Down the TBR Hole #2

Image: hjl

Down the TBR Hole was started by Lia over at Lost in a Story.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I will be repeating this process every week until I’ve filtered out my entire TBR.  I currently have 588 books on my to-read shelf.  Yes, that’s right, the mountain got bigger.  However, it was because I finally added some books that I own.  It would have been one book larger, but I moved a book to Currently Reading, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

This week’s five books:

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee – KEEP.  As I mentioned in last week’s “Down the TBR Hole”, I love books about books.  Though I’ve had this one on my TBR and wishlist for a long time, it’s only because I prefer to buy books about books in either paperback or hardback.  I avoid buying them as ebooks if I can, but I haven’t found a physical copy of this one yet.

Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan – KEEP.  This one is a keeper for the same reason as the one above.

Sixpence House by Paul Collins – KEEP.  I already own this, and there is no way I’m not reading it.

Ruined By Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz – KEEP.  Again, I hope to own a physical copy of this one someday.

Book By Book by Michael Dirda – KEEP.  This is another one that I already own, but, unfortunately, it’s an ebook.  I think I gave up on the idea of finding a physical copy.  Regardless, I’m definitely going to read it.
So, my to-read shelf remains at 588 books and I’ll be starting off next week with book #31.

#ShelfLove: Mid-Year Check-In

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

A lot has changed in my life since I started this year’s Show Your Shelves Some Love challenge.  I got a full-time job.  I moved to a new apartment.  I began to truly focus on my health.  With all of those changes, I’ve come to realize quite a bit about myself that I didn’t previously know, and books have become an even more important part of my life as a result.

For instance, I realized I have to work for the sake of my mental health, not just my bank account, but I also have to have a job or at least be doing or working towards doing something I’m passionate about.  After I was offered the job, I was so excited to finally be working full-time again, but the excitement quickly wore off because my job is 1) not challenging and 2) has nothing to do with books.  So, my game plan has changed a little bit.  It’s no longer “I want to eventually go to grad school to become a librarian.”  It’s now “I’m taking the steps to go to grad school as soon as possible.”

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My TBR shelf before I moved.

That doesn’t have much to do with #ShelfLove, other than the obvious (books, of course), but my recent move to a bigger, but very differently configured, apartment made me greatly appreciative of this challenge’s existence and the lovely women hosting it.  I’ve discussed many times before how my book collection has caused quite a few problems when it comes to moving.  There’s the back-breaking weight, the cost of packing materials, and then the process of unpacking and reorganizing.  Ok, that last one is kind of fun.  Alright, a lot of fun.

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Only 2 of my book boxes before I moved. The other 5 or 6 were in storage.


For the first time in nearly seven years, I finally cut down my collection and moved to a place big enough to have all of my books in one place and easily accessible.  No longer do I have to drive out to my storage unit and dig through boxes to find that *one* book I want to read or loan to the Boyfriend.  Granted, not all of those books are on shelves, thanks to my shelves still being in storage until we have the money and time to shut down the storage unit for good, but all my pretty lovelies are READily available 😉 and that makes me a happy gal.

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My TBR shelf now. Though it doesn’t appear to be any different, it really is.

Though the main purpose of this challenge is to read the books we already own, and I’m definitely doing that, it has also made me rethink the books I choose to keep.  I was holding onto a lot of books I knew I would probably never read, but the pressure to read them because I bought them was causing me unnecessary stress.  I finally decided to take them to the used bookstore.  I thought letting go of these unread books would be difficult, but I didn’t shed any tears, and those books are better off in the hands of someone who will actually read them.  So far, I’ve made over $50 off those books and I’ve got another box that is halfway full.  Since my job hasn’t made me rich, that extra money means that I could afford to buy myself some exercise clothes that actually fit and are cute and comfortable so I’m more likely to get off the couch.

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The remaining books after the purge.

What does concentrating on my health have to do with #ShelfLove?  It means I’m reading more.  Not only am I setting aside time every night to read as a form of self-care, I’m also reading while I exercise.  Whether I’m reading a book on my Kindle while I’m on the treadmill or listening to an audiobook while I’m walking during my breaks at work, I’m getting through my books much faster than I did last year.  I’m already at the halfway point of my goal of reading 51 books off my TBR pile.  Last year I was about five books behind.  Of course, I was still in college and taking Summer courses to finish my degree faster, but I wasn’t making as much time for exercise, either, and there’s nothing I’d rather do more while I sweat than read.

Overall, the changes in my life have improved my relationship with books and reading.  I didn’t believe that was possible, especially since I was sure my new job, moving, and exercising more would all cost me valuable reading time.  Instead, the opposite has happened, and maybe this challenge has something to do with that.  Perhaps my determination to stick with it has made me come up with workable solutions.  All I know is that before #ShelfLove, and before I started blogging, I was barely getting through half the books I now read in a year, despite owning double the number of books I own today.

Sunday’s Sundries: TBR Jars

Sundries - Dominic Hartnett
Image: Dominic Hartnett

Felicia at The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog has been working on a project to get her books in order.  Her updates on her progress inspired me to finally get my book life more organized, too.  I scanned all of my physical TBR books into Goodreads and then worked on getting all of my books (including my ebooks) into a spreadsheet.  I chose to do that instead of manually adding most of my ebooks, which aren’t Kindle books (Goodreads has an option to add all your Amazon book purchases without having to look them up one at a time).  It still took most of a day, since I copied and pasted the information from my order histories into a spreadsheet and then had to straighten it all out.

I was shocked to discover how many ebooks I have.  I figured that I had maybe 150 or so, but I found out I have over 400 ebooks that I’ve never read.  Over half of them were free, and 100 of those were bought within the past 12 months.  In fact, from the very first ebook I’ve ever bought, up to today, I’ve acquired more free ebooks in the past year than I have at any other time.  I’m certain that’s because I’m participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge.  I can’t pay money for books, but I can get all the free books I want.  Apparently, my brain took this to mean I was in a book famine and therefore I had to hoard all.the.books.

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Since I can’t see my ebook collection in the same way as my physical books, I decided to make a TBR jar for them.  I also did the math on how long it would take me to read all those books and decided to unsubscribe from the daily emails I receive full of free ebooks being offered.  If I continue to read 65 books a year like I did last year, it will take me over six years to finish my mountain of a TBR pile.  If I also continue adding 100 new ebooks every year, that mountain will continue to grow.  The phrase “When I die, I’ll be found next to a stack of books I was meaning to read” is very fitting to this stage in my book life.

I also made a TBR jar for my physical books, but for a different reason.  Do you ever stand in front of your TBR pile/shelf undecided about which book to read next?  I spend at least 10 minutes waffling between books I know I’m likely to send to the used bookstore and books I’ll probably want to keep forever.  The TBR jar takes the question out of what to read next.  Whatever comes out of the jar is what I’m reading.

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I don’t know where I got the image that I used for the labels, but I used “Algerian” font and named them “The Hobbit’s TBR Library” because the boyfriend nicknamed me Hobbit ages ago.  I used sticker printer paper to make the labels but then had to use a bit of clear tape on each end because it apparently doesn’t like sticking to acrylic.  I then spent hours cutting up the printed spreadsheet pages into strips so they would look like shredded newsprint.  I probably spent way too much time on these, but I figured they’re going to be in my life for at least the next six years so they might as well be pretty.

Do you have a TBR jar?  Leave a link to a picture of it in the comments.