Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Lost and Found Lists

As a Book Booster I am always looking forward to my next book. I might be in the middle of a page-turner, yet I am anticipating starting a new one. Voracious reading habits are difficult to taper. A Book Booster’s motto: a book in hand is almost as wonderful as the next two queuing on the list. You can see it has disadvantages towards t-shirt and coffee mugs availability potential.

Some people maintain a physical TBR with a stack or two of titles awaiting their turn. Living in a little house and being a confirmed Tidy, piles of books to be read offends my need for visual order. Besides all those unread books would whisper to me as I passed them everyday: read me, read me, read me. The guilt and desire of setting those words to their intended task would cause me to get absolutely nothing else done. I would become a confirmed book lady, but at least the neighbors wouldn’t have reasonable grounds for complaint. Books don’t meow and smell.

morguefile image: I read. I read. I red.

My solution is the a tech-smart list. I began adding titles in the Notes section on my iPhone about three years ago. Quite handy for visits to the library. Pop open the screen, scroll down the list, check what’s available, check it out, and check it off the list. The list grew to include all sorts of delicious titles waiting to be devoured: classics meaning to get to, bestsellers, recommendations, research needs, why-nots. Oh, it was lovely.

Yes, past tense. Did you know there is no retrieve for deleting a notes item? And no, I did not have it seeded in a Cloud. And no, I did not realize I had deleted The List. By stuffing my phone in my back pocket without clicking it off, the possibility of why I shouldn’t do this came too late. Yes. This realization came after realizing this is what had happened. The List is cyber gone.

Lesson learned: valuable information, such as TBRs should not be kept in such a flimsy format.

Yes, devastation ensued. There are no Hallmark sympathy cards for deceased TBR lists. Chocolate does make for a decent condolence though.

There is a upside to this sad sharing. I discovered an unrealized TBR.

All this time I had unknowingly been creating an impressive TBR in my Good Reads account every time I clicked “Want to read.” Delight replaced despair. There were over a hundred entries, some from my old list, but many, many new ones. In color, with access to info and reviews. The upgrade was akin to going from enjoying M&Ms to savoring a Linder 70% dark cocoa content bar of chocolate.

If Good Reads goes down we are all in deep yogurt and will be concerned with much more than which book to read next.

What’s your TBR list look like?

Are you a book stacker or a list maker?

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7 thoughts on “Lost and Found Lists

  1. So sorry for your loss, although glad you had a back up of sorts to take the pain away. I am a lister, if there was a pile of books demanding my attention I would most likely look beyond them for my next read. My list is about 700 strong, saved on Amazon as I usually use that to read the blurbs and comments before I decide if its worth buying (from a traditional shop).

  2. This is exactly why I can’t keep all my books on a clean little tablet. If I lost my entire library, I would die!

    Yes, there will be other books and other lists to find or be given. But any collection takes time to build, and just the potential of a reading list is a special thing.

  3. This was a terrible story until the end – thank goodness for Goodreads!

    I personally am a stacker. Well I was up until June this year when I moved house and got some proper bookcases. Now I slip new books onto the shelf and stick a post-it flag on it so that I know it’s currently unread. But I also keep virtual lists on Goodreads (it’s over 400 books long) and on the new app Litsy. I find these virtual lists especially handy if I’m in a second-hand shop and want to find something specific amongst the mountains of books.

  4. Oooh, dang!

    Goodreads has really helped organize my reading life. I mark “want to read” over there, then I move them to my library hold list when I’m ready for more books. Seems to be working so far! I was lost without it. 🙂

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