Published January 7, 2023

Two books wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, placed on a blue chair with a blanket draped to one side

While we’re talking about books, one of the new year resolutions I haven’t specifically talked about is the one about not buying any more books to take up space on my digital bookshelf. I don’t want to talk numbers because I’m embarrassed, but I’ve built up quite a collection of books for an excessive TBR (to be read) list, and it’s going to take some time to get through them. Instead, I’ll make good use of wish lists and revisit when I actually have made good use of what I’ve already purchased.

I’m not the only one with this problem, I’ve seen a lot of similar resolutions on TikTok. People realising they bought more than they read last year and that can be solved quite easily by putting a lock on the wallet for a bit. In extreme cases, I’ve seen some videos where people are wrapping up every book on their physical bookshelf, in brown paper, numbering them, and then pulling numbers out of a jar to decide what to read next.

This blows my mind a bit… firstly, I’ve never found it that hard to pick what to read next, just grab the next one and go. But secondly, this is so wasteful! I can think of at least three or four other good ways of doing it (alphabetise them on a bookshelf and just go left to right, or put them in a spreadsheet and do the random number thing that way), but I guess none of those would make for interesting TikTok videos.

Ultimately the goal is a good one though - clear the decks, read the stuff you’ve already invested in, and then focus on what you might want to read in future. The neat thing about adding what might have been an impulse buy to a list is that when you review it in the future, it may not have so much significance or be so desirable as at the time. The impulse buy is how I got in this mess in the first place, but come back to me this time next year and we’ll be in a much better place. Hopefully.

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