I love books. I love reading, recommending, reviewing, browsing, and discovering books. This is all great but it also means that I have a very large list of books I want to read. Some of them I legitimately want to read, others look good in the moment, and others are really popular and are something I should read, but the result is that I have over 200 books on my to-read shelf.
I didn’t realize how many books were on my list until recently, when Rebecca (who ran Love At First Book) called to tell me that she deleted her TBR list on Goodreads. Deleted it! The anxiety that I felt on her behalf was palpable and I’m fairly certain she could hear my heart beating out of my chest over the phone. Clearly she was crazy, right? It turns out, she might not be. In addition to making such a drastic move, she was adamant about it being liberating and encouraged me to set aside my fears and give it a go. And so, in the moment, I decided to give it a whirl. If this concept is making your palms sweat and your heart beat quickly, rest assured that I downloaded a .CSV version “just in case” (even though I haven’t looked at it once).
So what happened after I did this horrible, unspeakable thing? Well, it’s been almost a month and Rebecca was right – it’s liberating. The books on my list had no rhyme or reason but my new list (which I hope will not exceed 20) is comprised only of books I really and truly want to read. Since making the change, I find browsing for new books much less stressful. Before, hunting for a new book could be paralyzing. There were so many options on my TBR list that it was no better than browsing Amazon at large (this post from The Worm Hole sums up many of the issues I encountered)This is what happened when I purged my Goodreads TBR Shelf. Click To Tweet
In other words, before the purge my list was useless. Either it would overwhelm me or I would ignore it, but neither was very helpful and I don’t miss it one bit. With only a few books on my list now, I’m free as a bird and am completely uncommitted. Between Facebook, Twitter, book blogs, and my library website, the odds of me missing out on a book because I failed to put it on my Goodreads list are pretty slim, so I only add books I plan to read in the near future. Aside from being less stressed about choosing my next read, I am happier with my reading picks.
Time will tell if this was the right decision or if I end up missing out on great books as a result, but I have a sneaking suspicion that won’t be the case. Without the guilt of ignoring the monster list and the total time suck of browsing for hours on end, I’m reading more. That’s right, eliminating the very thing that was supposed to help me read good books gave me the time I needed to actually read good books.
So should you try purging your Goodreads list? Maybe, maybe not. I’m a fan but we all approach our TBR shelves and next read differently. That said, if you find yourself agonizing over your next read simply because you have too many “must-read” options, you might want to consider clearing your Goodreads TBR (and if you do, come back and let us know how it went!)
Will you take the plunge? If you do, tell us how it went using #TBRPlunge!