Friday 13 January 2023

How to conquer the "to be read" pile in 2023

I always like to have a lovely big to be read pile, and I very rarely run out of things to read. But sometimes that big pile of books by the bed and those free downloads lurking on my Kindle can start to feel a bit overwhelming.

Recently I've been making a big effort to tackle my unread book mountain, and I thought I'd share a few tips, in case tackling the tbr pile is one of your New Year's resolutions!

Firstly, start by making a list of all the unread books. I made a page in my bullet journal where I wrote down the title, author, and whether it was a Kindle book or a physical book. I track my reading in Goodreads and so I also added my unread books to a bookshelf there. This was especially helpful for the Kindle books, because it made them seem more real when they were written down where I could see them. Also make sure that all physical books are gathered together in one place.

If even the thought of adding all the unread books to a list seems overwhelming then it might be time to have a cull! Think about whether there are some books in the pile that you are not realistically going to read, maybe ones that were recommended by friends or that you picked up for a good price. Feel free to pass those along, I regularly take bags of books to a local charity shop.

Begin with books that belong to other people. If you don't fancy a book that someone has lent you either be honest and say it wasn't for you, or give it back saying thank you and that you enjoyed it - they probably won't ask for specific details!

Then I like to start with the low hanging fruit. These are short and easy books that I know I can read very quickly in a day or two. It's very satisfying to tick books off quickly!

Open book reading on lap
Photo credit Clay Banks via Unsplash

Mix it up - sometimes I find that some of the books on my tbr pile have similar themes, for example I seem to end up with lots of 'inherited house romance' stories and they can all get a bit samey so I spread them out a bit. I also try to alternate short modern stories with a longer classic. 

Don't persevere if it's not for you. I select my books carefully but I often start reading ones that just don't grab me. I either stop reading when I realise I'm not bothered about what happens next, or I skim them to get a sense of the story.

Put the books away when you've read them - either shelved on the bookshelf or passed on to a friend, family member or charity shop. Then you can enjoy all the new space that you are creating!

And of course probably the most important thing - stopping adding new books to the pile! Avoid bookshops and the library for a few months, don't hunt out those free Kindle books, and politely turn down any books thrust upon you by friends and family. Easier said than done!

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