The Scary State of My TBR

thoughts orangutan

There’s something terrifying about coming back to blogging after months away. Part of it can just be getting back into the swing of posting regularly; part of it- as much as I like doing it- is feeling the pressure of being present in the blogging community. But there’s one unfortunate and unexpected aspect that I never thought would be an issue- and that’s getting back into reading.

As many of you know, I had a tough time getting in reading while I was away. This led to a *ridiculously* long slump I hadn’t seen coming. Which of course meant that when I took a peek at the books I had to/even just wanted to read, I was almost scared off. Because have you ever looked at your tbr after a slump? It’s a thing of nightmares!

monster book of monsters

And time isn’t exactly my friend. The days aren’t getting any longer and, worst of all, I know full well I won’t be able to fill them with nothing but reading- which doesn’t make me any less intimidated when I look at all the prospective books I have to read…

But of course that’s just it- I don’t actually have to read ALL the books in the world (I know, groundbreaking 😉 yet for a bookworm… it kinda is). Gone are the days when I can cram in a book every two days, gone are the squeeze-in-pages every time I take a break, gone are evenings when all I’ll want to do for fun is read- well at least for now 😉 Point is, it’s not possible for reading to be my entire life- and that’s not going to kill me.

This goes for everything, really. As difficult as it can be to find that frantic pace again, everything has to be done one step at a time. Besides, isn’t it more fun to luxuriate in that feeling of falling back in love with your hobbies? At least that’s what I tell myself.

What can do your head in is thinking that it you have to get a move on. Don’t get me wrong- we all do these things because we love them. We’re not motivated by anything but the pure joy we get out of sharing our love of books, delving into a story until we lose our footing in the real world, finding new friends to share those new universes with… BUT that doesn’t literally mean it has to be your *everything*.

It doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look at how things were before and try and avoid making the same missteps in the future. I feel much more refreshed after a few months abroad and considerably less guilty for all the times I can’t be online/reading/doing something productive. And that is the most important thing of all. I’ve learnt from being away that you can’t be around all the time- it’s simply not possible! And beating yourself up over it doesn’t actually do you any good. So, as cheesy as what I’m about to say is, I’ve learnt an important lesson: sometimes we need to be kinder to ourselves.

Hope my musings help anyone else feeling the pressure.

Let me know in the comments what you think!


98 thoughts on “The Scary State of My TBR

  1. booksofb says:

    I have books that have been TBR for 5+ years. The reviews will be just as fun to write once I get ‘round to ‘em and I may ever convince someone to pick up the book on the bounce. 😀😀



    Liked by 2 people

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    I think I have already said this to you once: I’m not even calling it a list anymore: For me it’s become an encyclopedia 😂😂 And considering the fact that I simply have way too many hobbies in the first place…I know I will never finish it in this lifetime. Unless I just stop working, and enter a secluded cabin somewhere lol 😂😂
    It’s very good advice though: You definitely can’t be around all the time. Wish one could, but you can’t. So: definitely be kind to yourself. That’s for sure 😊😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Nicole says:

    I sometimes feel scared by my TBR too, especially the unread ones sitting on my bookshelf and floor. And it’s hard to accept that of course I don’t have to read all the books in the world! I also remind myself that there are hobbies and things that I like to do as well besides reading and blogging. Great advice and great reminder to be kind to yourself 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. alilovesbooks says:

    It’s all about finding the right balance I suppose. Working out what works for you so that you don’t get overwhelmed or put too much pressure on yourself. Unfortunately this is something I’m terrible at. I always feel like I have to be under pressure, mostly cos if I’m not I procrastinate, do nothing, then feel guilty about it. I really need to convince myself that it’s ok to be lazy or have me time every so often.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. meltotheany says:

    This is… 100% the biggest mood. But too little time, too big (ever-growing) TBR piles truly is the best problem to have. But sending you love and light, and remember – all that matters is that you’re having the happiest of reading! 💖xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Chaton says:

    My “currently reading” list is at 513 books. I’m a subscriber to Book Bub, so every day I get an email with a bunch of books in my preferred genres that are free or cheap (up to about AU$2.50). I often buy one or two, they hit my kindle and sit there until I get around to reading them. One or two a day adds up over time!

    I really need to make some progress with this list before I buy more… but oh! look! my daily email is here and there’s some enticing freebies

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Never Not Reading says:

    Even though my tbr is significantly shorter than most people’s, I feel very daunted when I look at it. Mostly because I read so slowly these days that I know I might never get to a lot of the books on it. Things that have been there for a year now keep getting pushed back by new things I add, BUT I STILL WANT TO READ THEM! I would love take a week and just devote it to reading all day and getting through some of those backlist books that I feel like I won’t get to.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sara @ CRB says:

    I have been pretty good at not getting too stressed out about not reading as much as I could since I started the blog, but it is always this awful niggling feeling in my head that I’m wasting my time by not reading one of my books if I’m unwinding with Netflix instead. Sometimes reading can feel like a chore for me when I already have so much of it to do for class, and my already-terrible eyes just need a break from seeing words. It’s relieving to hear I’m not alone in feeling this way and to hear someone else give the reminder that it’s okay not to read sometimes!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Maddie A. says:

    It’s so true, time is not our friend. There are so many things to do especially when we get older, and as much as I wish I could, I can’t spend all my time reading 😢
    I haven’t been pressuring myself to read, I have other hobbies that take up my time (like cooking/baking and music), so as long as I’m not wasting my time, I’m okay with not reading as much.
    Love your advice!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. All About Life says:

    I read avidly but I don’t have a list of books to read; when I finish one, I look for the next, that way there’s no stress :O) What is stressful on the other hand is my Kindle refusing to download the books that I’ve purchased :O(

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Marie says:

    This is such a great post, I can feel this all the time, this pressure, this need to do everything all at once. But there’s only so many hours in the day and you’re so right, we have to be kinder to ourselves, too, it’s so important to pay attention to ourselves first and foremost and that helps, in order to keep the love for this whole thing 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Carrie says:

    I don’t consider it as having to read any book, I read because I enjoy it and read quickly because I’d like to make time for as many that catch my eye as I can. I think too many reviewers put too much pressure on themselves and lose site of the fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jessica Triepel says:

    I’m going through the same thing. My tbr stack of books is growing, I’ve got multiple books started, and then can’t make up my mind which to continue reading, so I don’t read. Plus I have my manuscript to proof read. And that is worse than it sounds, because I’m reading it alongside the original files to make sure everything matches up. 😥 Maybe it’s time to order the latest Last Kingdom book by Bernard Cornwell. I just saw the other day that it is out, and I’ve been waiting a long time to continue Utred’s tale. How to tackle an out of control tbr list? Add more books! Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. Ah yes I’ve been there. Oh dear! hehe I completely get that! I need to catch up- so even though I have loads of other things to read, I’m trying to find book 5 in the library 😉 hahaha!! So get that!!


  14. Cathy Cade says:

    When I worked, and commuted, I got to read on the train. Even when I drove to work I had the lunch breaks (until I didn’t… but that’s another story). Now I’m retired, and doing things I want to do (as well as things I don’t want to do… ) my pile of books-to-read only gets higher. I’m sure if I returned to regular reading my writing could only improve…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nicole says:

    My TBR doesn’t usually scare me, but I sometimes feel this way with self-imposed knitting deadlines. Like “I’m going to make my whole family scarves for Christmas” and then November rolls around and I’ve finished half of one scarf. It’s times like those that I need to be kinder to myself. I hope you have luck at easing yourself out of your slump so you can fall in love with reading again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. justnoredsmarties says:

    I just want to thank you for this post. I read it earlier when I didn’t have time to comment, but it really hit home with me. I’ve been more absent than present lately (not just here but on another side where I used to post daily as well) and it’s… hard to get back “into it”. I’m pretty sure coming up with post ideas didn’t used to be so hard. And the TBR? I absolutely know what you mean, it’s terrifying. And worst of all, it’s the kind of terror that kills your motivation and just means nothing gets accomplished at all.
    “You can’t be around all the time” that’s so important (and so easy to forget on social media, where being ‘on’ seems like the only option sometimes) and I just wanted to thank you for reminding me of that again. I really needed to hear it today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Aww thank you so much! ❤ I really relate to that. Yes for sure!!
      And yeah for sure- it's especially a problem thanks to SM, cos lots of other people seem to be doing it (though of course, everyone has breaks- it's unrealistic to think otherwise)
      Thanks very much for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • justnoredsmarties says:

        You’re very welcome!!!
        Absolutely true. I think everyone has some friend who’s just always online and that sets the bar so unrealistically high that you always feel pressured to do the same. But in reality, breaks and taking care of yourself are important, everything else can come after that.


  17. Bookstooge says:

    Self-pressure is always the hardest because you can’t just shrug it away. You either buckle under it and eventually break apart, or you have to take concrete steps to get your mind and thoughts where they should be.
    Books and blogging aren’t everything. When they become everything, that is a sure sign we need to step back and take a break.

    I’m glad, for you, that you were able to get out of the blogging routine for so long. If you ease back into it and go back to the way you were doing things, great. If you have to establish a new set of guidelines and activity rules for this stuff, great. We change as people and our blogging and reading should reflect this.

    Cheers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah for sure. It’s almost easier when it comes from other people- but you can’t really escape your own pressure 😉
      Absolutely- I really agree with that.
      And yeah I agree with that. It’s hard to just jump back in and do the exact same things. I’ll admit that in many ways being away made me appreciate it more and drove my desire to come back- but at the same time I realised I can’t be *on* all the time and be self-critical for taking breaks.
      Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. waytoofantasy says:

    Great post! I try not to pressure myself about my reading and my goals and stuff, but it’s hard sometimes, especially now that I’m blogging again. But I’ve always thought that the main thing is it should be fun so if it’s stressful then it’s not worth it, reading is supposed to be enjoyable! So, we should all definitely take care of ourselves in that respect. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. failingatwriting says:

    I absolutely love this post. It’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’ve had to shift some priorities around which make it so that I won’t be blogging as much as I had originally intended. But I never want to take the joy out of reading and writing about reading – so I need to give myself the time and flexibility to allow that. It’s easy to get rigid about hobbies, and so important to give yourself some breathing room. I’m happy to hear you’re intending to be kind to yourself, and I’m definitely going to reflect on that wisdom as well:)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jia Xuan says:

    I think many times many people are unkind to others but that’s because they’re unkind to themselves too, even without realising it. It really is important, as you’ve mentioned, to be kind to ourselves. It’s so difficult (or so I’ve found) to be nice to myself, but I’ve been trying, and I think it just might work. Hope you get some rest and when you feel up to it, get out off the reading slump once more (treat yourself brilliantly)!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. La La in the Library says:

    This is what I try to get across to new book bloggers when they are lamenting about not getting 100-200+ books read a year. Everyone’s life is different, everyone’s responsibilities are different, and everyone’s priorities are different and they can, and will, all change as time goes on. Just because someone can only fit in a couple of books a month doesn’t mean I’m not still going to be interested in what they think about those books. Thanks for this post. .👍✨

    Liked by 1 person

  22. MichaelK says:

    I totally sympathize with you! (We are in the same boat after all, aren’t we?) My tbr has grown out of proportion this year, which is a good thing since we have bought so many exciting books but it is a cause for some anxiety. However, I try not to think too much about it and I try not to panic!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Aww snap! Well said. It’s nice to see how much you learn about things once you step away from it all and come back to it after a while. Sort of still shocked we aren’t going to ever be able to read all the books in the world! 😦 Argghh!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Lois says:

    That last line really did drive everything home. This year has been terrible in terms of reading for me. I’ve found myself in this never-ending slump and I’ve just not been motivated to read that much. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally come to embrace the fact that my life will just not allow me to read at a consistent pace anymore. My philosophy now is just to go with the flow of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Amelia in Hull says:

    Reading should be something you do to enjoy yourself and you shouldn’t feel pressure to read more books than you can handle! I can see how a tbr list could become really scary as it gets bigger and bigger xx


  26. Sarah says:

    Lol! I can so relate! 😂 Too many books in the world and not enough time to read them all! But then we have to realize that maybe not all the books are worth reading. 😉 I know you’ll find the perfect balance. 😊💕


  27. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    I definitely understand this – I also feel compelled to be productive and up to date with everything, and I almost never am, which results in feeling guilty and under pressure, especially after a break. I think with my TBR the the worst for me is when I look at it and see several books have been on there for years and years and I STILL haven’t read them. But then I try to think about it like you said: it’s simply not possible to read everything and be around all the time!

    Also I feel like if you’re a certain kind of personality, even if you reach a goal, you’ll always be setting a new higher goal that is even tougher reach (esp. when it comes to reading goals!) so you have to sometimes take a moment to appreciate what you have managed to do, not what you haven’t 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. snowlyramble says:

    I’ve definitely felt the same this year! Work has been getting busier as I get more responsibilities, plus my other hobbies means I have less and less time to read. I used to read a book every 2-3 days, and the past few months it’s been more like 1 book every 2 weeks D: I think I mainly feel the pressure from my Goodreads/blogging progress over the years, and the fact that I keep buying more books on my already towering TBR, knowing full well I will never finish the pile haha!

    But this post was so nice, not just because I’m not alone in the change in reading habits, but your words were very reassuring to hear! 🙂 You’re doing great!!


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