746 books should be enough, right?

I am an avid reader.

I am an even more avid book buyer. I vaguely remember when I would buy a book, read it, then buy another one. Last time I did that was probably when I was about 14. I now read or hear about a book, buy it and plan to read it sometime soon.

The upshot of this little collecting habit is that I now have 746 unread books in my possession. Yes, 746. I counted them. It was frightening.

What is even more frightening is that I haven’t counted the unread books that are packed away in boxes in the attic and have been since we moved house, 13 YEARS AGO. Nor have I counted the books that belonged to my father that have been in storage for the last TWO YEARS. Plus, I haven’t factored in books of my husband’s that I’ve been meaning to read as well. But 746 books are what I own and can currently get my hands on.

In the last year I read 36 books. Continuing at this, let’s face it, not very inspiring rate, means it will take me 20.72 years to read everything I have in the house. I’ll be 63. Bloody hell.

It’s time to stop buying. So I’m setting myself a challenge. I won’t buy anymore books until I have read the 746. I’m not sure I can do it, but I’ll give it a go and I’ll record each one I read.


Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

27 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Loved this. You made me feel guilty and laugh at same time – then I felt guilty about laughing as a book buying addiction is no mere trifle! I have the same addiction to buying more than I could ever hope to read – fortunately although I like books but am not that keen on numbers – I know I’d be rubbish at counting the unreads, so I won’t bother! But I think the signs are encouraging for you – you have kept going for almost a whole day and you’re still sticking to it because I have no doubt books as presents don’t count! Nor do books lent to you by others, nor books that you find, steal etc etc etc! Good luck!


  2. Wow, that’s quite a mountain of unread books! Personally I’m still more or less of the buy one-read one-buy one school, but my partner has dozens of unread books (some of which she plans to read when she retires). I wish you luck in reducing the mountain. And hey, books as presents sounds a really bad idea because aren’t they just adding to the backlog?


    • I know, Nick, the whole ‘present’ thing could scupper this blog entirely. I mean, for a start I can’t keep changing the title….
      My husband has bought me an Art history book for Christmas, but I’m getting away with that by discounting reference books!


  3. I have not done a count of my own TBR though having read about your number I am feeling somewhat relieved at there is someone with an even bigger pile than I am anticipating mine to be. 🙂
    As for not counting ref books, that logic reminds me of my own response to accusations that I own too many pairs of shoes. I don’t count sandals, slippers,migraines and boots. They are not shoes are they?


  4. WOW!! I thought my book buying addiction was bad when, at last count, I had approximately 280 unread books on my shelves! I’m glad I’m not alone in my addiction, and I look forward to following your journey 🙂


  5. Thanks for following my blog, although I hope I don’t incite you to buy any more! I thought that posting a photo of my TBR shelf every month would help my book-buying addiction … but it hasn’t! Good luck with your project. Are you going to weed the pile at some stage, and what if you hate something when you start it – are you able to not finish a book you don’t enjoy?


    • Good question! I try to finish most books, even if I hate them, but I will allow myself to give up. The point is that I try to read all that I already have, so giving up won’t seem as bad as not bothering to start in the first place!


  6. WOW! Good on you for having the guts to –
    1. Count your books
    2. Confess the number!
    3. Commit to reading them before buying more

    I don’t think getting books as presents counts (so go ahead, make a wish-list!) and I also don’t think ARCs aquirred via NetGalley or equivalent count either…


  7. If you went to my book reading blog you see I also buy used books, but I give them away as soon as read them unless it’s a self help book that really affected my life. Maybe you need to just read those books and pass them on to someone else.


  8. Cathy, as much as I feel like a drug dealer catering to your addiction, I can’t stand by and allow this! 🙂 Think of all the great sales & free downloads! My numbers aren’t even close to 746, but I did get an overwhelming feeling when I used to look at my unread books. Then, I changed to a “The glass is half full” type of perspective! You should think of it like this… “If something tragic happens & I can never buy, or download, another book… at least I’m covered until my Golden Years!” Haha! (There must be 12 Step programs for people like us – but, I’m not ready to change!)


    • Oh my god, you’re a book enabler!! You know, you have a good argument there and for a split second I nearly opened Amazon in a new tab, but now I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and screaming ‘LALALALALALALALALALA’
      Thanks for the follow Shadow Girl, I like your style.


  9. Oh I feel your pain! I make similar promises to hold off on new books, but it’s VERY DIFFICULT. This year I wrote each title on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. I’ve vowed that if I pull out a title, think ‘meh’ and put it back three times, it means I should give the book away because even though I think I want to read it, I probably don’t. 😉 We’ll see how it goes… but then, I don’t have as many books as you do.


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