love my kindle especially for portability, but after a few years of reading mainly e-books, I seem to hanker over the more traditional variety.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I have a good old spreadsheet, books for review get put on the tab of the month they are published (10 slots per month) and then if there is any space in the last few days of the preceding month I fill it with books that I’ve been given after publication date or choices from my own shelves. I then shuffle books endlessly backwards and forwards while looking anxiously at the ‘anticipated finish reading dates’ to see if I can squeeze this extra one in that has popped through the door or somehow been requested from NetGalley.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

It was this question that made me think that redoing this tag was a worthwhile exercise: The answer is exactly the same!

Room by Emma Donoghue has been on my kindle since very soon after it was published in 2011, I still really want to read it, I will read it!


To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. Goodreads

A book you recently added to your TBR?

Last year my answer was  Are You My Mother by Louise Voss

Are you my mother


From the age of nineteen, Emma Victor has had to bring up her much younger sister Stella. It has shaped both their lives. Now Stella is almost grown up, and Emma’s nurturing instincts extend to her work as an aromatherapist, and inform her relationship with the unreliable but irresistible Gavin. But something is missing, and Emma has to confront her deepest need – a need she’s been denying for years – and embark on a search for her birth mother.
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? chronicles Emma’s search for her birth mother and for a sense of her own place in the world in this compelling, funny and profoundly moving novel about love, identity and the need to belong Amazon

Yes – you’ve guessed it, this is also still on the TBR.

This year my latest addition is A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys which arrived yesterday but not due to be published until April 2017.

It was a first class deception that would change her life foreverdangerous-crossing

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

While covers may draw me to look at the content I don’t choose by cover, although I have noticed that certainly some psychological thrillers are sporting more eye-pleasing jackets than has previously been the case, generally crime fiction and poisoners, don’t get pretty covers.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

No, if I’d found any books that I didn’t plan on reading they would have gone in the donation bag for the charity shop.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

I did read and review Beside Myself by Ann Morgan which was my answer last year – this year my most anticipated read is by one of my favourite authors, Erin Kelly with her latest novel He Said/She Said, I’m over the moon to have a copy of this which isn’t due to be published until May 2017.

he-said-she-saidHe said it was consensual.
The woman said nothing.
But Laura saw it…
… didn’t she?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura and Kit interrupt something awful.

Laura is sure about what happened. Later, in a panic, she tells a little white lie – and four lives are changed irreparably.

When the victim turns up on their doorstep, her gratitude spills into dangerous obsession. Laura and Kit decide to run – but Beth knows they have pledged to see every eclipse together. They will never be able to entirely escape her.

As the next eclipse draws near, Laura must confront the fallout from what she saw in the darkness. Confessing will cost her marriage; keeping the secret might prove fatal.

But all secrets, sooner or later, will come to light. Amazon

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

Last year my pick was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer– and I finally read this in December of last year!
This year I think I’ll choose (of the loads of books that fall into this category) Cry Baby by David Jackson – I have decided to start this series and read the first, Pariah, recently, so only two to read before this one!

Cry Baby
It’s every mother’s nightmare – the abduction of her baby, That’s how it starts for Erin Vogel when she is attacked and left unconscious in her apartment. When she awakes, it is to find that Georgia, her six-month-old daughter, has been taken.

But Erin is given a chance to get Georgia back. At an unthinkable price.

Like most mothers, she has always said she would do anything for her child. Now the strength of that bond is about to be put to the ultimate test.

And when her actions arouse the interest of a certain Detective Callum Doyle, one thing is inevitable: a confrontation that will be as explosive as it is unforgettable.

From the highly acclaimed author of Pariah, The Helper and Marked comes a nerve-shredding novel that questions the line we draw between good and evil. Amazon

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?
I love it when other bloggers recommend books to me and I have a heap that fall into this category – the one that is outside my normal reading genre that is on my TBR to be read is My Name is Leon by Kit der Waal.

My Name is Leon

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home. Amazon

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
I’m not sure how I’m supposed to chose just one, after all they are all on my TBR because I want to read them but the book I pick is from my genre of the year – poisoners and because I’ve gone for the literal interpretation of this question. I give you Poison Panic by Helen Barrell


For a few years in the 1840s, Essex was notorious in the minds of Victorians as a place where women stalked the winding country lanes looking for their next victim to poison with arsenic. It’s a terrible image – and also one that doesn’t seem to have much basis in truth – but this was a time of great anxiety.
The 1840s were also known as the ‘hungry ’40s’, when crop failures pushed up food prices and there was popular unrest across Europe. The decade culminated in a cholera epidemic in which tens of thousands of people in the British Isles died. It is perhaps no surprise that people living through that troubled decade were captivated by the stories of the ‘poisoners’: that death was down to ‘white powder’ and the evil intentions of the human heart.
Sarah Chesham, Mary May and Hannah Southgate are the protagonists of this tale of how rural Essex, in a country saturated with arsenic, was touched by the tumultuous 1840s. Amazon

 How many books are in your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Goodreads states this is down from 240 to 216 but as it includes different editions of books I’ve read as well as books I’ve had a fleeting interest in, I prefer to stick by my own count of actual books I own.

The total number of books on the TBR on 6 November 2015 was 173!  This was made up of 82 physical books, 71 e-books and 20 books on NetGalley!
I do have a list of books I want to own which I keep on a Amazon Wishlists.  I had  146 books here too.

This Year … drum roll… the total number of books on 5 November 2016 is 181! I’m really quite impressed, alright, technically it’s not a reduction, but an increase of only a net worth of 8 books in an entire year, I think deserves a round of applause.

This year the total is made up of 95 physical books, 68 e-books and 18 books on NetGalley. My plan of putting things onto my Amazon Wishlists has worked as I have a whopping 206 books here – but as I said, I don’t own them… yet!

So this post is entitled TBR Reduction Plan, from now on I’m designating June and December for reading books already on the TBR (this year will be to get rid of some of the books requested more than 3 months ago from NetGalley – that tab upsets me far too much!) with an absolute minimum of visits to NetGalley during these months and absolutely no purchases at all.

I’m not tagging anyone, but of course I want to feel better about my TBR, so if you have more than 181 books, please share in the comments box below!

Now I’m off to buy a new bookshelf!


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

75 thoughts on “The TBR Book Tag or Some Things Never Change

  1. Wow! You are so organised! I wish I were half as much. My TBR is so random. I just add books that interest me on to my to read list on Goodreads. And pick them up when I can. Some of them have been languishing there for years now. I’ve got to go and look at my TBR list to see how many I have there. I have just a handful of physical books with me that I haven’t read. I don’t have the will power to not read a book once I’ve got my hands on it 🙂


  2. I haven’t counted but it’s less than that I hope! I’d be in a right tizz if I had that many books to read. My Name is Leon is wonderful by the way.


    1. Haha it’s fortunate that it takes more than a mountain of books to get me in a tizz isn’t it – I think I have a fear that one day there won’t be any books left in the world – I must stress I don’t hoard anything else 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay someone else who organises by Excel! I have 126 on my TBR right now but earlier this week I did a brutal cull if books I just wasn’t going to read for various reasons as it had crept over 200. I was very honest with myself about what I like and have time to read and have set new rules for requesting from NetGalley!!


  4. You are super organised. Your post prompted me to do some clean up of my own TBR list which i also maintain as a spreadsheet but its got a bit out of control lately. Confession time – my physical list is now over the 200 mark. I have 195 listed but I know there are books i bought in recent splurges that are not there. It’s up from the beginning of the year (168). This figure represents the physical books – i have another 38 on the e reader.


    1. I have to be – the problem is there are just so many good books out there to read and nowhere near enough time 😉 I’ve ordered a new bookshelf for delivery next week to house the overflow which will hopefully prompt me to pick more of my own choices up.


  5. I don’t know the actual number for mine but I promise it would make you feel a whole lot better!
    I’m wondering if I have it in me to instigate a book-buying ban for 2017 to try & get the number down – I’m not sure I can do it…


    1. Thank you 🙂 I definitely don’t have it in me to stop acquiring completely and I’m actually delighted that I’ve kept more or less steady over the last year – I’m going to try even harder in 2017 to reduce this a little bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. haha congratulations on not increasing your TBR number by much!! I honestly think that’s the best most of us can hope for. Mine is still lingering at the 70-ish mark. But I only include physical books in mine.


  7. I don’t think I can even begin to count my TBR pile… or am shirking that duty! As for that More than 3 Months Tab on Netgalley, it’s utter cruelty. It’s made me go the opposite way, only reviewing those that are more recent, cos there’s way too much before that…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t believe how organised you are. Every now and then I write a list of my Netgalley books with dates to work out what should be the priority but then usually discard and read what I feel like. As my TBR is out of control maybe it’s time I got organised.


    1. Haha don’t be fooled just because they get put on the spreadsheet doesn’t mean they don’t get moved – I’ve already shuffled November’s list once because I didn’t fancy what was coming up next at the moment – I would panic though if I didn’t know there was a list

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m really impressed Cleo, with how you use spreadsheet and Goodreads to keep track of your TBR. It’s a neat ‘clean’ way of doing things. You’ve got some great books on the TBR, too. In particular, I want to read Poison Panic. It sounds like a fascinating read.


  10. I really really wish I had under 200 books to read. My total of kindle & paper books is over 3000, many I’ve had for years and they keep surviving culls (just!) I do want to read them all though that’s the problem!


  11. I am impressed by the spreadsheet…my method: I add the books to pages on my Curl up and Read blog. I don’t pay attention to the Goodreads TBR…the books only count for me once I own them.

    I have a total of 89 TBR, and most of those (53) are books purchased in 2016. What disturbs me…I still have 22 unread books from 2014!

    My Read the Books You Buy Challenge only credits books purchased from June 2015 onward. I will have to tackle these others another way!

    I haven’t read my copy of ROOM yet, either…but I only bought it this year.

    You are doing very well, and I wish you the best! Thanks for sharing.


    1. That’s a very neat way of keeping the books in order Laurel – more high tech than my spreadsheet – although that has a second purpose as a historical reading log too – books I don’t own really don’t count. You’ve done so very well reading your own books this year – I’ve increased my percentage this year and hope to do so even more next year


  12. I love to read posts like this. If it makes you feel better my TBR pile is humongous.

    Are You My Mother is probably one of my all-time favourite books so it’s well worth getting round to before next year’s TBR Book Tag post!

    Would you mind if I stole these questions for my own blog please?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your TBR pile is much more organized than mine. I keep a running list, of books I want to read (all electronic) and a list of NetGalley books. I get to the NetGalley books when they’re getting near the publication date. As for my other TBR books, my pile never gets as big as yours, because I drop ones that have been on a long time. I know I’m letting some good books go, but I feel like I need to make room for new books. It’s all nuts, but aren’t we lucky to have these problems!?!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have mostly physical books too because I tend to buy physical copies. Most of my e-books are from Netgalley or other means of review. I don’t know the exact number of books I own that I need to read because they are all over my room and house a bit too. I’m sure it’s close to yours though. I really need to read more of my own stuff.



  15. Wow I love this, really need to do something with my tbr books, I only have kindle ebooks and I have a few from NetGalley that I really need to get to.


  16. I think you’ve done brilliantly – a rise of only 8 books is statistically insignificant and really doesn’t count! Of course, I’m on 180 as of today, so…

    I WIN!!!

    Not that it’s a competition, of course… 😉


  17. Yes, I am close but 167 TBR. More ebooks than paper, mostly because of the ease of purchase. *sigh* List growing larger.


  18. Hi Cleo – following on from our conversation this morning on Twitter I have prepared a piece using Word but am now finding that I cant find a way of attaching it to send to you. Can you tell me how I might do that – or what I might need to convert it to to send it to you?

    A plain text version of it can be found on my Devon Book Club Goodreads page at

    I’ve had a lot of fun doing it – hope you (and your fellow correspondents if they are interested) enjoy reading it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ian, I’ve just read it on Goodreads and post a copy here for you 😊 I couldn’t comment there so here’s my response Superb answers and you really should read All The Light We Cannot See 😉 and I will read The Room, soon!


  19. Thank goodness I’m not the only one! I’m not as organised as you though Cleo. I’m too scared to look at my Kindle ebook total. I kept falling for the Daily Deals, also I’m on a Facebook group called ‘We Love Memoirs’ who have some great authors as members and I can’t resist their books. They also do a freebie Friday, where at least 20 memoirs are listed. It all adds up!
    Because I stopped buying physical books for years and just relied on ebooks because of my illness, I haven’t a lot of those. I’ve recently gone back to buying ‘proper’ books though, so they are slowly building up. Both myself and husband can’t resist cookery books, so that’s an ever increasing pile!
    Have enjoyed reading everyone else’s comments here. What are we all like? Lol!


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