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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Be My Guest, Jo of Once Upon a Bookcase and Ink & Paper!

Kicking off Be My Guest! in style, we have (drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrumroll)


Jo has 2 fantastic blogs (because she has to out-do us all), Once Upon a Bookcase and Ink and Paper. Check them out. (Now. Well, read this one first, then go.)

Jo is going to talk to us about the tbr beast; gird your loins.

Picture this: You’re walking down the street. You look up and see heaven, heaven in the form of a bookshop. Full of books, lots and lots of shiny new books. You try to walk past, but they’re calling you; the adventure, the danger, the romance, the tears, the laughs – each story cries out at you for attention. You try to walk past, to be sensible; you’ve got somewhere to be, plus there’s a recession on. But your feet seem to have a mind of their own, and before you know it, you’ve entered the shop, and are surrounded by books, authors names catching your eye, release dates flying through your mind. Soon, out comes the dosh, and out you leave with more books.

This happens to me fairly often, whenever I pass a bookshop, I can’t help but at least browse, though more often than not, I’m spending. This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have a bookcase full of books I am yet to read. I have 54 books in my TBR pile, not including review copies, just books that I’ve bought and own. I know this is nothing compared to some others’ TBR piles (especially Misty’s, have you seen how many books are on her list?!)*, but I’m not really the fastest reader. It takes me roughly 2-4 days to finish a book, less if it really grabs me, more if I’m not too interested, or if life gets in the way, so 54 books is enough to keep me going for a fairly long time. Saying that, volunteering in a charity bookshelf doesn’t really help me keeping the number of books in my TBR pile down.

But as I said, this is discounting review copies. Ink and Paper, my fantasy blog, is two months off being a year old, and I started Once Upon a Bookcase, my YA blog, last June, so I still consider myself a baby blogger. Towards the end of last year, I was receiving a few review copies fairly regularly from one publisher, and the odd one here and there from several others, and I was so chuffed to be getting them, being a baby blogger. I was able to keep up with reviews for them, and read some of my own books in between. Then January hit, and suddenly several other publishers have asked me to review books, and they’re sending several books at once. Suddenly my To Review pile has got rather daunting, deadlines are looming, and I’m getting a little scared.

But what about my other 54? I got some books for Christmas by some of my favourite authors, and I can practically feel them watching me whenever I walk in the room, pleading me with their invisible eyes to pick them up. And what’s worse, I’m the kind of person who, when a favourite author’s new book is released, I can kind of sometimes accidentally on purpose forget that I have books to review, and a fair sized TBR pile, buy and read straight away. That was do-able last year, my reviews were always sorted on time, and I still got to read the odd TBR book. So not going to happen now, not within the next few weeks – which will be torture when Jeaniene Frost’s First Drop of Crimson is released next month, and I won’t be able to read it.

So how am I going to prioritise my reading? I was asked something along similar lines by Becky of The Bookette recently. Well, I bought a book. I know, I know, another one, but it’s not what you think; this one is the Book Lust Journal. I’m supposed to use it to record books I’ve read, and what I liked about them, but there’s also space for “Book Passages to Remember”, “Books I Want to Read” , and “Books on Loan”. Instead I use it to write down my TBR pile, my publishing contacts, and most importantly my review copies and when they’re released. Seeing this book, an actual notebook or even an appointment ledger/diary would work just as well. I’ve got a page per month, and I list all the books I have to review for that month. It’s not so daunting when you realise how long you actually have for some books. Yet, I do have six books to read by next month, and I really need to get a shift on. I’m fortunate enough that my contacts are fine with reviews posted after their release date if I give them fair warning this may be a possibility.

Still, sometimes it can be overwhelming when it looks like I won’t be able to keep up with my review copies. I look at these books sometimes and think “Oh my god!” I worry about letting the publicists down, and put pressure on myself. I end up having to remind myself that I review books for fun, this is a hobby. This isn’t my job, this is something I do for fun, and although, of course, publicists don’t have to send me review copies, I’m helping them out as well as the other way round. I need to keep that in mind when thing get a little “woah!”

But again, what about my 54 books? Do you have any other ideas on how to stay organised and on top of them all?

Well, folks, that's that. My first guest (and I didn't even spill my tea on her once). So how 'bout you? What's your beast like? Mine's a rainbow; all of my books are organized according to color. There's a red (and purple) shelf, a blue shelf that's fit to burst, a green shelf, etc.
And I don't know about you, but I LOVE the idea of the Book Lust Journal. I do make notes on what I read, but having something concrete like that, with sections made purposefully...okay, I'm drooling a little.
I'm going to go wipe away the drool, but let's all give a hand to Jo. Ready class?


See you next week!

* She's talking about this. It has grown since I first posted. It's the hydra; you cut off one head and others spring up...

Interested in guest blogging on Book Rat? Fill out this form: it's quick, it's easy, and it has a sheep!


  1. Haha, I <3 you, too, Juju!

    Thanks for letting me guest post, Misty! It was fun! :)

  2. I keep track of my TBR stack and all my other books on my Library Thing account. I also fill in the comments section about the book when I finish one. I also gleefully romove the TBR tag and remove the book from my To Read collection.

    I can't pass a bookstore without browsing either. But my real downfall is Amazon. Just a note -- it is not a good idea to have a window for Amazon open when looking at everyone's IMM posts. I have bought 4 books already today.

  3. ah, the thing with having an online TBR list is that I don't have a mobile/cell with internet (yup, I live in the dark ages), so when I'm out and about, I have trouble remembering what I already have, and also what I want to read. Now I have a nice book to take with me in form of the Book Lust Journal.

    Since writing this guest post, I've also bought an organiser, which I also find pretty helpful - especially the address book secion, it's so much easier to find out which publicist works for which publisher, and who I need to contact.

    My own TBR pile has grown since writing this from 54 to 65. And I have 23 review copies to read. And I also have several parcels to be redelivered soon, so the number is about to grow. I don't like counting them, it scares me, haha!

    Misty, here is the book lust journal on the book depository, and a list of similar type journals on amazon US. I love that you colour code your books! Can we see photos of your bookshelves, please? Pretty please?

  4. Hi Misty, I found your blog from Jo's link & you now have a new follower :o) I'd love to see some pics of your rainbow TBR shelves! Mine are all piled in boxes as I need to buy new shelves LOL

    Great post Jo :o) I'm too scared to count my TBR pile but I have the same problem as you & can't walk past a bookshop without browsing & often buying (hence the 4 books added to my TBR pile today LOL). I can't even go to the supermarket without buying books :o)

    I use Amazon to keep track of my wishlists as I can access it from my phone which comes in really handy. I don't have anything that keeps track of the books I own though so a book journal would probably come in handy.

  5. Oh, great post, and I love the sound of the journal! What a great idea!

  6. Jo, I fully intend to show you what my bookshelves look like -- as soon as I can clean them up a bit! I had intended to do it today as a follow up to your post, but I've had to work, and thus my shelves are at their messiest. There is a picture of my blue shelf on Ellz Readz.
    When out and about, I make use of my phone's memo feature to jot down books, or make a voice note (though that gets some looks). I also always have paper with me. Old school. ;p

  7. Happy 1st Be My Guest !

    Book Lust Journal = 10/10 ! Awesome idea.

    My TBR pile is just a pile. Well, several piles. I'm not organized at all so I couldn't give any better advices than the other commentators !

    Great post !

  8. yay for jo! great to hear how you tackle your tbr pile and list. gets me thinking of organizing my pile(s) too.

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