Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Don't Dread the TBR, Everyone Needs One

Sitting on the corner of my desk, and a nice neat pile next to a miniature I call Tiny Lair, is my pile of books to be read (TBR). If these were homework assignments or part of a required reading list, the feeling might be less than positive. However, these are books are ones I’ve selected but just didn’t have time to read. So, they sit there in this nice neat pile waiting for time.

I admit some books have been there since last spring. Sometimes it is difficult to read a book during summer unless you’re relaxing in a beach chair next to a body of water. Now that we’re past Halloween, I expect I’ll begin working my way through this stack.

I typically read three books at the same time - one fiction, one nonfiction, and one on philosophy/self-improvement. It lets me flow back-and-forth depending on my mood when I find a few minutes to glance at a page or two. I also read one novel a month for my Zoom Reading Group. It might seem like a lot of reading, but it really isn’t.

Besides the pile that you see sitting on my desk, I’ve got another pile stacked in bits and bytes on my Kindle. Whereas most folks seem to gravitate towards one or the other reading media, I easily flow between the two. My typical rule of thumb is that if the title is something I think I might read again or at least want to have around for reference, I buy it in hard copy. If it is something I’m only reading once, it goes on my Kindle. It’s a simple division.

On my wish list for my next house, I hope for a spacious office with a wall-to-wall bookshelf and a hidden passage to a cozy reading room. The room would include an easy chair, some kind of music playing device, a lamp, and a few other accouterments that’d create a proper reading environment. I guess my desire for such a hidden room comes from all those Batman episodes I watched when I was a kid. I must not be the only one because there are several companies that produce the hardware to create my desired secret passageway through a bookcase.

Like most readers, I see no shame in having a TBR pile. In fact, I think it reflects the fact that my basic philosophy is that there is always something more to read. 

Oh, within that pile are several books bought as gifts from the various wish lists that I have online. The one recommendation I’d make: If you’re buying a book as a gift for someone else, take a moment to sign it. I know, I know some people say it reduces the value of the book. I’m not talking about a first edition Chaucer; I’m talking about modern publications. I can’t speak for everyone, but every time I open a book that was a gift, I’ll occasionally turn to the inscription and reflect on the one who gave it to me. In this way, the gift becomes a recurring memory of the gift giver.


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