My TBR pile has taken over three rooms in the house now. What is TBR? To Be Read.
It started innocently enough. I live in a small town and it takes 25 minutes to get to Wal Mart. No other place sells books nearby, and the library has a waiting list of 5-10 people for every new book that comes out.
So, I started hoarding books.
Every Tuesday, I’d go to Wally World, and wait for the Book Lady. She’s in her late fifties, with a long gray braid, and hates her job. I listen to her while helping her unload the new books, place them in piles wherever she directs me, and secretly skim the best of the new crop off the top.
I was the first to own the newest books. In a small town, that’s prestige.
Oh she saw me doing it. My little stash I hid over by the Pepsi machine. The furtive glances I throw people if they get too close to my pile. But I carry on, asking about her kid (thirty and never been married) her husband (engineer) her cat (Tom).
My TBR pile grew. Mwahahaha.
I started hiding the stash in little insignificant piles. One under the coffee table. One next to my computer. One in the closet.
Soon the piles became ungainly. They’d topple when a cat walked too close and swished his tail. I hid books under the sofa cushions, in decorative baskets and under plants. I threw a blanket over the pile in the bedroom, and even put a small stack in the laundry room.
Then one Tuesday, the Book Lady wasn’t there. I waited, pacing, not getting my fix. My fingers trembled, my eyes shifted warily from side to side. I asked at customer service about her. Was she ok? I hope there wasn’t an emergency?
No answer. She just didn’t come in today.
I was crushed. It was Tuesday, and I had nothing to add to my TBR piles.
Wednesday morning, I flew into Wal Mart. No new books. Wednesday afternoon, nada. I asked at customer service for her cellphone number, sure something terrible had happened.
They took in my pale coloring, bitten-down fingernails and slight drool. No. They didn’t give out cellphone numbers.
Finally, Thursday morning, at 10am, there she was! The Book Lady!
Where have you been??? I cried, overjoyed to see her (and the books).
Busy. She said it curtly, harshly, and turned her back on me, braid swinging over her shoulder.
It was at that moment, I knew we hadn’t bonded over books, she didn’t care if I knew about her cat, dog, son, husband. She was only there for the job. My shoulders drooped, my eyes teared slightly. I asked in a low, woebegone voice, do you have the new Nora Roberts?
I don’t know. I’m very busy.
I slumped away, looking backward over my shoulder, lower lip hanging out, chubby cheeks fallen in despair. I snagged a bottled water and a Hershey’s, so it looked like I came in the store for more than just to see the Book Lady, and waited in line.
A few moments later, there was a tapping on my shoulder, and the new Nora Roberts book appeared in my vision.
This what you’re looking for?
It was!!! My faith was restored! The Book Lady really cared!
And I got a new morsel for my TBR pile.
And how big is YOUR TBR pile?