Every year, I consider joining Adam’s TBR Pile Challenge, and every year, I realize that I can’t. I don’t qualify for it, and haven’t in many years. Back in spring 2011, I whittled both my virtual and physical TBR pile down to zero. Yes, zero. As in absolutely no books on my to-be-read list. I owned no books I hadn’t read. My goodreads to-read list was 100% empty.
In the years since, I have of course added books, but the thing is, I like my TBR to be as near to zero as possible. With the exception of a few authors I trust implicitly, I no longer buy books I haven’t read, choosing to read them from the library first. When a book gets my attention, I preview it before adding it to a virtual TBR. Once a book is on the TBR, I get to it pretty quickly, because I no longer have a huge backlog of books vying for attention. I love this, and have no intentions to change going forward. However, this means that I can’t join Adam’s challenge, because I literally only have three books on my physical shelf that I’ve owned longer than a year (all acquired in December 2013) and only one additional published-before-2014 book that has been on my virtual shelf for longer than a year (also since December 2013).
In 2015, however, my TBR pile (both physical and virtual) is going to be top priority. Going into 2014, I had three unread books on my shelves (the same three I mentioned above), and other than them, no published books on my virtual TBR. I have been slacking this year! There are currently nine unread books on my shelves, eight new audiobooks in my queue, four published books on my virtual TBR, and another 31 published books on my to-investigate list (only half of which were on there prior to December 2014). This is unacceptably high! I don’t want to end up with a huge TBR pile again, so whittling down both my virtual, physical, and investigatory backlog takes precedence this year.
Below are the nine owned-and-unread books on my physical bookshelves, in the order that I acquired them:
1 & 2. A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin – Jason gave me this series in mid-Dec 2013. I’d planned on reading all five books in 2014. Then I got to the third one and didn’t enjoy it very much, so I’ve avoided the next two. I may or may not decide to abandon the series and just donate them…
3. Cold Magic by Kate Elliott – This was a random grab when Jason and I visited a bookstore on our anniversary in December 2013. I previewed the first chapter or two at the store and enjoyed it, and so broke my rule of reading from the library before buying. Hopefully I end up liking it!
4. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – I don’t know what’s wrong with me! This came out in early 2014. I acquired it in the spring – Sanderson is one author I trust implicitly – but I just never got around to reading it. Probably because it’s gigantic.
5. The Naming by Alison Croggon – This summer I went to a new-to-me used bookstore with my friend Stephanie. I don’t mind so much picking up cheap used books to try before reading from the library, and this one looked interesting.
6. Shelley’s Poetry and Prose – Technically, this one has been on my shelves for several years, but it was Jason’s, a book I gave him several years back. He was going to donate it this summer when we were streamlining to move cross-country, so I decided to keep it. We might try reading from it together.
7. Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor – This is another one I don’t blame myself for. It literally cost me fifty cents at a library sale, and I’ve loved some of the author’s other books.
8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories by Rae Carson – My sister gave me this collection of novellas for Christmas! It goes along with one of my favorite trilogies of last year. I can’t wait to read it!
9. S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst – My friend Stephanie (referenced above) sent me this one for Christmas! It’s a multi-layered, interactive book that looks fascinating – and once I read it, it will become the second single-letter book title on my read-and-reviewed list. 😀
Have you read any of these? Which do you recommend me tackling first?
Wow, Amanda. I would love your tbr piles. 🙂 My virtual tbr pile is in the thousands while my physical is in the mid-300s. I started S last year but had to return it to the library unfinished. It’s a book that you will have to take your time with. Good luck on getting everything read.
My TBR grew up to about 400 virtual and 250 on my shelves at one point, maybe mid-2010, and I had a complete freak out. I felt paralyzed by it, and so got VERY aggressive with culling, heh.
Your ability to keep the TBR manageable is astonishing. I don’t think I could list all of my unread books on the shelves if I had a whole day to do so. It’s a bit disgusting and remarkably overwhelming. I really need to follow your example, but it’s gotten so far out of control, I’m not even sure how to go about correcting the issue.
I got to the overwhelming point at one point, and that’s when I aggressively culled. Sometimes I wonder if I lost some gems in all that culling. Most of the time, I don’t care…
We’re total opposites…I have almost no books on the shelves that I HAVE read. When I moved, I got read of almost everything I had already read. I have an embarrassing number of TBRs.
You’re not a rereader though right? I love rereading, so the only things I keep are books I want to reread or have often reread. The library has plenty of the rest of everything else. 😀
I can’t imagine not having any unread books in the house. While I wish I didn’t have quite so many, I do love knowing that I have all that unexplored bookish goodness waiting for me whenever I am ready.
Have fun emptying your bookshelves of unread books!
That’s how I feel about the library! I love the unexplored goodness. I just don’t like it on my shelves because what if I wasted my money on it because it turns out to be unexplored awfulness, haha!
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I started S when I got it last year, but just didn’t have the time to really get into it. I am hoping to read it this year… We actually have two copies. lol Lorrie, who does not read, bought a second copy and it is still in the plastic wrap as a decorative piece.
Oh that’s funny – I can see how it would be a good decorative piece!
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