My 5-Year Plan

Friday, November 11, 2016

So once you hit a certain age, you're supposed to start really planning for your future as a person. And not in a loose, "hey, we'll see what happens" but in a "set these specific goals and achieve them for success" kind of way. I met with my advisors, I listened to what they had to say, and then I went home and laid in my bed for a few hours because it's overwhelming, sometimes, to adult.

Then I decided I did actually need a 5-Year Book Plan. Clearly this is more important to my daily life, and also just more fun for me. For the first time in blogging, I was ready to dig in and cull my TBR. I've always had a large one accumulating over on Goodreads -- an update sounds interesting? Add the book! Fab cover? Add the book! and so on and so forth -- but before my Great TBR Reduction, I had 2,076 books marked "to-read" on Goodreads.

That's a lot. Even for me.... that's just on the side of "too much." I can read roughly 300ish books (usually more, but let's err on the safe side here) a year, so that's about SEVEN YEARS' worth of reading. And that's also a number that doesn't include any NEW books I come across in the seven years of reading I have.

I made an (arbitrary) goal to reduce my TBR by 200 books. I have always admired friends and other bloggers and readers who can just cull their TBR so I went in with this mindset:

  • If I have multiple books from an author I've never read, keep the most promising and delete the rest (I can always re-add later if the chosen book works!).
  • If I have a book listed as to-read for more than 3 years without even thinking about it or buying it, it needs to go.
  • If I have books listed by an author that hasn't worked for me  at least 2x before, it needs to be removed.
  • If I can tell my reading tastes have changed from January 2011 when I started my online TBR (so many generic PNRs and YA dystopias, Jessie, why?), those books must be excised.
  • If I am keeping it on my TBR for the cover appeal alone, I need to cancel it from the shelf.

It took me many hours, but updating my own bookish records has always been a peaceful way for me to turn off the brain (fake productivity is the best). With the terrible state of the world and my inability to cope right now, it lead to a very productive evening. I went from 2076 books to 1763. I am still drowning in potential books, but I can at least see the shore now.

Now it's time for the physical owned-unread TBR (625 books!). I have a harder time donating an unread physical book than one simply marked as to-read on GR, but I want that number below 550 before January.

So, friends: How do you go about culling books -- either owned or interested in? How do you decide if it still interests you or not? Are there authors you keep on trying despite not the best reading history? Do pretty covers sway you?


  1. I love this! I haven't given it a lot of thought - what my book life/TBR should be like in five years. I usually do a lot of planning and goal setting each end of year (for just the following year) but it'd be fun to think even further than that. I have so many unread books on my shelves (both real and Goodreads) that I need to do something with!

    1. The amount of unread books just started to feel overwhelming. Taking it piece by piece - first marked tbr then the physical! - made it less daunting. Good luck! :)

  2. Fixing my TBR, including shelves, has been on my "to-do" list for two years. I'm so impressed you did a great job!

    1. well, I couldn't re-alphabetize my DVD collection again so that energy needed to go somewhere XD

  3. Oh! Good luck! I've been working on this especially with my physical TBR. I've been able to cut my it down from 500+ to around 230. It was a lot of work and time consuming. It's hard to get rid of things I've paid money for. Some were easy to cull because I've definitely lost interest in them. I made it a rule that if I've owned it for over five years and it's not a favorite author, that it can go. If I haven't read it by now, I probably won't. For the ones I'm torn about, I go and check their goodreads rating and what trusted friends with similar tastes have said about them. I also try to read the first couple of chapters. If it still has my interest, I keep it. I wish you the best of luck going through your physical books!

    1. It's just so hard when you can hold the book itself in your hand, you know? It's like with cash -- I am far more stingy with that than with a debit/credit card.
      But 500 to 230 is impressive! I am going to remind myself of that and your rules when I start to waver in my dedication. And I also read fast so that's a great idea. :)


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