Curating My Own To Read List

810uAJ8BZzLI was never great about logging books in Goodreads. I’d go through phases where I’d enter books and notes and then I’d forget for 6 months and couldn’t remember what I had read. Twice I checked out books at the library that I realized I had already read because I never marked it as “read” in my Goodreads account. But I sure did keep the “books to read” shelf up to date. It was my way to keep track of recommendations, THAT list was one I spent a lot of time with.

Until it got so overwhelming I stopped looking at it anymore.

Awhile ago…maybe ay year? – or maybe longer? – I was trying to decide what to read and I pulled up that list and I couldn’t even remember why I put half of the books on there. Did someone recommend them? Were they in a “Must Read!” list? Were they part of a book club I stopped going to? I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I WANT TO READ THAT BOOK. And there were just SO MANY.

So I didn’t read anything because I couldn’t decide.

Then I saw the preview for The Martian and saw it was based on a book and over time I heard several people express excitement because they had loved the book and I thought Well…I’m just going to read that one.

It never even made it on my To Read shelf. It was kind of an impulse. I read it. I loved it. And it was the moment I decided I couldn’t use my Goodreads shelf anymore because I need to start over.

But the problem was, I quickly figured out why my To Read shelf got so full to begin with. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS RECOMMENDING BOOKS. Friends, YouTubers, HuffPo, every day there’s a new book I felt like I needed to read. But the new Cormoran Strike novel came out and I love those books and I love JK Rowling (obv) and so I read that one instead. Again. No recommendations, just read it because I wanted to.

And that’s how I’ve decided to proceed. I just don’t have a lot of time to read anymore. I hope to get more time once I’m not spending so much time on my house, but until then? I have to be really particular about what I pick up. I’m not even necessarily picking up book club books, honestly. I do have my next one on hold at the library – but I really wanted to read The Danish Girl and it came in first. So that’s what I’m currently reading.

I’m taking recommendations still – my sister-in-law actually recommended The Danish Girl – but I’m weighing it with a lot of other factors. I’m also trying to read one non-fiction a month too so I’m limiting my fictions. I’m keeping a VERY short To Read list in my bullet journal with only those books that I’m actually putting on Hold at the library because I’ve really thought long and hard about reading them. Things I want to read for MANY reasons. Because they’re the basis for a good movie, because they’ve been recommended by SEVERAL people, because it’s a topic I find interesting.

Gone are the days where I try to read everything everyone else is reading. AND THAT IS SO HARD BECAUSE I LOVE TO READ. I want to read what you’re reading! And your neighbor! And my kid’s teacher! And my coach! But I can’t. Not now anyway. Some day I’ll have more time and then I’ll check out that Goodreads shelf again, but until then? It’s just one really, really deliberately chosen book at a time.

2 Comments

  • Julie

    I use my “read” list and ratings on Good Reads religiously for the same reason you mentioned. If I don’t mark it I’m likely to forget I read it and try to read it again (and often they weren’t that great the first time). Like you I’ve stopped using my “To Read” list because I can rarely remember why I added a book. Most of what I read I get for free on my Kindle (or cheap). If I run across a book I just know I have to read I’ll buy it and put it in my Kindle Must Read collection where I’ll likely get to it fairly quickly.

  • Brenda

    Coming back to this post to say that I put “The Danish Girl” on my digital wait list at the library. Finally got it a few days ago. It’s really good! I tend to read historical romances and mysteries but like to read other stuff occasionally. Thank you for the suggestion!

    I use my Good Reads to keep up with what I’ve read. Sometimes I can’t remember if I’ve read something or not so I can check there. This year I set a challenge for myself to read 52 books. I travel a lot for work now and listen to audio books while I drive so that’s a great way for me to get some of my “reading” in.