Tackling My TBR in 2014

by Kim on January 3, 2014 · 31 comments

I’m generally pathetic at following through with goals and resolutions that I set on January 1. Like most people, I get ambitious at the end of the year and set myself up with a huge list of things to do to make life better. But January is traditionally a pretty busy month where I struggle to find a routine — a factor that makes it difficult to make changes, especially coming out of a routine-less December.

With that in mind, I decided not to set any specific goals for this year. Instead, I’m giving myself an area of focus for my reading: tackling my unread books.

Over the last year or so, my unread books have gone from a respectable number to basically out of control. I’d post pictures, but it’s sort of embarrassing. My limited shelf space is stuffed, double stacked in many places, despite moving a box or two of books into storage in late 2013. I know that the boyfriend and I will be moving at some point in the near to middle future — I need fewer books when that happens.

I would love to finish the year with fewer unread books in my house than I have right now. To accomplish this, I came up with a number of specific (and generally measurable) tasks:

  • Get my library cataloged in LibraryThing. I got a good start on cataloging my books in 2013 year, but lost track somewhere around June and need to get caught back up.
  • Keep track of EVERY book that comes into my house. Review copy, purchase, gift, it doesn’t matter. I need to keep a list.
  • Buy fewer books. Plain and simple.
  • Choose to read my own books when I have the option. In 2013, about 40 percent of the books I read were my own. I would love to get that number up to 50 percent in 2014.
  • Start choosing ebooks. Although my digital library is also pretty big, I think it will help my space issues to embrace ebooks when I want to buy books.

Another reason I am choosing this year to tackle my bookshelves has to do with a year-long workshop I am signed up for — One Little Word by Ali Edwards. I’ve got a post planned for tomorrow talking about One Little Word in more detail, but suffice it to say reigning in my books is deeply connected to the word I am inviting into my life this year.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

tanya January 3, 2014 at 7:08 am

I want to hear more about One LIttle Word!!

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Meg January 3, 2014 at 8:05 am

Definitely intrigued by One Little Word, too! And I’m with you. My unread book stacks are getting ridiculous — a fact very obvious to me as I painstakingly moved all my novels into my new home last fall. I’m pretty sure Spencer wanted to scream when he saw more boxes coming to fill our limited shelves, but he was a good sport! Still, I want 2014 to be all about downsizing, decluttering and living a more simple, happy life.

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

Mine were bad when we moved in September 2012, but they’ve gotten SO MUCH WORSE since we decided we’re going to try and stay in this place for awhile. The boyfriend and my family both refuse to move the books, so it ends up being my project. I both love and hate it, but think I would hate it less if there were fewer books :)

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Julie Merilatt January 3, 2014 at 8:40 am

I am obsessed about cataloguing every book that comes into my house. Along with Goodreads (or LT), I keep a very detalied good old-fashioned spreadsheet.

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

I should have a spreadsheet. It’d be easier to keep track of, but I want to do it in LT. I just need to be more disciplined about keeping up.

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Alex (Sleepless Reader) January 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

Mount TBR out of control and the need to control it seems to be a favorite resolution among book bloggers this year. The One Little World idea might become very popular among the community.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) January 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

My books are out of control. I track them in LT and in a spreadsheet but I’m bad about taking out the books I get rid of. Of course, I don’t get rid of nearly enough of them. Good luck to you!!

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:40 am

I’ve gotten a lot better about getting rid of books afer I’ve finished them, only keeping the ones I truly love. I’m terrible about weeding unread books — that’s where I have to focus this year.

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Sophie January 3, 2014 at 9:49 am

Buying fewer books and reading books that you own are things I’m trying to tackle this year too, and it’s a lot easier said than done, unfortunately. I like how specific your goals are – good luck in 2014!

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Allison @ The Book Wheel January 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

I’m the same way. I’m filled with great intentions and then fizzle out. Luckily, my “resolutions” this year are pretty easy – take less author requests, read more of what I want to read, and maintain my cataloguing. The only thing I’m doing differently is tracking my author genders and sources.

Good luck and I’m looking forward to reading about the year-long challenge!

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Sandy January 3, 2014 at 10:19 am

I’ve heard about One Little Word! I’ve not read the book, but I probably need to. Despite that, I DO have a word for the year after thinking about my challenges in 2013. I don’t know if you are aware of the Triple Dog Dare over at Ready When You Are, CB, but the deal is that you read your own books SOLID for the first three months of the year. Book club selections can be an exception. You should come sign up, it is fun!

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

That does sound fun! I’ve thought about that one, but since I am still doing a few review books, I don’t know if that totally makes sense. I should stop buying books for the first few months though!

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Jenny @ Reading the End January 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

I LOVE cataloging my books. I did a big cataloging project in 2009 or so, where I took everything off my bookshelves and added it to LibraryThing. Periodically the cataloging craze comes upon me again, and I add further information to the books in my LibraryThing account (category tags! price to replace!). I highly recommend it. It is a good activity to do when you are watching trashy television.

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:42 am

That sounds like a good football game activity. I think if I take it slowly, working on one shelf at a time, I’ll eventually get caught up. I have a good base, it just needs updating.

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Vasilly January 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

I’m right there with you on tackling Mount TBR.I plan on reading as many tbr books as possible with the exceptions of a few library books and one or two ARCs for Bloggers Recommend. Do you find yourself ever forgetting about your digital tbr pile? I have so many unread books on my Nook. I prefer to tackle my physical tbr pile because it’s what I see! :-) I’ve been thinking about what my word for 2014 should be. I usually forget my word shortly after making one so maybe I’ll join One Little Word too. I hope you share with us what your word will be. :-)

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:42 am

Oh, the digital TBR. That’s totally out of control too, but since it’s digital it’s out of sight, out of mind. I’ll work on that in 2015? Maybe? :)

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Kailana January 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

Good luck! I have such a hard time with e-books because they are so expensive. I typically won’t buy them unless they are on sale… Kobo had a 50 percent off coupon in December that lead to me stocking up a bit… And I refuse to change mediums. If I started a series in paperback than I am going to continue it in paperback… etc. My TBR has been insane for a few years and that includes huge purges. I got rid of a bunch of books when we moved, but I still need to get rid of more. It didn’t help I hardly read in 2013. For me my problem is the purges. I bring them to the second hand store, I get credit, and then I get more books… It’s a vicious cycle! Good luck!!

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:43 am

I have the same issue with ebooks. $9.99 seems to be my break point, but normally I get them when they’re on sale for just a few dollars. I’m the same way about format, at least for when I buy books — consistency. So there are some books I won’t buy as ebooks no matter what.

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Tanya Patrice January 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Good luck and have fun reading!

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Monika January 3, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I haven’t heard of One Little World before but I followed the link. Sounds amazing. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

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Aarti January 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I’m an obsessive cataloger in LT myself! Though I do not catalog the e-books I buy nearly as carefully as the physical ones. I don’t know that cataloging has helped me read books off my shelves much more, but it does make me feel quite organized :-) I hope to read more from my shelves in the future, too, but as so much of my reading is done via audiobook these days, I think that is probably not going to happen much in 2014.

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Athira January 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I love your goals! I could also do with lesser unread books around the house. Choosing ebooks as opposed to print books when you want to buy a title sounds a good idea too! Happy New Year and good luck with your goals!

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:44 am

I hope that will help, but since I do still love physical books it’s hard to make that choice sometimes!

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Florinda January 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I have that goal for 2014 as well, and I’m using some of the same tactics on it. I SWEAR by LibraryThing. Good luck!

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Alex in Leeds January 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

Good luck with that pruning, I bet you discover some gems in the overflowing shelves this year!

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Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:45 am

I am sure there are some great books hidden behind the double stacking. And I’m sure there are some duds I need to just give up on :)

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Wendy @ Wensend January 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I still need to make a list for the 2014 TBR challenge in which you try to tackle 12 books (one per month) throughout the year. It’s just that I feel like 12 isn’t enough, but I don’t want to read only books I already own, because I like new releases. Choices, choices..

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Kim January 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

I’ve joined the TBR challenge for two years now and failed miserably at it both times! I did put together a shelf of books I want to try and get to this year, but didn’t sign up officially because it seems like signing up for a challenge means I will automatically fail at it :)

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Joanna January 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

I have way too many too, so my goal is like yours. I want to read from my own shelves at least every other book. I think I shouldn’t really be buying much fiction anymore, only non fiction, since my reserves aren’t as great there. Good luck!

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Kim January 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I’m the opposite — I have tons of nonfiction, but a little less fiction. Really though, I should just not be buying new books :)

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