If I’m going to be honest, the number is 394


stack – /stak/ – a pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged.

confession – /kənˈfɛʃ(ə)n/ – a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’ve been chipping away at my TBR spreadsheet for months. Why did I even start? It’s the list-maker in me. I wanted to easily browse what I had. I was feeling guilty about buying books when I already had so many that I hadn’t read. Blah, blah, blah.

It stops now. I mean next year.

In 2016, I’m going to read (almost exclusively) from my impressive* TBR stack.

So what’s the ‘almost exclusively’ about? I’m giving myself some wiggle room (with rules). Without wiggle room, I might become bitter. And I won’t be able to chat about new releases.

The rules: I can buy (or get given) six new books in 2016. I’ll have to choose carefully. It may be that I blow the entire six on the 2016 Stella Prize short list (because I would like to take part in the Stella Prize book group again next year). In addition (because I’m generous), I can accept 12 ARCs.

So the list is 394 books long. Ridiculous number. It may change a little between now and January 1st, 2016 – I’ll read some before then and no doubt acquire some at Christmas but the damage remains the same – 300+ books.

I’ve got some great titles to look forward to – a bunch from last year’s best of the best list of lists, a few classics, some big 2015 releases (such as Purity), my annual Yates and Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying (the irony of this inclusion is not lost on me).

Even with the wiggle-room I’m allowing, I should cut at least 60 books from the TBR stack over the course of the next twelve months, reducing it by a seventh**.

Anyway, feel free to join me in reading from what you’ve already got in 2016 – this isn’t a reading challenge, there’s no badge or link-up but you do get to feel quietly smug.

*a nicer way of saying ‘enormous’
**okay, that sounds pathetic when I put it like that – maybe this is a two-year project…?


42 responses

  1. I was toying with the idea of having a book-buying ban in 2016, for exactly the same reason – my TBR is ridiculous. I gave it up because I knew I’d never stick to it, but your idea of wiggle-room makes me wonder if I could do it… good luck!

  2. Best of luck working through your TBR pile next year 🙂 Cool that you got it down to even how many books & ARCs you’re allowing yourself to accept. My TBR pile is not as big as yours but I am hoping to at least work through those books sitting longest on my pile first next year. A book-buying ban may be in order for me next year (for at least chunks of the year, anyway, lol; need to find out first when are all the books I want coming out, haha).

    • I’ve done a few short stints of ‘buying bans’ but somehow I still got lots of ARCs during that those times :-/ I need to limit ALL INCOMING! Of course, the ridiculous thing is that I’m still likely to have 300+ books in the stack at the end of the year 😀

  3. Very timely topic – I just did a related post today. My TBR is about half the size of yours. i will try not to let it explode but iI tried the ban previously and it lasted all of about 3 months.

    • Once I started cataloging what I had, I realised that there were so many books that I was desperate for at the time and yet I still haven’t read – so hopefully some good reading ahead!

  4. Oh my god. 394! Really? Am trying to work out if you’re joking! I get stressed when mine’s in double-digits. Having said that there’s a stack of books I’d love to read but don’t get time. At the moment I stick to what I get sent by publishers for review, but there are some that I’ve missed / aren’t promoted locally. And I want to read them but just don’t have the time!

  5. That’s a lot of TBR books! I probably had that many…until our move earlier in the year. I was brutal and culled sooooooo many books because I didn’t want to pack them. I was amazed at how many of them where books I knew I would never actually read – the moment for them had past.

    I suggest you read Marie Kondo’s tidying book NOW, esp the section on books. You may find your TBR pile suddenly decreases 🙂
    I just posted a review on it today – to whet your appetite for the big clean out!!

    • You’ve certainly inspired me to move Kondo up the list. I am hoping that once I start some of the books that have been in my TBR stack for eons, I quickly decide they’re not for me and discard. When I was putting together my spreadsheet, I felt like I still wanted to read them ALL (!) and I rarely don’t finish a book once I start. But I think I’ll try to be ruthless and if I’m not loving it, I’ll stop.

  6. Good luck! Sounds like a very brave plan. I can’t bring myself to do a book-buying ban or set limits, but I’m also determined to spend a lot more time on books I already own, and I’m starting to see a teeny bit of progress!

    • I think I’ll only feel like I’m making progress when the stacks of hard covers next to my bed start to dwindle. I’m going to make a big effort to read them over summer (on account of not liking taking my Kindle to the beach!).

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  8. Good luck with this challenge of yours. I’ve been trying to do the same for the past couple of months – I don’t have that big of a TBR, in fact, next to yours it looks like nothing (29) but it has been easier than expected. Well, the reading through the books, not so much the book buying ban. I have bought a couple of books to be honest, but they were all ‘special’ books in some way (i.e. Harry Potter illustrated edition). I think that it’s important to remember that if you swerve off track, even a little, don’t beat yourself up about it!!

    I’m sure you have a bunch of fun and varied reads to be working your way through!

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    • At my last count (a few weeks on) I’m up to 400 books in the TBR stack :-/ Need to get reading before the end of the year and bring it back below 400 or I’ll go mental!

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  17. Ha! I can’t even begin to count all the books in my house. Plus, my GoodReads TBR has literally thousands more! But these are books I’m interested in reading and if I live long enough (would that make me like 130?!?) to read them all, I will! Or I will get distracted by the shiny new releases, and library books that are free and do not add to my house already full of books… It’s okay. I really am okay with all of this, ’cause it’s who I am and what I love. While I refuse to try a book-buying ban (I know myself better than that!) I have really worked at bringing as few new books into the house as possible this year AND using the library! All of this has helped. I think I’ve only purchased and added about 20 books to my pileS this year. Trust me, that is very few comparatively! We all must try the best we can and I am sending positive energy your way for success with your plan! 🙂

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