Shelf Control: Taking Stock

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngA question came up last week as a comment on a Shelf Control post:

Of the 152 books I’ve highlighted so far in my Shelf Control feature, how many have I actually read?

Wow. That is a BIG question.

Shelf Control has been a way to force myself to go back, again and again, to my overflowing bookshelves and take a look at what’s already there. I pick up new books all the time, usually through Kindle deals or at library sales or at used book stores, but still, the fact remains that I buy more and more books when I already have enough unread books on my shelves to keep me busy for years!

So, rather than feature another Shelf Control book this week, I thought I’d take stock and try to answer the question. Luckily, I organize Shelf Control (as well as so much else in my life) through the glory of spreadsheets, so it’s not that hard to figure out.

According to my worksheet:

Total Shelf Control books so far: 152
Number of Shelf Control books I’ve read since posting about them: 14
Number of Shelf Control books donated or otherwise discarded: 9
Number of Shelf Control books that I doubt I’ll ever read (I still have them, but they may be next to go, whenever I do another shelf purge): 12

Which means:

Of the books I’ve featured, I have…

117 books still to read! 

Will I read them? I hope so! I bought them for a reason… and I still find them interesting enough to hold on to. It’s always hard to strike a balance between new books, ARCs, library books, and books on the shelves, but sooner or later, I do end up going back to books I already own. Of the 14 featured Shelf Control books that I’ve actually read, there was only one that I’d consider a dud. As for the others, I’ve read a classic I’ve always meant to read, gotten hooked on series that I’d been curious about, and have read some amazing fiction that moved me and entertained me. I call that a win!

Maybe I’ll do one of these “taking stock” posts once a year (or more often) to see where I stand. Meanwhile, pardon the interruption in my regular schedule! Next week, I’ll be back with yet another book from my shelves… and hopefully, I’ll actually read it before too much time goes by.

If you wrote a Shelf Control post this week, don’t forget to share your link!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!














19 thoughts on “Shelf Control: Taking Stock

  1. Its so hard to keep up with everything current, its so hard to prioritize books that aren’t currently being released. I used to be good and do a blog post every month reviewing one (my Backlist Burndown feature), but I’ve even let that slip.

    • It is definitely hard to keep up. And even though I’ve recently done a shelf purge and donated about six bags full of books, I still have more book than I can possibly get to!

  2. I love this feature you’ve created — but must admit I stopped participating largely because I had originally told myself I’d only feature books I was then going to read pretty much right away— but that’s actually really hard to do weekly! I’m glad you’ve found some gems though — and I’m sure there are more in your stacks 🙂

    • It is very hard to keep up! I’ve occasionally thought about stopping, because what’s the point if I don’t end up reading the books? 🙂 But it’s still fun to look back and see what I have, even if the books I feature end up sitting there for a couple more years.

  3. I love your stats, because they don’t surprise me at all! I am probably worse off than you as far as how many of my purchased books I’ve read. But it never bothers me. Just having a book on my shelf is satisfying for me, even if I never read it. (Sort of the opposite of Marie Kondo🤣)

    • Ha, a big no to Marie Kondo — at least when it comes to books! (The rest of my house could probably stand a little Kondo-ing, to be honest.) Actually, my Shelf Control stats are really just a fraction of my unread books, which is why there’s no risk of my running out of books to feature. Even when I do a shelf purge and donate bags full of books, I still have more than I’ll ever get to! But I agree, it’s nice — kind of cozy — to be surrounded by all these books, even if I don’t read them all.

    • I am buried in ARCs right now (even though I swore last year that I’d scale back) — so I’m mostly scrambling to stay caught up on those. But in terms of books I already own, I’m planning to start Pachinko next week when I’ll be on a plane. 🙂

  4. I own a lot of books I never plan on reading, I am a bit of a book hoarder :/ but your shelves are so pretty and it makes me want to go through my shelves and see what all I haven’t read and count if I want to read them haha, but that would take forever!!

    • I actually went through all my shelves a couple of years ago and did a master inventory of all of my unread books! The numbers are quite scary, to be honest. I use the Libib app (lets you scan barcodes to make it easy), and I try to remember to keep it update when I add books or (less frequently) get rid of them. 🙂

  5. What a fun idea. I have moved twice in the last year so I purged a lot of books (sound of heartbreaking here), but there are still books I will read…eventually.

  6. What a fun recap. I doubt if I did it, I would have been any more successful at number of books read. The reason I participate in this great meme is because it helps reduce the amount of guilt I feel over not reading any of my free Kindle books. As an author, I understand the importance of book reviews and online exposure, so I had every intention of reading the freebies I downloaded. Life just had other ideas.

    Featuring another freebie today, so the author gets a little attention.

    • “Life just had other ideas” — so true about so many of the good intentions I had, whether reading plans or other big projects that have fallen by the wayside.

  7. Lisa, thanks for running the numbers! Very interesting. For me, one of the pleasures of owning books is the anticipation of reading them—someday. In the meantime I’m just enjoying their company in my home. Don’t stop shelf control, I love it! I’m hopeful you’ll read (and enjoy) one of them you posted last year, Rivers of London.

    • Aw, thanks, I do enjoy Shelf Control, even if seeing the numbers makes it all feel rather daunting. But yes, I agree about the pleasure of enjoying having all these books in my home. When I settle into my “book room”, it just makes me feel cozy. (It also makes me want to spend hours reorganizing my shelves!)

  8. That’s a lot of books! Well done for counting them all up – I’m too afraid of what I’ll find to do the same. Especially if that number included ebooks! 🙈😂 But if you can stand to count them, then I have faith in your managing to reduce that number this year! 💚

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