Years ago, I loved having hundreds of unread books in my personal library waiting for me. The thought of having a constant supply of reads thrilled me. Now? Not so much.
After embracing a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle, I started disliking waste of any kind, and having a big TBR pile felt like not just a huge waste, but a big burden. Each book represented a lost opportunity and a careless expense.
Yet, despite the TBR pile, I kept on buying more books - compulsively, as if I was possessed by some librarian ghost. Was this some kind of weird reader disease? Is my TBR here to stay? Or is it just a convenient excuse to hoard more books?
I stumbled on a solution one day when I discovered that my very neglected Goodreads app on my phone had a rather cool function: The Bar code scanner!
I went nuts with it and scanned all the books I had. And, naturally, I sorted the books into different virtual shelves. I then made a habit of recording what I read.
That's when I noticed something curious: I would get a ping of satisfaction each time I shifted a book from the "currently reading" to "read" shelf. Soon, the desire to shift more books to the "read" shelf became almost obsessive. I had an even bigger burst of satisfaction watching my "To read" (which served as my TBR pile) numbers go down.
The next thing I knew, I'm reading more TBR books and a whole month would go without me buying a new book. (This is a feat for me as I often buy five books a month!)
This is why Goodreads has become such a great TBR buster for me:
The DNF shelf is a good reminder
Goodreads doesn't provide you with a DNF shelf, so I created one for myself.
These days, if a book doesn't interest me after reading it 1/4 way, I'll shelve it under "DNF" (Did not finish) and then place the physical book in my "to sell/give away" rack. It stings each time but it also reminds me to be more cautious about the books I buy. I find my urge to shop for books diminish after DNF-ing something.
Goodreads gives me immediate access to my book list
One of the reasons why I kept buying books impulsively was because I mistakenly believed that my library didn't have books that will interest me at that moment.
These days, before looking for a book on Amazom, I would go through my "to read" shelf first. I always found a book.
Taps into my love for crossing off a task
Moving a book from "to read" to "read" feels so good. Apparently, there's a scientific explanation for this: checklists trigger the release of the feel-good hormone, dopamine.
This post in Apartment Therapy said: "The association between crossing something off a list and that good feeling becomes so strong that we'll do just about anything — even scrub a toilet — to get it."
That's me, the check list addict.
These days I'm far more interested in getting that dose of dopamine by crossing off a book than buying new books. All because of my love for crossing off a task list!
The yearly Reading Challenge feeds my competitive soul
Speaking of completing tasks, the Goodreads Reading Challenge is the No.1 task list I want to complete. I've set my goal at an ambitious 100 books to read in 2016.
You bet I'm going to cross off that task to get that dopamine rush!
Ever since I started using Goodreads to organise my reading life, my TBR list has gone down from 200 over to 162 in just half a year.
There's still room to improve though: I hope to cut the TBR to 100 by the end of the year and meet my 100-book goal for 2016.
How about you, what do you do to slash your TBR pile? Has Goodreads helped you do this?