25% For The Win

So, this is my To-Be-Read (affectionately known as the TBR) pile. Most of it. There is also a stack of books on my bedside table, with a few more in the drawers. This does not include the five pages worth of books on my Kindle.

The worst  part is, a lot of these books were in my TBR pile when we moved here 2 1/2 years ago.

You know how it is. You buy a book on a whim. Or you get it free at a conference. Or – the very worst – someone lends it to you, saying you must read it. And there they sit. Languishing. For Years.
You see where I’m going with this.
Yes, I’m thinking about the new year and what I want 2012 to be like. Now, yesterday on Word Whores, I said I’m not a fan of posting resolutions. I referred to previous rants on the topic, but a few people said they’d like to hear why. So, if you’ve heard this before, feel free to skip the next paragraph.
I think resolutions, like charity, should be kept private and anonymous. Otherwise you risk doing it only for ego, which is dangerous. See, the whole point of a resolution is to make a change in your own life, not to show off how neat you are to other people. Similarly, with charity, the point is to help someone else, not to dazzle everyone with your selflessness and generosity. If you make a resolution just to tell people your plan, then you run the risk that you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, which means it will never “stick.” Doing stuff to impress other people just doesn’t last. It’s a false reward, sweet tasting at first, but without nutrition.
That said, I am breaking my own rule today. (Self-aggrandizement is me! I laugh in the face of my distorted ego!) I’ve been feeling, not only the weight of my huge and moldering TBR pile, but that I really want to read more. I miss reading. Some of that energy goes into writing now, which is a deliberate choice. But a lot of it gets spun out elsewhere. I really want to reduce this pile of good intentions gone astray.
A huge part of the problem for me is that many of these books are ones I actually have started. I get a few pages in, don’t love it and put it down to try again. Then, when I try again, it’s been so long I have to back up to remember the story, I read a few pages, don’t love it and put it down to try again.
I know, right?
So, I developed a plan and bounced it off a few other inveterate readers on Twitter, especially with the woman behind the pig at Pearls Cast Before a McPig. She confessed to having many barely started books in her TBR pile, too. Slowly accreting.
This is the plan.
Because I feel wrong setting a book aside after only a few pages, I will commit to reading 25% of each book. That should give the slow-starters plenty of time to draw me in. Because there have been many books that I didn’t love at first, but that grew on me. After that first 25%, though, if I’m still not loving it, I can get rid of it with a clear conscience.
25% FTW!
I think this could totally work. Anyone else want to play?

11 Replies to “25% For The Win”

  1. We’re in!
    And yes: I know all about those dreaded books that people push on me and tell me I must read, because they just know I will love it. I usually try to convince my friends that I will ask to borrow the book when I feel like reading it, but if they insist I keep the book for about 3 months and then return it to them without ever having read it.

    1. Too funny! You’re more ruthless than I. I keep the books FOREVER, until I can’t stand it anymore. I’m totally adopting your method!

  2. Mmmm, 25%. It depends on the sin. If it’s in the story rather than the style, I give ’em the first three chapters. If the style employs my nails-on-chalkboard peeves, then it’s three pages and ~blam~


    There are so many other books/authors whose styles and stories merit my time and support. I’d rather spend my time discovering a new favorite.

  3. 25% sounds like a plan. I’m the kind of person who, if I don’t like a book for whatever reason, doesn’t put it back in the TBR pile. It goes in the ‘get rid of this’ pile. I should try and give those books a better chance. So, next time I come across one – I’ll give it 25%.

    1. Hey, B.E. – I think if you have a faster route to “get rid of this” that doesn’t induce book-guilt, then more power to you!

  4. That sounds like an excellent plan to me. Life is too short to read all the way through books that don’t engage you, but giving them a 25% chance is fair. Sometimes a slow start can lead to a bigger bang at the end. (Er, so to speak…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *