I 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.