2011: Toppling the TBR

‘They’ say that if you write goals down you have a better chance of reaching them and if you share a goal with others your chances of success improve even more. So, here goes.

As of 1 January 2011 I have 200 works of fiction* that I either own or have ordered but have yet to read. I would like to reduce this number considerably by the end of the year, which means I need to do the bulk of my reading from these books and refrain from adding too many more books to my various shelves and devices until I have done so.

*no we’re not going to talk about the 20 or so non-fiction books gathering dust on my shelves at the moment, for a long time that was all I read but for now I am more interested in the pretend world than the real one so they might be a project for another year

I’ve decided to aim for a net reduction of 80 books by the end of the year.

While ideally I would like the reduction to be greater I think I need to be realistic as I know I will be compelled to procure some new books. There will be new Australian author releases, my book club’s monthly choices, the occasional book that everyone is talking about and a need to keep up my supply of audio books (I go through 4-5 of those a month and only have a handful on my iPod, at least 2 of which are of the dubious ‘can’t remember what possessed me to get that‘ variety)

I have signed up for a total of 9 challenges and if I read books I own right now for all of them that will consume around 60 books from my TBR which would be a jolly good start to reaching my goal (assuming of course that I can stop going shopping).

If things get desperate I might ask you all for help (in the form of insults and loud berating). Stay tuned.

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18 Responses to 2011: Toppling the TBR

  1. JoV says:

    You can count on me on insults and loud berating. Proof? I have lost a few friends because of it. 😉

    On a serious note, I wish you the very best of luck and I’ll get really cross if you don’t meet this objective! 😀


  2. Bernadette – I truly wish you well working your TBR down. Someday I may actually get through mine. But then, there are always such interesting and tempting things in bookshops, online….. *sigh*


  3. Kerrie says:

    I’m thinking of keeping a better record of TBR books that I manage to dispose of. My life is in danger of being overwhelmed by record keeping though.


  4. @JoV, thanks and I may need those insults sooner rather than later – thought I haven’t ordered or purchased any books this year (it is only January 2 after all) I have added quite a few to my wishlist already after reading everyone’s ‘best of’ lists for 2010.

    @Kerrie you make a good point about too much record keeping, I have actually simplified mine a bit for this year but I’ll keep enough to make sure I can monitor the TBR – it was only about 3 years ago that I used to survive with a TBR pile of about 10 books at any one time and I wouldn’t mind getting back down somewhere near that level eventually


  5. Vanda Symon says:

    A cunning way to reduce the guilt component of your TBR pile is to move house. I have found this most effective, because when you get to the new house and discover you have inadequate book shelves, you just leave them all in their boxes and they are out of sight, out of mind (-;


  6. kathy durkin says:

    Good luck on this goal! I bet when the Daggers’ long list is announced, there might be some virtual trips to the Book Depository!
    This will be an interesting year. I wonder if there is a 12-step program for book purchasing and accumulation. I may need to join one as my library does not have a lot of books that I want to read, or that appear on the Daggers’ lists or the “Best of 2010” lists on this and other great websites. So, I’ll have to take away my own credit card or give myself strict limits or convince friends to share the purchasing.
    Whatever, can’t wait to read the reviews here.


  7. @Vanda that is a dramatic approach but it appeals in lots of ways

    @Kathy the Daggers’ list was one of the things I had in my mind when thought about what kind of goal I would give myself. Buying NO books until I’ve got my TBR to a more sensible level seemed totally unrealistic so we’ll see how this halfway measure goes. So far so good as I’m already down to 198.5, though I have to go back to work on Monday and will not have as much time to read as I have over the past couple of weeks while on holidays.


  8. kathy durkin says:

    I just finished an absolutely delightful two days–intermixed with partying, dinners–reading Camilleri’s “The Smell of the Night.” I literally almost fell over laughing a number of times. It will take steely self-discipline not to race through his books, but to read others in-between them.
    I’m sure that the book reviews here, at Petrona, MIP, other websites will pull me back to the reality of other good books. The Daggers’ list, and the existent or coming-in-a-few days “Best of 2010” mysteries are my downfall. (I’ve printed out your lists.)
    I’m trying to live up to my New Year’s resolution to stick to the library or my TBR pile, but I’m already looking up books on the Book Depository website. So, this will be an internal struggle throughout the year.


  9. Maxine says:

    I sympathise, Bernadette. One problem nowadays is that the variety of formats available means that one weakens in parallel, so to speak, and hence ends up with even more on the pile (e, print, audio, library, mooching, gifts, publisher copies…….)

    I wish you the best in your goal – and hope that the challenges you’ve signed up to help in this regard.


  10. farmwifetwo says:

    The library helps with the TBR mountain. Our ILL system is province wide so there’s a lot of variety. So I can try new authors and not feel guilty if I don’t finish them. Plus, at 300 books a year… I can’t afford my book addiction. Good luck whittling it down… I have about 15 books in mine. I went to the UBS and spent some of my credit over Xmas.


  11. Dorte H says:

    I´d love to help by hurling insults at you, but I´m afraid you´ll just send something worse back at me ;D

    Whenever I read about other people´s mountains, I feel my own little hill shrinking so do you realise you serve a purpose? I have noticed, though, that I tend not to count my Kindle books – because I can´t actually see them. 😉 So really I don´t have c 80 books, but at least 120.


  12. Marg says:

    Wow, that is a huge aim! I love my library to much to reduce my TBR pile by anywhere like that many books. Having said that it did grow by more than that last year!


  13. Belle says:

    I just don’t have the discipline to do something like this, but I’ll definitely cheer you on! (I’m not that good on the insults and berating front though …)


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