My Crazy TBR Pile & My Tough Love Rules To Cut It Down

The free books I brought home from RWA Nationals this year - I've read two so far.So this weekend I decided to do a little house cleaning when it came to my books. This involved organizing my Goodreads list into shelves and culling some of the herd. This also meant going through my physical bookshelves and taking inventory of what I haven't read yet. And the numbers, my friends, are rather insane...

Right now, I have exactly 100 unread novels/novellas on my Kindle and over 200 print books on my shelves waiting to be read. 0.0 I knew it was bad, but...well, I didn't realize it was that bad.

And I have a true addiction because I CAN'T STOP BUYING BOOKS. I see someone tweet about something awesome or I see one of those Daily Deal posts and I'm all click, click, click. Buy, buy, buy. Plus, if I have friends or favorite authors that put a new release out, I want to support them and buy it when it comes out. I know the buying won't stop--though I may be putting a lockdown for the month of December since I need to be buying Christmas gifts for someone other than myself. :) But I realized I do need to come up with a plan to start working through some of the books languishing on my real and virtual shelves.

So here's what I'm thinking. I have admitted in the past that I am a chronic finisher. Meaning, I have a really hard time giving up on a book unless the writing is just outright horrible. But this habit slows down my reading. If a book isn't completely sucking me in, I put it down and then don't read other stuff until it's done. Not good.

And even though I've abandoned more books in this past year than I have in the past, I'm still pretty hooked on trying to finish things. But I realized as I'm staring at all these unread books that LIFE IS TOO SHORT and there are too many FANTASTIC books to waste time on a book that's just okay.

So here are my new Tough Love Rules for the coming year:

1. If a book hasn't completely captured me (i.e. I don't want to put it down and can't stop thinking about it) by the end of chapter 3, then I'm moving on. 

As a writer, it's beat into us that we have to hook a reader from page one. I work hard to write books that do that from the first line. So why am I accepting less as a reader? Yes, sometimes page one is hard, but by three chapters, you should have me.

2. If I'm enjoying a book, but I'm just not in the right mood for it at the time, I will move it onto my new "Limbo" shelf on Goodreads.

Sometimes I'm just not in the right headspace for a certain book. For example, it may be a light, fun romance but I'm in a dark mood and want something grittier. It's nothing wrong with the book per se, just not the right time.

3. If there are books on my TBR shelf at this time next year that have been there for at least 2 years, I'm donating them to the library or a hospital. (Or holding a massive blog contest.)

I tend to hoard books. "Ooh, it sounds good. I'll probably read it one day." Yeah, if that hasn't happened in two years, it will probably never get read.


We'll see if these three things help me. I'll update next year and let y'all know. And in the meantime, if you want to follow the list of what I read. I'm active on Goodreads and I keep a running list of what I read each year here.

So what's your TBR pile look like? How do you go about picking your next book to read--i.e. is it my method (Ooh! New! Shiny!) or do you have a more organized way to go about it? And how long do you give a book before you move on for good? Anyone else have a "limbo" type shelf?