For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tell Me Something Tuesday



Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Have you found a way to cut back significantly on your TBR pile?

Answer: Yes! I have to be honest though - there's no magic (easy) formula you have to read more books than you take in. Period.

Here' is my TBR pile in 2017 when I decided to seriously tackle the beast.

There were @ 148 books. I tried and failed to do this many, MANY times. I only counted my physical TBR pile - I don't keep a Goodreads TBR shelf. And this does not include the Kindle - although that's down to under 50 books - after tackling that a few years prior.



Current TBR pile....drum-roll please - UNDER 50!!!



It took years to do and I'm sure I could fall off the wagon at any moment but here are a few of my strategies.

Incoming!

~ Netgalley - I only allow myself 2 books at a time on there. Once I read and give my feedback, I can request something else. To be perfectly honest, I don't spend a lot of time there or over request. To me, requesting a book there means obligations, deadlines and a bad feedback ratio if I don't read/review. I don't want that so it's easy for me to keep in check.

~ Resist the one-click. This was BY FAR one of my biggest weaknesses. Every time I saw a twitter frenzy about a book sale - especially - freebies, .99-$2.99 - I clicked. It seemed so cheap and worth trying at that price point but I couldn't read it all and a lot of it was crap so I read reviews first now and end up passing on most of them.

~ Book conferences (which I didn't attend this year) I started doing my research beforehand instead of grabbing things based on cover or hype. I had brought home soooooo many books that I didn't want to read once I took a closer look.

~ I'm a big library fan right now. At least 80% of my books come from there. I think this is the BEST method to avoiding book hype (If it's an option available to you). It's a great way to try authors/genres before buying and I can just hit return if it isn't working for me.

~ Avoid the hype!!! If something doesn't work for you - fantasy, mystery, contemporary, romance - chances are it won't. I'm all for trying new genres and authors but I used to feel out of the loop when everyone was raving over a book - then I hated it when I tried it. The only thing worse than being the only one not reading a popular book is being the only one that hated it. lol

The Purge!

~ When I sat with that giant pile in the first picture - I got real. Do I still like this genre/author? Do I even remember this book? I spent several days on Goodreads with my stack, pouring through reviews to see if any of these were worth keeping. My reading tastes have changed dramatically. A good 20-30 were eliminated that way.

~ Is there someone (blogger/reader/library/group/schools) that could use this book more than me? If I knew I couldn't get to a book for a long time but thought it could get better attention or find the right reader - I passed it on. It wasn't doing anyone any good getting lost in that pile. Especially arc's. Another 20-30 books off to happier homes.

~ Then I just read. I always have one or two library books going, I'll buy maybe one or two books per month, request one or two and then read a few from my TBR pile. It's so small now that I'm comfortable with it.

Under 50 seems perfect. High enough to have a selection to read from but small enough to feel doable - no pressure.

I don't want ZERO books. I'm not a monster!!! lol

Do you have any TBR tackling strategies? Or are you happy being smothered in a sea of books? (Which is also ok if it makes you happy!!!)

38 comments:

  1. I've been actively trying to get my TBR down this year as I bought way too many the last two years in particular. There was no magic solution-I had to buy fewer books and find more time to read! My initial aim is to get it down to 150/200 and then I'll think about it! I now put every book I'm interested in on to wishlist, and then I later check out reviews on various sites about it before I either delete it or keep it on wishlist until I find a cheap copy. I'm actually doing a post this week on how to tackle the TBR so you must have read my mind!

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    1. There's no way out but through as they say! lol

      I never kept a list of books I wanted to read. I don't know why. I do now but on my library app - that way I can just pull it up when I'm ready instead of searching or trying to remember.

      Delete
  2. I think you're amazing for getting you TBR under control! Adding audio books to my life has helped a lot, but I'm still no where near close. :)

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    1. Audio is still an iffy format for me but it has helped tremendously!!

      I've cleared a few of my physical TBR books out by listening to the instead.

      This took me 3+ years so....there's hope lol

      Delete
  3. That original TBR was like 30 Figgy's long and 4 Figgys wide!

    Avoiding the hype has helped me cut down on my TBR too, especially when it comes to NG/EW. I do grab a ton of books at work still but they've already served their purpose (being read and reviewed professionally) so I don't feel as guilty.

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    1. This shall be my new measurement of books. ___ Figgy's high x ___ Figgy's wide lol

      I guess I don't really stress over anything that's not a review book. I never used the library because a physical book stresses me out with the deadline but for some reason the ebooks don't. Why? i don't know but if one comes in and I't not ready/in the mood to read - I just return it and put it on hold again.

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  4. Oh gosh, I wish I could say I had that amount of books at my house - granted, most of them were bought/gifted and not actual review books. That's still kind of bad since I've had some books for years and I'm trying to focus on books I own more often. I don't request too many books anymore- and I do use the library a lot.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I don't stress over books I bought. It was just the conference books that got to me. I feel like I was supposed to review them in a timely manner and even though the time has passed I feel guilty for not reviewing them or if I pass them on.

      I think the key is to not feel left out if you're not reading a book early. The envy is real lol

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  5. Oh man. That's so awesome! I need to buckle down and do this. You are killin it!

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  6. Wow, I am thoroughly impressed with how you've managed to cut down on your TBR and I'm definitely making a note of some of your suggestions because I could do with cutting down the TBR. I do think I need to get real about a few of my books, I know I won't read some, they're just not to my tastes anymore but I find getting rid of books really hard.

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    1. I tried to pass on the books to people better suited (like own voice groups/bloggers if I had those or to bloggers with no access to review copies) and it made me feel better about not reading those.
      It's like ripping off a band-aid. I remember dropping off a big batch to the library and almost crying - worrying if the would find a good home lol

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  7. I limit my NetGalley to 4 out at a time. I stopped hoarding all the freebies on Amazon and I stopped getting books that I knew I wouldn't like but were all the rage at the time.

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  8. I almost never go on Netgalley, which saves me I think lol. And honestly? Under 50 is pretty dang good. I don't really understand the TBR's that are like 2,000- some books. Gah I'd freak. There's no way I could even keep track of a TBR that big. :)

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    1. I never had a problem with Netgalley so that's good lol IT always felt like pressure. I did accept too many review books directly from authors and conferences though.

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  9. I did it too, it was like 200, and most books I would never read. It took 2-3 years and lots of dnf ;)

    But yay 50 :D

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    1. You have to trust your own instincts after a while.

      Delete
  10. I got rid of all the physical books, almost a few years ago. My big fail is still NG. I am doing way better, but I still go on there and request a few every once in awhile. I am really going to try and stick with the library. It is so much easier!

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    1. I have maybe, under 20 books that I keep because they're favorites or are annotated copies I won at auctions.

      The library has been a game changer for me.

      Delete
  11. Yep, agree that to get the pile down you just have to buy and request fewer books. I also got better at letting go of books that I was meaning to read but never got around to. Clearly I wasn’t that excited about them. The library is also fantastic because it’s lower pressure and you have a hard deadline - so it’s read it or give it back and admit that you aren’t going to!

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    1. There really is no easy way out of it.

      I was just listening to a popular book on audio from the library but it wasn't working for me and I just returned it - no big deal - and it's awesome!

      Delete
  12. This is brilliant! Isn't looking at that cart so satisfying? It even calms me. Ha ha. πŸ“š

    I purged a lot of physical books this year, too. The only ones I kept were most loved books and a few books I thought my son might read. I only buy hardcovers of books I have already read and loved as ebooks/audiobooks now, so there is more room for the special editions I collect. πŸ˜†

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    1. Book zen lol

      I have several *keeper* books and re-reads will be a goal for me next year but it's under 20 - maybe even under 10 because of the move.

      Delete
  13. You are a most disciplined reader. I admire that. My TBR is a mix of books I have and books I want, and I am forever adding and subtracting books. Therefore, it's like a TBR sitting on a fault line - totally unstable, but I am ok with that.

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    1. I think whatever level is your comfort zone is good! And it's different for everyone. For me, 50-ish is enough to choose from but no pressure.

      And I also differentiate between review & fun reading. I don't care if I don't have to review it.

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  14. Ah! We have the same cart! Also, ah, you've just inspired/reminded me to clear out a lot on my TBR. I need to learn to not bite off more than I can chew with buying books (or requesting books) at the speed I've been doing this year. I seem to be on an "I'm going to overindulge until my bookshelves collapse and smash my vanity and makeup" kick lately which phew. Just, phew. Haha.

    I am somewhere between keen on being smothered by books but also suffocated by said smothering. Yikes!

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    1. Do you have the Grammercy crafty one? Tat's the one I have but I have it turned so you can't see all the hooks & shelves.

      Delete
    2. Also...I think whatever makes you happy is great!

      Some people love a huge pile or even thrive under pressure. I am not one of those people lol

      Delete
  15. That first picture is giving me massive anxiety, LOL. I have a small book shelf, but I think of them as just my library so I don't feel so daunted to read them in any given span of time. That said, I also think I'm the slowest reader ever so I have a hard time with reading challenges. Also, I really like your cart, lol. I've been eyeing one like that from Michael's, but I didn't know what to do with it. I like that you keep your books so organized on it!

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    1. mys tress level is because most of those books were arc's so the fact that I never read and reviewed them is major blogger fail.

      I had a room full of Ikea shelves in my old house. I only took half of them but now I don't even need them!

      Delete
  16. I haven no TBR coping strategies. I'm a complete bookish mess. The only thing I've managed to do is lessen my obligations by not signing up for as many tours etc to lessen the pressure. Sometimes I'm an angel with netgalley and the like other times I lose my mind, lol. I promise myself every year I'll read all the backlist books I've hoarded on the kindle but never do... Even my KU list is a disgrace.
    *hangs head in shame*

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  17. You've made awesome progress! For me it's that I have become much, much more discriminating about what I add to my TBR. I have enough books (physical + Kindle) to keep me reading for a couple years. So if I add a book it has to be one that I am TRULY excited about.

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  18. Hey dear, I really like your cart, lol. I've been eyeing one like that from Michael's, but I didn't know what to do with it. I like that you keep your books so organized on it!

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  19. I seem to be on an "I'm going to overindulge until my bookshelves collapse and smash my vanity and makeup" kick lately which phew. Just, phew. Haha.

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  20. This is next-level impressive tbh. I am fairly certain that before I did my BIG purge, I was close to 1,000. Which is, let's be real, obscene. But before I moved, I just knew I didn't want to (and physically could not face) drag that many books. I had at least 30 boxes of books as it stood, so can you imagine? I'd say I unhauled at least 500. I gave some away, and then I started donating to the Little Free Library at the Y where my son went to preschool. I would leave 10-15 there in a morning, and by the time I came back in the afternoon to pick him up, they'd be gone! Finally I was unloading some one morning, and this woman came running over to me yelling "it's YOU!" and I was wondering what the heck I had done and she said "you're the one putting all the good books in here! Everyone has been going nuts over them" and wow I felt like I was on cloud 9.

    Anyway,I have no idea how many I have at this point. More than 50. More than 148. Less than 1K πŸ˜‚ I HAVE gotten significantly better about acquiring books though. I only buy them if they're on my wishlist (this includes daily deals!) and I only request them if I already REALLY wanted to read them. Which is still admittedly too often, but I *always* read and review them, so I don't feel so bad about that one!

    Also I really freaking need your cart in my life.

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  21. Wow you're doing great! And these are some great tips for tackling the tbr beast. My physical tbr isn't bad, but who even knows how many books are just on my general tbr lol.

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  22. Yes, you have definitely mastered it and I am so impressed! I am working on getting mine down to a comfortable number of 60 and then mantaining it somehwere around that number. Which is why I am on a year long book buying ban.

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