Whether it’s an electronic list, or a physical pile, shelf, or bookcase, TBRs can occupy a big space in a reader’s life. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my TBRs, I have a serious problem. Not only have I reached the point where multiple bookcases are crammed full of books that I’ve bought and have not read, but I have dozens of unread eBooks across multiple apps on my iPad, a wish list on Amazon at least fifty books long, plus a list on my Goodreads account that I find myself adding to weekly. Considering the frequency with which people mention their TBRs on websites like Goodreads and Pinterest, I have a feeling that I’m not alone.
With all of the reading challenges, book recommendation lists, book blogs, and book box subscription clubs on the Internet, it’s actually not surprising that some of us are suffering from an overabundance of books that need to be read.
So how do we manage to get through those piles, preferably without driving ourselves crazy in the process? Here are four ideas that might help you out.
1. Do A Bookshelf Purge
I know that some of you will disagree with me, but I think there does come a time when you need to remove certain books from your home. Just for the record, I am not advocating that you get rid of all of your books and adopt a minimalist lifestyle. I certainly have no intention of doing so. If you want to keep all of your books, then you should keep all of your books.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to rethink holding on to some of those books you’ve never finished. You know the books I’m talking about… They’re the ones currently holding your favorite bookmarks hostage while they sit on their shelves and judge you for your life choices.
I’ve done several bookshelf purges over the years, all for different reasons, and they can be very tough. They can also be very necessary, especially if you are in the process of moving to a new home, or starting a new chapter of your life.
My last bookshelf purge took place over the summer. Most of the books I chose to get rid of were ones I’d bought for my classroom library, which I no longer needed after I made my decision to leave teaching. There were some books I chose to hold on to, mostly titles that had been mine since adolescence. Others I chose to keep in order to read them one more time prior to finding them a new home.
If you’re at the point where you feel like you might need to get rid of some books, there are several people on YouTube (as well as various book and organization bloggers) who have come up with some great questions and criteria to help you through the process. Here’s my own method for deciding whether or not I am going to keep a book…
2. Stop Buying Every Book That Catches Your Attention
If you want to make a dent in the number of unread books in your home, you’ve got to stop adding to them. Does this mean you can never buy a new book? Of course not. But maybe it’s time to be a little more selective about the books that you’re bringing into your home.
The next time a book catches your attention at a store, consider just making a note of the title instead of an impulse purchase. If you’re still interested in the book in a few days, you can always go back and pick up a copy. But if you decide that you’re really not interested after all, you’ve saved yourself from adding to your TBR pile…and you’ve saved yourself some money.
3. Give Audiobooks A Try
One of the complaints I’ve frequently heard from people is that they have trouble getting through their TBRs because they don’t have time to read. If you’re in a position where you have very little free time in which to sit down and pick up a book, an audiobook might be helpful to you.
The main benefit of listening to an audiobook is that you can enjoy the book in a hands-free way. If you’re good at dividing your attention, you could listen to a book while cooking, cleaning, or exercising. Audiobooks are also great during long commutes and road trips, and much more enjoyable than getting stuck listening to commercials on the radio.
4. Turn Off Your Electronics A Little Earlier At Night, and Read
We’ve all seen research suggesting that we could get a better night’s sleep if we would commit to turning off our electronic devices even half an hour before going to bed, but how many of us actually follow that suggestion?
Rather than spending our last thirty minutes before bed checking Twitter and wasting time on Pinterest, we could use that time to read a book from our TBR pile.
Now I will be the first to admit that reading before bed can be a risky proposition. There have been many nights when my desire to finish a book has overridden my common sense, resulting in very little sleep and a lack of energy at work the following day. But if you can practice more self-control than me, reading before bed is a great way to unwind at the end of the day. It will also help you start making a dent in your stack of unread books.
Here’s a little TBR challenge for you over the coming week… Take some time to look at the unread books you have in your home (or the books on your TBR list), and choose one title that stands out to you. Make a commitment to begin reading that book this week, with the goal of finishing it in a reasonable amount of time.
If you’d like to share your TBR progress with me this week, please feel free to comment on this post, or follow me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.