Be a Free Reader

My TBR list plays nice.

Shelf photo by the author

A librarian without a To Be Read list of books is unheard of where I live. A bibliophile without a stack of TBR books is a joke. A librarian without a waiting list of recommendations of at least one hundred books is a myth.

That person exists where the unicorns live.

I have a TBR list of about 265 books. I also have stacks of books on the floor of my home library, stacks in the living room and a stack on my nightstand. I will die before I read all my TBR books in all those locations. That is without even consulting the TBR list.

Every day I add to my list or buy more books. Every time I do I feel more and more insane at the thought of how I will possibly read all the books I own, much less manage to read through the list I have too. I guess I could weed the list. Maybe cut it down to manageable chunks of books. I could even categorize them and tackle the most loved and desired first. The amount of the time and work this would take was a daunting thought.

Then it hit me, just get rid of the list and read the first thing that I grab. Read what speaks to me at that moment, in that moment.

I took a new long hard look at the list. Staring it down like one does a spider you are about to smack with a shoe. It was glaring back with its catchy titles, bestseller snobbery, and award-winning charmers. As I went to delete the list, I could not do it. I was thinking, what if a person recommends a book and I remember it is on my list. I may need the list to jog my memory. Do I own it? Is it at the library? What was that title? Was it the one with the blue cover? Deleting the list would not work for me. I think I actually saw my list give a smug smile of victory.

I came to the conclusion that I would not be a slave to the TBR list. I will use it for inspiration, but not as a dictator that will force me to read things I may change my mind about reading. My list did not own me, so I consciously changed my thoughts about my TBR list.

As a result, I feel free to read things I pick up at random. I don’t have to check the list to get permission to read it. I do not feel compelled to check the reviews before I read it. I just pick it up buy it or check it out from the library. Then I unapologetically read the book. I do not feel obligated to write down every title someone passionately suggest even if they say I must read the latest book they can’t stop talking about. If it sounds interesting and I see it, I can pick it up or not. I am not obligated to consult the authority of the list. I am no longer a captive of the TBR list.

I am a free reader.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

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