I thought today I would take time to talk about a real issue in the bookish community…Shelf Guilt!! Yes, that’s right, that horrible feeling when you glance appreciatively at your shelves and realise there is more unread books than there is read.
When you look at the handful of books that have been anxiously waiting for attention for the last six months, but your phone pings with an email to tell you that your book order should arrive soon.
Let’s be real here, if you haven’t got this issue then are you even a book hoarder? Seriously if you don’t suffer from this issue please tell me what magic you are using, lend a girl a spell, because I am straight up terrible for this. My shelves hate me! I feel the heavy and judging stares of each unread book on a daily basis, and every day I tell myself “No Steff! No more book buying!”. I’ll drop the BS and let you know here and now that this mantra doesn’t work at this point…(loud sigh of resignation).
So, today I am posting this with resignation. I’m posting in the hopes that you, fellow book-lovers, will have methods of dealing with this; ones that are better than mine, but ultimately I’m here to tell you it’s alright. Despite the guilt it is okay to buy too many books, but if like me you feel that something has to be done about it below are some recommendations to help you out.
- TBR Jar – When you fold up pieces of paper with the name of each book you need to read, and place them in a jar. Draw out one at a time, or perhaps a handful and make that your next read/ tbr for the month.
- Starting Buddy Reads or a Readalong – When you recruit friends who have the same book as you and and read it over a set period of time. This can be done on Goodreads, or any social media platform if you don’t have anyone close to you who actually reads. Alternatively you could join a group that is already hosting a readalong/ buddy read.
- Make a Monthly TBR – Looking at your shelves, and prioritizing what you want to read more urgently. Do you have an ARC you need to review? Prioritize it! Do you have a book that has a sequel coming out next month? Prioritize that! Is there a book the community has blown up over and you still haven’t gotten to it? Add it! Make a list (Vary it in size depending on your reading goals) and try oh try to stick to that list. Then repeat.
- A Mood Reader Trove – Are you a mood reader? Can’t deal with a structured TBR? Then listen up. Dedicate a space (a shelf, a basket, a pile…whatever it is) and fill it with multiple genres from your unread books. Some contemporary, some fantasy, romance, thriller, horror whatever you like. When you feel particularly in the mood for something go there first, and see if there is anything that can satisfy your needs.
I know this sounds a lot easier than it actually is for some, and so please feel free to leave your recommended coping methods below. I’d love to hear your ideas.