If you’re a reader, you have most likely battled the monster that is known as an ever growing TBR pile. If you’re a reader that also uses Goodreads, then HA HA HA your monster is probably at least one thousand times larger than it normally would be because Goodreads just makes it SoOoOoOo easy to discover new books and add them to your TBR list! “Oh, doesn’t this sound SO delightful Kayla? Don’t you want to be like everybody else and read this book? LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL COVER, KAYLA. Just push this one button here and we can add it to your list of books to read. It’s so easy! You don’t even have to remember the title or the author or anything, we’ll do that for you. Just do it. Go ahead! One little click.” … well 428 clicks later, I am officially drowning. I also recognize that some people are probably laughing at that number, I am aware that I’m not in as bad of a place with my TBR list as some others are.
I have made the very difficult decision that it’s time to do something about this fast growing epidemic. However, the idea of narrowing down the 428 books that I’m tracking on Goodreads seems like too much for my tiny brain to handle right now. It’s too cold outside, and I don’t have access to enough good chai tea lattes and cupcakes to get me through it. So, I’ve decided to take baby steps to achieve my grand purge. Step #1 is to whittle down my physical TBR pile. I did a little math (not my strong suit – mind you – it hurt a lot) and determined that I own approximately 214 books that I have not yet read. THAT IS A LOT OF UNREAD BOOKS. And even creepier, it’s exactly half of my TBR list on Goodreads. It’s magic, I tell you. MAGIC!
So… the decision has been made. I’m doing this! Don’t get scared now, Kayla! The next step is to figure out HOW to do this. I have some thoughts, which I shall share with you now.
First thing is first, I NEED TO READ MORE, OBVIOUSLY. This is the obvious answer. But the not so obvious answer is how to do that. In my brainstorming, I have come up with some options, one of which is to quit my job and read full time, but my husband quickly dismissed that when I suggested it. So, here are my more realistic options that I don’t think my husband will shoot down:
- AUDIOBOOKS. There are so many things that I have to do throughout the day that is wasted time that could be filled with wonderful, wonderful stories. Mindless tasks like cleaning, cooking, getting ready for work, actually getting to work (ugh, work is the worst), etc. I WAS recently browsing the audiobook selection at my local library deciding what to check out next when I noticed that I was skipping over all of the books that I owned physical copies of. My reason? I already own it, I’ll get to it when I get to it, but WHAT ELSE CAN I GET MY HANDS ON THAT I DON’T HAVE YET? This made me realize that I am greedy. I want all the books, all of the time, nobody can stop me, and therefore my poor TBR pile suffers. Then I had an earth shatteringly brilliant idea. Even if I own a book, I can certainly get to it more quickly if I listen to an audiobook version of it instead of waiting to read the actual physical copy of the book, which I do much more slowly! This was quite a revelation for me. So – until my TBR pile is more managed, I am only going to request audiobook versions of books that I already own but have not read.
- KNOWING WHEN TO STOP. I am terrible at DNFing books. Like, the worst. I can count on one hand how many books I have not finished in my entire life. Just going to mention that I only have five fingers on each hand, so this isn’t some kind of trick statement. So, I need to get better at accepting when I am not into a book, and instead of struggling through it, just stopping and not wasting the time. I also need to get better at accepting when it’s just not the right time to read a book. I’m currently fighting my way through King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, and it’s taking me FOREVER, and it’s also causing me to not start other books because I just want to finish this one. I am a firm believer that for some books, there is a right time and a right place to read them, and I need to accept that more and put books aside when it just isn’t their time to be read.
Second thing, I THINK THAT I NEED TO ACCEPT THAT I AM JUST NOT INTERESTED IN ALL OF THE BOOKS THAT I OWN ANYMORE. This one I am really struggling with. I mean, how am I supposed to have a wonderful Belle-like library if I get rid of books?! Even if I don’t read them, they’ll fill in the bookshelves quite nicely, don’t you think? Ugh. Okay, I know! There is little sense in keeping a book just so it takes up space. Books are meant to be read and loved, not to fill in space (and that space could be filled by other books that ARE read and ARE loved). I need to accept that my reading preferences have evolved, fight back my separation anxiety and tears, and get rid of books that just don’t interest me anymore. This is going to be absolutely awful, but it has to be done.
So, that is my plan. It is my hope that writing this down will help to hold me accountable and that I’ll stop just thinking about doing this and actually get it done. I know that I’ll be happier when my TBR is a more manageable beast, and my books that survive the sacrifice will love me even more.
So what do you all think, any helpful tips or tricks for cutting down a TBR pile or list?