May 15, 2011

TBR Reduction and Work

My TBR (to-be-read) shelf has gotten out of hand. A few weeks ago I counted 27 unread books. That might not sound like a lot - I've heard others say their TBR pile ranges upward of a hundred - but to me it's too much. I don't like a lot of clutter and I don't like to leave books unread. Some of these books are ones I've had for ages and haven't found the time or sufficient interest to read. Others were gifts that weren't quite to my taste, but I hold onto them because I would feel guilty not reading something a friend gave me. There are the ones I bought at library book sales for a quarter and feel like I should keep because they were such a deal. And then there is the massive The Memoirs of Cleopatra, a historical novel by Margaret George that I have had for at least eight years. It's just so long!

So. In the interest of saving space and saving money, I've decided to really commit to reading these books. I'm aiming to get my TBR shelf to the point at which it no longer needs its own shelf. Ideally, I would like to get it down to four or five books that I could keep on my desk. So far I'm making some progress - after finishing The Last Brother, The Elephanta Suite and Blink, the shelf is down to 22. I don't plan to buy any new books until I make some more progress, though I am allowing myself to take out library books.

I've been struggling to read as much as I usually do, since I've just started a second job. I'm still full-time at the bookstore where I work, but now I'm working part-time at a consulting firm as well. It's exciting and challenging, but I definitely don't have as much free time.

I do have today off, though, so back to reading!


  1. My TBR shelves (between the physical one and my "stack" of ebooks from B&N, Gutenberg, and the library) are utterly unmanageable at this point. I don't even know what books I have access to anymore!

    I remember back in January how my goal was to read through and audit (keep/donate/give away) my TBR pile as it stood on 01/01. Looking at what I've read this year, I've only read one book from that TBR pile. (Well, not even--it was one of the 4 collections in *The Collected Works of Lydia Davis*!)

    I think that I am going to give my TBR pile some Very Serious Thought during the few days before I start grad school--there are definitely books in it that I'm dying to read, but also some books that I could probably give away/donate if I didn't like the first 50 pages.

    Well, either that or I'm going to relax, since I'll probably have to do a lot of reading this summer!

  2. Erm...yeah, I just did a TBR count last week and it was around 150. I just kind books, then go to the library and read books from there instead of the ones I own. So only having 22 left is very admirable indeed!

  3. Eileen, I'll definitely be donating a few of the books on my TBR, too. If I haven't read it in more than two years, what are the chances I ever will? 50 pages sounds like a good threshold for deciding to finish a book or cast it aside. I have major issues with book abandonment, though...

    Alice, my 22 seems pretty puny now! I must have better self-control than I think. Thanks for stopping by!


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