Taking Stock

A Book Inventory for August 26th

At the end of 2014 I went around our flat and counted all my owned but unread books that I still wanted to read. At that point I counted 155.

One of my reading goals for 2015 has been to attempt to read more of the books I actually own. But an inventory in March revealed 180 unread books.

After some concerted effort, but also some book shopping at Bookbarn International and elsewhere, would that figure be higher or lower by late August??

A towering book stack from earlier in the year.

A towering book stack from earlier in the year.

Well, the answer is that it’s gone up, but only slightly, to 193.

To read all the books in the flat by the end of 2016, I’d have to pretty much put an embargo on accessing any new books that come out next year (whether via NetGalley/Edelweiss or the library), except for ones I’m reviewing for pay. I don’t think I could bear the thought of missing out on many of the latest books!

How many unread books are hanging around your place? Is this a problem, or an opportunity?

All comments welcome!

11 responses

  1. I did a similar exercise last year and got to 170. I started documenting everything I read from that pile and anything g new I bought. The number has gone up again unfortunately and now stands at 189. But I refuse to see it as a problem.


    1. Very similar to my numbers! Glad to know I’m not alone 🙂


  2. At that small a number it’s definitely not a problem! My TBR which is in four figures has the proportions of a small lending library though through years on fairly indiscriminate book buying, resulting in double depth shelving – so those hidden books will never get read will they? I’m on a mission to reduce to single shelving, and the charity shop is benefitting. If I bought no new books and continued reading at my current rate, it would take me about 20 years – but that’s not going to happen! I can’t not add books – now that’s a problem!


    1. Yipes, that’s quite a figure! I did just do a calculation of how long it would take to read my virtual TBR (stored on Goodreads) through http://www.readitforward.com/tbr-time/ and came up with the rather depressing estimate of 23 years and 5 months. I think it makes sense to constantly be evaluating your collection and deciding which books you can pass on to friends, family or charity shops.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t mention that a significant chunk of my book collection is back in America, still at my parents’ house. I’m not sure if or how I will ever be reunited with those books, so they don’t come into this most recent count.


  4. I constantly buy books, and either never find the time to read them or have so many other things to read first (especially doing an English Lit degree) that they get put on a back burner. I think I have issues! I have enough unread books to start up a bookshop. But the point is they WILL get read.


    1. I like your confidence! I know how that goes, though; for me it’s review books that take priority every time and push books from my personal library further down the pile.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My rule of thumb is I only worry if the TBR pile is taller than I am. Although how I’m going to calculate that with all the books from Netgalley I don’t know…I have made it a rule that if I really am not enjoying a book I stop reading it. Put it away. Give it away. And never ever feel guilty about it!
    I’m lucky that I don’t review for money – it is just a sideline to the bookselling job – I don’t know how I would manage if I had to plow though something I hated (or worse, just didn’t care about).


    1. How tall are you, then?! 😉

      I agree, if you add in all the e-books from NetGalley and Edelweiss my pile would be impossibly huge.

      I’ve gotten better about giving up on books that are just so-so. My aim is to have many fewer 1- or 2-star books this year than 5-starred ones.


  6. Doesn’t sound like a problem to me! I have something in the region of 400, but I don’t mind. It makes me happy. As long as they don’t overrun the house then it doesn’t matter. I just came back from book shopping with another 10 or so to add to the pile. 😀


  7. That’s not too bad! I think if you’re determined you should get through them quite quickly. Maybe reward yourself with a new book to read for every 10 or 20 you get through.

    I think I have about 30 or so unread, but really that’s just because I don’t have the space to horde more.


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