Tuesday, April 12, 2011


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!


EMM said...

I've accomplished something similiar by tracking my "to-read" lists by category (fiction, non-ficion, separate category for business books, etc.). That way I can just browse the list of the category I'm in the mood for at that time.

Lianna Williamson said...

I'm always fascinated to see how others organize their TBR list! If I let my list get too long I start feeling overwhelmed and begin to view reading as a burden rather than a joy.

Mine is divided into into two broad categories: "books I already own", and "books I don't yet own". The already-owned books are further divided into "books I'm in the process of reading", "books I haven't started but am really jazzed to read", and "shelf sitters".

The books I don't own are categorized thusly: "continuation of series", "authors I like", and "books I've heard about that sound interesting". I keep these lists under control by only listing the next book in the series, and only one book at a time by a single author, even if I plan to read everything they've written. When the book gets moved to the in in process list, I put the next on the series or author list.