Top Ten Tuesday: What To Do When Your TBR Pile Becomes Its Own Planet

Posted January 10, 2017 by meezcarrie in Top Ten Tuesday / 69 Comments


Happy Tuesday, friends! Today’s topic from the awesome folks at The Broke and the Bookish is supposed to be the Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn’t (But Totally Plan To).

Good grief, y’all. Do you even KNOW how many books would be in this post if I listed all the ones from my TBR list that fit that criteria. (Since I never bother with pesky things like sticking with ten books) We would be overrun. I mean… Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, Kara Isaac’s books (both of them!), the Drew Farthering books, Irene Hannon’s newest (both of them!). Argh. And that’s just off the top of my head. There are more. Oodles and oodles more.

So…. I tweaked the topic. (Yes, again) And I decided instead to give y’all some advice on what to do when your TBR pile becomes its own planet. I speak as one with experience.


This may seem rather self-explanatory but I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important this is. Panicking only leaves you at risk of being buried by an avalanche of books from said TBR planet. Stay calm and stay in constant communication with your planet.

2. Add more books to the TBR planet

I mean, you might as well. Because, let’s face it – it’s impossible not to add books to our want-to-read lists, right? We’re trucking along just fine and dandy, breaking our own reading records, when SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Is that a new book by Carrie Turansky I just spied on Goodreads? (Why yes, actually,ย it comes out in February) And WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!? Did you just say thatย Jody Hedlund and Jen Turano and Roseanna M. White are all starting new series this year?!? (Yes, yes I did.) And then… you know … TUESDAY comes around and you visit everyone’s Top Ten Tuesday posts and … yeah. Just go ahead and keep adding books. Resistance is futile.


Seriously can’t stress this one enough. Panicking causes books to go unread, reviews to go unwritten, and blogs to die a sad, lonely death. Instead, keep calm and read another book!

4. Become a hermit

It’s not like you’ve been cleaning anyway. And if you’re going to make a dent in that TBR planet any time in the near or distant future, you really need to stop going out with friends. Or grocery shopping (move someplace where Amazon delivers fresh produce!). Church is fine… but go straight there and come straight back to the books.


I’m really not kidding here! Panicking uses valuable mental energy that you could be using instead to read and review and talk all things books with your friendly neighborhood blogger.

6. Put those books to good use

Landscaping is so tedious, particularly when it cuts into good reading time. Solve that problem – and avoid being overrun by all your books – and make a book tree. Or ten. And if you’re really feeling creative, make some book bushes and a nice book hedge.ย  When you’ve mastered the art of landscaping with books, move on to furniture making!


This may seem repetitive by now, but I really want to make sure you understand the importance of this survival tip. In fact, the best way to ward off episodes of TBR-planet-induced anxiety is to curl up with a good book, your favorite hot beverage, and a comfy blanket and refuse to acknowledge the planet in the room. It’s also wise to approach the pileplanet as though you were involved in an intense life-or-death game of Jenga. But… remember … do NOT panic.

8. Spend an inordinate amount of time deciding how to organize your books

Now….at first glance this survival tip may seem like another waste of time, much like grocery shopping or socializing. However, don’t underestimate its importance in conquering the TBR planet! You see, organizing your bookshelves… again…. and then again … and maybe even once more … allows your inner nerd to relax while you are reading.


By now, I fully expect you to have recited this with me in unison and with a dose of rallying pride! It also helps to repeat in a soothing manner the following mantra, “It’s not hoarding if it’s books.” (The internet says so)

10. Tell your family you’ve enrolled in the Dr. Seuss School of Decorating.

In short…. embrace the TBR planet and let it embrace you! “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.

So there you have it. My survival guide to help you face your TBR planet and live to tell the story. Speaking of stories… I have several to read….

What about you? What’s your favorite tip for surviving the out-of-control TBR pile?

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69 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: What To Do When Your TBR Pile Becomes Its Own Planet

  1. Adorable post! I’m in the middle of three books and I’m about to start a 4th…
    Also supposed to be writing one and doing one critique ๐Ÿ™‚
    I won’t panic! I’ll try not to panic anyway…

  2. Winnie Thomas

    ROFL! Carrie, this just made my day, er, night! Yes, I can relate totally to this. The intense life-or-death game of Jenga, piles toppling, ignoring the planet/elephant in the room. I would add that layers of books in your house can insulate against the cold or heat outside, so you’re actually saving money on your heating and cooling bills if you have lots of books. Just stack them against the walls everywhere, or do wall to wall, ceiling to floor books. Then you can use the money you save to–da-da-dah–buy more books!

    I agree that “hoard” and “books” should never be used in the same sentence.

    Also, you should never count your books as that might cause you to panic, which is against Carrie’s advice. And never admit to your husband, spouse, significant other, parents, etc. just how many books you have (which goes hand-in-hand with never counting them). This is much easier if you have e-books, as they can be concealed nicely. (Would that make you need a concealed carry permit for your Kindle?) Okay, can you tell it’s getting late?

    Love, love, love this post, Carrie! Thanks a bunch for the advice and the laughs. It’s good to know most of us can relate to this problem.

  3. I just did major book organizing! But that made me realize that what I actually need to do is remove ALL of my books from their places and totally reorganize.

    I probably need to get those floor-to-ceiling bookshelves installed, too.


    But I’m not panicking! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Terrill Rosado

    This is just so sad. When I read number four, I PANICKED!! This once outgoing, PTA-involved, athletic participant and observer, is indeed on her way to hermit status. Friends have been asking me what I’ve been up to or where I’ve been, I despise any kind of shopping (except for books, of course), my house is in dire need of some de-cluttering and my family is out of clean underwear! Usually these are signs of depression, rather than the overflowing tbr pile of a voracious reader. Hmm? ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Carrie

      hahahah!! no no Terrill!! You’re not supposed to panic!! ๐Ÿ˜› But I can totally relate! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. MH

    Totally can relate. Just joined Goodreads towards the end of 2016 and it made me realize that I have 6x the number of books on my to-read pile than I have on my read pile. And I read a decent amount of books in 2016!!!!
    Not panicking is the key. It ruins the reading experience and makes you “just go through the motions” so that you can move onto the next book in line. Who wants to do that!?!? Every word, especially from your favorite authors, need to be savored.

  6. Andrea Stephens

    I think I may have panicked when I saw #6. I look at that bed and think, if I did that, I would never be able to read those books again.
    Seriously, I love this post, Carrie! I actually knocked over a stack of “things” rocking back in my chair while laughing.
    I like Winnie’s idea of stacking them wall to wall, floor to ceiling, it would be so colorful too.
    I’m so thankful for my Kindle and Fire tablet with a large memory card, they hold so many books in such a small space. I like to think of them like Doctor Who’s Tardis, bigger on the inside and can take me anywhere in time and space, whenever I want to go.
    Thank you for not adding to my wishlist today.

  7. Rearranging books . . . . Yes! I love to spend time with my books even when I can’t read them. I don’t want them to think I am not thinking of them always. Seriously, I have been in a serious slump/busy time that has kept me from reading with enthusiasm (or even interest). I’m hoping the New Year and less stress/panic will rekindle my passion for reading. Thanks for sharing your unique (as always) take on Top 10 Tuesday.

    • Carrie

      Yes we definitely don’t want our books to feel neglected! Praying that you have a renewed joy this new year, my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Rebecca Maney

    “Do not panic.” I am going to remember that. I have promised myself NOT to place another Amazon order until my TBR is level with the top of my book basket again, as opposed to nearly toppling over the side of it.

    I have started making a list of books that I need to read/want to read by the end of each month. That has helped me slow down and check off one book at a time. And I am making myself include books that I am reading for pure pleasure, not just reading to review.

    It’s not a perfect plan, but it has definitely helped me avoid overachievement. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself . . . .

    • Carrie

      lists do help!! Until I have to carry them over from month to month … and then the panic starts creeping back in LOL

      • Winnie Thomas

        Refer to numbers 1,3,5,7,9 above, Carrie! DO NOT PANIC! Can we be distressed or become hysterical instead? My anxiety comes from overestimating the amount of books I can read in a month, underestimating how long it will take me to read them, and wanting to read every interesting book that comes my way!

        • Carrie

          hahahaha!!! I think those are just other words for panic, my dear BFFF ๐Ÿ˜‰ And YES – you’ve described the source of my anxiety perfectly too! haha

  9. Tracey Hagwood

    Love this post, so cute Carrie!

    I take a nerdy “mathematical” approach to my panic control. I decide how many books I can realistically read in a year then divide by number of months. I keep a notebook for each month’s books I plan to read. I first go through my list of “coming soon” books by must read authors and fill those in. That usually takes up half of each month. The other half of the month is dedicated to backlist on my kindle or surprise finds through super helpful bloggers such as yourself, who can’t abide anyone not having a toppling TBR pile, lol. This works for me most of the time and I can adjust upwards as time allows.

    Just sign me,
    Trying to balance the hermit life but losing the war…

  10. Great post Carrie! I have about six books going at one time in various formats (ebook, softcover, audio). I know at some point one will take over and I’ll have to finish it first, then the others will follow suit. I can only hope that there are no book detours along the way; like when I start a new book in a series, with plans to only read that one book, and realize that I must devour the entire series before I can possibly continue with the TBR list. Sigh…a readers life is full of difficult choices, (especially when you work next door to the local library and they have a book sale, display that new book you’ve been wanting to read!) I am thankful to bloggers like you who keep me from panicking and make managing my TBR planet more enjoyable.

  11. Rachael Merritt

    Totally love comparing my pile of books to read as Jenga!! Perfect! Lol. I’m not prone to panicking, but getting a tad overexcited…yes. Yesterday I got Kristi Ann Hunters newest to review when I wasn’t expecting it. Oh, never mind that I have a bookcase for reads to read…I get excited over EVERY new book. I’ve got four on my nightstand to read to review….and that isn’t even close to what is elsewhere! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will follow the expert, not panic, and continue to add to a pile that may or may not ever get smaller….and not panic! ๐Ÿ™‚ After all Rome wasn’t built in a day so a planet can’t be consumed in one either. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love this post!!! โค?

    • Carrie

      LOL i love that – a planet certainly cannot be consumed in a day heehee. And yes, I still squeal a little inside (sometimes out loud) at every new book that arrives in the mail or on my kindle! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Sylvia M.

    Here are a few tips.

    1)For one or two months do not order any new books or check any out of the library.

    2)Take the first month and only read the historicals that you have on your shelves (floor, chairs, etc.)that you have not yet read.

    3)In the second month only read the contemporaries that you own and have not read.

    4)Take another month and only read books to review if you are an official reviewer. That may be a mix of contemporary and historical.

    5)One month read only free ebooks that you’ve been meaning to read. You will be introduced to new authors and will get your Kindle pile reduced to a small degree.

  13. Sylvia M.

    Just thought of another one. Only read the books that have the letter of the current month in a word in their title. Here’s an example.


    * Never Forget by Jody Hedlund
    * So Fair a Lady by Amber Lynn Perry
    * For the Record by Regina Jennings
    * Finding Margo by Jen Turano
    * A Family Arrangement by Gabrielle Meyer
    * Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac

  14. I like #2. I mean, isn’t there some scientific rule about how to have better gravitational pull, your planet has to have more mass? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, #4 because people out in the world today are caaaarrrraaazzzy. Stay safe. Read where you are.

    #10 <3

  15. Hilarious! I’ve been “hiding” my books in the pantry shelves so they don’t overflow the bookshelves. Seriously, I don’t need more food, but I DO need more books.

  16. I’m too busy laughing… I was almost in a panic towards the end of last year, but I made some mental adjustments and a new plan that will help me get back on track with the books I’ve won or received for review.

    I’ve also cleaned out and imposed some personal guidelines/rules on my GoodReads To Read shelf, knowing that I can find many of them again, if needed, by looking through your past posts ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Defintiely DO NOT PANIC!! I try not to look at my growing TBR digital and physical piles because they will probably drown me! hahaha

    I’m mostly a hermit during the weekends and my husband works out of state for most of the month so that means I have a LOT of me time to spend reading. But yeah, my pile is just CRAZY!

  18. Michelle Connell

    I’ve been saving this post as I’ve had a busy few weeks, but it was hilarious! I will try not to panic when my TBR pile is staring at me while I’m writing or editing and looking at the planet with longing.

    I wish it was as fast to write a book as it was to read one!!!!!!!!:)

    Love that book bed, much better than a car bed or a water bed!!

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