Sunday, January 31, 2016

Read My Own Damn Books Challenge

Like many bloggers, I'm constantly reminded that I have far, far too many unread books on my shelves which are perpetually ignored in favor of my newest discovery (usually found on someone else's blog). Working at the library made temptation even worse -- but last year, I scraped by and just made my goal of reading at least 50% of my own books. Of 101 books read last year, 53 were from my own shelves.

This year, I'm off to a bad start. I finished only six books, and only one was from my own shelves! In my defense, two were audiobooks; one was for my book group; one was an inter-library loan; and one was part of the 12-novel Poldark series, and I have no intention of buying all of them!

And somehow, no matter what, the number of unread books on my shelves always hovers around 170. Part of it is because I just keep finding books that I never added to my Goodreads list; part is that people give me books; but mostly (hanging my head in shame) I'm just a girl who can't say no, and I keep buying more. However, I'm really going to try and stop buying books this year.  I only received three books for Christmas, and one was a cookbook and the other about historical fashion, so, not so much novels. I also need to stop putting more books on my hold list at the library.

According to my Goodreads list, I currently have 165 books on my owned-and-unread shelf. I'd really like to cut this down to 100 or less by the end of the year. To achieve this goal, I'm doing the following:
  • Challenging myself to stop buying books for at least three months -- new and used 
  • Checking out books from the library, with the following exceptions:
  1. Books for my book group;
  2. Books from my Classics Club list (there are only four which I don't already own) 
  3. Books for the Back to the Classics Challenge, and only if I don't own anything that fits the category;
  4. Books already on hold for me, which includes inter-library loans;
  5. Audiobooks, since most of my unread books aren't available on audio (I'm also hoping to most of my book group selections on audio if possible)
Does this sound too hard? Am I being too strict? And is anyone else struggling with the never-ending owned-and-unread mountain of books? I'll post an update at the end of February!


  1. I'm guilty of this - practically buying more books than I can read! But I'm one of the few unapologetic bloggers who does this - I am building myself a library here and I never lack for things to read! :) I just always think I'll get around to them all one day (and when I have read every book in this house I'll no doubt have accumulated a few hundred more!)

  2. This challenge might actually be a good way to read all those books that are sitting on the shelves :)

    Aeriko @ The Reading Armchair

  3. I have had a book-buying binge this month, mostly on-line but yesterday in stores as well - yes, more than one store - due to my new infatuation with Willa Cather's books. I wonder if I could manage to go a month without buying books. I'll be interested to see how you do!

  4. Yes well I am definitely in the same boat, particularly since many of the books I own and haven't read are actually not on my Goodreads Want to Read list yet. I think having an Owned but Unread shelf might be good because it would remind me what's in my house. Cut myself off from the library for three months? Not sure I could manage that.
    I read other people's comments about books and then even though I have a pile of books waiting, I get distracted from my plans because their comments have so intrigued me.

  5. You should see which of those 165 books are available from the library on audio, then go through them that way! That's still reading the books from your shelf, plus indulging your audio and library sides. :D

    1. Sadly, hardly any of the books still on my TBR shelves are on audio! Most of the books I've bought in the past few years are fairly obscure stuff and the public library has hardly any of them in print, much less audio format. However, every so often I find a classic that's newly available on digital download.

  6. I have that same problem of finding books that I hadn't catalogued. I go into LibraryThing all excited to cross another book off of the TBR only to find that it was never there and so I don't get to make any progress. Blah! My number is around 140-150 right now but I would love to get it below 100 before the end of the year. Good luck to you!

  7. I may well sign up for that challenge too. I'm not brave enough to list all my own unread books so I have no idea how many I have but it's an awful lot. I did buy all of the Poldark books, but I have read them all. I should stop buying but I know I won't.

  8. Yes, please keep us updated and the best of luck to you! I don't think you are being too strict at all.

    I think that balance of read vs unread, borrow vs buy, etc. is difficult to maintain for many avid readers. I read a lot more contemporary fiction that you do, so this year one of my loose goals is to be patient and wait until a book is available at my library instead of buying it, not liking it and donating it. If it turns out I love it, then I can buy a copy for my personal library later.

  9. I'm in the same frame of mind as you. The greatest works of literature are already on my shelves!

  10. More power to you in buying fewer books. My post today is about how I acquired 13 books last week, yes, I confess. My goal is to buy no books this week, so far so good.


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