Reading Down the TBR: Maybe Zero?

I recently saw a video by Amanda from Amanda Center on YouTube, in which she discusses her plans to read down her owned TBR books to zero or under 10.  I am on a similar track, although my TBR wasn’t as large, but I don’t like having lots of books hanging over me, reminding me that I need to make time to get to them.  I also have realized, that cheesy as it sounds, I feel like my books are like my friends, familiar faces who make me feel good.  Unread books that hang around feel like strangers who I never get to know.  Anyway, I didn’t realize this until Amanda’s video, but I have a few things I’m doing to keep myself on track for reading down my TBR.

1. I try to treat my public library like the bookstore, so I spent a lot of time browsing the physical library and the website to get my hauling urge met. And I stay out of the bookstores. The library is my only. 🙂

2. I made smaller goals rather than just the whole book pile. Over the summer I wanted to read half of my ebooks (9) and half of my physical books (11) and hit that goal! Now, to the other half!

3. I also made smaller reading shelves for myself, like choosing 6 books to set on my nightstand and pick from those while focusing on the owned books.  It keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

4. I get audiobooks from the library for books that I had on my TBR to help me keep going on books I owned with the immediacy of the library due dates to help me prioritize.

5. I am mostly trying not to start new series or authors that will commit me to a big reading wormhole. My library account has a “for later” list and I put books that I’d like to try there, so that I have a record of them, but I don’t need to get grabby hands on them asap.  I have been allowing myself to get excited about new releases, and maybe purchase some of them (for example, to read on my flight in August), but nothing that isn’t tried and true.

6. I have come to realize that I don’t really like a lot of the books that I buy without enough info (like Kindle Daily Deals), so it’s not worth it for me to buy those unless I KNOW that I want to read that book. When I want to hit the “purchase” button, I now pause and think ‘is this going to be another dud?’ And ‘if the library has it, don’t buy it. If it’s not right for me, then I’ll just return it asap.”

7. I have a list of book acquisitions for each month, and I mark which ones are unread, trying to note the older ones and the shorter ones to put my emphasis there.

8. I also started a new place for the small number of books I have acquired over the summer so that I can just work on the shelves I have committed to, rather than constantly struggling against acquiring and an ever-growing and ever-shrinking TBR.

9. I am totally into the read within a month idea, which Amanda and her inspiration video by Sophie of Portal in the Pages mention. I don’t do that all the time, but it definitely keeps my excitement up for my books and keeps me from feeling snowed under.

10. And I am an avid DNFer.  Life is too short to read ‘bad’ books.  Or at least ones that don’t work for me.  I don’t get as much reading time as I want, so my reading time is too precious for slogging through boring/upsetting books.  I think I’m also pretty good and working out my preferences and writing tropes to tell if a book is worth it for me to keep going or DNF.  Librarian celeb Nancy Pearl has recommended that readers DNF books they aren’t feeling with a numeric equation that always makes me laugh.  If you are under 50, give a book 50 pages.  If you are over 50, subtract [reader’s age] from 100 = number of pages reader should give a book to win them over.  So, if you are 97, that book only has 3 pages to wow you or you toss it aside.

All in all, it’s working for me.  My TBR is looking nice and petite–just in time for the holidays. 😉


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