One of my New Year’s resolutions is decluttering my living space. Since I spend a lot of time online these days, I decided that the same resolution should apply to my digital life. So after a heart-wrenching hour of trying to declutter my physical bookshelves, I went online for a good old-fashioned Goodreads TBR purge.
At the start of 2018, I had almost 400 books on my digital TBR. That’s less than on my “read” shelf, so that’s good, I thought to myself. Some people have a thousand or more. But it had already become an almost untraversable internet space that no longer served any real function. So I went to work, armed with some tips on how to spring clean your Goodreads TBR from a fellow Rioter.
I started from the back by date added. It ended up being quite the trip down memory lane.
This Goodreads TBR purge wasn’t all about removing books, though. Decluttering the shelf also reminded me of the books I do want to read soon.
I rediscovered unread sequels to books I loved in childhood, like The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis.
I left on those miscellaneous old BookTube and John Green recommendations that still do strike my fancy, even if no one is talking about them anymore. I also kept those old English Major™ books that my nerdy self is genuinely interested in, particularly ones by obscure authors I stumbled upon while writing research papers (here’s looking at you, early genre-bending feminist Margaret Cavendish).
It reminded me how long I’ve been interested in works by an author I only recently started reading. For example, I shelved Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State in 2014, but I just read her for the first time in 2017.
Best of all, thanks to the Chrome library extension, I found out which books are in at my library, put on hold others that weren’t, and browsed audiobooks I could download with Libby, the library app. The next time I went to my library, I read The Hole by Øyvind Torseter, a delightful picture book that had made its way onto my TBR by BookTube recommendation a long time ago. I also finished Through the Woods by Emily Carroll in one sitting, realizing afterward it fulfills task #8 of Read Harder, “a comic written and illustrated by the same person.” I hope to further whittle down those older titles by reading more of them this upcoming year.
Some people can live with thousands of books on their want-to-read list and never think twice about it. For my restless packrat mind, though, decluttering my digital TBR has freed up mental space. My TBR used to be an unreferenced list of books I felt guilty for not having read yet. Now it’s once again an active reminder of what I want to read next; a useful, browsable shelf.
Admittedly, it’s still around 160 books deep. The last 70 or so have been added in the last year, though, as I’ve started paying more attention to new releases, Rioter recommendations, and publishing newsletters. This just means I’ll have to make the Goodreads TBR purge an annual New Year’s event.