When I was young and little naive, I made the absurd goal of wanting to read every book published that I was interested in. I know now how ridiculous this goal was, but I still look back on it as a motivator to read more, and books that I actually enjoy.
I sometimes ask myself why is it that people are so determined to power through a book even though they hate it, or keep a book that they never liked or never will get to on their shelf. Recently, I’ve embraced the power of the unhaul, and the quick ripping-off-the-bandage that is DNFing a book, (DNF=Did Not Finish).
I have a book-buying problem, as most people in the book community probably do as well. I’ve broken my book-buying ban several times; sometimes the temptation is too great. What comes along with acquiring books is having more and more to read. If you don’t immediately read the books you buy, they end up just piling on your shelf, to add to your TBR (TBR=To Be Read) pile and it can get stupidly overwhelming. Especially if the cycle keeps repeating. I have probably over a hundred books on my shelf that I have yet to read. It’s stupid and I’m ashamed of it.
One thing that I’ve found helpful when trying to power through my TBR pile, and it’s definitely not an ideal thing, is if I’m reading a book that I own that I need to read to reduce my TBR pile, and I’m not liking it after around a hundred pages, I DNF and unhaul it. Unhauling books is probably just as controversial as DNFing them, it basically means taking books out of your collection. As a booktuber, I call this unhauling because it’s the opposite of hauling books or adding them to your collection.
I’ve noticed people tend to be huge DNFers/Unhaulers or power through and keep everything that they own. There is not really an in-between. I can understand why people power through and keep the books they own, they probably bought and paid for them with their own money or for sentimental reasons they’ve kept the book because they got it as a gift from someone special.
I tend to be the type of person that is ruthless. If an item that I own is not useful to me, it doesn’t make me happy, or it won’t continually make me happy, I get rid of it. Someone else might gain happiness from this item or book, more than I ever will. I’m not completely heartless, I do feel guilty when I give away books or not finish them when I bought them with my own money. That feeling of guilt, however, doesn’t compare to the weight I feel lifted off of me when I do give the book away. It’s like a release of anxiety almost.
Reducing the number of books on my shelf, like I did with my most recent unhaul video, makes me feel better about reading. It makes reading a not impossible task, not a chore, not anything other than enjoyable because I’m surrounded by books that I actually want to read or keep reading again and again.
I do still feel guilty sometimes, especially when I’ve unhauled a book I’ve never actually read. When I feel this way, I tell myself that if you really wanted to read that book, you’ve would have read it already and if you don’t want to read it now, why bother? I also tell myself if I find that I do want to read that book again I can always use my local library and take out the book.
I guess what I’m trying to get across in this post is that you can’t read all the books ever published that you may be interested in. In the entirety of your life, you may not ever get to every book, because more and more are being published every day. Why waste the time, the effort, or the space in your home for the books you’re not interested in? Keep and read the books you love and enjoy.