From Chaos to Order – of a kind.

– now with gaps –

I think many of you have noticed that I have struggled hard to get in control of my TBR this summer. Not because I feel guilty when I buy books. I am a writer myself, and I appreciate it very much when someone buys one of my books. Besides I am a voracious reader, and of course I need new books by and by – and I also want to support some of the writers whose books I enjoy so much.

But when my physical TBR grew to around hundred books, and I knew there were also thirty or more in my Kindle, I realized that the more books I had on the shelves, the less I wanted to read any of them. I would scan one shelf after the other, unable to pick one.

So since I brought nine books home from CrimeFest in May, I have hardly bought a book. Well, perhaps one or two per month, but I have really done something about the TBR chaos. Now I have 82 books, including my ebooks, and my goal is to read three-four books for every one I buy until I have less than fifty books to pick and choose among.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
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19 Responses to From Chaos to Order – of a kind.

  1. Bibliophile says:

    I’m glad someone has their TBR under control – I certainly don’t. I haven’t been buying a lot of books lately, but all I seem to do lately is reread.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Most impressive! I like it very much :-). And I’m impressed with your self-discipline.

  3. Beth F says:

    Good luck with culling your books and limiting your buying! I’m not very good at either.

  4. Bibliophile: I didn´t read much in July, but August seems to go well.
    Margot: a book launch once in a while seems to be a good thing – it kept me pretty busy for weeks 🙂
    Beth: I have been totally out of control for a year or two, but when I learnt that too many books made me grumpy, it was time to act.

  5. Kelly says:

    I applaud your efforts and can only wish I were so disciplined. *sigh* I guess there are worse things I could have problems with. 😉

  6. Barbara says:

    My messy office barely contains the piles of TBRs. I try but never quite seem to get control of them. Oh well, I tell my husband there are worse addictions. 🙂

  7. Kelly: having too many books is so much better than having too few!
    Barbara: and you are absolutely right! It is the loveliest addiction that springs to MY mind.

  8. That’s what I’ve been doing as well. I force myself to finish a book before I buy a new one. I have about 20 books left to read.

  9. Clarissa: congratulations! I don´t need to go down to 20, but I would like to go down to 50 or so.

  10. It’s good when you have a handle on the number of books you want to read from your pile. I have limited myself to the new books I have even though I look with longing at the older books on the shelves that I haven’t yet read. (Most of these are from library book sales and are used books!)

  11. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: Good luck with the self-discipline. I say I am not going to buy and then I go to a bookstore and there are so many intriguing books that I am sure I would love to read.

  12. Harvee: I think most people in our ´environment´ have the same, eternal problem, how to read them all 🙂

    Bill: but you see, that is the advantage (perhaps?) of not having any good bookstores in our region. I never buy new, Danish crime fiction (the price is often $ 30-60), and when the price is more reasonable, I have usually found it in the library in the meantime.

    • Lauren says:

      That price is crazy – I can get Danish fiction translated into German for about 9-10 euros as long as I wait until something is a regular paperback, rather than trade-size. Are books in Denmark really that expensive?

      I have the opposite problem right now – nothing to read! I read so fast I can’t justify buying very much when money is tight, and most of what’s available affordably I’ve already read or don’t particularly like. I’m saving up so I can splurge on a few much-wanted titles for my flight back to Australia next month. I can usually get through four or so books on that trip!

  13. That’s a good goal.
    Followed you over from Clarissa’s site. I liked your responses!

  14. Maxine says:

    I do so agree that the more books one acquires, the less one is inclined to read them. One wants to read a book when one purchases it, but weeks or months (or years!) down the line it is hard to remember the context. I’ve made good inroads on my print and e-backlogs and the library is out of reach just now, so if I can control my Amazon impulses I will be doing OK for the moment……and can read the enticing 2012 International Dagger eligibles as they are published, for example!

  15. Lauren: yes, I agree, but Danish book shop chains have ´owned´ the market for so long that no one has questioned their price policy until lately. So these days I sometimes find good books for the price of $ 20, but I have just got into the habit of buying English books instead years ago. And I have plenty of used books I´d love to give you if I could without paying the ridiculous postage in this country.

    Hi Diane.
    Nice to meet you here also. And the baton race was fun – a good idea I would love to see other writers copy 🙂

    Maxine: yes, I think you must know what I am talking about. I have read a couple of old ones from the shelf recently, and next I will do something about a couple of ebooks I feel I ought to review soon.

  16. Vanda Symon says:

    So good to see my books on your shelf (-:

    A friend of mine has given herself a year moratorium on book buying in an effort to reduce her TBR. I have no self control so would never manage a year!

  17. Vanda: yes, you have an advantage with your paper books there. I wonder if I´ll ever ´see´ my books on any shelf 😉

    I don´t think I could do yearly goals either, but right now I am determined to read more books than I buy every month. Simple enough to work for me, at least for the time being.

  18. kathy d. says:

    Keeping the TBR pile under control seems like a lifelong task, like keeping down the dust accumulation or the piles of papers, unwieldy to me. But it’s a very definite step forward to move down to 82 and try for 50. I couldn’t manage so many books in my apartment in TBR piles. I have TBR piles and then piles of books I’ve read to loan people, and then library books. I am glad I haven’t gotten into ebooks yet.
    However, the used books at Amazon and Abe Books are hard to resist, especially since the library is cutting way back on purchases and circulating books. I have a lot of books in the Amazon cart, a few in the Book Depository’s and Abe Books’ cart, trying not to use my credit card too much.
    But yes, it is the best addiction to have — in addition to the accompanying tea and chocolate.

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