Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reading My Own Dang Shelves

Ahhh, the infinite struggle of every blogger I know. To read the books on our own shelves rather than falling prey to the pretty strumpety books that come in as ARCs or that we get a wild hair to buy and gulp down.

As I'm writing this post, I've read 53 books in 2013, and 13 (actually, 11 plus 2 DNFs) of those books were titles that had been on my shelves for more than one year. You see, I consider those shelf-sitters 1+ year old to be established residents of the TBR. If they've made it to my bedroom bookshelves they might as well be fixtures. This is where the big TBR lives. The one I don't pull from NEARLY enough.

I'm looking guiltily at you, TBR.
The other 42 books I've read this year have come from downloads, gifts, the library, ARCs, etc. I went through a streak earlier in the year when I was reading more new release and ARCs than I usually do, but that seems to be trailing off again. Free ranging reading! Tally-ho!

The books I have read from my shelves this year have been amazing. Lots of 4- and 5-star reads. I'm not really surprised at this since the books that live on my TBR are books I was genuinely excited to read at some point. And the ones that are really old have survived a lot of culling over the years, so I REALLY need to give them a fair shot to win me over.

While I'll be including several TBR hangers-on in my upcoming Fall TBR post, here are some of the others I'm excited to jump into in the coming year. I'm going to put more of an emphasis on enjoying the books I already own than ever before.


 



Which books on your TBR have sat for far too long and really deserve a shot at love? 



55 comments:

  1. I'm dedicating December to my TBR shelf. I figure I should clean it up before Christmas arrives with more books to fill it. And I don't have any ARCs lined up for December yet!

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    1. That's a great idea. I always have a few newbies that sneak into the stacks. Usually a book club pick and something else, but I've been considering doing a TBR month as well. At the rate I'm going, I could potentially knock 8-12 books off the stacks in a month. Woot!

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  2. I had to move at the start of the year, and that led to major culling, but I still have overflowing TBR shelves (and I do keep adding to them as well). But like you say, I was excited to read them at some point - and I thought they were worth moving, so I do want to try them (at least the 50-page test). My goal for the rest of the year is to read at least half from the TBR shelves. So far, so good.

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    1. Oh I can imagine. If I had to move again (when I have to move again), I will definitely be culling. Or hopefully I will have culled already.

      Good luck with your goal for the rest of the year!

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  3. Okay, now I'm depressed. :P I thought I'd been doing really well at reading my shelves this year, but when I just went and counted only slightly more than 1/3 of the books I've read have been sitting on my shelves for a year or more. I would have guessed it was more like 2/3. If not for your post, I could have gone on living in my little fantasy world. :P

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    1. Right??? I thought I was doing better than I actually was, too!

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  4. Back in 2010 and the spring of 2011, I worked very hard to zero out my physical and virtual TBR. I ruthlessly donated any physical TBR book that didn't catch my attention in the first 20 pages (sometimes even less). I read snippets of my virtual TBR through google's preview whenever possible, and ordered tons of books from the library to give them the 20-page test as well. In about 15 months, I went from having maybe 400 TBR books to having none. I felt so free when I was done. Since then, I've gotten all books from the library, only buying after I've read a book (or, in very rare cases, when I know I love the author or need a series book that has just come out). I have a short TBR list now on Goodreads - mostly series book reminders and a few others that are on there because I have yet to be able to get ahold of them through the library and don't want to forget - but it's under 20 and most of the books on it aren't released yet, so it's manageable. I feel SO MUCH BETTER living TBR-free. It's the best thing I've ever done for my reading! :)

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    1. You rock, Amanda. I'm getting to the point that it's much harder to choose what to read with a huge TBR looming over me, so there may be some drastic measures in order soon.

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  5. I don't even want to think about the books that have been on my TBR too long. It's rather embarrassing.

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    1. Mine are embarrassing too. I do feel good that I've started tackling them, though. More soon!

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    2. I made a spreadsheet of all my TBR books. For all of the oldest, I highlighted them in gold. I have gone 425 to 372 in seven months but have been receivig about five or six a month to review. I am working hard but it seems like a loosing game!

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  6. Man oh man, I could have written this post. I blame all of my book buying on the fact that I didn't buy more than 5-10 books in the second half of 2012. I just really over-compensated and forgot about all my already owned lovelies. I, too, have that dreaded bookshelf in my house with all the longest existing TBR books. Will I ever get to them all? Who knows. But I do like being able to 'shop' on my own shelves!

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    1. That could do it. Once you go through the drought you wanna make up for it. Or I do, anyway. I don't even shop from my shelves enough. The shopping changes NOW!

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  7. Oh, wow. A Fine Balance has spent waaay too long. It makes me wonder if I even have it anymore. I will pay attention to see if you love it before I consider digging it out.

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    1. I'll keep you posted, Nicole! So many great books. I think. I hope.

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  8. I have several that I bought that have sat for over two years! I have the John Irving... In One Person. HAD to buy it in hardcover and it still sits. I bought The Story of a Marriage when the author came to speak and I think that was THREE years ago. It still sits. I have two Murakami's. TWO! I love me some Murakami but I feel like I need the right time to read them. Yep, for that reason I really don't buy books anymore, but I will probably buy Doctor Sleep because, how can I not?

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    1. LOL, I have the Irving one, too. I won my copy, but same concept. It's still been sitting for a LONG time.

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  9. What?! When She Woke and Ready Player One are still on your TBR shelf?! DO I get a vote - read them ASAP :-)

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    1. YES!!! Isn't that nutty? I even met the author of Ready Player One and I STILL HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK! Ugh!

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  10. Ah, yes. I need to do a major clean-up of books in my TBR piles. Many piles. One closet full. I have too many books and although I try and shop my own shelves as much as possible, I'm a mood reader...so books I was SUPER OMG! EXCITED! for when I bought them on the day they came out? Might not get read until I'm in the right head space to read them. I got so behind on reading because I was overwhelmed by the selection I had staring me in the face. I need to weed through the books in the house (this includes the books I have read) and find them new, loving homes. Oddly, I get really anxious about this because I don't like to let go of books. I'm a book hoarder. Must work on this before the end of the year!

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    1. Yes, my piles have begun to spread. I have a big set of shelves in the bedroom (pictured) a couple of small ones in the living room, and they're on top of my entertainment center. Oy! I often get overwhelmed by the selection. All the more reason to cull a bit more. I'll be working on it right there with ya!

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  11. Man, I've gotten so bad about reading the books that have been lingering on my shelves for way too long. I'm definitely guilty of picking up the newest books on the scene rather than the old fixtures -- but I'm trying to get better!

    Since I'll be moving in less than a month and definitely do not want to carry all the books currently on my shelves up two flights of stairs, I'm sure I'll be going through the stacks and prepping to make a rather large donation to the library for their used book sale.

    It pains me, but not as much as it would pain me to lug up all those hardcovers.

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    1. Yeah, I don't blame you. David has tons of books and I have no idea where we're gonna put them. I suspect he'll get rid of quite a few to keep from having to move them. lol

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  12. I am currently working on my bed side pile too. There are books there that have been there for over a year and I hope to get most of it out of the way by the end of my vacation. Good luck with your reading!

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    1. I keep my bedside pile down pretty well, or maybe they just shift to the bedroom TBR, in which case I'm not making any progress at all. LOL

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  13. My role model is Amanda from above . I want my TBR pile to be cleaned up too, and all read . It'd be such a good feeling to get just a few library books at a time. Read them, take them back, and get a few more . Right now all my books are on my Kindles . It really bothers me to see huge piles of books sitting here looking at me, waiting for their turn. It's easier to ignore them on my Kindle ,but let's just say I probably have enough on there to last me at least 3 years .
    One last remark -- read A Fine Balance . SO good . It breaks your heart , but you learn so many things . How precious life is, how good we have it compared to some others and how to appreciate what we have . It's like climbing a HUGE MOUNTAIN in your bare feet. It hurts like heck, but you forget the pain when you complete the journey . An unforgettable book .

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    1. Amanda is awesome! And I do the same with my Nook. It definitely helps keep the piles down, but I have PLENTY of books to last for eons.

      And I'm so glad you had good things to say about A Fine Balance. That one intimidates me for some reason.

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  14. I was just talking to my husband about how December is going to be my month of catch up shelf reading. No galley reading allowed! I'm so curious what you'll think of Ready Player One - it's one of my faves!

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    1. That's awesome! I bet you'll make really good headway. I always feel like a bum when I run across a book that's been languishing on my shelves and I love it. I feel guilty that it had to sit so long (as if the book cared). lol

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  15. I have a stay-cation coming up, and I only plan on reading books from my personal library. I've pulled out Life After Life, City of Women, and The Importance of Being Emma...hope I can read more than that, though. Glad you were able to make a dent in your TBR!

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    1. That sounds heavenly!!! I hope you like all of the books you've chosen for your staycation!

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  16. Hahahaha, shiny new books aren't strumpets! But yes, this is a tricky thing, and I'm working very hard to read down my TBR pile. I've made major inroads over the past few months--I'm down to one large shelf now and I just finished another one today.

    (Getting it down to one large shelf isn't as impressive as it would be from another blogger, though! I don't buy nearly as many books as a lot of people do, because I don't have any storage space in my very wee apartment. :p)

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    1. They are a little strumpety. Come on. lol

      That's amazing that you've made so much headway on your own stacks. Very impressive! I hope I can say that this time next year.

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  17. Bwahahahahahahaha! You said "strumpety." I love you so freaking much!

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    1. I did! I couldn't help myself. It just seemed fitting.

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  18. Some of the books on my TBR shelves go back to 2010! I have culled and culled and culled. I stopped buying any books. I slipped last February and bought two but that was for the full year. Now I am trying not to enter any giveaways unless I really, really want the book. My 2010s are slowly dwindling but I am reading so much. I read about 120 to 130 books a year and it seems like I am reading all the time.

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    1. Ohhh, mine go back further than that, I'm sorry to say. lol It's amazing how quickly they can all pile up and how much longer it takes to clear them out.

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  19. I've decided to let the TBR guilt go. I am completely cool with owning many unread books and have accepted that I will never be in a position where I have read everything I own. But that's OK because the unread books still say something about me and my interests, and so I'm fine with it.

    I would like to read more of them though!

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    1. I don't have guilt so much as see a light at the end of the tunnel! Because I've been reading so much more these last three months or so, and because I've done some culling, I see a legitimate chance to get to some of those books I've been neglecting. It feels good to have a motivation that's not totally guilt driven. lol

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  20. Oh yay, I loved The Year of Living Biblically! I think you'll enjoy it. :)

    I went through this HUGE book purge about 3 years ago, and my actual shelves have been pretty okay. Very, very few titles unread on it. My Nook, on the other hand... whole different story, but at least it isn't cluttering up the place, ha!

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    1. I read part if it, and it's a hoot. Really need to get back to it.

      My purge happened about 2 years ago, and it's actually been a good thing since I felt less overwhelmed with less books. Now I just need to KEEP whittling them down.

      My Nook is also quite "crowded." lol

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  21. I've meant to be doing this this year, but my new book store has book clubs, and I've been finding myself reading those more than the shelf sitters. Or rereading some, although some of those are audios, so that doesn't county, right? I'm going to skip out on one of the three book clubs next month so I can do this.

    And we'll not talk about how long some of these have been sitting on the shelf. I've cleared some out, but others I'm still determined to get through.

    I loved When She Woke and Ready Player One. Hope you enjoy those, too.

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    1. Ooh, yes, I let myself off the hook for book club purchases, but I can only swing one book club at a time. Anything more would totally overwhelm me.

      So glad you liked Ready Player One and When She Woke! Looking forward to them.

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  22. I couldn't have sworn I commented on this post! Maybe we just chatted on Twitter... anyway. Yes, this is me. The last time I counted (awhile ago), I had enough books unread in my house to keep me reading for 2.5 years. 2.5 years! That's insane.

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    1. I think it was Twitter, but I'm glad you decided to comment! :) I'm sure I have more than enough to last me that long. If I got down to 50 unread books (a year) I'd be thrilled.

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  23. The Year of Living Biblically and When She Woke are both on my shelves too! I do the exact same thing that you do :(.
    I tend to pass up things I already own for things that are not out yet, or are suddenly (and randomly) of more interest to me. You made a great point when you said that you probably have a ton of wonderful books on those shelves and I completely agree. I bet I have a ton of fantastic stories just waiting.. if I only I picked them up!
    Love this post :).

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    1. It's an illness. lol

      Those new books are such little trollops. Even just new-to-me books. Ugh!

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  24. I really want to make more of a point to do this, too. Of course, I say that every year at the beginning of the year and even try to build my challenge lists around the books I already have. I've had some luck this year with picking up the audio copy of books that have been on my shelves and knocking them off by listening to them. Trying to work my RIP VIII books mostly off the shelves!

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    1. I stopped saying it the last few years, but now I really want to. I feel like if I can work through some small lists it won't be as overwhelming as trying to tackle the whole thing at once. We'll see!

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  25. I think I need a Read My Own Dang Shelves Challenge! I almost never pick up my own books. . . why even acquire them? I need to cut myself off occasionally and get some of my own book reading done!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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    1. Ha! It makes a catch name, right?

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  26. So guilty. And it's not ARCs in my case. It's the shiny, new ones that get in the way. Too much of a good thing? The Year of Living Biblically is on my shelf too.

    Yep, I'm a book slut too. :-D

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  27. Ready Player One and The Year of Living Biblically are SO GOOD. I hope you enjoy them!

    If it's any comfort, I definitely have at least 400 unread books on my shelves... I really need to get better at reading the books I own instead of borrowing from the library or buying new ones :/

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  28. My TBR "shelf" is comprised of a handful of physical books and a bunch of e-books. I'm finding that it's easier to let the TBR pile get away from you with e-books; they're not sitting there, clearly visible, reminding you that you need to read them because they're taking up valuable real estate on the shelves.

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  29. Way too many books on my shelves. It's hard to find a balance, especially now that I'm reading less.

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