Something about TBR and series

A friend once said: “the larger an HDD is, the faster it gets filled”. I realized that I could say the same about my ‘to be read’ list – it can grow faster than I can reduce it by reading the books listed there.

At this point, the excel file with potential TBRs is 70 items long and most of them are in series, ranging in length usually between 3 and 6 books. If I average it at 4 and add to it some classics that I don’t bother to put there, it gets me somewhere to potentially 300+ books. That is without counting books that will continue existing series (as I don’t put those to that file). Even if some might not make it out of the TBR list, the choice is still quite large and I keep discovering new TBR candidates every now and then.

So, I’ll go into some factors I have for choosing a book to read as well as to factors about adding them to the TBR list.

Choosing the next book

(Dis-)Continuing the series

That is something easily done if it’s already complete – if they are three shorter books, easily done in two weeks. If it’s series of shorter books coming out in short intervals (as D.K. Holmberg does), it’s easy to continue if it catches my attention by the first book.

What can shuffle my priorities a lot is when it comes to larger gaps. One of the first e-books I’ve read was a first in a trilogy with roughly a year interval (the last coming out in September). I liked it enough to put in a re-read of the first book before the second came out and I’ll most likely re-read the #1 and #2 before I read #3 – which further delays shortening my TBR list.

There’s also the opposite possibility: abandoning a series at some point. So far, I have two examples: the trilogy that starts with Blood song (my review) and continues with Tower Lord (my review), ending with Queen of fire. Based on the reviews that mentioned that it still leaves some questions unanswered and lacks the drive of first two books, I’ve decided to not go on with the third book, decision impacted by the double price compared to book two. $12 (+ tax) for ending without half the answers I want(ed)? I moved on.

The second example was The Mortal Instrument series. One factor was that the story was decently closed after the third book and reviews made me turn away for now as it hinted that the story was getting quite absurd in the fourth book especially and I was already on the verge after #2.

A special case is when I made a step out of my usual preferences and decided to not continue with the series – not because it would be bad but because I’m not that interested in the book’s specific (sub-)genre.

Well, there’s one more case, the saddest one: discontinued series. For whatever reason, if the author decides to not write more, I have no choice but to suck it up.

Group reads

While it’s not something I’d take part in often, I sometimes read what a Goodreads group I am part of is reading. It’s usually when it’s something already on my TBR (taking off the burden of choice from my shoulders for once) or a classic I’d like to read (as I don’t put those on the list).

External motivation: discount

Quite simple. If something that’s on my TBR happens to be on a discount, I can decide to grab it and send it up through my TBR. There are two such cases in the past week: Jurrasic Park was on sale recently with my ETA for mid-September (after the mentioned trilogy) and The Lies of Locke Lamora (scheduled group read for late autumn).

Re-reads: good memories

Apart from re-reads before continuing a series, I might choose to re-read simply something because I like it. I have nothing like ‘TBRR’ or ‘Re-read wait list’ or how to possibly call it but there are books I’ll probably return to sooner or later.

Filling the TBR

Now that I’ve said how to *try* reducing the TBR? I’ll have a look at how to grow it. Series were already mentioned, as were classics – which depletes much of it.

Unexpected appearance

This was the case when I began, mostly random discoveries before I started browsing lists on Goodreads and reading recommendation of GR group members. It can still happen – after all, Amazon gives me quite a supply of newsletters with “books I might like” even though this has some of its own problems like suggesting book seven from a series of 10+ books. In fact, I feel like 80%+ of them are sequels to series I’ve not touched (yet, in case of some).

I’ve ‘seen’ him/her before

When I read something from an author and like it, I might as well give their other series a try, right? Yep, I might. Fact is, I try for some diversity and so it’s not likely I’d return to an author sooner than two or three years but it can be a way into the TBR list.

As I mentioned in the series topic, there might be several factors: if the author will need a bit of time writing the next series, I might as well wait for it to be complete. And for those who write fast… the wait might not be that long if the series is completed in half a year.

Lists/recommendations

Even though my TBR is quite long, I still often have a look at “people reading this book also liked” and Goodreads lists containing a book I’ve read. It’s both messy as it often includes more sequels than starters and thus troublesome to find a new read but can be a way to find something potentially interesting. Group discussions can be a source of recommendations.


I guess that’s it. I originally wanted to mention what is on my reading schedule but the post is already quite long so I’m leaving that be.

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