I wrote several posts a little while ago about my TBR shelves (you can find them here, here, here, and here). I looked at all of the books I have, and why I have them. Well, over time, I’ve come to realize (though I’ve known all along) that I simply cannot read all of the books I have…and so I’ve decided to do a (slight) purge of my TBR shelves.
First, I had to take a really good look at why I refused to “let go” of the books. I recognized that part of my problem is I feel like I owe the authors—even if I don’t actually know them—something. So, I feel like if I say, “I’m not going to read this book,” I’m letting the author down.
Not only that, but I feel like I’m letting my book-loving self down. I love books. I really do love seeing them on my shelves. For whatever reason (maybe it’s the “anthropomorphizing” Amanda Nelson talks about in her “How to Bust TBR Guilt” video), seeing books on my shelves makes me happy. Whenever I moved, I would always, ALWAYS unpack my books first. When I see books on my shelves, I feel at home. It’s a bookish quirk, I guess. I’ve always thought of it as a good one.
But the weight of the TBR guilt became too much, and I had to find a way to alleviate it. Thanks to establishing relationships with authors, publishers, and PR firms, my TBR pile continues to grow, while my available free time does not (though summer is just around the corner, I am taking a master’s course, I have editing projects lined up, and also professional development and planning).
So, here is the picture of books from my first round of purging the TBR shelves/pile (this round of books is currently awaiting shelving in my classroom library):
When I bagged these books (in my new Strand Bookstore and Melville House totes), I felt a metaphysical weight lift from my shoulders. Not only do I no longer have to bear the weight of “guilt” for not reading these books, but I know my students will enjoy reading them. I already know which student will grab Monuments Men, and which student will claim the Marie Lu Prodigy trilogy. I know which student will enjoy Jasper Fforde’s The Fourth Bear. What matters much more than these books collecting dust on my shelves as I feel guilty about not reading them is that my students—and hopefully many others—will enjoy them.
After all, part of the deal with being a book lover is sharing the love of books, right? I don’t feel guilty about taking these books from my shelves at home and bringing them here for students to read.
I am happy to share the book love.