I have more books than I can read. I may have more books than I can read in my lifetime. I’ve done the math: amount of pages I can read in a day divided by the approximate amount of pages I have on my bookshelves. At the time I assumed 100 pages a day. I was 20-something and my life was different then. Now, depending on the book I’m reading and how obligated I feel to finish it or how much I actually like reading it… I may read 20 pages a day.
I’ve been better at limiting the fiction books. I finish them and take them to the secondhand bookstore. There, I can trade several books for one new (unread by me) book. This works well as long as I keep taking books in and don’t buy too many new fiction books at the big, shiny bookstores. Of course, the fresh, unread by anyone, books from the bookstores are tempting. Not only are they newly published but I can give myself the excuse of reading with a latte at the bookstore.
Non-fiction books are another story. I buy more than I need. Always thinking I will read and study them and use what I have learned. Good intentions. But, I end up with a lot of books I’d like to read sitting on my bookshelves. I have to work at not buying more non-fiction.
One thing I have learned is to know what I already have. Including which edition. I really get annoyed with myself when I find I have bought the same book twice.
4. The TBR is your friend. Treat your TBR like a pop up bookstore. Don’t agonize, just pick one. But here’s the trick: if you don’t like it, move on quickly to the next book until you find one that scratches your new book itch. The problem with the TBR is that it can feel like a chore, whereas a new book is thrilling. So don’t force yourself to stick with something if it isn’t working. Keep plowing through until you hit on one that you can’t put down.
3. Review your shelves and donate books you no longer need. This sounds counterintuitive, but it reduces the TBR and provides a visceral reminder of how much privilege is implied by the idea of having to work hard not to buy something that many people consider a luxury, in comparison to medicine, food, or rent.
2. Reorganize your book shelves. Maybe according to date, or color, or some other funky scheme. Or at least dust them. I guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation for what you already own. And it might pique your interest in a forgotten, unread purchase, or send you down several miles of memory lanes with old favorites.