Book lovers are constantly adding to a TBR that they won’t likely ever finished. Read it Forward recently released a TBR calculator which takes the number of books on your TBR, the number of books you read last year, and your current age and calculates approximately how long it would take for you to finish them all. It said it would take me 4 years and 4 months to read all 739 books on my TBR which sounds fairly doable… until you take into account the number of new books that I’m constantly adding to it. It’s a never-ending battle to read all the books you want to read.
In a perfect world, my schedule for how I prioritize my reads typically centers around my review books and their order of publication. These days though my picks have been super random and I’ve been all about the mood reading. Here’s the part where this discussion post turns a tad bit morbid. Imagine, like the individual in The End of Your Life Book Club, you’re given a time frame on how long you’re expected to survive. Will Schwalbe’s mother was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer where patients are typically only given six months to live. What would you do with your precious remaining days left on Earth? Everyone has a bucket list of things they wish to experience in their life whether it’s visiting some far off place or achieving something amazing.
Inspired by the concept of an end of your life book club, I decided to make a list to see which stories I’d want to spend that precious time on. I am 100% a reader at heart and I know that I’d be completely content and wouldn’t regret a single second if I spent my last remaining days in a comfortable chair surrounded by books. But which ones do you choose? Do you revisit old favorites, secure in your choice that you wouldn’t be wasting any time with anything that you didn’t already know was amazing? Or do you finally tackle those books that make you say “Why didn’t I ever make time for you?” For me, I can understand the lure between both choices, wanting to return to a book that feels like a best friend but on the other hand wanting to experience something fresh, new, and potentially exciting.
As I said, my reading picks lately have been a bit all over the place. This concept of prioritizing the books you choose to spend your time on (even if you haven’t been given a deadline on life) is a fairly enlightening concept even if it seems like a no-brainer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I’ve been wanting to read this FOREVER! I really need to make the time for it.” Well, what’s stopping me? Why not now?
Glancing through my TBR, I notice just how many I’ve said that about and still they sit unread. I declare myself to be a massive Sherlock Holmes fan, and yet I haven’t even finished all of Doyle’s stories. The Collector by John Fowles, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock are all recent favorites of mine that I gushed over incessantly, yet I never made time for the other books those authors have written. And Stephen King. I’ve read so many but keep going round and round about starting The Dark Tower series. Honestly, what am I waiting for?
In terms of re-reads, I’d choose: to be mesmerized all over again by Mary-Louise Parker’s beautifully written Dear Mr. You, to revisit the magical world of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, to remember exactly why I fell in love originally with Rainbow Rowell with Attachments, to laugh until my belly ached in Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and to experience the beauty of friendship in Harry Potter.
This exercise has definitely inspired me to take a more conscious look at the books I choose to spend my time with. I hope that I can limit my excuse making and dive in head first, finally tackling those books that have sat on my shelf for far too long.
What books would you prioritize reading if you knew you only had a set time to read?