In a nutshell, I have a fuckton of books on my bookshelves and Kindle that I have never read and I should probably shit or get off the pot in regards to all these books.
I know to a lot of bookish people online the Unreadshelf Project is nothing new. I’m pretty sure I saw it around Instagram last year but never really learned anything about it. After actually looking into it the last few days I am intrigued. The minimalist and essentialist in me knows I need to go through all of the books on my shelves.
I never was a big book collector. But then I discovered booktube five or so years ago and this idea of “hauling books” and having “all the books”. Then there was Book Outlet, which I never heard of and it seemed to be where all THE book nerds were getting their books. So I bought books from there, books I knew in my heart I was not going to any time soon… and here I am, five years later with those books still taking up space on my shelves.
I am not a collector of anything. I firmly believe that if something does not have a purpose, it does not need a space in my world. But I have a hard time parting with books. After all these years I know it is time to start going through them. So I am happy I came across this “challenge” and the strategies to help be successful.
If you have been following me for any length of time you probably notice I do not participate in readathons, read-alongs or reading challenges. While they all sound fun, they also are a commitment and it feels like work with all the usual deadlines. I am really trying to keep reading fun and a hobby for me and strict deadlines and rules does not help achieve that goal.
The first assignment is to count the number of unread books you have.
That alone is scary. I know 98% of the books on my shelves are unread. I have a habit of buying books and I’ll keep that pile of new books separate from the rest of the books for awhile. To force myself to read them. Eventually though I get tired of seeing the pile of books and I will stack them on top of the books on the top shelf and eventually will forget about.
So I bit the bullet and counted the books… and the number of unread books on my physical shelves is 123 books. That number is insane and I had no idea I had that many unread books on my shelves. Since I already started down the rabbit hole I decided to attempt to see who many unread books were on my Kindle. It was harder with the Kindle because some books were so old I just could not remember. On my Kindle I have 105 unread books (give or take).
That is over 200 unread books! That is so much worse than I ever could have imagined.
As much as I’d like to focus on all of those books, I cannot. The main point of this challenge (for me) to work on the physical books that are physically taking up space in my home. And when I told my kids why I was counting the books on the shelf, my daughter’s response was “you could not even read 40 books last year; how will you read over 100?!” Valid. Then I explained to her what exactly the point of this challenge was. I’m still not sure thinks she’ll completely understand it until she actually sees me getting rid of some of the books that have been on the shelves her entire life.
A Goodreads reading challenge is pretty much the extent of my yearly reading goals so I am a little nervous, but also excited about the Unreadshelf Project. At this point I definitely think I am more excited about a way to systemically purge books from my shelves than I am to read some of these books.