The Great TBR Purge

This weekend I spent around two hours purging my Goodreads TBR. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. At one point last year I was up to 800 books on my TBR list, which is more individual books than I’ve ever read (at least separate books, this is before rereads were a thing on Goodreads).

Over the span of a few days I culled it to around 400. It took ages, Goodreads glitched out and gave up on me once or twice so I had to go in batches of batch edit. But let me tell you, it was so freeing.

The drop this time wasn’t so massive – I’m sitting at a cushy 226 at the moment. That’s more manageable for me. I read around 80 books per year, though if I keep up at the rate I’m going in 2017 I’ll likely top 100. I’m more into graphic novels and middle grade these days which are much easier to get through than, say, Anna Karenina eighty times over.

Still, 200 is a lot of books. That’s too damn many books. There is a vintage meme that could better express how many books that is – I think you know the one.

Why the purge?

I read a lot – I’m at 20-something for this year already – but I only read from my ‘official’ Goodreads TBR maybe a quarter of the time.Β Maybe. A good portion is from something I saw someone post about on Twitter, looked up, and requested from the library without clicking the “want to read” shelf button. Another good chunk are ARCs or books from my shelves that I know I want to read, so I don’t bother putting it on the Goodreads TBR in the first place. My real TBR number is much higher.

Many of the books on my TBR were from when I was in high school and determined to be a ‘good reader’ and read the classics. And then I tried to read the classics, and I couldn’t get more than a few pages in most of them. I tried to read Anna Karenina every day for three years.

Is this a big deal?

No.

The challenge.

Okay, more of a series of questions – but boy am I having fun with this clickbaity Youtuber feeling I’m having right now.

I encourage you to go look through your Goodreads TBR. Hit the new tab button, pick up your phone, whatever. Now here are some questions I asked myself when combing through my list:

  • How many books are on your TBR?
  • Of that number, how many of those can you recall exactly why you wanted to read it in the first place? Do you have a vague recollection of why it’s there?
  • Are there some titles that make you think “huh? What the hell is this?”
  • If past years are anything to go by, how long will it take you to read all of those books if you touch nothing else?
  • Do you still feel as interested in these genres, authors or titles now as you did when you added them?

So, how big is your TBR? If you take the plunge and are willing to spend an hour (or a few) culling your TBR list, or if you have done so in the past, I would love to hear about it! Personally, I feel a bit trapped by large numbers so this was definitely a freeing experience.

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