In Defense Of Having A Massive TBR Pile

by Emma Oulton

Every book-lover knows the feeling: your to-be-read pile is out of control and you're getting serious book-buying guilt looking at the tower of unread books on your bedroom floor. But maybe having a massive TBR pile isn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, maybe if we all stopped feeling so guilty about it, we might find that a big TBR pile can actually bring us quite a lot of joy.

Here's the thing: your TBR pile is made up of books that you've spent money on because you're just that glad they exist in the world. Isn't that such a happy thing? You're also supporting the author by splashing your cash on them, so I don't think you should feel any shame about that.

If you really think about it, TBR-induced shame is pretty arbitrary. It's normal to have a few books hanging around waiting to be read — otherwise you'd have to dash to the bookstore in a panic every time you finished a book! Some people like to keep their TBRs under ten; others are happy to have up to 100 waiting in the wings; but why put a number on it at all?

I've spent years hiding my TBR behind the sofa, or in the back of the wardrobe, but now it's time to make a stand. Let's stop TBR-shaming, and take pride in the towers of books we've spent our hard-earned cash on. And the next time someone makes a comment about your every-growing TBR, here are a few ready-made arguments you can use.


It Keeps You Reading More Often

Lots of readers complain about reading slumps, where they just can't find anything they feel like getting stuck into. But when you have a bookstore-sized TBR in your living room, this will never happen to you. A big selection of unread books encourages you to read more often on a whim, because there's always something you'll be in the mood for.


You Can Decorate Your House With Them

There are few things more beautiful to a book-lover than a whopping great pile of books. When you've got a massive TBR pile, you can get creative building book towers around the house. It's just good interior design!


You're Supporting Charity ... Kind Of

When your TBR piles get really huge, they sometimes don't even fit in your house. Once that happens, you'll have to do a big clear-out and take a ton of your books to charity stores. So if you think about it, collecting a big TBR is essentially just preparing to donate books to charity — so you're doing a good deed!


You're Supporting The Book Industry

We all want authors to keep writing the books we love, right? Well, then we have to give them money. By keeping your TBR pile fully stocked, you're putting money into the book industry. Without your massive TBR pile, authors and publishers might not be able to afford to produce so many exciting books — and we wouldn't want that.


It Keeps You Motivated

When you have a giant TBR pile just waiting to be read, you're constantly on a mission. I always feel motivated to get my work done quickly so that I can come home and grab a book off the top of the pile, and even when I'm just lying on the sofa with a book in my hand, I always feel like I'm achieving something.


You're A Collector!

TBR-shamers will try to convince you you're out of control, but just tell them that you're a book collector. Suddenly, your TBR pile doesn't look so messy, it looks distinguished. Because it is.