Thoughts on Thursday: How Do You Cull Your TBR?


How Do You Cull Your TBR? 

First, let’s do something fun! Be honest! 😉


During spring break, among many other things and many, many reviews written, I decided to finally bite the bullet and cull my TBR shelf on Goodreads, which I dreaded like the plague after seeing Brittany’s shelves.

This is what I always think when I even try to imagine me going through Goodreads shelves…and why rarely go look at it. Just let me die now. It’s scary insane because my TBR shelf is ….

3,000+ books  

Holy shiznit. I don’t even know where to begin. Except I know there have been books I’ve added to this self-multiplying mass of horny book rabbits that I didn’t really want to read, so hooray for that!

And then I spent two days culling and culling and re-culling and nixing you, you, you and you…oh, you too…AND I DELETED YOU!…wait, where did all of you come from? … where have YOU guys been hiding….


 NOW? Only 400!

I know what you’re wondering. How did I remove so many books from my TBR?

Before I even started I knew I needed a system, although I wasn’t sure what. Thankfully, it came to me as I was processing and nixing and debating and oh-forget-you-ing, I was thinking about how I was eliminating books.

I tried very hard to stick to this method. I know I may have missed and overlooked some titles because I don’t know what all is on my Kindle (seriously, black hoarder hole), but I did my best.

  1. All fiction titles I knew I owned were taken off the list. I did this for both my physical bookshelves and my Kindle. Even though they are truly on my TBR, I don’t need them listed online to remember I want to read them because I will read them…eventually.
  2. Even the classics. As much as I wanted to keep the classics (yes, every single Wizard of Oz book), they got the ax. I have them all on my Kindle. Stop trying to be a book snob, Charlie.
  3. Next, I removed all biographies or largely unimpressive historical texts. I know I already have them on my Kindle. I’m sorry, but if the title is 30 words long, I don’t think I’m thaaaat interested.
  4. Then I removed all books that did not look interesting based on the cover, title or author. Primarily these were books I added because of giveaways.
  5. If I didn’t recognize the book at all, adios bandidos!

One thing I did notice was that I kept a lot of historical fiction and a lot of literary fiction on my TBR list. Essentially, this list isn’t really a TBR, but a large wish list. So, here’s my wishlist if you’re so inclined. 😉

Four hundred! This is a number I can live with.

How big is your TBR? How do you cull your list? How frequently do you re-evaluate your list?

25 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thursday: How Do You Cull Your TBR?

  1. Woo hoo, GREAT job! And sorry I inspired the fear in you haha!!
    I’ve gone through and gotten rid of a lot of books… many I just lost interest in! And now I don’t add a book to my (still massive) TBR unless I really PLAN on reading it. I won’t add it unless I really think I’ll read it or until AFTER I’ve grabbed it from NG/EW/have a copy. Some I know I want to read and those automatically go on there, but if I’m iffy, I don’t even shelve them. If I happen to come across them and procure a copy, great. If I’m already on the fence, why worry about a book that I may or may not read?
    Fun topic!! 🙂

    • Ah, it’s OK. I want to have awesome Goodreads shelves to pick a book from, I’m just really bad at following through and putting things on them! I left only the books I really wanted to read, so I plan on getting copies…slowly. haha

    • That could be a good way to separate. I would lose track of which ones I owned if they were all mashed together, and end up buying a second copy of some. (I HAVE done that before…a handful of times!) Thanks for stopping in, Katherine!

  2. My TBR list has 140 books on it right now. I scroll through it about once a month and delete the books that I bought or that no longer appeal to me. The list doesn’t get out of control if I force myself to reevaluate it as often as possible.

  3. I notice my TBR list on goodreads is huge because of the giveaways. The more you enter, the more you add. And I’ve figured out over the last few years that probably 80% of the time, if I win the book – great, I’ll read it. If not, I probably won’t be reading it ever.

  4. I have a ton of TBR physical books in my library upstairs. I pretty much only cull them when I’m moving or have run out of space. We just bought a house and I have room to grow so who knows when I’ll cull again!

    As for Goodreads, that list is a lot smaller. I just add books that catch my attention or are recommended to me. I update it every couple of months. I delete what I purchased and any book I’ve forgotten about or don’t recognize.

    • I’m almost at the point of running out of space. I selected some of my classroom library books last year when I was packing up my classroom to read over the summer. Obviously that didn’t happen, so I need to get them read and back in my classroom soon. That’ll free up *some* space.

      I like your Goodreads method. Very laid back and easy.

  5. my goodreads want to read list consists of 2300 books, but its not the real number cause i always enter their giveaways and such. the real number i(90 something). So it’s really about 120 books 😀

  6. I created several different to-read shelves on GoodReads to manage my books. For example, I have a shelf for giveaways, a wish list shelf and a check out from the library shelf. Every so often I’ll go delete everything on the giveaways shelf, if I didn’t win and the book no longer looks interesting. I usually cull things on my wish list if I buy something (or someone buys me something). And the library shelf is kind of stagnant, but if I keep up the #ShelfLove Challenge, I can see need to cull that list as well!

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

  7. I had a TBR pile of nearly 800+ books at one point. That would be my physical shelf, as well as my Kindle. Now I’m down to something like 460-ish. I’ll most likely end up dumping a bunch more from off my Kindle TBR list. But mostly what I did was go through and read all the descriptions. if they still sounded good, I kept them, if they didn’t sound good, they were removed from the list. They’re still in my archives if I change my mind, but no longer counted in my list.

    I was amazed at how many novellas I had. Those will get shuffled off into a separate list at some point, but sounds like too much work right now!

    Need to go through my Wishlist of books next. I’m sure there’s a bunch that don’t need to be on there anymore…

  8. That’s a good way to do it! I think I’m going to rename my book shelf on goodreads from want to read to “own not yet read” then maybe want to read can be my wishlist. I’m actually making a post like this for spring cleaning my actual physical shelves. So glad you were able to cull your digital gr shelves!

    • I know. *sigh* My issue was the opposite, though; I have a serious issue with just adding books…and forgetting about them! I’m good at that! But on the flip side, there are SO many books that look and sound amazing. It’s hard to choose when you want to read them all!

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