Thursday, September 13, 2018

Discussion: Taming Your Terrifying To-Read List

The 2018 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts At Midnight




My book wish list is out of control. I seem to find out about a dozen amazing new books every single day. Lately, my want-to-read list has been growing, and growing, and growing. When it hit 600 books a few weeks ago, I thought it was time to do something about it. Six hundred books is a lot of books. To put things in perspective, it would take me six years to read 600 books. Like most things in my life, my wish list was not remotely rational.

I decided to remove some titles from the list. Over the course of a few days, I reduced it from 600 books to around 400. That still isn’t reasonable, but at least we’re moving in the general direction of “reasonable.” Progress!

Since most bookworms have massive to-be-reads (don’t deny it; I’ve seen your Goodreads), I thought I’d share my tips for taming your terrifying to-read list. Here are 10 questions that I asked myself about every single book on my list.





Questions to ask as you tame your wish list





1. Am I still excited about the synopsis? Some of the books on my list had been there for years. When I reread the synopsis, I felt no excitement about the book. Maybe my reading tastes have changed. Or maybe I’ve read too many similar books. Also, why are there so many books about circuses on my list? When was I ever interested in circuses? Past-me made some questionable bookish decisions.




2. What do the reviews say? I know that you can’t always trust reviewers. It’s definitely possible to love a book that everybody else hates. Still, if a book mostly has 2 and 3-star reviews, it’s probably not worth reading.

This book has a 90% chance of causing regret.




3. Do I have similar reading tastes to the person who recommended this book? Please tell me that I’m not alone in this: I find a blogger/vlogger who makes every book sound like the greatest book in the history of the world. I add everything they love to my wish list. Then I read a few of their recommendations and go, “Yeah . . . I’m severely underwhelmed right now . . . . Why did I read this?” Sometimes I think I have similar tastes to a reviewer, but I don’t.




4. Did I like the author’s other books? How many chances should you give an author? If I wasn’t impressed with an author’s previous books, I probably shouldn’t read their next one. This is especially true with series. If I didn’t love book #1, why should I read book #2?




5. Is the author an insufferable asshat? Every few months, Twitter has a conversation about if we should separate the artist from the art. When it comes to books, I don’t separate. I don’t want to financially support an author who can’t behave. Sorry, insufferable asshats, your books have been deleted from my wish list.





6. Can I find this book? Some books are hard to find. They’re out of print, or very few copies were made. If I’ve never seen a book come up for sale, maybe it’s time to give up on it.




7. Can I afford it? Some books are stupidly expensive. If a book has been on my list forever, and it has never dropped into my price range, I probably won’t be able to own it.




8. Am I mostly interested in the hype? I’m not immune to the hype monster. I have occasionally read a book just because everybody else is reading it. I want to be part of your world, okay! Don’t leave me out! My experiences with hyped books have been mixed. Some of them are great, but most of them are pretty average. If I’m more interested in the hype than in the book, I probably don’t need to read it.




9. Am I mostly interested in the cover? Unpopular opinion: “It’s pretty” is not a good reason to read a book. Sorry, not sorry.




10. Did I add this book to the list to fulfill a reading challenge? Like many bookworms, I love reading challenges. They get me out of my comfort zone and help me discover new authors. Reading challenges are temporary, though. If the challenge is over, am I still interested in reading the book?




Good luck with taming your to-read list! I’m currently in the (very slow) process of moving my wish list from a private spreadsheet to a public Pinterest board. If you’re curious about which books survived my purge, you can see (most of them) here.





Do you ever delete titles from your wish list, or do you let your list run wild?









50 comments:

  1. Great way to cull your list. I definitely have to go through Goodreads sometimes and get rid of books I have on there. I have a list on Amazon too, but Goodreads is definitely much longer. It usually comes down to if I'm still interested or not. If I don't think I'd ever read the book, or just don't care that much anymore, I take it off the list. There are definitely way too many books on my list - and in the world - so I can't be keeping them all around even if they sound like something I MIGHT like. If I'm not super excited about it, or it's just been on the list for so long without me ever having read it, I'm usually okay taking it off. :)

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also have several lists. I’m hoping that moving all of the lists to Pinterest will help me keep track of how many books are on my TBR.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. I so need to this to my to read list on Goodreads. I think all your questions are really good ones to get rid of some books. Well except the cover one. I totally pick books based on covers!! Great post!!

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    1. Haha, yeah, I thought the cover one would be controversial. I pick books based on their covers, too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  3. These are good tips! Although, to be honest, when I go to the library to browse, a good part of my decision whether or not to check out a book is based on whether or not I like the cover.
    Right now I'm just letting my TBR list happily expand.

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    Replies
    1. Same here. I can’t help being drawn to pretty books!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. Hmmm, so I need to rethink my pretty cover policy? I have been pretty good about deleting from my wish list. Sometimes, I just keep them on my GR TBR, because I want notification when there is a giveaway for the book, but my amazon list has gotten much smaller. Reviews are probably the biggest thing that will get me to delete a book. Once that average rating falls below 3.5, I start looking hard at the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m the same. Once a book hits 3.5, I start wondering what’s turning people off about it. I’ll still read it if the synopsis sounds good, but it probably won’t be high-priority.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. I delete stuff pretty often. I think these are all good questions to ask - one of my big things is if I've added it because of hype and because everyone else is reading it, or because I'm genuinely interested in it. Reviews are pretty influential in me deleting something, too, especially if a lot of trusted reviewers have disliked a book.

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    1. Hype is challenging for me. I want to be part of conversations, but I don’t want to read something just because everybody else is.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. At some point I need to stop adding to TBR lists... I’ll need to live two centuries just to read my current one, and by then if I keep adding at the current rate, I’ll never be able to die. But I do have books I wonder why I ever brought because I’ll never read.

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that’s one of the upsides to me being broke all the time. I only buy a book if I really, really want it. Still, I own too many of them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. These are excellent tips!! I do weed through my "to read" list on Goodreads every so often but it's been awhile and I sorely need to go through them- 1,300 books! Yikes. The one about agreeing with people's taste is a big one for me; I've figured out who I usually agree with, for what genres, and it helps immensely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m still trying to figure that out. I hardly ever unfollow bloggers, but I’ve starting unfollowing YouTubers whose tastes don’t match mine. I’m hoping to narrow my subscriptions down to vloggers I can trust.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. I have a wishlist of 200 or so. If I see something interesting on ba blog I stick it on my Goodreads wishlist for future reference. Every few months I go through it and cull those I'm no longer interested in but the number remains pretty constant. My wishlist is purely books that interest me that I haven't bought or downloaded. My TBR is books I actually own but haven't read and that list is over 1000!

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    1. Wow, I think I’d freak out if I owned 1000 unread books. I usually have around 60, and that stresses me out.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  9. Um I want to know what the books with all those one-star reviews is.

    I make annual wish lists for Christmas because I'm super fickle. And even then it's only 5 books. And they're typically five books I've already read. Haha

    I don't like buying books that I may or may not like. Especially if the hype is at its peak and there aren't a lot of reviews in.

    These are wonder tips AJ!

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    1. I try to be very calm about hype. I don’t want to buy something and then find out that the early hype was wrong. Luckily, I’m broke, so a book is usually out for months or years before I buy it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. Great tips! I let my Goodreads TBR list run wild for sure. Then I have a smaller Amazon wish list for the titles I seriously want which I often browse for sales. (I love that you can sort the wish lists by price!) Then I have my reading list for the year on my blog with titles I've committed to read and review. Which actually, now that I spell all that out seems ridiculously complicated. Haha.

    I totally agree with you, though: if an author is a jerk, I don't read their books. A hugely popular author was a jerk to me in person once, and I won't buy or review her books now. There are too many great books out there as it is! I don't need to promote someone without manners. Yeesh. :p

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I should get better at using my Amazon wish list. I’m probably missing out on sales because I don’t use it or check it very often.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. I love pretty covers as much as anyone else, but I can't rely solely on them for books I want to read. There are a lot of books that have questionable covers that are so good and the opposite is true as well. I cleaned out my TBR list on Goodreads a few years ago and have since been able to maintain it at a reasonable 100 to 110 books. I totally agree with you, past me made some VERY questionable bookish decisions too :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I was surprised at some of the random stuff on my wish list. When was I ever interested in those books?! Why are they on my list?!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. I am the worst about having a never-ending TBR, even though I do go through and try to edit sometimes. I think I'm afraid it will hurt the book's feelings if I take it off, or that a book I remove will secretly be a book that would be just perfect for me. But having two thousand books on my list really isn't an efficient way to find books. I don't know that I even need a to-read list at all; I survived most of my life on just looking at the books in libraries and stores and paying attention to what people were talking about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I survived for most of my life without a wish list, too. I didn’t start one until I got to college and professors were like, “Read this, and this, and this.” Before then, I’d just go to the bookstore or library and pick something on my own.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. Omg what book is that with mostly negative reviews?? XD I absolutely agree with your #5. I have an extremely hard time separating artist from art and there are some books I won't go near because I can't stand the person who wrote them. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think that low-rated book is called Handbook for Mortals? There was some kind of Twitter scandal about it. That’s why the reviews are so negative.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  14. I found it overwhelming to even cull my tbr pile. It's just too much to worry about. Regardless, even if I did, new books would replace them anyway. I try not to think about it too much.

    However, If I find out that an author is indeed an asshat, I blacklist all of their books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, books written by asshats were the easiest to delete. I didn’t even think about them, just pushed the delete button.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  15. The last I checked I have less than 200 books in my Goodreads to-read shelf. I'm glad that it's still a small monster compared to other bookworm's TBR. I delete books I'm not interested in reading anymore at least once a year, so this list of questions will surely come handy for me next year! :)

    Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads

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    1. Great job with keeping your list manageable! I’m trying to be pickier about what I add to mine.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  16. I never make a note of my TBR list, that way my terrible memory just does the culling for me... Totally agree with the book covers point - all the worst books I ever read i picked up because of pretty covers. (Apart from the ones I had to read for school/uni).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Haha, maybe I should stop writing them down. I’d forget most of my TBR, too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  17. I've given up on taming my TBR. It is 800+ books, and I'm lying if I say all the books I own are on it. There is no hope, get out while you still can!!!!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I thought about giving up on controlling it. I know that it’ll get out of control again soon.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  18. I'm in desperate need to clean up my TBR list considering how I have books from 6 years ago on there still. I also read a lot of reviews and base some of my judgement on them, but it really depends on who it is and my reading comparison with them. Some bloggers have the same reading tastes as myself, so I definitely trust their judgement, especially if they've accurately described my feelings and thoughts EVERY SINGLE TIME. 😅

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I’m still trying to find bloggers who I agree with the majority of the time. My reading tastes are so eclectic that it can be hard to find people who read the same books I do.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  19. Great post, and I've come up with some similar questions when trying to prune my own TBR list. I really need to take another pass at mine, which is currently hovering a little below 1000 books. But it takes a lot of time to go through my list, and sometimes I'd rather be reading!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I had to force myself to sit down and cull the list. It was pretty boring, but I’m glad it’s done.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  20. I do this every few months or so, it's so surprising how much your reading tastes can change in that amount of time! I definitely ask myself a lot of the questions you listed!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My reading tastes must have changed a lot since I last looked at the list. I didn’t even remember adding some of that stuff.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  21. I need to do this soon, I have so many books on my TBR and there is no way I'm ever going to get to them all. These are all great ways to help cut down the TBR.

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  22. This is such a helpful post, thank you SO much for doing this (I am bookmarking this for sure!). I don't think I went overboard with my TBR on goodreads.... I think I might be around 300 books or something 🙈 still that's a lot and I often think about doing a little spring - well, fall, now - cleaning at some point, because I am certain that I am not interested in so many of these anymore. I'll definitely use your techniques to get through this :D Thank you so much! :D

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  23. I definitely cull my list from time to time, but it's still out of control. I think it's probably pretty hopeless, but I'll go ahead and pretend I can read all the books of ever.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Haha, that was my strategy this year. In the past, I culled my list every few months. Then I randomly started living in denial and letting the list grow out of control.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  24. I am constantly refining my wishilst. Adding to it and removing from it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That’s probably a good way to do it. I add books constantly but don’t delete them very often.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  25. About seven months ago I made a spread sheet with all the books I own and read. At that time I do go through and cleaned out my tbr shelf. A lot of the books I had listed were part of series, and if I honestly couldn't remember what happens in the previous book I removed it from my tbr. I need to through it once again and purge.

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  26. LOVE this post! I freaked out when I hit 500 and I promised myself that I'd do something about it when I hit 700 and now I'm almost to 1,000 and still haven't done anything about it lol.

    So I saw this meme called Down the TBR Hole and it's where you take 10 books on your tbr, every week, and decide to keep or remove them. I've wanted to do it but I don't know why I'm still vacillating. It's like getting rid of clothes you don't wear anymore, it's hard to say goodbye to them lol!

    ReplyDelete

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