I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, but this year I decided I needed to tackle the ever-increasing TBR. I had so many books coming through the door — unsolicited review copies and personal purchases from charity shops and online stores — that I was simply sticking them in the corner of the living room and then pretending they weren't there. It got so bad that the "pile" had become 4ft high and three books deep. Every time I stuck another book on the top it was like playing Jenga in reverse: I kept expecting it to topple over.
So, in the first week of January, after 10 days' rest and recreation on the Sussex coast, I got stuck in. It was hard work. Not only did I sort the book mountain hulking in the corner of the living room, I also tackled the books in the bedroom — tucked away four deep on top of the wardrobe, on my bedside table and dresser — and those on display in our TV wall unit.
For about two days the living room looked like a book warehouse, with books covering every conceivable surface as I tried to sort books into the following categories: Irish fiction, Commonwealth fiction, British fiction, American fiction, books in translation, crime fiction and non-fiction.
Then I weeded out the books I did not want. This turned out to be quite a lot — 194 to be precise! That's 19 supermarket bags' worth — and they're all going to Oxfam, which has kindly agreed to come and collect them from me by car this weekend.
Then, with all the remaining books — the ones that I want to read — I had a rather hair-brained idea: I would scan in all the barcodes using my iPhone so that I could keep track of my TBR on GoodReads, a website I've not really used before. This took far longer than I thought — about two days to be precise!
But after all that time, effort — and dust — I felt like I'd really achieved something. Not only do I know exactly what books I own, but they are neatly stacked away — in a new Expedit bookshelf — albeit three-deep in no particular order.
The exercise also revealed the rather alarming fact that I currently have 553 books in my TBR! I reckon that's about 6.5 years' worth of reading for me.
If you are on GoodReads do feel free to send me a friend invite — you will find me here. And note I've stuck a little GoodReads icon thingy up there in my menu bar under the subhead "Follow Me" so that you can always find me there.