TBR Tear Down Challenge (2018)

You might have noticed me talking about a TBR Tear Down challenge (necessity!?) in my November and December wrap-ups. Or you might not, that’s alright. But the time has come for me to face the facts – my TBR is impossibly huge and while I’m glad I’ll never run out of books to read, I’d like to read the books I own before I die. So I’ve come up with a way to (I hope) focus on the books that have been gathering dust on my shelves the longest.

I’m calling it a TBR Tear Down because I imagine myself (in cartoon form, because that’s how I imagine a lot of things) literally tearing down this massive tower of books, tossing them aside and shoving them around until I can sit on a (somewhat) manageable stack. It was either that or call it the Holy Shit I Have THAT MANY Unread Books!? I Really Need To Fix This Problem challenge. That’s a bit wordy, even for me.

Note: If you’ve created a challenge with the same name, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to steal it – I did some Googling and didn’t find anything. If I missed yours, my bad! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yeah?

I know I’m not the only one with a massive pile of unread books sitting around the house. We’re all still out blithely shopping for books, pretending we don’t have some that have been on our shelves for years. But here’s the thing, my TBR pile has reached such a high number that it actually disturbs me. I joke that my TBR is sentient, but I almost feel as though that’s true. It has such a large presence and it’s constantly haunting and stressing me out, that it might as well actually be talking to me and following me around the house, chucking books at my head! I really don’t want to admit this, lest you all decide to take up arms and stone me for my greed and excess (because, as I said, I’m going to continue buying books), but I’m actually going to post the number of unread books that are currently in my home.

Ready?

Are you sure?

Because I’m not.

Ok, here it goes – 706

AHHH. AHHHHHHHHH. This is not an ok number! Granted, this is only (yes, I’m actually saying only) 35% of the books we have in the house and I consider anything above the 50% mark to be acceptable. But, my standards are probably crazy and of course, as the number of books we own grows, so does my TBR. And if you read my 2017 wrap up, you’ll know that I just purged some books and knocked quite a few off my TBR.

So, yes, friends, I have a problem. Hence why I came up with a way to force myself to focus on the older books we own. I’m so nuts about this that not only did I print out a list of my unread books sorted by when I logged them on LibraryThing (I didn’t sign up for the site until 2010 and I hate to admit that some of the ones that I logged then were likely unread for a year or more already), but I also dedicated a notebook to tracking my progress, as well as created a friggen Excel spreadsheet.

My guidelines were inspired by Lala and Dylan’s own TBR challenges because I liked that both of them were giving themselves ultimatums – read the books they’ve selected or get rid of them. I’m doing something similar.

My basic rules are that I’m picking 3-5 books per month (depends on the length of the books and if they’re part of a series) that I need to read or unhaul. There are stipulations (yes, I hear you groaning) however because some of the books I want to read belong to Sweetbeeps and he apparently never discards books, so if I don’t read those, I can’t get rid of them. There are also a few editions I’ve purchased specifically to collect (because they’re pretty!) and I’d like to read them, but if I don’t, I’m not getting rid of them. They’ll just come off the TBR permanently (these will likely all be classics or vintage books).

It gets tricky when I come upon a series, because sadly, many of mine are only partially read. I’m thinking that in pretty much every case I’ll have to start over. That’s obviously going to take more time, especially if it’s longer than a trilogy. In that case, I’ll have to start the first book that month, and hopefully the second. My goal is to read trilogies within two months, but I’m not sure what timeline I’ll give myself for a longer series (-stares pointedly at the 7 books remaining in the 15 book Deverry series-). I guess I’ll have to be flexible. But books from a series are the only ones I can transfer to the next month. I’m not giving myself any saves – read it or unhaul it. That’s that!

So, I’ll continue as I’ve been doing and just posting my little Tear Down charts at the end of my monthly wrap-ups so you can see how I’m doing (assuming you care, that is).

~

If you’d like to join me, feel free! Or if you’re doing a similar challenge, let me know! I have a feeling I’ll be making some tweaks and encountering some hurdles as I really get into this pile. I might need ideas! And if you think I’m insane for having so many unread books, I won’t disagree with you. Let me know if my number makes you feel better about yours though! At least I’ll know it was worth sharing. And please, PLEASE, let me know if your unread number is bigger than mine! 😀

16 thoughts on “TBR Tear Down Challenge (2018)

  1. psanchez820 says:

    Wow! I don’t have that many unread books (probably ~200 when I count both the Mexico and US libraries) but I would say that instead of feeling so stressed you could look at the 700 as friends who are looking forward to meeting you and getting you their stories. They aren’t going anywhere and have all the time in the world for you. The ones that have been there a while are sleeping but will be glad to wake up to meet you 😊 At least that’s the way I think about my books 🤣 Good luck!

    • Haha that’s a good outlook! I’d like to be able to meet them all, but if I keep buying books at the rate I do, that won’t happen. I am trying to slow down on buying too.

      • psanchez820 says:

        Me too! I’ve instituted a book buying ban at least until July! Let’s see how that goes 🤣🤣🤣 I need to figure out some incentive to keep that up 🤔

      • psanchez820 says:

        😱 ok definitely need to put down some rules for myself hahaha I can totally see myself doing that (I did buy seven on the last day before the ban started 🤣)

      • Yeah I’m not very good at listening to myself! Lol. Maybe a non book related reward system for each month or whatever you go without buying? I did make a spreadsheet to track my spending

  2. psanchez820 says:

    Yeah, that could totally work! I can take the money that I would spend on books (whenever I’m tempted) and put it towards my dance classes! 🤔💃Oooh spreadsheets, I love them but I’ve never done one for spending, I shall look into that too, thanks! 😄

  3. I don’t have quite that many unread books lying around! But I think it’s because I’ve already donated a fair amount of them. I just faced reality and figured it wasn’t worth keeping a bunch of books for twenty years hoping I’d get around to them one day!

  4. Ok… so I’ve got to ask. How many books do you own?!?!?! Are you telling me you own 2,000 books?! If so, can I get you to sign a statement that you own that many books so I can show my husband so he gets off my case?! lol In all seriousness, I wish you luck with your challenge this year… it seems you have a pretty big feat ahead of you 🙂

    • Haha yes, just about 2k. It’s insane! A chrome hundred came with my husband lol. Tell yours we’re certified hoarders! I mean, mostly it’s me but Sweetbeeps has accepted his fate.

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