The Bibliophile’s Paradox and the Ever-Growing TBR

the bibliophile's paradox

I returned from hiatus a few months back with a lengthy list of books I wanted to tackle in the coming months to make up for lost time and get my reading back on track. Since then, I have been diligently reading and trying to make my way through my TBR (a list of books To-Be-Read, for the uninitiated), knocking off one review after another.

I’ve been feeling quite pleased with myself, at least as far as getting through my list of books goes.

And yet, somehow, I’ve come to find that I am even more hopelessly behind than when I started. I began with a list of around 35 books that I was hoping to get through in the span of a few months, and after spending over two months checking off book after book, my TBR now has over 50 titles on it, which basic mathematics will tell you is not how that is supposed to work.

I think the crux of the problem of trying to successfully “tackle” your TBR is a phenomenon I’ll refer to as the Bibliophile’s Paradox.

The difficulty with this paradox is that the more you read, the more you want to read, so the TBR continues to be a un-tackle-able list, ever-growing and ever-shifting, always overflowing and never truly complete.

When I read a book and decide that I like that author, then a couple of more titles from their backlist or a new title they may be publishing soon ends up on my TBR. Or, maybe I read a book and decide that I want to read more books from that series or more books in that genre and on and on it goes.

I assume there is a good chance that that anyone who is bothering to read this post probably has suffered from this paradox as well, as I believe it to be the great tragedy of book lovers everywhere.

What is the point of all of this?

The point of all of this is to say that I’ve been meaning to make a new podcast episode for a while now and did a lot of groundwork for it, but it just keeps falling off of my priority list, since ultimately I like reading and reviewing books a lot more than I like recording myself and listening to myself talk.

So, I’m still planning on making it happen, but I also keep finding more books that I want to read and keep hoping to get my TBR to a place where it feels manageable, but maybe it’s not manageable and never will be manageable. Maybe I have to just find acceptance and just make myself do that darn podcast episode.

Anyway, thanks for reading this and following along, and I hope all the bibliophiles out there are having fun battling their TBRs. Happy reading and happy spring!

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