Sunday Salon: 2014 as The Year of Tackling My TBR Mountain

sunday salonWhen I look back at all the books I’ve read this year, I realize that only a handful were books of my own. Now that’s disappointing since I have so many unread books. Every year I say this but I mean it this year; it’s time for me to focus on my tbr pile.

Like many readers, my tbr pile is not a pile but more of a mountain, spanning across genres and years, collecting dust as I read books from the library and publishers. Granted, my stack has gotten smaller as I’ve given away hundreds of books (200+) this year, but there are still so many books unread.

I’ve started to realize that this quest to tackle my tbr mountain is a never-ending one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. How many readers among us have read every single book on their shelves?  When I’m constantly ignoring the books I’ve spent money on, it’s a problem.

I’m declaring 2014 as The Year of the Tbr Mountain. I have over 600 books and probably 60-75% of these books are unread. Some are of these books are classics like The Iliad, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Others are modern favorites like Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine and The Namesake by Jhumpi Lahiri. When am I ever going to get to these rich and seemingly deserving titles if I don’t make an effort to?

Some of you might be wondering what’s the big deal. Why not read whatever I want? I do and I still will but I’ve been feeling some guilt over the years about these books collecting dust. What usually happens is that time passes: months and years go by and I’ve forgotten why I was so excited to read these books. I end up giving them away to my local library or thrift store.

No more. With a few exceptions, I’m no longer accepting review copies. I still have a few arcs left that I plan on reading and reviewing at the beginning of the year along with a stack of library books that are too interesting to give back unread.

I’m excited about this goal and I’ve already started. If I can read at least one book from my shelf every week, I’m happy. Wish me luck.

What are your reading goals for 2014? 


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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37 Responses to Sunday Salon: 2014 as The Year of Tackling My TBR Mountain

  1. Trust me I completely understand. I’m in the same boat again this year. I will be doing to same too! I can’t even walk into my local library because the books on sale are at the front door. Aargh!!
    You can totally do this goal.

  2. Some of those TBR books are books we thought we wanted. I was so good about not having a TBR pile and recently it’s crept up on me. Not too big though.

  3. Luck: <– there I wished it. 🙂

    While I like your philosophy, my own this coming year is going to continue to be que sera, sera because that's what seemed to work this past year. I didn't do any challenges, except for one to read 75 books (completed), and I read whatever I wanted, whether from my shelf or from the library. I think I'll continue that in 2014.

  4. Just another note to let you know I am just about finished (150 pages to go) with The Goldfinch. Is there a location where you are writing about this challenge?

  5. BermudaOnion says:

    Good luck! I need to be ruthless and weed out my bookshelves.

  6. One of my first rules for books is to keep the unread ones separate from the others, even if they are stacked on the floor. This keeps a visual reminder in front of me, as I’m stumbling over them! LOL

    I also started a blog in 2009 for just that purpose, keeping track of my progress. And every year I do a Mt. TBR Challenge. The numbers have dwindled….but, of course, there will always be books sitting there unread because of review books taking precedence.

    As long as we keep the numbers manageable, we’re good. Right? LOL

    Good luck…and here’s MY WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES

  7. iliana says:

    I have so many shelf sitters it’s not even funny and what do I do? Keep going to the library, keep buying books, etc. What I’ve noticed is that some books I was so excited about years ago sometimes no longer seem that interesting to me. What I’d really like to do is go through my stacks and do a big weeding of them. Good luck with your goal!

  8. BookerTalk says:

    I know how you feel – so many good books on my shelves already so why do I succumb when I go near a book shop and buy yet more! good luck with the mountaineering

  9. bookworm says:

    I can totally relate abut that TBR mountain. I’ve just finished writing up a few ‘end of year posts’ and one of my reading goals for 2014 is to tackle my TBR mountain. Like you say, it spans across genres and years. I feel guilty about it as well and will be reducing the number of review books to maybe 2 per month, if that. I want to get back to reading for myself. Good luck and Happy, Healthy New Year Vasilly!

  10. I need to do the exact same thing! Like you, the majority of the books I own are unread. I tackled a few this year but there are still SO many left to go. Every time I read a book I exchange it for an unread one and the mountain is left standing. However, I need to put an end to this practice and just read them! I am thinking of making a shelf just for the books I’ve read out of my TBR so I can watch them accumulate and actually SEE the accomplishments.

  11. Tif says:

    I am planning on focusing on my TBR mountains as well! With another move coming this summer, I simply cannot add any more books to it! I know that I have some pretty amazing books on my pile and I look forward to discovering them this year!

  12. Lisa says:

    I’m in the same situation as well. My TBR books make up about 40% of the total stacks, and that feels like too much for me. I’ve been trying to reduce it, but then I discover wonderful new books, especially through blogs. Good luck with your project!

  13. harvee says:

    Tackling the TBR is going to be a challenge. Wish you luck in ignoring the new books that will pobably arrive at your doorsteps in 2014! Hah!

  14. Athira says:

    Good luck! I need to give more attention to my shelves too. This year, I read very little books set outside US and I’m hoping to change that next year.

  15. I definitely relate! I did a really good job of reading from my TBR shelves the first half of the year, but then I got slack when it came to accepting review copies. Planning to fix that in 2014.

  16. Great idea! One that was shared with me that I’ve implemented this month is for every 2 ARCs I read, I read one from my TBR stack. This month I tackled 5 from my TBR. I feel like I’m making a dent 🙂

  17. Good luck on your quest — a noble and worthy one!

  18. Kailana says:

    I stopped going to the library, so at least I am reading my books now. My TBR pile is still huge, though. That is partly because my reading has been so slack lately. Good luck!

  19. Trish says:

    I really try to do this–my downfall lately is book club picks that aren’t already on my shelf. I wish you luck! There are SO many great backlist titles! Happy New Year Natasha!

  20. Good luck, good luck! I am excited to hear what you think about some of the books you listed, especially I Capture the Castle, which is awesome.

  21. I bet you’re going to love reading through tour TBR. I don’t usually read books in the same year that they come out, but only towards the end of the year do I find myself feeling like I “should” – so my strategy is to devote December to that purpose. All other months are backlist, TBR, whatever.

  22. Good for you! I have the same problem. My local library has loved me, but time to be a better reader. Sometimes I feel like I’m a collector and not a reader! I’ve also started to read more books on my eReader (and borrowed from the library) to start conserving the space I live in! My new hubby was shocked with the amount of books I have in our new place, and that was nothin’!

    Maybe you should make an official 2014 challenge?!

  23. readerbuzz says:

    I find that as I get older, I feel okay about giving away books I’ve had sitting on my shelves for a long time. I’m planning to do more of that next year. And I want to try to do a little rereading, something I rarely do because of the siren call of the new.

    Good luck and Happy New Year, Natasha!

  24. Teresa says:

    I’m working on my TBR, too. That’s actually an ongoing, all-the-time goal. But I’m joining the TBR Dare again, so I’ll be focusing on it for a few months at least. Other than that, I have no goals, other than the vague ones of reading more diverse authors, catching up on favorite authors, reading more classics, etc. But I’m not setting targets or anything.

    I quietly stopped accepting review copies last year, other than through LibraryThing, and I think that’s been a good move, although I would make exceptions for the right book (ie., a new book by an author I adore). I don’t mind being behind. I feel more like a regular reader that way, and I’m fine with that.

  25. Melissa says:

    I haven’t done my stats yet, but one of my goals for 2013 was to read more of the books I own and cut down on ARCs. I think maybe…I failed. Lol

  26. susan says:

    Yes. I think I will join you in attack of the TBR mountain. Go for it. Good luck.

  27. Bellezza says:

    Amen, sister, and ditto, ditto, ditto. Too many ARCs have become too much of a good thing. Time to resume what we love the most on our own terms.

  28. stacybuckeye says:

    I’ve made the effort over the last year and the good thing is that it has made me bring less books into the house! Good luck 🙂

  29. One of my 2014 goals is DEFINITELY to keep chugging away at my TBR. It’s so nice to look over my shelves and not see nearly as many of those “been sitting here forever” books. Given, I’ve replaced all the books I’ve read off of my TBR this year with new-to-me books, but there aren’t as many TBR paperweights around. We can be a support group for each other! 😀

  30. heidenkind says:

    Good luck! The physical TBR is one thing, but when I think of all the unread books on my Kindle I’ve already forgotten about… yikes.

  31. Beth F says:

    I have become quite ruthless about weeding out my stacks …

  32. A mountain of treasures!! Reach for that copy of I Capture the Castle (a personal favorite that I re-read each year) first and have a really happy reading year!

  33. Pingback: Favorite books of 2013 | 1330v

  34. Alex in Leeds says:

    Good luck Vasilly, I’m sure you’ll find some real gems tucked away in your shelves this year!

  35. Bree says:

    Totally thought I posted a comment on here. I must be losing my mind in 2014. Your one book a week goal is very manageable. I completely agree with you on forgetting why you even wanted to read the book after its been on your bookshelf for so long. I am loving the state of my bookshelf right now. Almost down to only newly acquired books.

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