Friday, May 8, 2015

It's over, To Read List

Yes, you heard me correctly: I'm breaking up with my To Read list. This list has become dominating and controlling and our relationship has been unhealthy for some time now. It needs to end. I need to be able to feel ok about reading books outside of the list, and not feel compelled to read what's on the list when I'm no longer as interested in them as I once was.

This is how my To Read list makes me feel.
Recently I went through and deleted most of my To Read shelf on Goodreads, which is what I use for my list (and I have been careful not to replace it with a list in another form!) I've kept everything on my TBR Pile Challenge list, and a few others that are high priorities, but once those are off they're off and I'm not adding anything else.

What I'm hoping for is that I will actually just read what I want to read at the time. It seems like I should be able to do that even with a list because presumably those are books I want to read and there are enough that I can pick something that fits my mood. But what I've found is that when I have a list, I tend to look through it all the time and sort of reject books based on the fact that I just keep seeing the titles and covers on the list and I'm sick of seeing them. I want to pick something new and fresh and exciting. So without a list, maybe I'll forget about a particular book for a while, but then when I come across it somewhere it will be new and exciting and I'll read it right away. I have a feeling I'll be making more requests through the library system and getting on hold for more books because I don't want to forget about them, but this is ok. And it's ok to end up with several books out and renew them. I have a Tana French book right now that I've had out for about two months and haven't even begun reading. I've made my peace with it.

Aside from reading based on my mood, my other hope is that not having a list will free me up for new and different things. Maybe I will participate in fun reading challenges that will broaden my horizons or catch me up on authors I like but haven't read in a while. As it is, I've only been doing the TBR Pile Challenge rather than anything topical. I think the only topical one I've done was the R.I.P. Challenge, but even with that one I just tried fitting in things that were on my list, which may have made it less fun. There are author-specific challenges that intrigue me, and genre-specific ones and perhaps these are totally setting me up for another sort of list, but at least they are finite - it's a certain number of books over a certain period of time. Maybe I'll also be more likely to read galleys of forthcoming books and recommend them through Library Reads. Anything is possible!

So far it feels quite freeing, though already there have been times when I've wanted to put something on my list, or write it on a scrap of paper. But I've held off, either by getting the book right away or just letting it go. I'm not really sure how this will work. Is it the worst thing in the world if I forget something interesting I wanted to read?

I think I may still use my To Read shelf in a very limited way. For instance, I may add books that I definitely have to read for book groups or the community read committee (we had 10 contenders last year, which is enough to require a list to remember them all.) I also may still use it for romance novels, because there are so few that sound good enough to read and I have a really hard time remembering their titles because they all sound the same.

This is sort of like getting rid of clutter, I think. I know a lot of my friends on Goodreads have literally hundreds of books on their To Read shelf and maybe it just doesn't feel oppressive to them, but I can't stand it anymore. What about you? What is your relationship with your To Read list? Do you even have one? Am I just crazy for being so angsty about this issue? Tell me in the comments!


Melissa Lee said...

I hope that getting rid of your TBR list is helpful to you.
I recently got rid of a whole bunch for my Goodreads TBR shelf, keeping only books that I already have. Not quite as freeing as your approach but it has helped. I now just use my Pinterest board for the big list but I'm less likely to keep looking at that like I am with my Goodreads shelf. Baby steps for me, lol.

3goodrats said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person who struggles with this!