Most of my postdoc-salary lifestyle inflation has gone to my local indie bookstore, and I waaaay overbought in 2018. My TBR pile has ~30 books, plus at least a dozen graphic novels/comics collections. I find I’m paralyzed with indecision when I confront the pile! How do you pick your new books to read? Any suggestions for wading through a massive TBR stack? (I’m already forbidding myself from most new book purchases for a while, except for a couple new releases like Rebecca Roanhorse’s Storm of Locusts)
#1: Back when I was a kid, what I would do would be to line up the books I was considering in a grid. Then I would close my eyes and let fate guide my hand like with a Ouija board. It always seemed to work out pretty well for me.
Now what I do instead is look at the book on top (either of the literal pile of unread books or on my kindle) and if it looks too hard, I look at the book under it, and so on. When I’m on the plane and need something easier than what I have in my “new” kindle section (which, in addition to things I’ve gotten from my amazon wishlist, includes a bunch of classics I got from Gutenberg before DC2 was born… which I’m sometimes good with on trips and sometimes are too hard), I will go to the last page of my “read” section and see if there’s anything in there that looks like a pleasant reread.
Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having unread books in the stack. I’ve had some for decades. One day they may be what I need, or I’ll actually get to them and decide they’re not ever going to be worth reading all the way through and I’ll pass them on. I read books for pleasure and not for improvement, so being forced to get through a stack seems like the opposite of fun for me. Though sometimes I do find unexpected gems when I decide to wade through a pile (which I used to do back when I was sending my unwanted stuff to DH’s relative’s kid, but now have much less incentive to do).
Library books do get a bit of a priority bump because I know they’re going to have to go back.
#2: I use the implicit method of “whichever one I feel like”. I don’t really have a method. Sometimes it’s LIFO sometimes it’s random, sometimes it’s when the next book is out, sometimes I’m reminded of it, sometimes I feel like a fantasy, or a romance, or whatever…. I don’t even know. All of the above, none of the above.
#1: That reminds me. Sometimes I take a picture of my pile and send it to #2 and ask her which I should read next. She’s usually right.
#2: Other suggestions: Roll some dice. Pick the nicest cover. Or the one on the bottom instead of the one on top (FIFO).