Let’s Talk Bookish #2

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme that was originally created and hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books in August 2019. As of April 2022, it’s hosted by Aria at Book Nook Bits.

I’m a day late in posting, but better late than never, right?

Today’s Question(s) is …

How do you keep track of books you want to read? Do you have a lot of books on your TBR? Is there any order or organization within all the books you want to read? Does your TBR ever feel overwhelming?

My Answer(s) is …

I keep track of the books I want to read on an Excel spreadsheet and on Goodreads. I used to use Shelfari too, which I preferred way more than Goodreads, but Amazon shut it down. The reason I do both a spreadsheet and Goodreads instead of just Goodreads is because Goodreads doesn’t keep track of everything I want to track and the filtering capabilities in Excel are so much more robust than what Goodreads can do. (Hmmm, can I say Goodreads again? )

Do I have a lot of books on my TBR? Um, yes. My TBR has over 1400 books on it and it grows faster than I can read them. My TBR has EVERY book I want to read on it, not just the books I own in physical or electronic form. I do cull my list once or twice a year and remove the books I’m no longer interested in reading.

My main worksheet is alphabetical by author and I can mark whether I own a book, it’s on my wishlist, it’s signed, when it’s due for release, and if I’ve read it. It also shows if I consider the book a favorite and how many times I’ve read it. Below is a screenshot showing a section of my main worksheet. (I haven’t updated it for a while; I need to reconcile it with what I’ve added to my Goodreads “to-read” shelf in the last six months. I’ve been putting it off because it’s going to take hours.) You can see that I have several worksheets in my workbook. Those other worksheets are just more things I like to keep track of.

My TBR can feel very overwhelming at times. I know I only have a finite amount of time to read as many books as I possibly can. With how fast my TBR grows, I won’t make a dent in it before I die. I’m currently 44 and the average lifespan of a woman in good health in the United States is around 79. I’ve read an average of 26 books each year since 2007. I have 35-ish years left to read. I’ll probably read no more than 1000 books (not counting rereads) between now and when I die unless I can kick my reading speed up a notch. Even though I know I won’t get to every book, I still want to keep a list of all the books I might be interested in.

How about you?

About Jenni Elyse

Hi, I'm Jenni. I’m an eclectic reader. I mostly read fiction and I favor fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers, and romance. The more kissing in a book the better!
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20 replies
  1. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    I love that you also use an Excel to keep track of your TBR! It looks great and indeed has more filtering functions than Goodreads. I only use Goodreads myself and I try to stay very strict with my TBR – I currently have 794 books on my TBR and I’ve been meaning to clean it up some day (I probably won’t though, because I’m also a mood reader so I have trouble removing books as I never know if I’ll be in the mood for it some day haha)

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I thought I was an anomaly for keeping track with a spreadsheet and Goodreads. Thanks to this prompt, though, I’ve discovered there are a few other readers who use a spreadsheet of some sort. πŸ˜€ I know what you mean about not wanting to remove a book just in case. The books I’ve removed are mostly genres I’m no longer interested in.

  2. Roberta R.
    Roberta R. says:

    I use a spreadsheet too (along with GR), but only to keep track of the upcoming/already published books I mean to buy and of my NetGalley/Edelweiss requests. You cracked me up with your candid “how many books I can read in my lifetime” analysis πŸ˜‚.

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I think you’d have to use a spreadsheet or a list of some sort other than Goodreads to keep track of your NetGalley/Edelweiss requests. I know it would drive me nuts not to see which books I’ve ask for and failed so I don’t keep asking. LOL.

      I never used to think about how many books I could read in a lifetime until a few years ago. I saw this online calculator that did the math for you and spit out the number. Ever since then, I’ve kind of just always had it in the back of my mind.

  3. Cassie
    Cassie says:

    For my physical TBR, I have piles of books in my living room (and a couple of shelves as well on my bookshelf). But I add everything to my goodreads TBR which currently has thousands of items on it and probably needs a good pruning. I have a spreadsheet of the next 50 or so books I want to read – but I’m not great at sticking to it!

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I’m not great at sticking to my list of books I want to read next either. It all depends on my mood. πŸ˜€ My husband would never let me have a pile of books in the living room, lol. He likes things tidy. I do too, actually. All my physical books are in my personal library room. I do have a shelf where I keep my library haul and books I’m thinking of reading next from my own shelves. I don’t always stick to that list either. πŸ˜‚

  4. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    I don’t keep track because I feel too much pressure if I do. I’m a lot older than you so I don’t have as much time to complete any TBR list. πŸ™‚ So, I take it one month/day at a time. I always read my Book Club book and then whatever else strikes my fancy. I’m a Random Reader!

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I understand. I don’t usually keep track of what I’m going to read next unless they’re books checked out from my library, my book club book, or books that might fit a challenge I’m participating in. LOL. Sometimes, that it’s a big pile. Most of the time, though, it’s no more than two or three books. I often list five in my monthly wrap-up posts, but that’s just a thought of what I might read besides the two or three. πŸ˜€

  5. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I love that spreadsheet! Very nice. I track mostly on GRs, but I don’t worry much about my TBR, I’m just happy to have a lot of choices. I do worry about my ARCs.

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      Thanks, Wendy! πŸ˜€ I think that’s the right attitude to have. I’m mostly don’t care either. I do worry about not getting to all the books I want to, though. LOL.

  6. Louise Hallett
    Louise Hallett says:

    I use a spreadsheet to record them and a planner to organise reading TBR books but if I’m being honest my focus is on NOT BUYING any more books until I’ve read (or tried to read) the ones I already own. That doesn’t mean I don’t buy them, just that I try not to, lol. I have made a slight dent in the books I own and haven’t read, I just need to step away from Netgalley and their irresistible arcs, but I suffer too much from FOMO πŸ˜‚

  7. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books says:

    Ah, a spreadsheet… a girl after my own heart. πŸ™‚ I use spread sheets for my reading, too. Not so much for a TBR but for what I’ve read, keeping track of series, etc. May live long enough to read all the books we want to read. πŸ™‚

  8. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer
    Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

    Wow, I love your spreadsheet! I do use Kal @ Reader Voracious’ spreadsheet to track my yearly reading for the stats, but I don’t use one for my tbr. I did create ‘shelves’ on Goodreads for my owned and ARCs so I could keep track of those. I wish I was more spreadsheet savvy. πŸ˜‰

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      Thanks, Dedra! πŸ˜€ That’s cool that you use Kal’s spreadsheet. I’ve thought about sharing mine, but I think people may find it too complicated and abandon it after a while. LOL.

  9. Karen
    Karen says:

    I’m really horrible at this. I use Goodreads. I used to have more shelves like genre etc but now I just do the book read by year and month and call it a day lol

    For TBR, I really only count what I have for physical copies in my house. In Libby or Hoopla, I’ll favorite or shelve something I’m interested in but I’ll check it months later and usually remove it.

    I used to keep track of review books though. I had a list by publishing and review dates to keep me on track. I rarely accept arc’s now so I don’t bother.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I used to have a lot more elaborate shelves on Goodreads too. That’s saying something because I still have quite a few shelves. LOL. I rarely accept ARCs now too. I honestly never did. I’m just not interested in having to read books on deadline. Sometimes even book club books are too much pressure. I think it’s awesome that you only count physical books for your TBR. I don’t think I could ever do that, though, because I want to know all the books I’m interested in reading. Oh well. πŸ˜€

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