We suspect that most of our readers keep a TBR (“To Be Read”) list and we’re interested in hearing about it, so we’ve got some questions. Feel free to answer as many as you’d like and to ask questions of other readers.

  1. Do you keep a TBR list? If not, why not?
  2. What format is it in (e.g., notebook, spreadsheet, online)?
  3. How many books are on your list?
  4. How do you organize it?
  5. How do you decide in which order to read your books?
  6. Are you good at sticking to the list?
  7. Where do you discover the books you put on your list?
  8. What are the first five books on your list?
  9. If you have one piece of advice for creating a TBR list, what is it?

As always, one random commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

Hamlet’s TBR Lament
by Bill Capossere


To add, or not to add, that is the question.

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The pangs and wounds of unpurchased books

Or to take arms against a sea of unread words

And by buying them, have at least a forlorn hope.

To add —

to shelve,

And by to shelve we mean to pile, to stack, to amass

To end the heart-ache of not owning these siren tomes.

To add,

perchance to shelve —

ay, there’s the rub

For in that time of shelving what form must it take—

Titles, publication dates, and author names (First or last)

Must give us pause — there’s the choice

That makes calamity of all our lists.

Oh, who would spreadsheets bear,

Or Wish Lists create,

In dread of something passed unread

The undiscovered prose that might thrill the will.


  • Bill Capossere

    BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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