Discussion: When To Give Up

Posted December 10, 2018 by Nicky in General / 11 Comments

It’s probably not a shock to anyone reading this that I have a large number of books I own, in both ebook and dead tree, that I haven’t yet read. Somewhere around 1,200, I would guess. No, I don’t mean that’s the number of books on my wishlist. I own them, and will quite possibly be crushed to death by them if I’m not careful. My darling wife (who knew full well what she was in for when she married me) kindly went through and figured out exactly how many I have remaining from each year, after Chuckles’ post breaking down her TBR inspired me!

2011: 28 unread (60 listed) – 47% unread
2012: 152 unread (208 listed) – 73% unread
2013: 363 unread (519 listed) – 70% unread
2014: 198 unread (392 listed) – 51% unread
2015: 103 unread (255 listed) – 40% unread
2016: 109 unread (228 listed) – 48% unread
2017: 101 unread (233 listed) – 43% unread
2018: 158 unread (210 listed) – 75% unread

It looks like I was amazingly bad at picking books I actually wanted to read at some point in the last five years in 2012 and 2013 — but it’s not quite so, since the pre-2013 lists don’t include books I bought and had read before the blog started in late 2013. 2018, I put down to the year not being finished yet. The dust hasn’t settled!

The reason this entry is titled “When To Give Up” is because I don’t know when that is. It’s very rare for me to strike off a book on my backlist without trying it, and sometimes even when I have tried it. I guess I’m just reluctant to miss out on something that could be good through feeling like I should have fewer books. Also, I know I’m a mood reader and that you never can guess when I’ll suddenly want to read something obscure from the backlog.

Still, as a little experiment in public accountability, I’m going to include some stats in my Weekly Roundup posts from now on: number of books in, number of books read, and number of books from the backlog read. Let’s see how that goes! I suspect it’s going to find that I am easily distracted by — oh look, a library!

Anyway, there, Mum — was it as bad as you thought? And other readers, how do you think you compare? Do you read books right away, or hoard them like a book dragon?

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11 responses to “Discussion: When To Give Up

  1. arbie

    Flagon guards my books like they are Treasure – he can often be found napping on one pile or another, usually whatever is next to my bed.

  2. It’s surprising what you find when you look at the stats isn’t it! I was pretty shocked by my results and I plan to use that to tailor my reading a bit next year and get some of those older books read! I’ll be updating that original post a few times during next year to check out my progress. I might add that to my Tackling The TBR post that I’ve started so I can keep an eye on each year! I’ll be looking out for how you get on too!

  3. I’m definitely a book dragon but, I hope, not a dog in the manger, as I do pass on books that I don’t intend rereading or that, on reflection, I really won’t get round to ever. I suppose of the 1500 or so books I’ve got (and that’s not counting booklets, odd periodicals and guidebooks) I will have read around 20% and skimmed through another 50%, leaving 30% to explore de novo.

  4. You’re not alone, I am 100% a book hoarder! I like to think of it as building my own personal library – I don’t want to get to a point where I don’t have anything to read. Every now and then I do cull my shelves, though, especially if there are books I know I’m not going to want to read. I’m very much a mood reader, but sometimes I’ll pick a book up and then my tastes change and I come back to it realising I’m not the right reader for it anymore. I definitely want to get better at reading books on my backlist, though!
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    • I really need to spend some time with my shelves and figure out those books I’m just not gonna read, I think! There must be some, if I give it a serious look…

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