2017 Reading Plans and The State of My TBR

the-state-of-my

I’ve been pondering on whether to write a blog post on the subject of the size of my TBR, and my attempts to reduce it, but I’ve always been too ashamed to admit to how many books I own that I haven’t read yet. The new year seems a good time to put it out there once and for all so that I can then add a small update about the state of my TBR to my weekly or monthly wrap-ups, which I hope will keep spurring me on to focus on reading the books I already own.

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My Goodreads TBR as of late summer 2016

 

 

So, before I go into that fully I should make clear that last summer when I was in the midst of my horrible reading slump, I took some time to go through all of my print and ebooks to really think about whether I still even wanted to read them. This led to me donating a lot of books to charity, and to me permanently deleting some ebooks. I wanted to be really ruthless and just be honest with myself about my books. The above photo was takenΒ before I started deleting the books I’d got rid of from my Goodreads account. I then got rid of around 3000 (yes, that does say three thousand) books from my TBR.

That left me with my current TBR which at this moment in time consists entirely of books that I still really want to read, including the review books I’ve received. So my TBR as of 1st January stood at 1879 books (print, ebooks and audiobooks combined). I’ve since been sent one book for review, and I bought five Kindle books in the recent sale (which you can read about in my Stacking the Shelves post).

goodreads-tbr-jan-2017

My Goodreads TBR as of 8 Jan 2017

 

I did read 211 books last year so if I keep reading at that rate it will take me around nine years to read my TBR as it stands right now. So I’m aware that I will need to curb my book buying as much as I can, and that I’ll also need to regularly look through my books to get rid of anything that I no longer want to read.

goodread-2016-reading-challenge

I realised quite a few things about how my reading tastes have changed whilst struggling through my reading slump last year. I re-discovered my love of non-fiction and so this year I want to really make an effort to read some of the non-fiction books that have been languishing on my shelves for years now.

Through doing myΒ Reading Bingo post last week I was able to really reflect and take note of how my reading went in 2016 and was shocked to realise that I didn’t read a single classic book and I only read one book that was first published more than twenty years ago. I do have quite a lot of classics on my TBR so I want to read at least some of them this year.

So, everything has come together to make me realise that I need to spend more time reading the books I already own, and that I need to be more aware of my reading. I want to make time to read some books that really challenge me, that make me think, that maybe require a bit more research to get the most out of them. One challenge I’ve decided to do this year is the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, which is a list of 24 challenges to try to get people reading more widely and reading more difficult books (if you want to join in with that you can read about it on Book Riot’s website). My TBR does consist of a real mix of genres so just by reading the books I already own will push me out of the comfort zone that I got into last year.

I will, of course, still be reading some new releases and will still be accepting some review books as I very much enjoy reading new books. I just want to read a wider variety of books this year and to push myself a little in what I’m reading.

 

So in summary:

My current TBR is (as of 8 Jan 2017): 1885

This is made up of :-

Print books: 181

eBooks: 1590

audiobooks: 108

(The numbers won’t quite add up as some books I own copies in more than one format. e.g. I sometimes buy the audible book when I get the ebook and then I list it in bothΒ categories etc but they only show in the ‘to read’ section once so the overall number is definitely correct.)


 

Have you made any reading resolutions or goals for this year? Have you dared work out the size of your TBR? Please share your goals and challenges for 2017 in the comments. Also, if you have any advice for keeping me on track to read my own books, please share them with me.

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80 thoughts on “2017 Reading Plans and The State of My TBR

    • I’m glad it made you feel better about your TBR. I’ve always felt embarrassed about posting about the amount of unread books I own but I feel better now I’ve done it. I’m hoping it will keep me motivated to read my own books rather than constantly looking to buy and read new ones.

      • It’s why I’m self banned from Netgalley – I MUST not take on any more until I’ve read some of the ones I have already – especially those sent to me by authors directly as I know how muh they want reviews.

        • I only request NG books that I want to read right away, and I never let myself have more than ten on my NG shelf at a time. I was out of control on NG for a while and once I got about caught up I was determined to not let it happen again. I do have quite a lot of review books that I’ve been sent in the post so am working through them. I’m not accepting many books anymore though as I just end up feeling too stressed and pressured. I hope you manage to get through the review books this year and that you can get caught up.

  1. You do know that you’ve just made me feel better about my own TBR, don’t you? Mind you, I don’t quite have your reading speed either (although, with 175 books per year in 2016, I’m no slouch). Wishing you luck with your endeavours!

  2. Wow. I was paranoid at 215. Good luck. I think you clearly read more quickly than me but wowsers. I’ve only been reading again for a couple of years though so give me time I’m sure my TBR will look similar πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, I think I may need the luck! I’ve been so embarrassed to admit to the size of my TBR but now it’s done I feel better, and knowing that everyone knows means I’ll be motivated to get the number down (hopefully!). My books have been accumulating since forever – I have had a few huge clear outs in recent years so my TBR is the lowest it’s been in a very long time but it’s still way bigger than it needs to be.

  3. If it makes you feel any better I have 2,212 books to read and I think they will take me around 18 years to read as you read almost twice as many as me last year. My only reading resolution is to try and read more books by publication date. Apart from that I’m not hurting anybody by having lots of books!

    • Wow! It’s good to know I’m not the only one with a huge TBR mountain. I’m also trying to read review books by publication date, it’s a good resolution to have. I think I’ll always have loads of books, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. I think I’ve just reached that tipping point where instead of worrying about running out of things to read, I worry about running out of time to read all the books that I want to.

  4. I’ve kept my tbr list to under 200. Any moire than that and I think it both becomes unobtainable and even stressful. When the goal becomes to read more books to reduce the tbr list don’t we risk losing something of the spontaneity of reading?

    I can’t imagine how you read 211 books. I am in awe of that. I usually read 40-50 (reduced since I launched Devon Book Club as I now spend a lot more time talking about books with others, though I loive that social aspect of what is otherwise an individual pastime).

    My own reading challenge is to read a new author for each letter of the alphabet every year. This introduces me to new writers and keeps me from being stuck in a reading rut. This year I’m going to do that for Devon-based authors.

    I live your blog. Thanks for all your interesting posts

    • After my reading slump last summer I stopped reading to order and began reading whatever I was in the mood for. I actually got a lot of joy from going through my own books and just picking at random so challenging myself to reduce my TBR is making me more spontaneous in my reading. I’ve naturally always been a fast reader and I spend all of my spare time reading so I get through a lot of books. As I said in my post, I’ve got in a bit of a rut though so want to make sure I read some more challenging books this year, which I think will be good for me.
      Your reading challenge is a great one, I really like that idea. Good luck on reading your way through the alphabet of Devon-based writers. I’ll look out for updates on how you’re getting on.
      Thank you for the compliment about my blog, I really appreciate it.

  5. Your pain is my pain πŸ˜‰ I understand completely. In fact my overwhelming TBR pile was partly responsible for my book slump and blog hiatus but I now have the view that I will read what I want when I want. Good luck πŸ€

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one, although I’m sorry you’ve been in a similar place. I was the same last summer – the pile of review books that I had to read before I could get to my own books just got to me and I ended up in a slump for about three months. Once I got back to reading again I vowed to only accept review books if it was something I really wanted to read soon. It was lovely reading my own books again and I don’t want to stop that. Hopefully we can both read lots of books as and when we want to this year. πŸ™‚

  6. I don’t think you should feel guilty about having a large TBR. Think of it this way, you have found hundreds of books you believe might be wonderful, you’ve put money in the hands of many authors and supported a culturally enriching occupation. But working your way through your pile will probably give you a great sense of satisfaction.

    • Thank you – I really like your take on it. πŸ™‚ I don’t feel guilt so much as I just wish I’d not let my TBR get so big. I’m looking forward to reading my way through the books I already own though and making time to read the more challenging books, and the bigger books that have been on my shelves unread for years and years. I’ll still be buying some new books but ultimately I would like to get to the end of this year with fewer books than I have now.

  7. Wow that’s a lot of books! I don’t read that many though, I’m a slow reader. I thought my TBR was big πŸ˜‚ My stats are –
    Physical 112
    Ebook 38
    Netgalley ebooks 39
    Physical ARC 10
    But I’ve not gone through them to make sure that’s correct that’s just what Goodreads is telling me.
    I go through my bookshelves regularly.
    Do you know how to delete ones if your Netgalley that you don’t think you’ll read? I went through a phase of reqsting loads when I first discovered Netgalley and I don’t think I’ll read some of them :/
    Good luck with your TBR πŸ™‚

    • I know, it’s a huge amount of books. Thanks for sharing your stats too, it’s interesting to hear about other people’s TBRs. I hope you manage to get through some of your TBR books this year too.
      I don’t think you can delete books from NetGalley. If you know you’re not going to be able to read a book then I’d go to the feedback section for that book and put a note to the publisher (not the review bit) explaining the situation. I think this would then take the book off your shelf. I hope that helps. x

        • I’m sure that publishers will understand if you explain. We’ve all been there – I downloaded so many books from NG when I first started blogging and it took me absolutely ages to read and review them. There has been a handful of times where I wasn’t enjoying a book so I left feedback for the publisher on NG apologising for why I wouldn’t be able to finish and review a book and they’ve always been fine about it. Now I only request books that I really want to read right away and I never have more than ten unread on NG at any one time. I hope you get it sorted. x

  8. What a thoughtful and interesting post! I like the way you’ve reflected so carefully on your reading. And I agree, too, about the value of reading books you already own. I need to do that, too!

    • Thank you. I feel really focused on reading the books I already own now and hope I can stick to it. I want to get to a place where my TBR is more manageable but also where I can buy a new book, read it straight away and then see where it leads me. I hope you manage to read some of the books you already own this year too.

  9. I did some skimming of my goodreads shelf as well. I think one thing I need to do is decrease my net galley requesting which I’m working on:) I also have many books that aren’t new releases that I want to read so that’s a goal for sure. Good luck on your resolutions for 2017!!

    • I stopped requesting so many books on NetGalley last year and I’ve managed to stick to it. My rule is that I can only request a book that I really want to read, and also that I’m not allowed to have more than ten unread books on there at once. It’s not always easy to resist the books but it does feel better not to have the pressure of lots of books waiting to be read and reviewed. I hope you manage to read some of the older books you have this year. Good luck with your plans for this year. πŸ™‚

  10. That’s remarkable. I’m impressed you could unload so many. I have no idea how many books I have languishing in my house and on my kindle, but for some reason it makes me feel good to know I’ll always have a book available. Whenever I bring home a new book my husband says, “and now you should get rid of one.” I assure him that I will, but I don’t. He has no idea how many I’ve got on my kindle. I think kindle has made me a book hoarder. There are book shelves in every room in my house- including built-in bookshelves in the bathrooms (which my husband built back before he realized I had a book problem). My dream is to someday move to a house where I can have a library. No shame in surrounding yourself in books – Hayley. Read on.

    • I’ve always had the fear of running out of things to read so I’ve loved the idea of surrounding myself with loads of books but I feel like I’ve reached that tipping point where now I worry that I’ll run out of time before I’ve read all the books that I want to read. I’m sure I will always have lots of books around me waiting to be read but I’d like to have more freedom to buy a new book and be able to read it right away and to see where it leads me. I do have large culls of my books from time to time – it was awful the first time I did it, it felt like I couldn’t get rid of anything but now I love the idea of having all of my favourite read books on my bookcases, and time to re-read those books, and that keeps me focused.

  11. Good luck with your goal! πŸ™‚ Your TBR is indeed impressive but I like the side you took to assess it and make the right decisions to make the best of it.

  12. I think you’ve been amazingly brave – I currently have 138 unread books on my Kindle. The catch is that the house is crammed with books as we are both book addicts and Himself easily reads 4 or 5 times more books than I do – he regularly reads 2 books a day… And he doesn’t want to get rid of anything he’s liable to reread, which I hardly EVER do. So to be honest, I don’t really want to know how many books we’ve got… Best of luck with your 2017 strategy – it sounds very doable. I’m really impressed at the number of books you read last year!

    • Oh gosh with both you and your husband being readers I can only imagine all the books! My husband collects records so we compete for shelf space these days. I wanted to post on my blog about how many books I own so that I can try and focus on reading my books and not adding too many to the TBR this year.

      • I know! It’s lovely to share this hobby – especially as we often enjoy the same books. But we have FAR too many books for the size of our modest house!

  13. Wow you are organised. I do t even know how many books I have let alone Ebooks. I don’t have any audio.

    Good luck with your reading this year. I am putting a Β£1 in a pot every time I finish a book. Should have a nice amount for Christmas spending.

    • I’ve been listing my books on Goodreads for years now so that’s the only way I know how many I own. It’s become habit to list on there every time I get a new book so I know it’s accurate. I don’t think I’d even know where to start counting my books otherwise.
      I love your idea of putting Β£1 in a jar every time you read a book. πŸ™‚

  14. Good luck with you resolutions and getting your too read pile down. I have started to make a list of books I have to read so I can decide what I want to keep. I find having too many books stressful, so I often stop buying until I feel it’s under control. I’m a slow reader, so this means I try not to buy too many, I don’t succeed very often.

  15. I do think we can do guilt-free TBR pruning, especially as after passage of time we realize we’ve shelved books that aren’t really worth our time – morally, spiritually, or artistically. Delete them from the shelf, if they’re print books take them to Half-Price Books or give them to charity, & if e-books archive them & forget about them.

    • I regularly get rid of books these days once I know I’m not going to read them. I’ve donated thousands of books to charity and the library in recent years. I also delete ebooks if they’re no longer to my taste. Now I’m left with all the books that I do want to read and I just need to focus on actually reading them rather than buying more.

    • Yes it does sometimes – it takes a lot of time to read and review books, and to share on social media etc. I enjoy it but it’s a real commitment. I just need to make sure I’m reading books that I’ve bought as well as the review books as there are so many I want to read but never get to because of the review books. x

  16. Wow and I thought my TBR situation was bad. xD I have a little over 300 books I actually own on my TBR, although my total to-read shelf at goodreads is about the same number as yours. I’ve been trying to ignore the whispers of my wishlist to buy more books haha. Good luck with your reading this year!

    • Thank you. My Goodreads TBR is only books I already own… if I added my wishlist to that it would double my TBR! Eeek! Some books have been on my wishlist for years but I’m trying to ignore it so that I don’t add to my TBR, it’s not easy though!

  17. I am too ashamed to admit how many physical books I own as well as how many books from NetGalley I have received and have not read and reviewed yet. I would have to read only those for several years to dig myself out. I’m hoping only five. I made a list of do betters on my blog last week, and that was one of the top things.

    • I’ve reached the point where admitting it on my blog was the only way I was going to get motivated to read my own books. At my current reading speed it’ll take me over nine years to read my TBR (if I don’t add another book in that time! Eeek!). It’s tough to resist NG, new releases, book sales etc isn’t it?

    • Thank you! This is the smallest my TBR has been in years but in recent months it’s starting to feel overwhelming so I want to make an effort to reduce it – or to at least not let it get any bigger. I’ve just followed your blog. πŸ™‚

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  19. Mine’s not too bad but I ditch a lot of books. I get some from publishers I haven’t requested, so don’t feel obliged to read them and if I’m not interested and really busy I won’t read everything I request (though I do try to). I keep ones I hope to get to. However having said that I’ve barely bought or borrowed a book in a few years. Even some authors who I love who’ve had books come out… I’ve ignored cos I have too many others to read for review purposes.

    • This is the smallest my TBR has been in years due to some big culls in recent years. I still feel it’s too big though so need to focus on reading through it, and I think another cull is imminent. I’m only requesting books that I want to read very soon so that’s keeping my review pile down. I kept buying books all last year despite all the review books I got so I want to rein it all in a bit this year. I really admire your restraint in not buying books, even by authors you love, in recent years.

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