Unpopular opinion: On hating huge TBRs

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Dear reader,

The other day, I received four books – my entire book budget for the month of February. I spent a whole day thinking about what I could buy, what I somehow needed to buy and it finally arrived. Was I excited to receive them? Yes, of course – I love the idea of coming home to a package waiting for me. Was I happy when it finally was in my box mail? Not at all, and here’s why.

I know a lot of bookworms out there who love to have tons of unread books on their shelves. Maybe it’s because it makes them feel as if they are living in their own library, maybe they just don’t care about how many books they still have to read – the thing is that I know that some people have more than 100 books to read and are completely okay with it. And of course it is, but it‘s not working like this for me.

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I used to buy a book at a time, sometimes a complete series when everything was out, but that was years ago. The thing is that I found out about booktube around 2012 and it changed me. Before booktube, I didn’t know about the book community. I read what I found interresting while book shopping and talked about it with some of my friends who also loved to read (meaning: one). Finding out about booktube allowed me to not only meet bookworms but also to discover many new books (which made me want to buy them all).

Soon, I started to buy a lot. At that time I was still reading in French for the most part so I waited for translations but I still bought a lot. Then, around two or three years ago, I went book shopping with a friend during summer and we had a lot of money. So, we bought a lot. Well, too much.

Ever since it happened, I have tried to narrow my TBR down. I stopped buying books and made myself some TBRs to actually have a plan each month. I sticked to it and I did it: last year, I only had around 10 books left, and that was perfect. But things happened, I bought some more, many books were released and my birthday came. Right now, I have more than 30 books on my TBR shelf and I do not like it. So, as I am trying to take it down once again, receiving four books made me feel frustrated.

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I don’t know about you, but having too many books on my physical TBR makes me feel stupid. I feel as if I have no control on my money, on my book budget and I don’t know what to do with that emotion. It is somehow silly to think like that – I would never think that of someone who has tons of unread books, so why do I think that of myself?

I don’t know if it goes with my anxiety or if it’s just who I am, but having too many unread books definitely makes me feel weird. Being organised is very important to me (my entire life is planned) and if my books aren’t, I quickly feel overwhelmed – it becomes too much and I don’t know what to do with everything, especially when I start losing interest for some books.

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When I start to have too many books on my TBR shelf, all I can think of is how little I am reading. If I have all those books, then it means that I don’t read enough, right? Well, obviously it isn’t but that’s still how I feel every time that I look at those shelves. It’s like those books are screaming at me that I’m not a real reader and that I don’t deserve them.

It also makes me feel overwhelmed, as I already said. I do read a lot and quite fast but seeing all that I have left to read makes me very anxious and all I can suddenly think about is how I will maybe never be able to read them all.

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And usually, whenever I have too many unread books on my shelves, I start to avoid reading. It’s making me anxious, I don’t know what I want to pick next and I don’t feel as if I could read every one of them so I just give up and wait until I finally know how to think properly and be calm.

Sometimes it feels as if I have nothing I really want to read, sometimes I just can’t decide what to read because there are too many good books and I don’t know with which one to start because I want to read them all all at once. Having many unread books can seem to be a dream for many, but for me it quickly becomes a nightmare: I’m drowning in literature and I don’t know what to do with it all.

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Right now, I am not buying any books. Well, I don’t have the money to do so but even when I do, I only buy ones I already read. This way, I am sure to keep my TBR pile safe. It still makes me excited to open a package but doesn’t add anything to my unread shelves.

I also am planning myself some TBRs for every month again, in order to read more and to make it seem logical to my brain (I’m becoming very good in tricking it).

If everything goes by the plan, I should be able to go back to normal in two months! After that, I’ll try to keep my TBR pile under 10 books top.

Well, here we are. Here is one of my darkest bookish secrets. (Me? Dramatic? Nah.)

Tell me more about you and your thoughts on physical TBRs! (For some reasons, I don’t count the “to be read” section on Goodreads as part of my TBR. Am I the only one?)

Love always,



19 thoughts on “Unpopular opinion: On hating huge TBRs”

  1. I’m similar to you in that I’m not a big fan for having lots of books sitting around at home that I haven’t gotten round to reading yet. For me it feels like a bit of a waste having good books that I spent money on and then they’re only gathering dust on the shelves! I’ve started buying more books since becoming a book blogger and have been finding it harder and harder to balance ARCs with library books and my own books. Next month I really need to set myself some strict goals to actually start working through the books I own that haven’t been read yet! Luckily it’s less than 30 so my book buying habits aren’t too bad. One of my friends has hundreds of books waiting to be read but I couldn’t cope if that happened to me


  2. The same exact thing happens to me. The fact that I am a slow reader makes it even worse because I feel like it’s a never ending issue and that no matter how I don’t buy new books, i’ll never finish my TBR pile… Which, ironically, put me in a reading slump so I haven’t finished a book in a month.I’m so glad you wrote this because I feel less alone, thank you so much for bringing this side of the book community to the our attention because it’s overlooked and it’s actually important – how, no matter how much we love books, it can make us so anxious. I’m wishing you good luck sticking to your plan or finding a way to enjoy reading without having to worry about your TBR. Love ya !



  3. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. I can relate to everything here – I try, as much as I can, to keep my physical TBR quite low and I never buy new books unless I’m like, down to two books on this physical TBR. Having too many books to read makes me feel overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious and I don’t really know where to start… and it’s an infinite spiral. Plus, I hate having tons of books unread,I want to read all the books I buy and I prefer to take my book buying habits slow and get books, one by one or just… well, not do massive book hauls like other bloggers, booktubers and so on, can do. It makes me feel way too stressed out afterwards. I’d rather have a small TBR and keep it, as best as I can, under ten books 🙂
    Fantastic post ❤


      1. Oh wow, you’re way too sweet ❤ I'm not always in control, I try my best to be, but sometimes… well, like yesterday, I ordered a book I should not have ordered and I feel lost now hahaha 🙂


  4. I am totally with you on this. I can’t have more than four or five unread books on my shelf at once – anything more and I just feel greedy and wasteful. If I have lots of unread books then I impose a book buying ban on myself until I’m through them all.


  5. (Désolée, je n’ai pas fait l’effort d’écrire en anglais mais bon on est dimanche soir et je n’ai pas le courage de traduire ce que j’ai envie de dire à propos de ton article !!)

    Personnellement je suis le genre de personne à ne lire qu’un livre à la fois (deux maximum si c’est pour la fac), et à en acheter qu’un ou deux à la fois. C’est comme si si j’en achète énormément et que j’ai une tonne de livres à lire, je deviens complètement désintéressée au bout d’un moment et … j’en achète de nouveaux. Je sais que j’en ai eu beaucoup à mon anniversaire en août, et il m’en reste encore un à lire alors que j’en ai lu plein d’autres entre temps.

    Je crois qu’on est tous un peu différent par rapport à notre façon de gérer nos lectures et comment on procède. Mais c’était intéressant de lire ton article en tout cas, comme toujours.



  6. I 100% agree with you on this! And I’m one of those people with a terrible amount of books on my physical TBR. For the past two years, I’ve been cutting way back on my spending. In the past, I have put myself in reading slumps, just thinking about the overwhelming amount of books I have on my shelves that I haven’t read. It’s a work in progress. Hopefully, in a few years, I can get my TBR down to 10. It’ll be a miracle but I’m going to strive toward that goal. I’m so glad I found this post; I’ve been feeling anxious lately about all my unread books. Thank you so much! Happy reading!



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