Do You Have Too Many Unread Books?

Reading – I came across the article “Stop Feeling Guilty About Having So Many Unread Books” a few months ago and thought it had some good ideas worth sharing. In particular, I liked these opening sentences:

Is your bookshelf teeming with more books than you have time to read? Or do your unread books induce feelings of guilt?

If so, you may be practicing the ancient Japanese art of tsundoku, that is, buying more books than you’ll ever read.

Some of the points brought up in the article are:

  • Recognize Reading As A Source Of Learning
  • Read More Than One Business Book At Once
  • Listen To Audiobooks
  • Abandon Bad Books
  • Ask Your Peers For Book Recommendations
  • Create Your Antilibrary

While this article is really looking at books from the viewpoint of business and self-education, much of it can be applied to casual reading. I am not a fan of reading more than one book at a time myself unless one is a technical book. When I try to read more than one novel at a time it just confuses me and I forget what is going on in the novels.

Audiobooks or podcasts are a good idea. I listen to several hours of podcasts each week and as they mention in the article, I have learned to listen at 2x the playback speed. Even with this, I am hundreds of podcasts behind!

I also agree about abandoning bad books or ones I simply do not like. I follow the Rule of 50 with my reading for the most part, though I have to say that I have not had to invoke it too often. Using peer recommendations or reviews on Goodreads will help to eliminate those books you would clearly not like, though some will slip through.

The ‘antilibrary’ or list of yet to be read books is a good idea. I have hundreds on my Kindle, though my ‘to-be-read’ queue is only around 70 books right now. That sounds like a lot, but the past three years I have read more than 130 novels a year.

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