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Whittling Down the List

2011 January 25

Like most book people, my to-read pile is large. Dangerously large. This is only exacerbated by my list-making tendencies–I have a list for everything. My daily to-do list. My long-term to-do list. My Netflix queue. My list of things I want to see and do and eat in NYC. My list of apartment decorating ideas and goals. My list of outfit ideas.  I may have a problem.

Goodreads has made keeping my to-read list extremely easy. Every time someone recommends a book or I see an interesting article or review online, I head right over to Goodreads to add the book to my shelf. It makes remembering those recommendations so much easier, and it’s nice to have a resource to turn to when you’re between books, going to the library or bookstore.

The drawback? My “to-read shelf” now holds 133 books. That thing is just about ready to collapse! I find myself just reading books as they come to me–whether it’s for a book club, found on the street, or on Joe’s bookshelf. It’s a lazy way to read, really, and it renders my to-read list nearly useless. What good is keeping a list of books I’d like to read if I don’t make an effort to seek out these books?

So, the other day I sat down and cleared out a few books I was less enthusiastic about, added some books sitting on the bookcase (our real ones) that I’d like to read, and decided that I am going to whittle that baby down to at least 100 books before the year is over. And then, and only then, can I start adding new ones again. It’s a novel idea (get it??), but I think it will give my reading regimen more purpose, meaning, and balance–all things I’ve been looking for as of late.

How do you decide what’s next on your reading agenda? Do you keep lists, wander through bookstores, ask friends?

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6 Responses Post a comment
  1. January 25, 2011

    Thanks for the sweet comment! And yey for fashion lovers that read! haha I’m so excited that you informed me of goodreads. I had never heard of that site and now I’m giddy about it. Can’t wait to read more from your cute blog! xo

  2. January 25, 2011

    Thanks for the comment! I’ve enjoyed reading Little Women. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick it up! I feel a little nervous trying for 50 books this year, but I thought it would be a nice challenge. To find new reads, I typically stroll Borders and just pick up something that looks interesting. However, I always keep a running list of recommended books just in case.

  3. January 25, 2011

    Hello- thanks for checking out my blog! I love that your blog combines fashion and literature! It’s amazing! My husband is an academic Librarian and I tend to work in the public library sphere, so I try to mix in a little of both on my blog too. I’m a book collector basically. Whenever I see cheap books at thrift stores I buy them in hopes that I will eventually get to them. We have hundreds and hundreds of books, so when I need a new read, I just head to the in-house bookstore :)

  4. January 26, 2011

    Oh, I think I’m already in love with your blog. First of all, I am a compulsive list maker. I have lists in Google Documents, written on Post-its, scribbled in journals, and taped to my refrigerator. I even add items I’ve already done to my To-Do lists just so I can cross them off.

    Needless to say, my To-Read list is a monster, especially on Goodreads. I went through a phase last year where if a book even remotely sounded interesting, I’d add it. I quickly racked up over 400 books!!! That is insane. So, I went through and removed a bunch.

    Basically, I keep a To-Read list on Goodreads and in my Amazon account and if one of those books pop up on a sale then I get it and move it to the top of my list. I also enjoy reading books that are getting lots of buzz in the press, though it takes a while for me to get around to them.

    I like your idea of finding a better system to give your reading a purpose… I see another list in my future. :)

  5. January 26, 2011

    I’m so with you on this! I love a list, but my to-read list on Goodreads is at 208 right now. Ouch.

  6. January 26, 2011

    Nothing wrong with excessive lists, or Netflix queues (I’d like to think I’ll watch alll 200 someday) and I hope you read 100 books this year, good luck getting that list read!

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