that weekend I culled my goodreads shelves

Spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to real life! I recently noticed my goodreads shelves were getting a bit out of control. My To Read shelf alone had 1052 books/58 pages! I spent an entire weekend going through and I was BRUTAL, guys. Ruthless.

Last month I did a goal check-in for February and it’s something I’d like to start doing every month. One of my main goals was to start focusing on books I know I’ll like (recs from trusted bloggers/family/friends, authors I already enjoy) instead of those I might like. For too long I’ve been swamped with books – particularly review copies – that I accepted without really thinking. I might have liked the cover or thought the summary sounded intriguing.

In order to really reach my goals an overhaul was in order. In the end, my To Read shelf dropped to 574 books/29 pages. Not too shabby!

The easiest part was getting rid of series. As I was going through my books, I realized I had been adding entire series! These were the first to go. Now, I only have the first book added, or whatever book happens to be next (if it’s a series I’m currently reading).

I tend to go through genre kicks. Every so often there were distinct clusters of books. Old school fantasy (hello, 70s!), classics, various niche genres I happened to come across through goodreads similar title feature. These were novels I added on impulse. Am I actually going to read these? Highly doubtful. So long, scantily-clad warrior women!

WHY SO MANY DYSTOPIAN NOVELS? We all like different things. We all hate different things. That’s cool! That’s what makes reading and blogging so much fun: a book I thought the world of might be one you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Personally, I don’t enjoy dystopia. I’ve tried numerous times and, with few exceptions (The Age of Miracles, The Bone Season), the genre just doesn’t cut it for me. i know this. I’m aware of this. ..yet there were so. many. dystopian novels I had added. Why?? I combed through these books and really took a look at them and their ratings. There are bloggers who share a very similar taste and if they had good things to saw, well then maybe that book might be worth checking out. Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me and Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series are two that come highly recommended and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is a given.

There are some books I want to read sooner. For these I created two new shelves: To Read Adult: Priority and To Read YA: Priority. These are for the books I have a huge interest in reading and didn’t want them to get lost among the rest. These are my auto-buy authors, next books in series I love, or novels I want to look for in a bookstore. Speaking of, I actually used the Adult list specifically for this purpose earlier in the week! It’s so handy being able to whip out my phone and go to GR and have the book I want there, rather than spending hours scrolling through what was once 1000+ books. Books on these shelves include J. Nelle Patrick’s Tsarina, Susan Ee’s Angelfall, Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project, and Liza Palmer’s Nowhere but Home – I KNOW HOW MUCH ALL OF YOU LOVE HER!

Other books that were immediately labeled priority because I loved the author’s other works were Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats & All Over Creation (my love letter to A Tale for the Time Being can be found here), Bich Minh Nguyen’s Stealing Buddha’s Dinner and Short Girls (do yourself a favor and read Pioneer Girl!), and Louise Millar’s The Playdate (if you’re looking for a good psychological thriller, check out Accidents Happen).

Then there were some books I still wanted to think about. For these, I created two more shelves: To Check Out: Adult and To Check Out: YA. These are the books that sounded intriguing, but I didn’t want to hastily add them to my To Read shelf. Or they’re novels that haven’t been released yet. Whatever the case may be, these shelves are for the books I didn’t want to get rid of, but I also didn’t want to add. I’ll periodically go through these two shelves and check out the reviews and ratings. Books on these shelves include Elana K. Arnold’s The Question of Miracles (coming February, 2015), Debra Driza’s Renegade (I wasn’t overly wowed with Mila 2.0), and My Name is Mary Sutter (I Always Loved You was just an okay read, but I’m not ready to pass judgement yet).

Obviously this method is going to take a lot of work to maintain and keep track of. In the meantime, however, it helped immensely! I got rid of books I had NO interest in reading and separated the ones I want to read now.

Have YOU gone through your shelves lately – real or online? What methods did you use?
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14 thoughts on “that weekend I culled my goodreads shelves

  1. Molly | wrapped up in books says:

    I’m in major need of a culling myself. I have a similar system on GRs. I use it to keep track of books on certain topics for readers’ advisory and on new releases I want to make sure I buy for the library, so I have a few shelves that help me pinpoint what I truly want to read myself. I do a priority shelf, and a debut YA priority shelf. I also have a list of series I’ve already started and series to start. I am so with you on the ease of locating what you want when in a bookstore, and I keep a ‘want to own’ shelf as well. It’s also handy when people ask me for gift suggestions!

  2. Kelly says:

    I did a lot of purging in the new year. Hannah from So Obsessed With wrote a wonderful guide about how to batch-edit shelves and I attacked my Goodreads account with fervour! I decided my TBR shelf would be only for books I physically own, and my Wishlist would be for what I was hoping to read. I don’t know exact numbers, but I managed to whittle it down significantly.

    If you think you need more editing of your shelves, and you haven’t seen her guide, I’d definitely recommend checking it out!

  3. Small Review says:

    I totally need to do this to my GR shelves. You’re my inspiration for this weekend. I’m going to hacksaw my GR shelves. Thank you!!

    I really want to get back on track with reading books I want to read. I keep vowing to do just that and then somehow I end up with review obligations.

  4. Hannah says:

    I have to go through my own Goodreads shelves and when I saw this post I inwardly groaned because I had been doing such a good job of avoiding it thus far. My TBR lists are all aways out of control, but this is the first year I have actually tried to do anything about it. In honor of simplifying, I started a Great Book Liberation Project, wherein I only read the books that I own, but have not read until they are ALL. GONE. It has been tough, but oh my goodness, it is so rewarding to see them leave the house…

  5. Cassie says:

    Holy hell! THIS IS ORGANIZATION AT ITS FINEST. But: I SPY NOWHERE BUT HOME. When u read it I want incessant tweeting. NON STOP. Also, about to read ur review of The Weight of Blood ;) I am VERY Curious on this one!

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