Friday, January 20, 2012

How Do You Handle Your TBR?

Hardly a week goes by where I don't hear someone mention their TBR stack (pile, shelf, tower, whatever) – be it physical or virtual – and bemoan the fact that there’s never enough time to read everything.
courtesy of nkzs at
So let’s talk about our TBRs (that’s what I’m going to call them for the rest of this post).

Over on my group blog, Inkwell Inspirations, Debra E. Marvin once mentioned she was thinking about re-creating Stonehenge with her stack of books. I laughed at the image, but in all seriousness most of us do have enough books that we really could build something out of them. I know I’m happily guilty of the very same thing.

So I was wondering… how do you manage your TBR? Do you organize your books alphabetically, by author, by date of purchase, by genre, or in order of what you think you want to read next?

For my physical TBR, I don’t have an organized system. I have little stacks in the bedroom and computer room, a box in the garage, and some on a shelf in the hall closet. They aren’t in any particular order. Neither are my NOOK books. However, on the NOOK there’s a front page where you can organize the books you want to read by cover for easy access. I love, love, love this feature! I always put the newest most exciting ones there, but if I get a new book that I think I’ll want to read before that one, say a Julie Klassen or Vicki Hinze, I’ll just bump a few back into the NOOK “library”.

I do tend to read by genre first. Inspirational suspense is almost always what I’ll read first, followed by favorite authors, unless there is something so gripping that it has to wend its way up to the top. Like Dina Sleiman’s Dance of the Dandelion or Lisa Bergren’s new YA time travel inspirationals.

I know people who keep lists of every book they’re read, and every book they buy, so they can cross them off and make sure they don’t read them again. I can’t operate that way. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. I just don’t have time to be that organized. I work hard enough being organized at my job, I can’t handle it in my reading life since that’s where I go to relax.

courtesy of nkzs at
For those of you who have a Kindle, NOOK, or other reading device (or even those who read on the computer) do you have a virtual TBR as well as a physical one? I do have to say my physical one has shrunk somewhat since I bought the NOOK, but I think it’s always good to have a physical book on hand just in case the battery runs low on the NOOK due to excessive all-night reading sessions. If any of you have ever found yourself without a book to read, you know exactly what I mean.

My next question is the biggie. How many books do you currently have in your TBR? Anyone care to share? Go ahead, go and count. I’ll wait. I’ll share mine, too. It did take me a while to count. Oh, and before you ask, YES you can count your research books but let’s put them in their own category. I think they’re fair game because most of us get as much enjoyment out of doing research as we do reading fiction.

So here’s my list:
  • Virtual: 151 (NOOK)
  • Physical: 38 (all I can say is WOW! When compared to the NOOK, I can see I've really depleted my paper TBR since buying it. It's better for my allergies, I suppose.)
  • Research: 44 (Okay, I know I have many more somewhere, but I'm not digging through dusty boxes in the garage to count them. And chances are, since they're out there, I may not ever use them again. But still...I have to hang on to them. Just in case...)
Wow. I have a lot of reading ahead of me, but I have five more months of heavy-duty schoolwork ahead with little time to read, so I know before I’m finished with school my list will have grown some more.
courtesy of cafe-ole a
So why, when we have these huge stacks of books do we continue to buy more? I’ll go out on a limb and say for me I think it’s a little bit of an OCD thing. I’m constantly searching for new books by xyz author because even though I know her next book isn’t coming out for a month or two, I want to make sure it doesn’t sneak out early. There was a time when I’d snatch the books up because if you didn’t buy as soon as they became available, they would be gone. That changed with the advent of Amazon, and you can get most any book now, even if it’s out of print. And then there’re the e-versions. If a book comes out electronically, there’s a fairly good chance you’ll be able to buy it when you’re ready to read it. But it’s hard for me to change that habit of constantly searching. Again, probably the OCD thing.

I’ve asked a lot of questions here, and I hope you’ll give me an answer or two: How do you organize your TBR? Is it virtual or physical or do you combine the best of both worlds? How do you choose what you’re going to read, and how many books are in your TBR?

Megan's Hero by Sharon Gillenwater

Readers who want to fall in love with a true hero need look no further than Megan’s Hero, by Sharon Gillenwater. If I could give out a hero-of-the-year award, it would go to Will Callahan the dashing, tender-hearted, swoon-worthy hero of Sharon’s latest book.

Megan’s Hero is the third book in The Callahans of Texas series. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, it’s not necessary in order to enjoy this book. However, I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy this one so much you’ll make sure to go back and read the other two books.

I was privileged enough to hear the story line for Megan's Hero before it was written. From that moment, when it was still a brainstorm, I've waited to hold the printed book in my hand and devour the story – even more-so after reading the first two books in this series. It was well worth the wait because when I finished this book, I was happily satisfied.

Unfortunate circumstances cost Megan Smith her job. Now, pregnant, unmarried, and down to her last few dollars, she's reduced to living in her van. But when a tornado blows across the road, and destroys her van, her life is about to change forever.

Enter one seemingly too-good-to-be-true hero.

Will finds himself almost immediately smitten with the sweet mother-to-be, but there are things about her that don't add up: her reluctance to talk about her family, a secret past, and the fact that his father's private investigators could find nothing about her. What is Megan hiding, and will the truth about her past be devastating enough to keep them from pursuing a relationship?

With a little help from the rest of the Callahan crew, Will lives up to his title as the perfect hero for Megan’s wounded heart in this incredibly romantic story.

I have had favorite writers let me down with the second or third book in a series before, but not Sharon. Curling up with a book of hers is like curling up in front of the fire with family, friends and hot chocolate. Or maybe with some popcorn, Dr. Pepper, and a warm blanket. Either way, it’s comforting, soothing, and satisfying.

I love the risk Sharon takes with her unwed and homeless heroine. The way Megan struggles to overcome her past as well as her present troubles in order to find a promising future makes this heart-grabbing book the perfect one for a weekend-read.

Click here if you'd like to read my reviews of the first two books in this series.

Sharon grew up on Thompson's Ranch in the Rolling Plains of West Texas, near Colorado City. Her father was ranch foreman, and her parents lived there for over fifty years. The six thousand acre ranch provided pasture for Hereford cattle and an occasional Texas Longhorn, as well as fields of grain and grass to feed the stock and the primary crop, cotton. Love and marriage took Sharon across the country to state of Washington, but Texas is still dear to her heart.

Her books are honest down home love stories with laughter, conflict and sometimes tragedy that carries the reader along. The power of God working in the lives of the main characters is always evident as is their relationship to Him.

She again brings you the wonderful people, small towns and West Texas region she loves in Jenna's CowboyEmily's Chance and Megan's Hero in the Callahans of Texas series.

For Sharon, writing romance novels is a ministry. God has given her the talent to write, and she uses it to serve Him. She depends on Him to give her stories that will inspire, heal, entertain and bring her readers closer to Jesus.

Click here to visit Sharon’s website.