Monday, September 17, 2012


by Ben Small

How high is your TBR stack? And what forms do you use? I have thousands of books, inherited from my college literature professor grandmother, then more from my father, a law school dean and author. Many of these books have notes of those who have read them.

I can't throw this stuff away.

But have I read them? Nah. Will I? Probably not. And that's sad, too, because there's probably a lot of good stuff in there I'm missing.

So that stuff goes into the TBR pile.

Then you gotta consider my stuff. I'm an avid reader and I seem to collect books. I can't pass by a bookstore without buying something, and I attend author conferences, where people give me books, sometimes bags full of them. Then there's the mail. People mail me their books.

 I live in fear one of my TBR stacks will topple someday, perhaps crushing me and launching a haboob of a level unseen since the Mummy. Yes, one of mine. There are others. I live dangerously, keeping my windows closed lest a breeze shift one of my leaning book towers. And my Kindle's so full, Jeff Bezos sends me holiday cards.

Okay, that's just the book side. I collect magazines, too. I have to keep rounding up the little critters on the floor lest somebody moving through doesn't do a half-gainer into the fireplace. The pile in our bathroom keeps growing.

But that's just books and magazines. I'm on the internet, too. I've got thousands of links in my CEOExpress link page, hundreds more in my Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox bookmarks.

When will I ever get through all this stuff?

But frustration that I can't make a dent in my TBR pile doesn't stop me from adding more to it. You can't stop a charging train. I'll collect more, make more excuses as people wait for comments, and find new places to stash additions. It's been this way for all of my years, and I won't change.

Guess I'd better rent a larger storage unit.


Jaden Terrell said...

I have the same problem, Ben. It's gotten so bad that my books need their own house.

Mark W. Danielson said...

I have two walls of stacked boxes awaiting their new home and most of them contain books I have every intention of reading -- some day. I'm not sure many can build a home that would properly accommodate all of their books. So, do I still keep the encyclopedia set since I've run out of room? (You see, once upon a time they sold bound books that described what is now on the Internet . . .)