Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have just done something that's going to be good for me psychologically, I think. I've tried other methods of doing this before and never had any luck, but today I found the trick. I knocked 100 books off my to-read list.
And seriously, folks, I'm not even halfway there. I've got from 700 to 600 in the past hour, and I think I can bring this down below 500 easily. I can't tell you how good this is for me, psychologically. My "read" list is longer than my "to read" again. It's like I can breathe again.
The trick, it turns out, was to create a separate category called "B-list," into which I shunted any book from to-read that I couldn't remember what it was about, where I heard of it, or what possessed me to put it on the list. Some people might delete these, but I can't do that--at some point it seemed worth reading, and I have to trust that instinct. At the very least, I don't want to forget that the book exists.
Also on B-list, we have books that I like to think I'll read, but that I don't harbor a lot of illusions about. This includes a lot of quality literature (The Book of Night Women, The Shadow of the Wind), classics (Vanity Fair), nonfiction (Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul, The Wishing Year), and mysteries (The Analyst, Medicus). These are all categories that I read, but not very often. This is a list that I can go through and say, "Oh, yeah, I wanted to read that." But the gift is, it leaves my actual to-read list as full of that makes me say, "Oh, yeah, I can't WAIT to read that!"
There is also a sub-category called "Like To Think I Will Read," which really means, "Don't want to read, but feel like I ought to." That is almost all ponderous, well-reviewed books on subjects that interest me. Let's not bother going there.
I feel light and free and happy. I'm going to go metaphorically throw some more books out. Hooray!