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Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Your TBR List(s)

As we have been making contributions to NJMetal's thread on books of interest to guys and have thought about reading several books in parallel (or not) and about re-reading, it occurred that it might be interesting to explore how different ones of us construct, create, capture, fall upon, ...., our "To Be Read -- including current reading -- List" or lists.

 

What ARE your main sources or criteria for the books YOU choose to read?

 

Do you maintain a list or lists of books you want to buy or borrow?  If so, how does a book get on a list?

 

If books come off such lists (without reading), how or why?

 

Are there other aspects of TBR lists or stacks of books that you would like to "hear" others comment upon, such as how long might a book stay on such a list or stack?

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Wordsmith
NJMetal
Posts: 219
Registered: ‎01-13-2010

Re: Your TBR List(s)

Peppermill wrote:

As we have been making contributions to NJMetal's thread on books of interest to guys and have thought about reading several books in parallel (or not) and about re-reading, it occurred that it might be interesting to explore how different ones of us construct, create, capture, fall upon, ...., our "To Be Read -- including current reading -- List" or lists.

 

What ARE your main sources or criteria for the books YOU choose to read?

 

Do you maintain a list or lists of books you want to buy or borrow?  If so, how does a book get on a list?

 

If books come off such lists (without reading), how or why?

 

Are there other aspects of TBR lists or stacks of books that you would like to "hear" others comment upon, such as how long might a book stay on such a list or stack?

I'd be happy to contribute after all your wonderful contributions to the threads I've started Pepper.  I had to think for a few moments of all the ways and criteria I make for my TBR lists and when I sit and analyze it like that it is sort of all over the place without a lot of rhyme or reason to it all, but somehow it all sorts itself out.  Here is the my best description of the cacophony that is my TBR list.

 

My main TBR list is actually an application through Facebook called Visual Bookshelf.  Though I do somewhat maintain a list of material to read on my B&N profile, I find the Visual Bookshelf better organizes things for me.  Visual Bookshelf allows me to categorize my library into Reading Now,  Already Read and Want To Read.  A simple check off of the appropriate box and the app automatically lists all the books in my library into those categories.  Currently there are 15 titles in my Wants To Read List.

 

This takes us to the next part, how does a book make it on that list.  I'm sure most people would answer this the same way as I do but I'm curious most about this aspect of the query.  I generally add books to my list three main ways.  First, there is always that small handful of writers I will read regardless of the subject matter or plots and storylines and their books will be added without question.  Secondly and perhaps the most utilized tool I use is simply browsing books by subject on B&N.com.  At any given moment my list is mostly populated by books added using this method.  Lastly and most infrequently used is browsing the physical shelves, either at a Barnes and Noble or local library.   Speaking of the local library I also keep a separate TBR list written on a pad with books and call numbers of titles I intend to read from the library as opposed to purchasing them.  But that's a topic for a different thread all together. 

 

Now we must address how those said books come off the list.  This aspect required the most thought process for me.  I suppose there is some method to the madness where I didn't really realize there was one before per se.  I notice I read to the seasons.  Come late winter my TBR list starts finding titles that speak to gardening and come early spring I am reading said titles in anticipation of the coming planting season.  Recently my TBR list took on a few baseball titles and in the coming weeks I'll be tackling those books while they are relevant to the baseball season.  As the seasons fresh produce becomes abundant in the garden and the markets I will start to read books that speak to fresh food and food issues.  Winter generally takes on more fictitious fare and less season specific non-fiction.  Alas, that's the general feel of how I tackle the list.  Invariably one of my go to authors will come out with a book that will take precedent over all else on the list or one one of those window-shopping jaunts I will find a book that tickles my fancy so much that I will also place that at the top of the list.

 

One aspect I noticed in my self-analysis of my TBR lists are those books that make it off the list only because they have been on it for so long that the title no longer speaks to me.  At any given time, present time included, there is at least one if not a few titles that have populated the list for a year or longer.  While the title peaked my interest enough at first, over time it's just been put off and put off so long that I find I am no longer as interested in it as I had originally thought I would be or it's not longer topical and thus somewhat dated.  Sometimes reading lots of bad reviews on it will also put me off to wanting to read it.  So from time to time I must to some chopping off of the books that have fallen to the bottom.

 

This was a lot of fun to take at look at something I do all the time but don't give a whole lot of analytical thinking to.  I can't wait to see others replies to compare to.  Thanks for the topic Peppermill.

 

"We always condemn most in others, that which we fear most in ourselves." -Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Your TBR List(s)

Below is an excerpt from Monday's NYT which illustrates how I sometimes pick up five TBR candidates in a couple of paragraphs or so.

 

However, I also know full well that only one or two are likely to actually get read by me.  All will "soak" for awhile as additional information about them and their authors cross my path.

 

 

 

"Long before 'sustainable' became a buzzword, intellectuals wondered how long industrial society could survive. In The Idea of Decline in Western History, after surveying predictions from the mid-19th century until today, the historian Arthur Herman identifies two consistently dominant schools of thought.

 

"The first school despairs because it foresees inevitable ruin. The second school is hopeful — but only because these intellectuals foresee ruin, too, and can hardly wait for the decadent modern world to be replaced by one more to their liking. Every now and then, someone comes along to note that society has failed to collapse and might go on prospering, but the notion is promptly dismissed in academia as happy talk from a simpleton. Predicting that the world will not end is also pretty good insurance against a prolonged stay on the best-seller list. Have you read Julian Simon’s  The State of Humanity?  Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World?   Gregg Easterbrook’s Sonic Boom?

 

"Good books all, and so is the newest addition to this slender canon, The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley...."

 

"Doomsayers Beware" NYT, 5/17/10

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Wordsmith
aditya
Posts: 368
Registered: ‎05-07-2010

Re: Your TBR List(s)

Usually, my TBR list (I like that acronym!) gets populated on its own - most often by virtue of books getting purchased willy-nilly (no wishlists for me :smileywink:). I have a close friend who shares my interest in several of the SF series I'm following - we suggest additional money-burning avenues to each other during our occasional catch-up convos.

 

Other than that, Pepper's post illustrates another way (cited books in several media). "Also by this author" lists at the front of books, usually after I've finished reading 'em and decide I like 'em.

 

In the past few years, a good source has been literary guests on three of my favorite programs (1 TV and 2 radio): Jon Stewart for political/economic books to read, Peter Sagal (Wait wait don't tell me) and Michael Feldman (Whaddaya know?) for all manner of eclectic/weird genres that I would never browse myself. For instance, Country driving was featured on Whaddaya know?

 

More rarely (hell, almost never), from B&N and Amazon emails. As NJmetal's linked article in his other thread shows, most literary marketing is aimed toward women. I don't believe this means there isn't stuff that's non-gendered or male-oriented - just that it is harder to find. After all, we have several hundred years of literature to pick from, I doubt I'd run out of good books to read even if people stopped writing new stuff today (though I really wouldn't want that to happen :smileysad: - there's at least a dozen protagonists whose lives I follow whose fates hang in the balance :smileysurprised:).

 

What I really really wish is a book version of Netflix's AWESOME suggestion system. Anytime I use it for movies/tv shows, I end up slobbering over the suggested titles list and doubling my queue size. If B&N were to do that for a wishlist-like system, it would skyrocket them to literary godhood instantly! :smileyhappy: Well, maybe not, but it would earn them my undying gratitude :smileyvery-happy:.

 

The only other source I can think of is a science book club I'm a member of (Scientific American BC). Just recently bought Applied economics by Thomas Sowell after seeing it on their monthly picks. If you liked books like Freakonomics, the Undercover economist and The Logic of life, Sowell's book is a more advanced version that beautifully explains the recent crises (and more things of everyday import). I have zero respect for economists' predictive powers but I adore their postdictive explanations :smileywink:.

 

Anyway, I shouldn't launch into a side alley here, the topic was TBR lists :smileytongue:

The cake is a lie.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your TBR List(s)

[ Edited ]

aditya wrote (excerpt):  What I really really wish is a book version of Netflix's AWESOME suggestion system. Anytime I use it for movies/tv shows, I end up slobbering over the suggested titles list and doubling my queue size.

 

Fascinating!  I watch few movies (books move faster and more at my pace for me), so I have not explored using Netflix.  But this description alone sounds like worth exploring.  (I think comments about Netflix from others have implied something similar, but I didn't recognize those arose from the suggestion system.)

 

Like Aditya, I find suggestions from the various on-line book sites to do little generating of new ideas for TBR, beyond the obvious Purgatorio and Paradiso to go with Inferno.  (Well, guess those aren't  really new ideas. :smileysad: )  I will admit to noticing the suggestions -- and that they do frequently include books already on my shelves. But beyond that small core, others often seem to be things considered -- and rejected -- or of little interest.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Wordsmith
wheeze
Posts: 331
Registered: ‎05-11-2010

Re: Your TBR List(s)

Oh man, if you see my book list now, you'd probably think I was on something. Currently it has 57 books on there waiting for me to get at the library.

 

I rarely ever use the B&N Recommendations. Right now, it has junk on there on how to plan weddings, non ficition books. I am a single female who lives with her cat, weddings is not in my game plan! The only thing that could make it think that is because "The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks is in My Library. My most favorite way to find a book for my 'TBR' list, is to scroll through the hundreds of books online, and read the reviews. If they have hit reviews, that catch my eye, not someone just ranted on and on, i will add it. It becomes more of an impluse, then a plan. Then, if I find an author I really enjoy, I add all of their books onto my list... (Jennifer Weiner, Isabel Wolff, Kristin Hannah.. etc)

 

I actually  have an Excel Speadsheet on my work computer containing the books I want to read. Just don't tell my boss. :smileyhappy: Since I seem to spend most of my time at work, and on BN.com, it works the best. I was using a notebook, but half the time I forgot the damn thing, the computer is easier. As I said, it's all about the impulse. If the book sounds good at the time, I slap it on there. BUT - as long as I don't have any reservations about it. If i have to sit there and think about it.. it won't happen.

 

The only time I remove a book, is when it's been on there for a long time. Deep down, I know I will probably never read it, and don't need to wasting space. I try to read everything I write down, because you never know what book will become your most favorite, but I'm human.

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
— Marilyn Monroe
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Your TBR List(s)

[ Edited ]

Wheeze wrote (excerpt):  I actually  have an Excel Speadsheet ... containing the books I want to read.

 

Wow!  I have Excel spreadsheets of books in my library (not well organized by my criteria for well organized), but not of TBR books.  (Actually sounds like a pretty good idea, as I think about it.)

 

I do have some Word files, as well as, for a couple of years, daily notes for which I kept expanding and reorganizing lists of books of possible interest by category.   Right now, those lists are deep ended, and my TBR is much more stacks of books from my own collection plus the adds that get driven by various book groups, both face-to-face and online.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Wordsmith
aditya
Posts: 368
Registered: ‎05-07-2010

Re: Your TBR List(s)

 

Peppermill wrote:

Fascinating!  I watch few movies (books move faster and more at my pace for me), so I have not explored using Netflix.  But this description alone sounds like worth exploring.  (I think comments about Netflix from others have implied something similar, but I didn't recognize those arose from the suggestion system.)

 

 

 

Well, Netflix actually put a lot of effort into their suggestion algorthms (even had a contest for it to get the best possible algorthm). It seems to me that since algorithms are pretty general, it would be a good investment for a company like B&N to license it and adapt it to books (Netflix probably wouldn't mind since they're not competing in the same markets). It's a little bit like the tagging system that many image and video sites use, except that the tagging is done by professionals. The value can only be gauged by experience - as I said, when I add a title to my queue, a small list of maybe 10 other titles pops up based on my history and the title I just selected. I usually end up liking 1-2 more in this new list and ... to cut a long story short, end up burning the next half hour chasing chimaera down dark alleys :smileyvery-happy:.

 

If you think about it, books are a lot more diverse in terms of subject matter than movies, yet we only ever see the standard (~20 perhaps?) genres on any book site: classics, mystery, SF&fantasy, non-fiction (how ... vague), etc. Browse Netflix and you'll see genres, subgenres, subsubgenres, movies that fall into several at once, criteria like "mind-bending" (I kid you not :smileysurprised:) and "suspenseful comedy" and so on. So, "comedy" for instance would be broken up further into "slapstick", "stand-up", "goofball", and perhaps 20 more. Same for other genres. Very useful lemme tellya :smileysurprised:.

 

Sure, you can't always categorize a book in a particular way and there's always some error. But if you work hard enough and do as much as you can, the ones left over will constitute a small enough minority that you can classify them as 'genre-benders'. The problem is that no book site has really done the hard work the way Netflix has for movies/tv shows.

 

Perhaps Netflix can come up with a paid Ebook library. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

(Sorry Pepper - didn't mean to thread-jack).

The cake is a lie.
Correspondent
LadyTessie
Posts: 134
Registered: ‎04-13-2010

Re: Your TBR List(s)

I keep an Excel workbook with a tab for books I've read and a tab for books I'd like to read. Most get on that list from sample reads received daily from dearreader.com (Suzanne Beecher). Others are from these threads, blogs and friend suggestions.

Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Your TBR List(s)

For me, a book becomes TBR once I own it and haven't read it yet.  I have plenty of those!

 

As to how I choose books? 

 

One of my favorite genres is mysteries, and I have, for decades, belonged to The Mystery Guild book club, so I keep up with new releases, for the most part, from them and order from them.  I have certain authors whose series I follow, so I buy any new books in those series, and sometimes something else will intrigue me, so I try that out.  I do try to resist getting caught up in new series, though, because then there are even more to buy!  If I start mid-series, of course I have to get all the previous books, as well.  Sometimes the Guild has some of them, or else I get them as paperbacks from B&N.  Sometimes the Guild drops a series I am following, and then I will buy subsequent releases as paperbacks from B&N.  This is the genre that I am most methodical about following.

 

Next favorite, I guess, is classics, particularly British 19th-century novels.  I tend to buy books that I haven't read yet by authors I like because we're going to read one here at the Clubs, or because there's a sale (for example, a sale on the B&N Classics series will have me go through the whole list and pick some out).

 

After that would come what I might call more specialized subjects.  Like the Beatles, or the Tudors (the dynasty, not the series!).  Those I tend to buy as I come across them.  Maybe during a visit to a B&N store, on the Bargain shelves, or I also belong to The Literary Guild, which occasionally has something interesting.

 

I like some sci-fi/fantasy, too (and used to belong to the Science Fiction Guild, or whatever that one was called), but haven't bought any in a long time because I already have a backlog of TBRs that I don't want to add to.

 

Once the books are part of my TBR collection, I tend to read them in pretty much the order above, too.  Other than reading books on schedule for the Clubs here, I would be most likely to read mysteries first, so I keep up with them the best.  The more specialized subjects tend to linger on the shelves the longest.

 

When I got my laptop about five years ago, I meant to do a lot of Excel catalogs (books, music, video, etc.), but never have gotten around to it!

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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia