A Problem Facing Both Readers and Dragons

Skyler Boudreau
Editorial Contributor

Like many fantasy lovers, I like dragons. That includes both the Western and Eastern mythological portrayals of them. All versions of the dragon have their charms and quirks, and today, I am going to discuss one that these fearsome beasts and readers have in common. Care to hazard a guess?

If you said, “their tendency to hide in dark lairs for long periods of time,” you aren’t exactly wrong. But the answer I was looking for is, “their treasure hoards.”

There are any number of stories about fearsome knights or cunning tricksters sneaking into a dragon’s lair and making off with as many valuables as they can carry. Come near a reader’s hoard, and they might just might breath their own fire at you! Rather than gold, they collect long, often physically manifested lists of books they would potentially, at some point, maybe someday, like to read. They are affectionately termed “To Be Read Lists.”

Sometimes a TBR List is just that; a list written down in a notebook or tracked on a website like Goodreads. Other times, the reader will collect actual copies of all of their potential reads. These book hoards will spill off of shelves and across floors and take up every available surface until you are left with no option other than stacking your unread books up to the ceiling (which can be pretty inconvenient)!

Some books can languish in a reader’s hoard for years at a time before the reader decides to pick them up. I definitely have a few of those in mine. I have a habit of buying a book on my Goodreads “Want to Read” list and then becoming absorbed in a completely different read. Do I feel guilty for abandoning a newly purchased book to my hoard? Yes. Will I ever put a permanent stop to it? Absolutely not.

Yesterday evening, I decided to take action against my hoard. My plan is a self-ban on buying new books. For the next three months, I am going to try and focus only on books within my hoard. That way, rather than potentially adding to it, I should be making steady progress towards eliminating it. This ban will not include books sent to me for review or received as gifts. After three months, I’ll reevaluate and examine how much progress I have made. This book buying ban will go into effect immediately. My last book purchase was April 2nd. (a collection of Oscar Wilde’s short fiction, if anyone wants to know), so that means the reevaluation of my hoard will not come until summer.

I’m unsure of the methods a dragon takes when the need arises to cull her hoard (perhaps a ban on ransacking kingdoms?) but we shall see if my own method works. Wish me luck, fellow book hoarders, and consider dusting off your own collection and joining me.

Which book has been buried in your hoard for the longest?

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