March 23, 2020

The Minimalist Bookshelf | 201

*It's time for my 2020 check-in on my minimalist bookshelf. I wrote a post a while ago titled The Minimalist Bookshelf 101 all about how to turn your shelves minimalist and keep them that way. You can read that post right HERE. In this new article, I'm checking in with my own progress/maintenance. I also talk about how I decide whether to read a book or not. I hope you find these tips helpful. 

The Minimalist Bookshelf 201

2020 Check-In

It's been quite a while since I minimalized my bookshelves so I figured now would be a great time to do a check-in. 


Are my shelves perfect? By no means. Am I a pro at saying no to new books? Absolutely not. But here's the thing. Having minimalist shelves just means that I only keep books I've loved or that I think are beautiful. This looks different for everyone. Your level of unread books will also be different from mine.

My dream goal is to have 10 or less unread books on my shelves. 

And you know what? It's been really hard to get even a few books knocked off my unread shelf. I just haven't been in the mood to read the books on my shelves. I want to read the books I've been buying because that's what I'm interested in. So I know that I need to get my unread shelf way down so that I can start enjoying books as soon as I buy them.

I think I've gotten rid of more unread books by unhauling them rather than reading them. So far I've only read six unread books but I've unhauled 26. I'm fairly certain I've unhauled everything that I'm not going to read but the rest are still weighing on me. I've bought some great new books this year and I REALLY want to read them. 

I'm hoping to remedy this issue next month with the O.W.L.s readathon! I've picked books that have been on my shelves for too long for the readathon. If all goes to plan I'll knock another 12 unread books off my shelves. This might sound bad but I'm actually hoping that I don't like some of them so I can dnf them and not spend as much time reading them. 🤷A lot of them are YA and I've really been moving away from that genre. I just don't care for the type of stuff that's coming out for that genre at the moment.

Anyway, THAT got really rambly. I apologize. I think it's time to move on.

How I decide to read a book or not.

The first thing I do when I want to decide whether to keep a book or not is to read the first chapter or so. I usually only judge the writing style at this point because I don't know enough about the story or character to make a decision. If the writing style interests me but I'm still not sure, I head over to Goodreads.

Now, if you've been on Goodreads before you know it's probably not the best place for reviews. I mean, anyone can leave a review for a book. So, just read at your own risk. And don't say I didn't warn you.

When I look at reviews on Goodreads I'm not looking for spoilers. Instead, I look to see how readers felt about the book. I want to know if it was boring or interesting. Is it too angsty, brutal, etc? Are there tropes I don't like? Is there triggering content?  More often than not the way people feel about books is the ultimate decider on if I read it or not. The plot is not the main focus at this point. 

After I look at a few Goodreads reviews (I skim these btw) I have enough of a feel for whether I'm going to read the book or not. If I'm still not sure whether I should keep the book or not I put it back on the shelf. I usually know when I'm going to unhaul a book. Every time it catches my eye I get this feeling that it just doesn't belong anymore. Call me the new Marie Kondo. 😂😂

An example:

For instance. One book on my unread shelf has been bothering me every time I look at it. It's Nocturna by Maya Motayne. It came in a book box and I'm really not keen on book box books. I usually end up not liking them. Anyway, since it's been bothering me I decided to do some review research on Goodreads. And I'm so glad I did! A lot of the reviewers are saying it's really similar to A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab. I mean down to the plot similar. Which is not really a good thing on two counts. 1) It's basically stealing from another author and 2) I didn't much care for A Darker Shade of Magic. So now I definitely know I'm going to unhaul it. I don't see any reason to make myself read a book similar to one I really didn't like.

This isn't a foolproof process and I definitely run the risk of unhauling a book I might have loved. But you don't know what you don't know, right?

Now I just need to make a new choice for my Defense Against the Dark Arts prompt for O.W.L.s next month. 🤔😅

I hope this was even remotely helpful. It seems like a lot of writing to me, but I think you'll be able to make sense of most of it. I mean I did write it on day 8,569 of quarantine so...🤷🤷

Happy reading (and minimalizing!) my friends,

Alicen