History in the Making

3 Ways to Reduce Your To-Read List

Bookaholic, voracious reader, obsessed with books. All of these terms get tossed around when books and me come up in the same conversation. I will admit, I can’t say no to a good book. Or even a substandard book that I am willing to give a chance. What this means is that my to-read list on Goodreads is at a cool 1187 books, not to mention the few hundred ebooks and physical books that I have waiting for my attention as well. It starts to feel a little bit daunting when I think about just how many books are waiting, so I’m using this three steps to de-clutter my list!
To-Read List

I think that a lot of us readers try to justify to ourselves that hoarding books isn’t in fact hoarding, but it is. Do you have 500+ books in your home, waiting to be read? You may very well be a book hoarder. Welcome to our club 🙂 This summer I’m on a mission to slim down my to-read list and give myself some book freedom!
Book Hoarder's Club
1. Edit Your To-Read List
Sometimes the only way to get your list under control is to take the knife to it and trim it down. I will look at it and think, “I could read 1100 books”. Then I do the math and realise that at roughly 60 books a year, it would take me over 18 years to read only the books on that list (not allowing for anything new) and I realise that I probably don’t actually want to read every single one of those books. So, I take 15 or 20 minutes every few days and take a second look at books on the list to decide if I had to put down the book that I’m reading to read it right now, would I? If the answer is no, it goes! (It’s always there if you want to find it again.
Goodreads to read list
2. Give Away Your Books
Now, before you threaten me with pitchforks and fire, hear me out! Many of us readers have more physical books than we know what to do with. We are guilty of using stacks of books as shelves, “decorations” and simply as something taking up space because of the fear that we may want to read it again. Well, factor in your above-mentioned to-read list, and the fact that you can’t re-read every book you’ve already read, and you need to slim your collection. What, if you have to move, are you going to pay to move 2,000 lbs of books? No, probably not.  Go through your books and be realistic on which books you absolutely need to keep. And then, give your books away! Give them as a present with a note explaining why you think that person would enjoy that particular book. Donate them to charity booksales and shops! (Our local children’s hospital hosts a charity booksale three times a year, and it’s a wonderful cause to donate to.) Invite your friends over and let them choose which books they would enjoy! Leave them in random places with a note to pass it on when you finish it, for a stranger to continue the chain. The possibilities are endless for someone else to benefit from your books!
pass the book on (1)
3. Stop and Think Before Buying
If you are anything like me, you see a book that mildly interests you for a decent price, and before you know it, it’s come home with you. After a while, those “good deal” books do add up, you’ve lost a lot of space in your home, and your to-read list is a monster. Get in the habit of writing the name and author of a book down and researching it when you have a few moments, not when it happens to be on sale. Speaking as someone who has literally purchased hundreds of books for this very reason, step back and take your time. Also, stop to see if you can get it from the library for free! You would still get to read it, but save yourself the money and loss of space. The worst thing that happens if you don’t read a book from the library is that you return it unread!

Forgotten bookAlthough a Christmas themed cozy should be up my alley, I’ve never read it 🙁

What book is number one on your to-read list?
Until tomorrow,
The Historian!
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0 thoughts on “3 Ways to Reduce Your To-Read List”

    • I am pretty good at knowing which books I will re-read and so purchase and which to borrow- now that I buy the majority of books on my Kobo, I’ve gotten much better at “putting books down” instead of buying everything!

  • These are so helpful. I just went through my list for the first time in probably years and found that a book I’ve had on there about living your best life in your twenties is basically irrelevant after turning 29….

    • My list is a beast, there’s no other term for it ? There are so many reading phases I went through that resulted in 20 super-niche books being added that I’ve NO desire to read in any way now! Sometimes you have go be ruthless!!

  • Hi! I follow your blog but hardly ever comment. I just wanted to point out a really cool meme I’ve seen going around on book blogs to clean up the TBR:
    This way you get to remember why you deleted books (because you blog it), and still share what you deleted, & why it’s going — or what you have kept and why. It’s pretty fun, & keeps you focused on deleting books. ?

    • Thank you for stopping by!!! And this is a VERY cool idea- I think I would do a general clean up, because I’m currently at 1321 books on the TBR list and some I honestly have no idea why they even would be on there. However, there are quite a lot that I could actually expand and give a reason for why I might read them but will not- this is on my to-do list!!

  • A) why are we not friends on GoodReads?
    B) Cutting my list down isn’t nearly that bad though I will confess I hoard. I think my count was at nearly 100+ books last I checked. Most have been read but others are on a To-Read list. If I own them, my rule is I read them first. IF I don’t own them, well they’ll just have to wait until I finish the ones already in my collection!
    Plus I suck at reading one book at a time. Currently I have 5 started at the same time in completely different genres.

    • I’m terrible at finding people on Goodreads haha :'( I’m all about the shelves on Goodreads, I have probably 25 lists, by subject/geography/year read/book type.
      I always have at least 4 on the go- between audiobooks/regular books, and separate genres, I’m totally good to go. I think I’ve maxed out at 7, but I’m usually around 4!

  • But it’s so hard!!!!!!!!!! I have a secret Pinterest board where I keep all of my TBR books, and I recently went through it and did some chopping, and it felt good to shorten my list even just a little. Though I’m sure that I have added enough new books by now to make it just as long again!! Number 1 on my TBR list right now is For the Love by Jen Hatmaker!

    • Oooo, that is a smart idea to make a Pinterest board for it! The infinite scroll and tiny book size make it hard to pay attention on Goodreads when you are trying to get a feel for how many you actually have on your list. A Pinterest board would make it very clear. I’ve seen Jen’s show on HGTV! 😀

  • LOL. So this summer I told myself I was going to weed out my BTR shelf. I have exactly one shelf, I limit myself to that. Instead of weeding it out this summer, it has been growing. Eeeek. So the last time I took my kiddo to the library, I refused to look at any books for myself so I would read my TBR shelf. Success! Then I came home and promptly checked out several e books and had them delivered to my kindle. sigh. I am book-a-holic.

    • The first step is admitting it!! *also raises hand* It’s so difficult to weed it out, but it’s getting easier, at least on the physical book front. Because I haven’t bought a physical book in a while due to space, it’s far easier to say no. However, my e-books are growing quickly still….

  • Aaaah! I am totally a member of this club! Last winter I bucked up and donated over 100 books and combed through my TBR… I use LibraryThing as well as Goodreads, and LibraryThing has this tool on every book’s page called “Will I Like It?” then judges based on books you have in your library and that you’ve reviewed how much it thinks you’d like the book and how confident it is… using that, I killed off about 1/3 of my TBR and put them in a “Not Recommended” list… such a big help!
    Good luck with yours! It seems like every year a few dozen new amazing books come out… and the TBRs just keep growing.

    • I’ve just made myself a LibraryThing account, I’m really liking it so far!! I think that it’s going to a go a long way in cutting down my list! Thank you for recommending the site!!!!! 😀
      I think I do need to go through and just blitz remove at this point- there are probably 300+ cozies on it that don’t need to be there. If I’m in the mood for cozies, I know where to look, I don’t need to clutter up my list!!

  • I have so many new books to read right now ? I’m definitely guilty of hoarding books BUT the last 4 books I’ve read have been re-reads. I don’t have a good reads to read list though

    • I’m trying to stop re-reads aside from a few true favourites because I can get caught up in 3-4 months of re-reading haha! I now typically listen to re-reads and save my actual reading for new books 🙂

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