July 4, 2016

How I Conquered Mount Everest (Also Known As My TBR)

I started my Goodreads account many, many moons ago. This was before I decided to start a book blog. Before I got a Twitter account. Before Divergent was published and the world went dystopian crazy. Before I knew the dangers of accumulating a massive TBR pile. 

Once I got over the novelty of a website solely for book lovers like myself, I decided to start adding books to my shelves, mostly my to-be-read shelf. I quickly learned how to use Goodreads nefarious recommended reads feature, as well as the thousands of interesting lists in the listopia page. I added anything and everything that even sounded remotely exciting to me in the first few weeks on Goodreads. And I am currently paying the consequences. 

I currently have shelves full of physical books that have been on my TBR for years and do not even get me started on my digital ebook shelves *cringe*. 

I have finally admitted to myself that my TBR is a bit out of control (which is the first step to recovery, right? At least I hope...). I started to tackle the source of the issue: my Goodreads to-be-read list.

After a couple of hours scouring through my Goodreads lists, I have finally narrowed down my TBR to a mere 347. Even though non book lovers would still gape at that number, it is about 75 books less than before. 

It turns out that the TBR cleansing process is very self-revealing. I saw the phases of my life were I was completely obsessed with one genre of books and other times where I just could not decide what I wanted to read. There were also gaps of bleak time where no new books were added to my list.

Interestingly, the rate of adding books to my TBR has actually increased since the naive Tessa first attempted to create a list so long ago. There was a dramatic increase of adding books when I started my book blog. Which also meant a lot more books to purge.

Since I went through this seeming impossible task that revealed so much of myself, I wanted to share the highlights of the books that I discarded from my TBR pile.

1. Old fads that I am not interested in any more

We all know that YA books go through phases. Some of them are more forgiving than others. In the early days of my Goodreads TBR, I found a ton of books with tortured fallen angels on the cover, undoubtedly from the days after I read the Hush, Hush trilogy by Becca Fitzpatrick. At the time, I was fascinated with the concept of angels (mostly attractive males in my experience) falling from above and growing to love a human girl. It was one of the first tropes that got me interested in romance. Unfortunately, I found that many of the books were the same and I could only stomach reading the same story a couple of times.

In my TBR endeavors, I also found thousands upon thousands of dystopian novels sprinkled throughout my TBR. At the time, I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other dystopian novels. So, like the young naive reader I was, I assumed that all dystopian novels were created equal. Man, was I wrong. It only took a few bad novels to turn me away from this dying trope. 

Finally, I found a ton of vampire and werewolf novels, which actually confused me. I never jumped on the Twilight bandwagon and I am proud to say that I have never seen any of the Twilight movies. But apparently, I was (but no longer am) willing to read countless books about the over dramatic dark creatures of the night.

2. Series that I never started, and I frankly just don't want to anymore

Young Tessa was really into series. Old Tess really regrets that decision.

I do not have anything against series. They just normally consume more of my time, energy, and emotion than standalone novels. Series are more of a committment, which is completely fine except when you add like 50 series to your TBR in a row.

3. Series that I never finished and really don't want to continue

I am notorious for leaving series unfinished. I never have the courage to pick up the last book in a beloved series because I am terrified to see the characters leave (or even die in extreme cases). So I found a boatload of series that I never finished and it has been so long since I read the other installments. Honestly, I do not feel like re-reading most of them just to read the last book.

4. Middle Grade books that I think I have outgrown a little bit

I am not suggesting that you can outgrow a genre. (I fully plan on reading YA novels for the rest of my life!) But some novels can seem a little bit juvenile to me. I still have plenty of MG favorites, including but not limited to the Percy Jackson series, The Name of this Book is Secret series, and the Artemis Fowl series. Unfortunately, I find it harder to connect to MG characters as I get older, so I decided to remove some of the younger MG novels from my TBR. 

5. Books that I did not even recognize. 

These are the books that I do not remember putting it on my TBR list. I couldn't remember why I wanted to read it. So I just deleted it.

If I really wanted to read it, wouldn't I have remembered something about the novel? At least the genre or something? I made an executive book decision that if I do not remember anything about a novel and the cover does not reveal a spark of recognition, then I have to delete it from my TBR. 

The purging of my Goodreads TBR certainly did not solve all of my problems, but I think that I made headway on the road to recovery. I think I deserve a healthy serving of ice cream for my troubles. I still have to tackle my physical and digital TBR, but that is for another day. 

You can follow more of my adventures on Goodreads by following or friending me!
How long is your to-be-read list? When was the last time you cleaned out your TBR? What tropes did you get tired of? Do you ever feel like giving up on series? Tell me all of your TBR worries and woes!

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