After finishing The Wilding this week, the shelf is empty! Whee! Of course that means I went out and bought copies of Jellicoe Road and Insurgent, immediately. Fill 'er up, I guess.
Some of the books on my TBR had been there long enough to collect mini Mt. Everests of dust. I felt a certain amount of guilt for neglecting them for so long, which prompted this little challenge. Finally reading all those stacked books taught me a couple things about my reading and book-acquiring habits.
1) Sometimes the titles you feel most meh about end up being your favorites.I'm not going to lie; I wasn't particularly enthused about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (despite that title!). It was an absolutely lovely book and I enjoyed reading it so much. I also debated giving away my copy of The Art of Fielding, going so far as to put it in a donate box, before grudgingly deciding to read it based on the glowing reviews. It is fantastic, and is a new favorite of mine.
2) Perhaps I should be more discerning about the titles I pick up.A lot of these books were ones given to me, ARCs I received, or super-cheap impulse buys from when Borders (wah!) was closing. There were a few that, after reading them, I wasn't sure they were worth my reading time or the space on my shelf. I tend to have a book-whore/hoarder mentality of MOAR BOOKS! ALL THE BOOKS! It's like how I felt about free food in college--if it was being offered, I was going to take it, no matter how stale the crust or suspect the quality. Before adding a book to my shelves, I think I need to think long and hard if it should bump all the ones I desperately want to read.
3) At the same time, branching out can be rewarding.A few of these books (see point #1) I never would've read had I not gotten an ARC/freebie. Reading outside of my comfortable, favorite genres stretches me as a reader, writer, and person. Who knew I would love reading about baseball? Or an environmental eco thriller? Or a novel written as an intensely humorous complaint letter (Dear American Airlines)?
Going forward, I'm going to try to keep my physical TBR shelf under five titles so it doesn't stress me out. I'm also going to make sure that I occasionally pick up a book I'm iffy about, or doesn't seem like something I'd like, to expand my reading tastes.
How's your TBR shelf doing? Do you keep it overflowing or under-control? What recent reads have surprised you?