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.
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! 😀