Bookish Life

The Unread Shelf

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*Hello! Today I’m talking about every book lover’s problem. That stack or shelf of books that you own but haven’t gotten to yet. I’m giving out the number on my unread shelf and it shocked me just a bit when I counted them all up.

How many unread books do you own? I'm giving up my dirty little secret and also discussing what to do when you have so many books on your unread shelf.

How many unread books do you own?

To answer my question, I have 152 unread books on my shelves. Yes, I know, that seems like an ungodly amount of unread books. And it probably is, but I’m not getting rid of any of them. I have a total of 274 books in my house. I’ve read 122 of them so it makes that unread number not so bad if I own 122 books that I’ve already read.

I will say that I’ve gotten to the point where the amount of unread books I own is stressing me out. On one hand, I want to get rid of them all. On the other hand, I know if I do I’ll regret it and then I probably won’t ever read them.

I own 152(ish) unread books!?

Let me break this down for you. I don’t like to read library books. For one thing, they are endlessly filthy. For another, I find that I rarely finish them before they are due because I’m busy reading books I already own. That and going to the library distracts me from the books I have at home.

Typically, when I see or learn about a book I might be interested in I will buy it for myself. This is a great way to build a home library. It’s also an excellent way to accumulate a lot of unread books.

I don’t know about you but I always find more books I want to read than I can actually read in one month. Should I fix this problem? I mean, I think it’s a good problem. It guarantees that I’ll always be able to find a book to read. And that’s great news for us readers.

So how do we balance this?

As fun as it is to find and purchase new books (Or used! I’m a huge proponent of “recycling” books.) I think that there should be a balance with the number of unread books we own. What’s that balance? I’m afraid I can’t tell you. For me, I’ve realized that around 150 unread books is my limit. For you, it might be 300 or 50 or 2. I don’t get to decide that for you and neither does anyone else. You should never let people pressure you into having more or less unread books on your shelves. There is no right or wrong number. There’s just you and how many unread books you want.

I will say, that if you find it hard or overwhelming to pick out your next read from your unread books, just pick a stack of 5 or so and pick from those ones. If they don’t interest you, gather another stack of five and so on until you find your next perfect read. Our books should make us happy, not cause us anxiety.

I hope this little chat has given you hope about your unread books. I know it was fun for me to count them up and see how many I actually had. If you are looking for an awesome challenge to help you get through all those unread books check out @theunreadshelf on Instagram! Whitney is on a journey to read all of the unread books on her shelf! She is constantly reminding us to buy new books with intention and not just because “it sounded interesting.”

That’s all from me!

Happy reading,


P.S. Check out my TBR for this month here! I’m doing things a lot different than I normally do!

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