05 May 2010


I know I've asked a lot of weird questions of late, but...I think this one just about takes the cake. (Obviously, I also use a lot of weird phrases while asking my questions.) *clears throat* Have you ever felt like your TBR list/pile/tower is holding your hostage? *pause* I should explain.

I finished Flesh & Spirit (Carol Berg) [fantasy] on Monday morning...and it was so good! Anyway, the fact that it was so good caused something of a dilemma. You see, I was planning to start reading Lover Mine...all 512 pages of it (*SIGH* I'm obsessed about the page count of this book. Are all 512 pages really necessary?) before I turned my attention to Breath & Bone, the sequel to Flesh & Spirit. But...I so wanted to read Breath & Bone like ASAP! Now, on any other day I would read my library books in the order of their due date (in other words, Lover Mine first), but...I was torn. So, I laid out my dilemma to my lovely (and very wise) friend Kerry from Saving My Sanity. And her response?
Totally, read what you want to read. You shouldn't be a slave to the hold list order.
And then I realized...I am! I so am! That's the downside of a huge library hold list...I just read the next book on the list, regardless of what I want to read at the time... So, I decided....to read Breath & Bone, yes, ahead of Lover Mine! *shock horror* 'Cause I should be reading what I want, when I want, right? I just needed someone else to point it out.

And all this got me to wondering...just how many others are held hostage by their TBR list/pile/tower. So, are you? Held hostage? Or do you hold the power, and read what you want, when you want?


  1. A mixture of both, with reading whatever I want, when I want, leading. Before I started reading so much m/m, I was totally a slave to my library hold list. I can manage it to some extent (set the holds to inactive until a specific date), but I was always messing that up. :)

  2. Currently, I hold the power--but for about a year I allowed myself to become a victim of a sense of obligation.

    See, I was receiving a number of ARCs and/or review copies of books (mostly through giveaways, but occasionally directly from the author), and I felt that the least I should do was try and be timely with my reviews.\

    Mind, that worked very well for quite a while (probably a year or so) but then my life changed--for the better, but still--and the anxiety over letting author down led me to (almost) stop reading.

    That, obviously, would have pretty much finished me off, so after some soul searching, rending of vestments and pulling of hair, I decided that I need to read what I'm in the mood for. If I can hit deadlines, all the better, but I can't sweat it too much.

  3. I read whatever whenever. I do feel some obligation to get through the books on my TBR list, I'm a bit anal about that pile; but if I'm in the mood for X instead of Y, then X wins it.

    I think that's why I don't like borrowing books, I don't like feeling obligated to read something... I feel resentful and then I'll enjoy the book less; yes, I'm weird =)

  4. Mariana - I'm more like you, and I totally understand what you say about borrowing.

    If there's book I'm pretty sure I'm going to like, then I'd rather own it. Then I can read it whenever I'm ready and don't have to worry about returning it.

  5. Kerry - exactly! And that's why I've spent my book budget for the year in 4 months :) Who needs to eat anyway?!

    Seriously, I so much rather own it and go at my own pace. I hardly ever read what I plan on reading... something else comes along and distracts me.

  6. Yay! So glad you are enjoying the books by Carol Berg. She's one of my favorite authors.

    I'm partially held hostage although I don't have a library hold list. Like azteclady, I feel some obligation to ARCs and review copies but I also try not to sweat it quite as much as I once did. I've compromised by alternating between reading one review copy and one book I bought that I really want to read now. (Or sometimes if I'm busier than normal I might decide to just read something I really want to read.)

    But that still means not always reading what I want to when I want to. After hearing you talk about Flesh and Spirit, I've been really wanting to start the newest book by Carol Berg. I'd like to be reading that one now, but I just read two books I wanted to read in a row so now I'm reading a review copy instead.

    Like Kerry, I much prefer to own books so I can pick them up as the mood strikes me.

  7. I have a bunch of library books that usually get first priority if they're due soon. The nice thing is, if I'm not in the mood and it has to go back I can always request it again. :)

    I do try to alternate between library and tbr pile books but it doesn't always work that way.

    Example - I picked up Nora Roberts newest, Savor the Moment, on Tuesday from the library. And even though I have about 50+ library books & 400+ on the tbr pile, I read Nora's because I knew I couldn't enjoy another book when I really wanted to read Nora's. Plus, I know I can't renew it - too many on the wait list.

    So I agree with your friend - read what you want. :)

  8. I know I'm a very moody reader, so I read what I feel like reading at any given point. But I do feel like my TBR pile is holding me hostage! I feel like I can't do rereads because I have so many un-reads, and I can't do slow books because then I'll /really/ be buried under my TBR pile. I actually fantasize sometimes about the days when my mom would only buy me one book a week, so I had to read the books I liked over and over. That's just sad.

  9. Chris - I freeze my holds, but...the holds expire, and so I usually end up reading the book whose hold will expire next, which lead to where I am now. I think I just need to, as you said, stop being a slave to that list.

    azteclady - you raise such a good point...I have books lovely people have sent me, and they've been getting lost behind the library books :( And that makes me feel so bad! Because I feel like I am dissing those lovely people...and that's so not it! I'm so glad you didn't give up reading...and that your life changed for the better! And that's what I did this week, read what I'm in the mood for, which was the fantasy...even though I'm sure most people think I'm nuts for not reading Lover Mine *grin*

    Mariana - great new avatar! I'm incredibly anal about getting through my books - only when I have a gap do I flick something newer up the list...but I should listen to my heart, because reading should be an enjoyable passtime, and not an effort IMHO.

  10. Kerry - I'm with you on the borrowing. Unless I'm dying to read it, I do stress about reading it in a...timely manner :)

    I hardly ever read what I plan on reading... something else comes along and distracts me.

    Mariana - I have that problem too...I think I'm all psyched to read something, and then something else distracts me. It's like...it's like something sparkly in front of a baby.

    Kristen - I should have listened to you about Carol Berg earlier. I know I haven't started with Transformation, but I'll get there...and I'll finally read the first Wraethu book, which I own but haven't read. me = useless! It's like I said, the books books I own or am given (by lovely people) get lost behind the holds. But...no more. I think I might compile a list of books I own that I should read and, like you do, alternate (with my library hold list :)

    Leslie - see, I decided to return the paranormal romance and urban fantasy, just so the pressure wasn't there...and so I could read Breath & Bone :) I just need to implement it!

    heidenkind - I'm glad it's not just me who feels like they are being held hostage. And yes, all those re-reads... We need to take the power back! (And I would only go to the library once a week when I was younger too, so I had to re-read books if I finished early :)

  11. I am not a hostage of my TBR pile, but am most definitely I slave to the hold list at the library. Which makes NO sense because those books are free and will always be there. Well, the TBR will always be there, too, but I paid for most of those books and theoretically should have been ready to read them when I bought them. Otherwise, why buy if I'm not going to read a book within a month or so, right?

    I have learned, though, to only put one or two books on hold at a time. It's less stress for me that way. My library only holds a book for me for two days once it is available and it's my turn. Sometimes if I call and ask very nicely, they will hold it for an additional day or two. I do keep a running list of books I want to borrow from my library on my laptop, though, so I know what I'll request next.

    And my laptop is synced with my phone, so I always have it with me. Just in case I find myself in the bookstore and HAVE to buy the books anyway. ;o)

  12. My definitive answer is: sometimes. *g*

    It feels like a balancing act, reading library books, books I've won or been gifted, books I'm committed to reviewing, and ones I gasp! actually buy.

    Usually, it's my mood and whatever pressing obligation I've got at the moment. Actually, tonight I was sort of bummed when I realized that I had to drop what I was currently reading (The Sweet Scent of Blood and ePistols at Dawn) so that I could read a book, Captivate, that's due at the library on Monday (and that I can't renew). Usually, I tell myself I can always request it again (like I'm doing with the other book that's due Monday) but I figure I may as well cross Captivate off of my list. It's not like it's a hardship, since it's a book I want to read anyway, but I dislike feeling like I "have" to read a book.

    Phew! Timely post, Orannia! :-)

  13. My library only holds a book for me for two days once it is available and it's my turn.

    Christine - YIKES! My library holds a book for IIRC 7-10 days. My problem is I borrow most of my books from the library, so my hold list is huge. I can freeze holds, but with so many books I end up reading whatever is next, not what I want...until last Monday that is *grin* I think I'm just going to have to bring that list down...and have a written or computerized list. Baby steps :)

    It feels like a balancing act...

    Renee - exactly. And I'm so with on feeling like I have to read a book. That's how it felt last Monday and I just...balked. Am so loving Breath & Bone...I just wish I hadn't had a family issue this morning, which has thrown my weekend is disarray. Hopefully I'll get some time with it tonight :)

  14. I love this from heidenkind, "I actually fantasize sometimes about the days when my mom would only buy me one book a week, so I had to read the books I liked over and over."

    My mother was a librarian, my stepfather a historian, and we actually had a room in the house just for books (yes, our very own library). There were also bookcases in the upstairs hallway and in every bedroom.

    And even with all those books, an avid reader could read through all of them and find herself re-reading her favorites to the point where she could quote entire pages of dialogue.

    [For a number of years, as a tween and teen, I spent every free moment glued to a book--does it show?]

    (I wish I could do the same now...)

  15. I do get that way sometimes - I think that's why I don't get too many library books any longer - they tend to sit.. LOL

    My problem is that I get new books and want to start on them asap. Then I have TBB books that I NEED to read for review that are calling me - mostly new releases as well. Then I go out and buy new books and where is my TBR in all of that? lol I think that's why I had to start my own challenge for reading my TBR books - it's sad to have to force myself into reading them each week because I really want to read them all eventually. :)

  16. Carol Berg is excellent, but I thought Wraeththu was even better. It's not one I'd recommend for a fast-paced, plot heavy sort of mood but if you're in a character-driven mood, that's the time to read it.

  17. azteclady - that sounds like one amazing house. I can't wait to have a room filled with books! And I too wish I could do the same (spend every free moment with my head in a book :)

    Tracy - I love your TBR challenge. Hmmm, I think you're on to something. Maybe I should borrow your idea for the books that I own...if that's OK? And I'm so glad I don't review for anyone - I still haven't written my review of Corambis (Sarah Monette), which I read a few months ago :(

    Kristen - the Wraeththu books are even better than Carol Berg? WOW! I was hoping to compile those books that I own or have been give to read this weekend, but everything went pear-shaped. ...family (anyone surprised?). So, next weekend I will do that...and I'll try and remember that the Wraeththu books are character-driven tortoise books. I'm always in the mood for character-driven books *grin*