Taming the Harlequin TBR

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Downloading my purchased Harlequins made me nostalgic for the days when I read a lot of categories and there were multiple online venues to talk about them with like-minded reader friends. Sadly, there aren’t as many anymore (either Harlequins I want to read or venues I want to hang out at). BUT! I have hundreds of them in my TBR, and now they’re reminding me of their presence. So I have hatched a plan to read them. 

My main reading device is a Kobo Aura H2O 2, and I like it very much. I like Kobo’s e-bookstore, I like being able to sync my library books to it, and for the most part I like the larger screen. But I still had my Nook Glowlight Plus in a drawer, and it’s a great travel ereader because it’s smaller and the cover doesn’t bulk it up too much. It occurred to me: why not charge it up and transfer all my Harlequins to it? So I did.

I deleted the books that I could immediately identify as ones I had read, which got me down to about 550.* I’m sure there are at least another 50 that will turn out to be familiar, probably more. Which still leaves me with so many books. And how do I choose the next one? 

I could choose alphabetically by title, but then I get a lot of Doctor and Nurse books in a row, given my Medicals collection, not to mention Christmas and Mistletoe bunching up. The best solution to maximize variety seems to reading alphabetically by author, choosing one by each author and then moving on. If I turn out to have read it already I go to the next book or the next author. That should mix up the lines, themes, and authors nicely. 

I had already decided that 2019 would be the Year of the TBR (more on that in another post), so the Harlequin TBR fits right into that scheme and will allow me to take breaks from Big Fat Books, Classics, and Highly Literary Books by reading short(ish) romances of all kinds. Over the 10+ years I acquired this TBR I ranged across all of the Harlequin and a couple of Silhouette lines, I think: Blaze, SuperRomance, Historicals, Presents, Intrigue, Romance, Nocturne, Kimani, Medicals of course, and even the shorts like Spice Bites. And KISS! Remember KISS? I have a handful of those too. 

I’m giving myself permission to DNF the occasional book, but I’m aiming to  finish unless I’m really having a bad reading experience. I’ll post the reviews and/or ratings at GR and here. It should be interesting. And fun! We need fun. 

*This count is limited to the books I purchased at eHarlequin. It doesn’t count any of the books I bought from Amazon, Kobo, B&N, the UK Mills & Boon site, or late, lamented ebook retailers like Fictionwise. Yes, my TBRs are out of control. 


6 thoughts on “Taming the Harlequin TBR

  1. Well–more power to you! I’m impressed with your plan and your resolution. May you find more winners than duds.

    I can’t take the emotional pressure of a large TBR. I long ago weeded like crazy and got it down to under 50 books–now that I cope with.. About 90% of the books I buy now are keeper copies of favorite library reads. The other 10% is taken up by the few auto-buy authors I have. And I do whittle away at the TBR when the mood strikes.


    1. I don’t know how my TBR got so out of control. Oh wait, yes I do. I’ve always indulged myself when it comes to book buying and I don’t get rid of many. Then I reviewed for all those years at DA, which meant lots of romance books (many ARCs or provided by the publishers but it also meant I bought a lot).

      For my print library I now have a mostly-followed rule that I have to give away books if I buy more, and I’m still managing to find ones to send on to charity sales or Half-Price Books But ebooks hide in my Calibre directory or on the websites where I buy them, so I don’t see them.


      1. I was late to digital books and used it mostly to buy yet another copy of a favorite book or to stock up on digital copies of hard to find paperbacks by favorite authors. My total digital library is still under 500, with maybe 25 or so of them unread. And then my Nook died, so I buy even fewer and so it goes…
        I find it very interesting to compare book buying/reading habits with fellow readers– no two readers are alike!


        1. I started reading digital pretty early, but for public-domain titles. I remember reading The Three Musketeers on a Palm PDA in the 1990s. 🙂 Then I migrated to the newer books and never looked back. I’ve come back more to print over the last few years, but I still read a lot of ebooks, and Overdrive is a huge resource for me.

          It *is* interesting how varied readers can be. I have a friend who doesn’t keep books after she reads them, and I’ve met people online with no TBR at all, even though they’re avid readers.


  2. This is inspiring! I have been thinking about trying to read more from/of my TBR next year. I know there are things buried in my far too big digital TBR that I no longer want to read. I bought way too much when I first started reading romance—which is mostly what it is—and didn’t know my own tastes. It’s just too easy to buy e-books. I have something north of 400, many of them Harlequins. I’ve gotten much better about not buying so many, but man, that giant unread stash lurking on my e-reader is guilt inducing. (Barb is my role model!) I think I will just delete ones I know I have no interest in, though.


    1. I just hope I can keep it going! I expect to DNF a few, but I’m also kind of curious about whether they are still books that are to my taste. I also have books from my “reading outside the comfort zone” efforts and new-to-me authors.
      I’ve also cut back on impulse buying, although the library makes up for it by letting me impulse-borrow. At least those go back!


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