Danger! Danger! Beware of falling books!
I have shelf overload. A few years ago, I added a bunch of shiny new bookshelves, assuming they’d be neat and organized, with room to spare, for years and years and years.
They’re full. They’re overflowing. They’re messy. They’re disorganized.
I won’t do anything as drastic as going on a book-buying ban, but I do want to finally take some time to acknowledge how many unread books are actually sitting here in my house.
To that end, one change I’ll be making is mostly sitting out my usual “Wishing & Waiting” posts for a while. I want to stop focusing on upcoming new releases and instead give myself time and space to concentrate on the books I already own. You know, the ones I was actually dying for when they first came out… and then never did anything with.
Step #1 in my goal of appreciating what I already have (okay, yes, this could be a much wider goal about appreciating all the good in my life… but for now, let’s focus on books, shall we?) is taking stock of all the books tucked into all the various nooks and crannies in my house. I can’t read what I already have if I don’t know what I already have!
Like the numbers and Excel geek that I am, I started by doing an inventory. Picture me, laptop in hand, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of my shelves. I decided to create a spreadsheet listing every book in my house that I haven’t read yet. Here are the basics of what I did:
- Going shelf by shelf, I made a list of everything on my shelves not yet read.
- I only counted the books that are actually mine — so my kids’ books don’t count. Unless they’re kid books that I want to read myself. (I’m starting to get muscle strain from tying myself into so many knots.)
- As I scoured my shelves, I came across bunches that — let’s face it — I’ll probably never read. The ones that I felt “never will I ever” about got pulled from the shelves and put into to-be-donated boxes. Yippee! I’m counting and I’m cleaning!
- I set up separate tabs in my worksheet (fun with Excel!) for fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels.
- When I got through all the physical books in my house, I decided to check my Kindle contents. Yikes. I have a lot of Kindle stuff that I’ve snatched up when there were price drops, but never got around to reading. So, another tab just for Kindle, but I only included books that I really intend to read. Because there are some that just aren’t going to happen, ever.
- I didn’t include ARCs. Either I’ll read them or I won’t, but since I didn’t purchase them and can’t give them away (since they’re mostly on my Kindle), I’m not including them in my inventory.
So where did I end up? Let’s do the math:
Ha. 598? That’s a bit daunting. Overwhelming. Coma-inducing.
When will I ever read them all???
Listen, I’m a realist (sometimes). It’ll take time. No pressure, no timetables, no deadlines. After all, the last thing I need in my life is one more way to feel stressed!
My entire goal here is to keep myself aware. Aware that I have plenty of awesome books sitting on my shelves, just waiting for me to show them some love.
So will I stop buying or borrowing new books? Heck, no.
But I will try to make more time for the books I already have, rather than always rushing toward the newest and shiniest. I want to read without pressure, without commitments, without timetables. Just reading what I want, when I want — isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
And what about my book math? To keep myself on track, I’m going to be check my “book score” at the start of each new month. I know I’m unlikely to read more than a few non-fiction books in a year, and that’s okay. The Kindle books, well, I’ll get to when I get to. So, going forward, I’ll do a little Book Count update, including my physical books (fiction and graphic novels) still unread, plus any new additions, minus any I’ve read in the past month. Fun with numbers! And to keep myself on track, I’ll have a little Book Count icon in my sidebar that I’ll update too… because, what the heck – why not?
Here’s where I stand as of right now:
Wish me luck!