December 22, 2012

Pajama Musings - Bookishly challenged?

It's that time of year again. No, not Christmas. Though this reminds me that I need to get out the Christmas tree - 100% plastic, but looks almost like the real thing, plus I add a YC Mistletoe Air Freshener - and do a little decorating. First though let's take a look back on 2012 and what bookish things I achieved ...

I survived a full six months of not buying any books. Trust me when I say that it is absolutely doable and nothing to be scared of. Well, maybe a tiny little bit, but then again, where would be the challenge and the exalting feeling of victory when you make it across the finish line without once faltering.

I realized that just because you're not buying any books for half a year, doesn't mean your TBR piles will be getting noticeable smaller.

Starting out with roughly 400 unread books earlier this year, though to be perfectly honest it was almost 420, but I'm not sure about the exact number as my memory is somewhat blurry in that regard, my current number is 363.  Bummer.

After thinking long and hard, and getting a wee bit creative in a sneaky kind of way, I had an epiphany. There is a way to downsize those unread mountain ranges of books after all, it is called book purge.

*scampering off to fell some timber*

If your own TBR piles are as humongous as mine you'll probably own some books for up to a decade already. Thing is, as with tastes in other things, also the taste or interest in certain books or genres has a tendency to shift. Ultimately this meant that I purged my book piles twice this year, the last time about a week ago when I purged another 36 books. I mean, let's be perfectly honest, if you haven't picked up a book for several years chances are you won't pick it up in the next couple years either. So, out they go.

Not quite as obvious, but lurking secretly hidden away is my virtual library which thankfully doesn't take away much space. The virtues of an eReader, yay! However, it was time to face the music aka long list of unread freebies which I hoarded like crazy in 2011 and it wasn't a happy tune. Chances are I won't be reading (most of) those either, so a whopping number of 134 eBooks went straight to what I will from now on lovingly refer to as my Hiatus Stack. I'm not going to delete them from my eReader, but I'm not going to count them toward my unread books. Let's face it, they are more like undead now. Ha. Not funny, I know.
Side note: In the meantime I have changed my ways and am now only very rarely downloading freebies! And if I do, I usually read them within a month or two!

Where does this put me? This purge and slaying substantially reduced the number of unread books and I am now looking at the slightly less daunting number of 193 unread books. Still an awful lot, all right. The interesting question is - will I ever be able to get into double digits? Doubtful.

What to do, what to do?

I need to read faster and I need to get less books in. Yeah, right!

Solution? Book buying ban. There's not much fun in that either. So I decided I would at least reduce my book buying to keep things in the balance. Let's say I read 12 books a month, give or take one or two. I will need to stay below this mark. Well below, in fact. After all, books for review will roll in, and there might be the odd giveaway I win. So, I decided not to buy more than 6 books a month. Should be doable. Especially if I send out last-minute-orders like a maniac next week. Just kidding. After all I put myself on a book-buying-ban this month too, to avoid exactly that.

So, tell me, do you ever purge your TBR piles and what are your book shopping goals for next year? And book-buying-bans planned for the new year? Please share!


  1. Well done, Birgit! Book Buying bans are very good because you manage to read right through the books that have been on your shelves for years. I will definitely be doing one every other month next year. I'm not that bad with ebooks and much worse with physical books as I read ebooks faster. My TBR has 64 books in total at the moment but I expect it to be higher by the end of the month as I asked everyone to get me books for Christmas and my birthday as I don't want anything else :)
    I do purge books from my Goodreads TBR as well. Last time I got rid of more than 50 and still have 490 left...

    1. The only thing I've got going for me is that my wishlist is really smallish. However, if I started to list all maybe-I'll-read-this-book-one-day on Goodreads ... a frightening thought. Of course it is easier to purge a virtual list than actual book stacks (I would hope).

  2. I am thinking of choosing 6 months next year and not buying books, hoping that my TBR list will decrease and my wishlist will not increase proportionally :)

    1. Ah, that's something that you really need to be careful about! Maybe you should go on a fill-up-the-wishlist ban too, hahaha!

  3. Well done, you! That takes will power that I don't have. I have tried book buying bans, last time was this month for which I said I was only to buy books for uni - then I went into a used book shop and found books I've been looking for for aaages, so out I came with 8. Although my books keep piling up I'm not going to try to go on any more book buying bans - if I see something I like, I'll buy it. However, I am going to try to read at least 5 of my own books for every book I borrow from the library. I'm not sure what that is supposed to achieve, but if I don't get a new book case/shelf I'll have to put more books in storage - or buy a new apartment. Or move my guitars.

    I daren't count how many unread books I own, but perhaps I should and sort of go head to head with you on the challenge of getting down to double digits. Except I really am afraid of finding out how many books I have. I'm a serious hoarder in the making.

    1. Trust me, I didn't go near a bookshop during my ban. I also tried to stay away from all those online retailers. Strangely the first weeks were the first then it was more like a book-less rut I had fallen into. Like doing time and knowing I'd be out soon anyway *lol*.

      If you find the time (and strength) to count all your unread books I encourage you to do so. It certainly puts things in perspective. The whole I-need-a-mansion-to-store-all-my-books thing isn't new to me. I often joke about needing a suspended ceiling to have a place to put them all. Alas I haven't and I am now gifting or selling books I don't intend on keeping for posterity.

      And is it just me or is that whole book hoarding thing connected to book blogging? I mean, I always read a lot, but since I started my blog ... oh my!

  4. I have so many books I haven't read from book clubs, book stores, garage sales, second hand stores and freebies that I have started to read them according to Author and I am only in the "A" column. So far this month, I am three books down and reading one called, "Hotel Adlon" translated from the German in 1958. I guess this is going to be a long winter of catching up.

    1. Winter is always great for finding some quality reading time! I had to smile about your reading-strategy to go through your books in alphabetical order! Sometimes I have no idea which book to pick up next, so having a plan like that is helpful, I gather.