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What I Learned From Culling My TBR

I posted on my Instagram about wanting to cut down my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf this month. I joined Goodreads in 2011, so I’ve been using it for over 10 years to track my reading, and in that time, my reading taste has changed a lot. And while it doesn’t seem like a big deal, I would get distressed seeing the number of books I’d put on that ‘shelf’ because I know there are so many books but so little time.

It has always been difficult for me to remove books from that list, but the first week of January I decided there was no other way to make progress but to be ruthless and just do it. And it took a few days, but I managed to remove nearly 600 books from the shelf! So I thought I would post a few things I learned or that were going through my mind as I did this.

(The starting number was 1758, pared down to 1162, which I find less daunting)

My Reading Taste Has Changed in Several Ways

When I started using Goodreads regularly, I was reading mostly young adult, across all genres. I would read anything, especially if I saw a lot of other bloggers reading it, because I was so new to YA and therefore all of the books were new to me and sounded interesting.

In the years since, I’ve been reading more adult than YA. I also tend to read mostly mysteries/thrillers, fantasy, and horror. Since I know I’m hit or miss with other genres like romance and science fiction, I don’t tend to read from those genres too much these days, although I would like to give some titles in those genres a try this year.

This goes hand in hand with my next topic…

I’m Getting Better at Knowing What I Like to Read, and What I Don’t

After years and years of reading so much, I have a very good idea of what kinds of books appeal to me, and what don’t. I like books about books and dark academia, but I’m not big on novels in verse or with a Greek chorus-style narration.

And while there are always exceptions, I’m not so willing to read authors whose other books haven’t worked from me.

(But I do try to push myself out of my reading comfort zone from time to time and try something different)

I Request Fewer Review Copies

When I first started receiving review copies, it was so exciting that I would request anything that sounded remotely interesting or that my friends had requested. But of course that led to more books than I could reasonably read, and I ended up with a bunch of books that weren’t really my taste. I also was putting pressure on myself to read things by certain dates even if I wasn’t really enjoying them.

These days, I tend to only request / download what I’m genuinely interested in, eg. books by favourite authors, and I’m trying to work through my Netgalley backlog before requesting anything more.

I Can’t Read Everything, and That’s OK

I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to read everything. It’s ok to pass on books that are getting a lot of publicity and love and attention if they don’t appeal to me. Once my completionist brain grasped this, it was actually kind of freeing!

But also, taking something off my ‘Want to Read’ shelf doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind and read something later. This is just a Goodreads shelf!

I’m Still Excited to Read So Many Books!

As I was going through my ‘Want to Read’ shelf and looking at books to see what I was still interested in, I got excited all over again to read the books that I kept on my shelf! One of my goals this year is to read more books that I already own or have e-ARCs of, and I’m going to look through my TBR shelf when it’s time to pick my next read.

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