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.

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27 thoughts on “746 books should be enough, right?

  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!

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  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?

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    • 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!

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  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?

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  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 🙂

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  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?

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    • 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!

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  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…

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  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.

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  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!)

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    • 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.

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  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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  10. Pingback: Vote for, er, me … and a few others … if you want. Or not. | silence cunning exile ... maple syrup

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