Tackling My TBR – Part 1 [Backlist Books]

Welcome back

Backlists and TBR piles. They’re just a fact of life when you’re a book blogger. But what if you just have too many in piles around your house or clogging up your Kindle? There just aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all, especially when wonderful books just keep coming.

Earlier I was watching a video by booktuber and author Jen Campbell, where she asked the question Are These Books Worth My Time?. She took ten books, and over four hours decided if she was going to read it, finish it, DNF it, or shelve it (for another time). I loved this method and decided to take a similar approach to narrow down my own TBR pile. I sometimes find that being surrounded by physical books, as well as seeing my ebook collection, makes me feel overwhelmed and I read less because I don’t know where to start.

So, here is my plan to tackle my TBR:

Each week I am going to choose a selection of older books from my TBR pile and read the first chapter(ish) and see if it grabs me. I will then allocate the book into one of the following four categories:

  • Read – I’ll read it immediately or within the next couple of weeks
  • Shelve – I’ll come back to it within the next six months (To be avoided!)
  • Finish – I’ll finish the partially read book
  • Ditch/DNF – I’ll decide not to read the book or not to finish it, and the copy will be given away.

Ideally, all the books must either be Read/Finish/DNF – I will only shelve it if I have a justifiable reason to do so. As you can tell, I’ll only be doing a small number of books at a time to keep this managable. These could be physical books or ebooks, and may be review copies or my own purchases.

[Note: I sometimes receive unsolicited review copies, so I have books on my TBR that I would not have necessarily requested, please bear that in mind when reading my posts]

Here we go, round one…!


Title: Strange Ink

Author: Gary Kemble

Format: Paperback, review copy

Assessment: An older book on my TBR, I’ve been dancing around this one for longer than I care to admit. Sadly, I knew from the first few pages that this book is not for me.

Verdict: Ditch

Title: Pop Star Jihadi

Author: Nick Tyrone

Format: Paperback, review copy

Assessment: Oddly, when I received this book, I was excited to read it and it just never happened. I am intrigued by the first chapter, with some minor reservations that it may be a bit pretentious but it is a risk I am willing to take.

Verdict: Read

Title: Secret Suffragette

Author: Barbara Mitchelhill

Format: Paperback, review copy

Assessment: Well, this was an easy one. I ended up getting completely sidetracked by this book and I read 30 pages before I remembered that wasn’t the plan.

Verdict: Read

Title: Little Darlings

Author: Melanie Golding

Format: Paperback, review copy

Assessment: No exaggeration, I’ve been reading this book on and off for over a year, having read about a third of it. My feeling is that this book spends way too long setting the scene, but damn it, I want to know what happens! To help me finish, I’ve downloaded the audiobook from the library. In about 5 hours, I should have my answer.

Verdict: Finish

Title: Imaginary Friend

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Format: eBook, review copy

Assessment: Sadly, I’ve put off reading this hefty tome of a book after reading some mixed reviews. The first few chapters felt like a bit of a challenge, and there’s no way I am dragging myself through a 720-page book.

Verdict: Ditch


That leaves me with two read, two ditch, and one finish. I don’t think that’s too bad an outcome and I’m glad to remove two books from my extensive TBR list.

What do you think of my verdicts? Are there any you loved or loathed? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you a bookish week,

2 thoughts on “Tackling My TBR – Part 1 [Backlist Books]

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