Book Piles by Tara Randel

Someone once told me her favorite book is the one she’s reading right now. I got thinking about that the other day and realized I agree. And disagree. Because I have two distinct piles of books. Keepers and To Be Read books. 

Right now I’m working on a deadline, so my To Be Read pile is getting pretty big. My problem is, I read Romantic Times Book Reviews every month and end up with a list of books I plan on purchasing. Some months I need a second job just to buy all the books from my list. Thankfully I don’t have any horrible vices so I can spend my hard earned money in a bookstore. 

On the flipside, if I kept every book I ever bought, I’d have my own personal library. Who has room for that? (Thank goodness for Kindle and the Cloud!) There are plenty of public libraries to make donations to, so my overflow goes there. But I do have my keeper pile, one I try to keep at a minimum, but never quite accomplish. 

Before writing this, I went the keeper pile to take a look at the books I’ve saved. Oh, my, what a time I had. Some people have certain songs that remind them of a particular time in their life. I can look at a book cover and get the same feeling. I’m one of those people who, if I pick up a book that sounds interesting and realize it's part of a series, I have find the earlier books so I can start from the beginning and then collect the entire series until it ends. I’m the same way with stand alone books that revisit previous characters. I’m so nosy, I have to find out who these other people are and what happened to them.

And then there are the books I reread at least once a year. Is that a separate pile? To me, it’s like going on vacation, spending a few days with good friends I’ve come to love and cherish.

Hopefully, Harlequin Heartwarming books will end up in your keeper pile. As a writer, the desire of my heart is to create a book readers can’t put down, with characters the reader will think about for days after she closes the cover. I know this, because those are the types of books I can’t give away. 

So which pile at your house is deeper? Keepers or To Be Read?


  1. My husband told me we will never move again unless I get rid of some books. I have my keepers and then I have the tucked in every corner waiting their turn - sometimes for years -TBR piles. I have a closet filled with books waiting their turn. I blame college. When I went to college, I didn't have time to read much but when I was frustrated or sad or even just needed a break, I would go to the bookstore and buy books. Books that I didn't have time to read. They're still pretty much waiting their turn. Oh, and now that I have an eight year old, books still have to fight for time in my life.

  2. Hi Tara!

    I have so many 'keepers' that a few years ago, I adopted a different policy. When I love a book, I let it go lol:) I donate the ones I really enjoyed in the hope that they will have a better chance of finding a new reader who will enjoy it as much as I did.
    I can't wait to see a copy of my Heartwarming books in a second hand bookstore...or maybe not lol:)


  3. Such an apt post for writers and readers. I used to say my TBR stack of books would fall over in the night some night and kill me. And I had large, tall bookcases filled with books that were 3 deep on paperback and 2 deep on hard cover. Every move we made I boxed up and gave away lots of books. Throughout the year I give books to nursing homes and I take them to Goodwill where they sell books for 10 or 15 cents to people who can't afford books otherwise. Two years ago I downsized and left lovely built-in bookcases in my old house. Along with deciding what treasures I kept or sold in a garage sale, I packed 35 Xerox boxes full of books and that didn't include my keepers or my own backlist books. It was a wrench for me to take them to Goodwill. But the women who work there were so excited to see that many books new to them, I know the books found good homes. I still buy paper books and I haven't gone to electronic yet. People tell me I'm foolish for that, but I may hang on a while longer. The trouble is that I like to read across many genres and I read a lot of non fiction books too. So already my build up is blossoming again. What's a body to do???

  4. I know, right? Research books are their own special threat to space because many of them are biiiig. In my last writing career, I loved Victorian homes as settings and have a couple of huge research books that have to sit on the floor because there's no other place for them. Ron keeps predicting that our second floor will one day collapse into the kitchen (which is fine with me because I don't use it anyway.) I, too, give away most of my 'keepers' and my TBR is only about 10 deep at the moment. But I have that third research pile, so not sure where I stand in all this. Maybe we need some sort of antabuse for bibliophiles!

  5. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only person with this problem. LOL

  6. I have to admit we have a large pile of TBR. During off hours we tend to choose something that has nothing to do with the biz. David loves WWII books, non-fiction. I tease him saying that he knows the ending - so why read them, but he loves history and accountings of the big battles. Me? I love dog training books. We do a lot of rescue work, so I like to keep up on the latest in training.

  7. Hello, I'm Karen Rock, and I'm obsessed with books... Lol. My first books that I read by choice were Harlequin Presents and I still have some of them because, like you said, Tara, they represent an important time in my life when a light switched on and I became an avid reader! I cherish them, along with other keepers like books by Kathleen Woodiwiss and the Anne of Green Gables series because I like to take my mind on a vacation to Prince Edward Island. I kept nodding the whole time you wrote- seeing so many similarities!! Great post - I loved it <3

  8. When we had to downsize to a house half in size, I donated boxes and boxes of books to my library. Some ended up on the shelves (which I visit often) and others wound up in a fundraiser sale. Because of limited space, I still donate books after I read them. With the book budgets at libraries dwindling, I know they appreciate the donations.


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