Bookish Resolutions: Tame That Teetering TBR Tower

The new year is always a good time to set resolutions that will help make this current year better than the last. Gym memberships and diet program sign-ups increase dramatically every January, and people flood social media with their ‘word of the year’ and resolutions posts.

Bookworms have resolutions too, and one of the most common ones is "taming the TBR (to be read) pile”. Or in some cases, you may need to replace ‘pile’ with ‘tower’ or ‘island’ or even ‘universe’. (Ask me how I know this.) But where do you even start such an impossible feat as taming the amount of books you want to read, especially when irresistible new books pop up every day?!?

I (Carrie) have no idea. None. My TBR pile is out. of. control. It has been for quite some time now and shows no signs of diminishing in the foreseeable future.

So I asked my associate editor, Annie, to give some insight here. (Don’t let her great suggestions fool you, though - she’s as hopeless as the rest of us.)

Participate in Reading Challenges/Readathons

This time of year, there are lots of great reading challenges for you to start! Some go all year, and others are more monthly. These can make taming that TBR pile fun - and give you an excuse to finally read that book you’re not sure about (and which would otherwise stay on your TBR list to infinity) - plus they provide great accountability to keep at.

May I suggest Hope By The Book’s reading challenge? We’ve got three levels so you can do as little or as many as you choose! Find out more HERE.

Readathons are typically for a day or a week, though some are seasonal. You can find these on various book blogs and on social media. These are a great way to power-read your way through a chunk of your book stacks.

Buddy Reads

Everything is better with friends, even reading! Grab a friend or two, pick a book or series, read and discuss. Kinda like a book club but more one-on-one - AND it can be done online which is perfect for us introverted readers!

The ‘Reading Nook Stack’ Method

Stack five books at a time by your favorite reading nook (like on your nightstand or next to your reading chair). Read them off one by one, and don’t add any more until the last book has been read. If you change your mind on a book, switch it out instead of adding to the stack. This helps keep your immediate TBR within a reachable goal. Take caution though! If you overachievers out there decide to use more than five books at a time for this method, you might find yourself in trouble!

It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.
— Lemony Snicket

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great way to knock a book off your list while doing chores or commuting. I've even done it while shopping! Of course there is Audible and Scribd but you can also check out audiobooks through Overdrive and Hoopla, etc. And if Richard Armitage happens to be the narrator, all the better ;)

Set aside reading time

Keep this commitment of at least once a week, even if you are able to add more reading time. That way, even when busyness creeps up, you'll still have this time devoted for reading. Mark it on your planners and Google Calendars and carve out time each week for dedicated reading time.

Cull your Goodreads lists

Goodreads is a handy website that lets us keep track of our books read, series, authors, and what our friends are reading & reviewing. It also, let’s just be honest, adds even more stress to the overwhelmed TBR-owner. My want-to-read list is a metaphysical impossibility, yet I continue adding to it when I see a book on someone’s social media or blog. And sometimes my one-click reflex is faster than my thought process, so it’s prudent every once in a while to go through and make sure you really want to read that book that grabbed your attention.

Make a TBR jar

A) That’s super fun to say - “TBR jar”
B) It’s a super handy way to help yourself over those “I have 5000 books on my TBR list and I have no idea what to read next” dilemmas.

Take strips of paper and write down a TBR title on each one. Fold them up and fill up a mason jar with the papers. Each time you finish a book, reach in the jar and grab another title, and so on. Thanks to one of our reviewers, Andi, for pointing out this idea from BookRiot right as I was finishing up this post! Perfect timing :)


These are all great ideas! But, let’s face it… at some point we just have to surrender to the teetering TBR tower, acknowledge that we’ll never get it read in one lifetime, and hope Heaven has a library :) Until then, happy reading!!

A Beginner's Guide to Bookish Terms

The reader community on social media is blossoming! Millions of bookstagram photos, book hauls, and bookish treats are shared daily. Sign on and start using this new lingo to share some of your favorite reads.

Photo credit: @novellyyours

Photo credit: @novellyyours

Bookish

A general term tacked on to anything and anyone who has to do with a book. See that Harry Potter paraphernalia cluttering up your shelf? That’s bookish. Those candles that smell like old ink and paper? Bookish. Your purse that you picked because it can fit two paperbacks in? Yeah, that kind of crazy is what makes us bookish.

TBR

Look around your house. See those piles of books you’ve been meaning to read? That’s your TBR stack. A “to be read” pile or list is where good books go to die. If you don’t have enough enthusiasm to read the book right away, chances are you’ll just put it in a pile that you’ll look at a few times a week with anxiety and tell yourself you’ll get to soon but never will. Some people will conquer their TBR list, and these people we call our heroes.

Bookstagram

A well-framed picture of a book or stack of books posted on Instagram. Most of the time this image contains a cute toy such as a Funko Pop figurine and/or fairy lights and floral accents. These images are what help other #Bookstagrammers find books to read, or just display on their shelves. Connect with others online using these pretty pictures, but don’t worry if you don’t take great pictures. Repost (with credit) from other accounts of books you like, or just let the book shine for itself.

DNF

Write down a book as DNF if you did not finish it. This is a handy acronym for those books that you can’t seem to get through, whether from inappropriate or inane content. Note DNF in your review on GoodReads or on other sites to let other readers know you stopped reading and why.

Bibliophile

A booklover who often can be found bookstagramming or sipping coffee at their local indie shop. Often quotes classics, especially Jane Austin. Approach with caution if carrying or touting the latest Kindle. You may be mocked for your choice of reading format.

ARC

If you’ve ever received a copy of a book to review before it’s been published, you’ve gotten an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC). ARC’s come in many different formats, including unfinished manuscripts in pdf or ebook, designated ARC copies for proofreading, and prepublication paperbacks.

Book Haul

Ever buy books, bring them home, unwrap them just to sit and bask in the delicious potential of reading them? Then, my friends, you’ve experienced a book haul. Book hauls are to be shared online with your friends, through videos or photos so they can experience envy at all your glorious new books. But seriously, don’t brag about your book hauls. Reading is an activity that spans many-a-price-range and should be shared by all. Book hauls can be bought on sale, taken home from the library, or even ARC copies received for reviewing.


Add your voice to the #bookish conversation online and use some of the new terms you’ve learned today. Be sure to tag me @Katelynsbolds & @hopebythebook on Twitter or Facebook and @bold.reads and @hopebythebook over on my bookstagram account. Remember: keep calm and read a book!

Upcoming Historical Fiction Releases to be Thankful For

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Make sure you add these titles to your TBR

There are so many new books coming out that I am so excited for. And even the most dedicated and vigilant reader will miss when a good book is released. Until recently, I was exclusively a Historical reader. I have finally broaden my tastes, however I will always lean towards the stories set in the past. Today, I wanted to give you a few Historical Fiction titles that I am excited to see releasing soon. If you know me, you know that I have a very low level of patience. Especially when it comes to new books. When I find out my favorite author is working on a new story, it’s all I can do to wait for the book to release. The books listed below are among those books that I am LONGING to read! Thankfully, their relese dates are right around the corner now! Add them to Goodreads and/or to your Wishlist on Amazon so you don’t miss out!

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SEARCHING FOR YOU
Jody Hedlund
Series: Orphan Train #3
Release Date: December 4, 2018
BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Buy on Amazon

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A BOUND HEART
Laura Frantz
Release Date: January 1. 2019
REVELL

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.

Buy on Amazon

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FLIGHTS OF FANCY
Jen Turano
Series: American Heiresses #1
Release Date: January 1, 2019
BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Buy on Amazon

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MY HEART BELONGS IN THE BLUE RIDGE: LAUREL’S DREAM
Pepper Basham
Release Date: January 1, 2019
BARBOUR BOOKS

Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

Buy on Amazon

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WITH THIS PLEDGE
Tamera Alexander
Series: Carnton #1
Release Date: January 8, 2019
THOMAS NELSON

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clouston's quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause--but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home, where she is governess, is converted into a Confederate hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancé and lifelong friend.

Buy on Amazon

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IN THE SHADOW OF CROFT TOWERS
Abigail Wilson
Release Date: January 15, 2019
THOMAS NELSON

Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

Buy on Amazon


Rachel enjoys reading, reviewing books, and sharing her passion for literature at www.bookwormmama.org. She's a virtual assistant and shares the small-town life with her husband and children.