Let’s Talk: The ‘Not to Read’ Pile

lets-talk-the-no-tbr-pile

So… I’ve recently taken on the very scary, very daunting challenge of reorganising my Goodreads shelves. The whole thing took me maybe an hour or so from start to finish, half of which were spent just reading through book blurbs, looking at pretty book covers, and deciding whether or not I actually want to read this book.

But Reg, you say, that sounds more fun than scary or daunting. 🤔

tangled-read-book-gifI agree. The scary and daunting part comes with the numbers: I had 100+ books on my to-read shelf, many of which I don’t even remember seeing, let alone wanting to read. I culled the majority of them, leaving a mere (but still overly ambitious) 20 on the shelf, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this number will rise again. ‘So many books, so little time’ seems to be the slogan for most readers nowadays, and with the amount of great books being published every week, we’re definitely not short on great reading material! 🎉

For now, though, let’s talk about the often unspoken. We all know why we add a book to our TBR — the cover’s pretty, the blurb’s interesting, we love the author… let’s talk about why we remove the book from the TBR. Here are my reasons.

1) Negative reviews.

Once upon a time, I really, really, really wanted to read Richelle Mead’s Soundless. I loved the cover (at least it’s not just a girl’s face) and found the premise pretty interesting… at least until the reviews start rolling in, and most of them were unfortunately negative. 😭

I’m still planning to give the book a chance mostly because I actually have a copy, but I’m just not as excited anymore. Same goes with many books on my TBR that have gotten more negative reviews than positive — picking the book then feels more like a bit of a chore, more “I guess I better do this” than “I would so love to do this”.

One benefit of this, though, is that if/when I do finally read the book, my expectations will be so low that the chances of me enjoying it are higher! Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually even love it then. 😉

2) Lack of time.

typing gifLife is busy, you guys. I’ve got work, I’ve got my friends and family, I’ve got my own goals that I’m trying to achieve, and I’m always ultra-conscious that the time I spend reading is time taken away from all these other parts of my life. 😣 

Don’t get me wrong — I love reading and everything else that comes with it, especially this blog, but I get so busy sometimes that I can’t help but to put off reading a particular book until I just decide to completely skip it eventually.

This is especially true for books I got from the library, because my time is literally limited then. I’ll borrow a book, put off reading it for three weeks, extend my loan for a couple more weeks, and before I know it, oops — my library loan has expired and I have to cart it back to the library. When this happens, I often eventually forget about wanting to read that book in the first place. 💁

3) Diminishing interest.

I’ll be honest: sometimes I get click-happy on Goodreads, add 147,495 books to my to-read shelf without even thinking about it, and promptly forget about it for months afterwards. A TBR pile large enough it might crush me with its weight? A total plausibility for yours truly. 🙉

Being a huge mood reader, though, the books I was interested in a year ago often aren’t the books I’m interested in right now — they’re just still in my TBR because I wanted to read them back then and didn’t get the chance to.

4) Author reputation.

zana gianni my kitchen rules gifI’d love to say that I’m the kind of person who separates the art from the artist, but I’m honestly not. If an author is transphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist, ignorant, etc., I can’t justify it to myself to keep paying for their books. 🚫

This is different, though, than when a book is all those things above. When that happens, I usually give the book the benefit of doubt. Maybe it’s not edited or polished as well as it should have. Maybe the author’s intention didn’t come across as well as it could. Maybe I misinterpreted the story.

But when an author repeatedly announces ignorant views to the world, expects to be commended for it and sees no reason to change or improve, I find myself steering clear from their writing. It doesn’t matter that I’ve read their other books and loved those books to bits and pieces, it doesn’t matter that their new release is hyped and rumoured to be the next Harry PotterI just lose all interest by then. 🙅

5) Hype.

Sometimes, just sometimes, hype turns me off.

lower-your-expectations-amy-poehler-gifThis sounds kind of weird, I know, and to be honest, also contradictory to my FOMO personality… but when a book gets so much hype that literally everyone I know loves it, it actually deters me from reading the book. Case in point: I still haven’t read Illuminae, The Lunar Chronicles, or anything by Leigh Bardugo, even though they’re arguably some of the biggest titles in YA in the past few years. 😂

I’m still marinating my thoughts on why, but I think it’s a combination of these two things:

  • I see and hear about the book so often, I feel a bit ‘done’ with it. Is it possible to be over-exposed to a book? I think it is! Too much of a good thing often kills my affection for that good thing, and oftentimes I’m just not excited anymore.
  • My expectations are now so high, they likely won’t be met. I’ve been on both sides of this equation: I’ve sung praises about some books so much that I worry I’ve raised other people’s expectations to an unrealistic level, and vice versa.

I’m not saying that hype isn’t great — it’s actually really, really wonderful when you’re in on it, but when you’re not, it can be preeeeetty intimidating. 😅


Now that that’s over, let’s talk! 💗

  • Do you ever reorganise your TBR pile?
  • Have you ever changed your mind about reading a book you were previously SO EXCITED about? What happened?
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114 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: The ‘Not to Read’ Pile

  1. I’m new to goodreads. But I have over 100 books on my overdrive list. For now my to read list on goodreads is books that I have put on hold on overdrive and some book I won that I plan on reading next.

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  2. Wow going back through you to-read list does sound like a daunting task, especially if you have so many books on your TBR list already! But at the same time it’s going to have to be something I do at some point as well (maybe when I finally get around to creating a Goodreads account) because I have so so many books on my to-read list and I think with a lot of them it will be a case of books I will never get around to.
    For me the major reason I take books off my to-read list will be because of diminishing interest. I think I added the Bloodlines series to my TBR list back when the first book was first released but I never picked it up and at this point I doubt I ever will. Negative reviews will be a big one as well. I can be very influenced by negative reviews which isn’t always a good thing but I just don’t want to waste time on a book I won’t enjoy.
    Great post as well Reg! 😀

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    • I was bored and didn’t feel like reading, so I had to! It’s still not fully updated though – I don’t always add things to my Goodreads shelf that I want to read. I’m also not an extremely fast reader and I just can’t see myself reading hundreds and hundreds of books, especially with newer ones coming out pretty much every day. It takes dedication to keep up! 😂

      I think negative reviews can be both good and bad. In many cases they have actually saved me from wasting time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve accidentally missed out on books I’d have really, really enjoyed myself. I guess there’s no real way to find out, though. 🤔

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      • Well at least it was a productive thing to do with your boredom. Oh it does, I think even as fast as I read I can never keep up with the newest releases. Case in point it took me over a month to finally pick up Crooked Kingdom, and that was a book I was highly anticipating.
        Exactly, there are some books which have been getting negative reviews which I have really loved, and I think if I’d let the reviews influence me I would have really missed out on a favourite book of mine. But on the other hand there have been books I’ve read that I haven’t enjoyed and I wonder why I didn’t listen to the reviews! :/

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        • How fast do you read? With the amount of reviews you’re publishing I feel like you’re such a fast, dedicated reader. 😂

          I guess we’ll always have this ~problem~ until we get an algorithm that could perfectly predict what we’d like to read and not!

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          • Depends on the length of the book, if it’s around 350/400 pages then I can read it in a day on my commute to and from work, any longer than that it takes me about two days. Yeah I have a lot of time to read given I have a three hour commute each day.
            Someone should really get started on that algorithm then, I wonder what kind of info you’d need to create something like that? 🙂

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            • That’s a lot! My commute is only 10 minutes (haha) so I don’t really read since I’m just focused on walking and making sure I’m heading in the right direction. Even if I were to have a commute, I think most of it will be spent sleeping – I’m really, really bad at not being sleepy. 😂

              Probably a lot! I mean, I don’t think we’ve cracked the science of why people enjoy the books the enjoy just yet – so many variables go into it, and every person is so different I dunno if something like that is possible even theoretically. 🤔

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  3. I completely agree with all of these reasons. Lack of time is probably my biggest one, as well as negative reviews – especially if they’re from bloggers I trust and share similar tastes with. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ❤

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  4. I really want to do this! I have 700+ books on my TBR on Goodreads at this point so it will probably take me days. Also, there’s the fact that school is taking over my life at the moment. But I agree with a lot of your points. Negative reviews and diminishing interest are a big reason I would take something off of my TBR. I’m going to have to sit down and go through mine soon haha. Great post, Reg! 😊

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    • Ahhh school definitely takes precedent over organising your Goodreads shelves! I was mostly bored and didn’t feel like reading when I did it, and while I felt accomplished afterwards, it did take quite a bit of time. I hope you have fun doing yours, if/when you get the time. 😉

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  5. I really need to do this! I think it’s been years since I’ve actually scrolled down my TBR list on Goodreads – I just add more and more and then never look back. Definitely something I’m gonna do when I have the time 🙂

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  6. My Goodreads shelves are so disorganized I can’t even think of tackling them! I keep track of my Amazon wishlist by organizing it from “wanna read” “really wanna read” to “need it now!” Whenever I want to add a book, I need to consider just how much I want to read it, it helps getting rid of titles I just don’t really care about. I often go back to the lists and change books from the different books depending on my mood, reviews from bloggers I trust, or prices. Lack of time is the first reason why it’s so important to choose wisely what to read. I don’t want to spend my limited reading time on a book that sounds okay to me. I want one that really interests me and gets me excited to read it. If it doesn’t have these criteria, they’re most likely to get trashed from my list! Good point on the author reputation. I don’t want to give time or money to someone I don’t respect, so in case of a major disagreement with them, I won’t buy and read their books.

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    • I think it’s times like this that I’m glad I don’t really use Amazon – I’m already drowning in my pile as it is! And yeah, I wish I’m always super aware of what I’m adding… some days I just want to read everything but others not. The downsides of being a huge mood reader, I suppose. 😂

      And author reputation is important to me too, though I might make an exception in some cases (don’t know yet what cases, but I assume I might if everything else aligns).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I cleaned out my TBR pile last month and removed a ton of books I had initially added because of the hype surrounding them. I also ended up removing A LOT of YA books because I’m just not feeling the genre anymore. Why waste time reading books I know I probably wouldn’t enjoy, right? I think I’m finally ready to dive into the adult genre and discover new authors to add to my favorites list!

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    • I can relate! For me that was a lot of regency romance. I was OBSESSED with them when I was younger so I added tons of them to my TBR, only to remove them now because I’m so far removed from the genre. I can’t wait to see what new authors you discover – I can’t really imagine deviating from the YA genre now because I just LOVE it, but who’s to say it might never happen? 😂

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  8. Ahhh I totally agree with everything in this post!! I too have so many books on my to-read shelf and half of them I don’t want to read anymore </3 negative review is definitely a big deciding factor for me, along with lack of time. There are so many books to read and I don't want to spend my time with books I probably wouldn't enjoy :') and yes diminishing interest also happens to me! Like sometimes I'm just not interested in reading the book anymore even after I buy it haha this happened to me with Cursed Child and Stealing Snow. I was initially excited to read them but the rating keeps dropping and I'm just not interested anymore… I think reorganizing TBR pile would be a great idea! 😀

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    • I feel you! I’ve also bought a couple of books that I just don’t see myself reading ever, which is such a shame. And I think lack of time is basically everyone’s problem – so many books, so little time, right? 😩

      I’ve finally read Cursed Child a couple of weeks ago and… well, eh. Like it’s definitely not as good as the original series, but then again, the format is different, the characters are different, so I wasn’t expecting it to be the same too. I think watching it as a play would’ve been an amazing experience, but alas, I’m not in the UK. 😂

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  9. Weirdly bad reviews don’t always turn me off. I always tell myself to make my own impressions, but in 9 out of 10 cases I regret that decision so much hahaha Often I feel like I should have just listened … but all your reasons were very valid ones. I can definitely relate to all of them, but lack of time is probably the most prominent one for me.

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    • You’re a braver soul than I am! I’m super easily influenced, even in real life, and I tend to stay away from books that people… er, dislike, just because I feel it does save me time most cases. It’s not my ONLY deciding factor, though. 😂

      And yeah, lack of time is a big one for me as well. I think anyone who reads a lot know how that feels: so many books, so little time. 😩

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  10. YAASSSS. So much agreement here, especially with your negative reviews and author reputation points! I had a Tommy Wallach book that I was supposed to review on Happy Indulgence but I chucked it on to my donate pile immediately after all the TW drama. Don’t need that on my shelf! Plus he kinda spoiled the ending on Twitter when he was trying to explain himself.

    I don’t have a TBR/wishlist shelf on my Goodreads (my to-read shelf are books that I bought and have yet to read but I stopped adding to it about 2 years ago because it got really big and made me feel REALLY bad haha). But I’ve been recently culling my owned-but-haven’t-read books. I used to feel bad about getting rid of books that I haven’t read because I spent money on them but it bothers me less now because I’d rather have more shelf space and less guilt!

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    • OMG, Tommy Wallach. I wasn’t on Twitter that much when that whole thing erupted but I did read a couple of posts about it and it was horrendous, the things that he said. I wanted to read one of his books too before that and I just decided, eh, not worth it.

      I think if I get more physical books I’ll be the same. I have a stack of to-read books atm on my desk and it bothers me so much! I feel like I should… I dunno, consume them or something so I can mark them as finished. I’m glad to hear that it bothers you less now – more shelf space is always good, and even better when there’s no guilt! 😂

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  11. What an introspective post! I tend to plead ignorance at the slowly rising number of books on my goodreads to-read shelf until I do a manic cull and probably get a bit brutal…

    Totally agree with the negative reviews point, much as I’d like to say otherwise but with limited time I haven’t got time to be doing the weeding all by myself! The bit about hype is an interesting one… for me it’s less about overexposure or high expectatations it’s more that when a book is hyped I feel like I *have* to read it or I’m missing out on something amazing, a sort of bookish FOMO haha.

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    • Thanks, Nisha! Yeah, it’s so great that we’ve got the community to weed out all the not-so-good stuff for us, haha. It’s definitely saved me quite a bit of time.

      I suffer from the worst case of FOMO too so I can relate! With hype though my FOMO becomes kind of complicated, like I want to read the book but I’m also kind of sick of seeing it too much. 😂

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      • The YA community is such a brilliant one!

        Also I’ve realised spoilers can def move a book from TBR to NTR. Even though I sometimes have no way to judge how big of a spoiler it is, I tend to downgrade the book or NTR it entirely which is a shame. ☹️ But this hasn’t happened often (due to aforementioned great community!)

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        • Ahhh you’re right about spoilers! That’s me and The Girl on the Train – I was totally planning to read it until I accidentally read a plot and just, eh, it wouldn’t be as interesting now. Maybe once I’ve forgotten it since that’s definitely a possibility with my short-term memory! 😛

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  12. Hype is a big scary one for me. I check the hype AFTER a book has been released. I want to know what people that BOUGHT the book also think of it, not just people that got a free copy of the book. Same with reviews, If they are all 5 star reviews BEFORE the book is even out, I don’t really trust them. And if an author behaves nasty, bye-bye off my list!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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    • That’s a good way of looking at it! I tend to be very oblivious to when books are actually released so can’t really tell who bought what and what’s actually a “good read”. From experience, reviews before release are largely positive, though – I wonder if it’s because they’re usually ARCs and people feel more obligated to say nice things about them. 😂

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  13. Wow, I’m sitting here just super impressed that you could get your TBR to 20!!! My Goodreads one is SO BIG. And you are totally right– every time I look through it, there are always those books that I don’t even remember at all. Where do these phantom books come from?? I haven’t read a lot of the hyped books either. They make me nervous because of expectations AND I feel like they don’t need me promoting them anyway bc everyone already KNOWS about them. I like rooting for the underdog 🙂

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    • Thanks so much! It’s now 50 books so obviously it grows MUCH more quickly than I can remove the books, oops. 😂

      Ooh, that’s a good point and that’s also how I feel about hyped books! Sometimes I review them anyway because there are things I want to talk about, but when the book is completely average (e.g. Cursed Child, sadly), I just rate it on Goodreads and don’t bother reviewing it.

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