My 'Empty the shelf' challenge

I am a hoarder. A chronic one. If I acquire a new hobby, I start hoarding supplies for the future, as clearly shown by my stockpile of quilting fabrics, various craft supplies and tools, rocks for painting on, semi-precious stones for polishing, yarn and thread for crocheting, and books. The books are the most obvious sign of my hoarding tendencies, as they fill every available shelf in two rooms in my apartment.

Believe it or not, I actually have my book hoarding under control at the moment, meaning that the book stockpile has not yet started creeping out of my home office and into the other rooms. To achieve this I have had to be very strict with myself and only buy books I can't get at the library or ones I suspect I will want to keep. Right now, I am working on diminishing the TBR stockpile by only reading one library book for every 5-10 owned books. I have likewise been controlling the number of my keepers by evaluating every book once I have read it and deciding whether to I will ever read it again. If I think I will re-read it, it goes on the keeper shelves in my bedroom, but I only keep about one in very 15, so the keeper shelves are filling up quite slowly. I may not have to buy a new shelving unit for either room for a couple of years if I manage to keep this up.

The problem is that once I buy a book, if I don't read it within a couple of weeks, it will go into the stacks and remain there for an interminable length of time, until I either forget why I wanted to read it and trade it away unread or find it accidentally and actually read it, which is rare. I want to change this and finally read all my oldest TBR books, and I also want to prevent the new acquisitions from sinking down to the bottom of the pile. Therefore I have thought up a new challenge that will run alongside the 52 mystery authors challenge.

There is a small single shelf on the wall of my home office that until now has held some ornaments and knick-knacks. I have cleared it and put on it a mixture of some of my newest and oldest TBR books, and a couple of loaners I need to read soon so I can return them. The challenge is that whenever I want to start reading a new book I own, I have to choose one from the shelf or choose to finish a book I have already started reading but have been taking a break from. The only exceptions to this rule are mysteries that are part of the other challenge, as I already have a reading plan for those. Books I take off the shelf to read will not be replaced with other books – I must finish them all or get rid of those I decide not to finish before I re-fill the shelf. If I am successful and manage to stick to this plan, I will continue the challenge until the end of the year, and longer if necessary. I am starting with only non-mysteries so as to force myself to read only mysteries intended for the 52 authors challenge, but once that challenge is over I will add some mysteries to the shelf.
Reviews will be provided as evidence of my success and occasionally photographic evidence as well, starting with this photo of the full shelf:
(if you want a closer look, click on the image and when the Flickr page opens, click on "ALL SIZES" above the photo to see it full size)

TBR: To Be Read

The titles are, from left to right:
Úti að aka: á reykspúandi kadillak yfir Ameríku (Out for a drive: by smoke-belching Cadillac across America) by Ólafur Gunnarsson & Einar Kárason
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
The Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Literary Gourmet by Linda Wolfe
Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer
Granta Travel Writing, vol. 10 by various authors
The Titus Books (the Gormenghast trilogy) by Mervyn Peake
Tender at the Bone Ruth Reichl
Oscar Wilde by Philippe Jullian
Second fiddle by Mary Wesley
Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton
Eight Feet in the Andes by Dervla Murphy
Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn
Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Ugly American by Lederer & Burdick
Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer
Arabella by Georgette Heyer (I have already read the other novel in the book)
Harriet Said… by Beryl Bainbridge
Irish Fairy Tales by Sinéad de Valera
Gods, Graves and Scholars by C.W. Ceram
Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh
Sylvester Or the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer


Jannicke said…
Just discovered your blog while looking for book blogs, and thought this book hoarding prevention technique seemed like a nice idea! I should definitely do something like that myself, hehe. :)

Looked at your wonderful Iceland photos too! They were really great!

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