4 Ways to Whittle Your TBR Pile Down FAST!

Businessman Carrying Pile of FilesFinding time to read doesn’t sound like it should be a major issue.  You read when you get time, right?  It’s supposed to be a pleasureable past time, so you’ll do it when you can and enjoy the moments.

But if you’ve got a huge backlog of books you want to read (or worse, sitting on your ereader already), then guilt can kick in, and you pressure yourself to get things read so you don’t look so lazy … or spendthrift.  Or you’re just anal enough that all those unread titles drive you crazy.

Here’s four ways to get rid of the stockpile:

 1. Read everywhere

This might cause a “d’uh” reaction, but sometimes, even the most dedicated reader is missing out on prime reading minutes. Every little minute adds up (fast!).

Read when you’re standing in lines.  Read even if the bus will be here in 60 seconds.  Read while waiting for your partner to do whatever it is he’s doing (that canard about men always waiting for women to be ready is complete bullshit.  I’m constantly standing around waiting for my husband to finish getting ready).

Read while you’re walking (this involves being super familiar with your route, and a nice flat surface…and lack of traffic.  It also takes a bit of practice, but it can be done).

The rule of thumb is, if you’ve got a spare minute with nothing to do…read.

2. Read on your cellphone.

Reader apps are available for all the major retailers and every format you might possibly want to read in, and for all the smart and not-so-smart phones out there.  Reading on your cellphone eats up the pages because your cellphone is always with you, letting you take advantage of micro minutes.

If you’ve never tried cellphone reading before, try it now.  Within a chapter, you’ll forget you’re reading on that “tiny” screen.

 3. Read alphabetically.

Go through your pile alphabetically by either title or author, and faithfully open and try to read every single title.

If you have a huge number of new titles, unknown authors, and books you’ve completely forgotten you bought hiding on your reader, because you always go for the authors you’re comfortable with, then this is a way of ripping through titles tout de suite.

Some of the titles will suck (it’s statistically certain).  If you open and try reading them, then you can move/delete/tag the book as done and move on quickly.

Sooner or later you’ll hit one that absorbs you and you may have found a new favourite author.

You’ll also, sooner or later, get to your favourite author, too.

4. Read the unknowns first.

A variation of the above is to only open and try any author that is new to you.  You can make it a task + reward for yourself if you tend to stick only with those you know.  If you’re highly resistant to trying new authors, make it less stressful by setting a limit:  You’ll try three titles by new authors, and then you can read the new book by your all-time fave, as a reward.  Then try another three.


Your TBR pile will dwindle in a jiffy with these four tactics, and let you get back to more pleasureable reading.


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