I have become a HUGE fan of Down The TBR Hole which was started by Lia at Lost in the Story. It revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there. My problem is… I have a hard time letting things go. I’m a collector of ideas, t-shirts, random knick-knacks. Down the TBR Hole is allowing me to think through my collection more clearly and remove the books that honestly, I am never going to read.
For me, it works like this. I have three shelves on my Goodreads account to separate the read now, from the someday maybes and the educational reads that would be smart to read for my career.
Ultimately — it looks like this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
I am hitting the point of my to-read shelf when I started entering all of Goodreads giveaways and felt like I had to add all of the books to my to-read shelf in order to win. Not surprisingly, for the books that don’t require you to add it to your shelf – you can still win! (I’ve won several books that I thought I may read one day but wasn’t super in love with).
In the Absence of Angels by Elizabeth Glaser
I know the exact moment I added this book to my to-read shelf. In my emerging infectious disease class last spring, we watched the movie And the Band Played On which (briefly) is about the discovery of AIDS in the U.S./Africa and how it spread among the men who attended the local bath houses in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. In the Absence of Angels written by the Elizabeth Glaser is the story of how her Hollywood family contracted HIV through a blood transfusion in the 1980s and breastfeeding. As lovely as that book sounds, I just don’t feel like I need to read it anymore.
Amerithrax: The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer by Robert Graysmith
The Amerithrax case was one of my favorite case studies throughout college and my masters program because it still hasn’t been solved 17+ years later! It’s been moved to educational reads because I think it’s absolutely fascinating.
Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics by Joseph S. Nye Jr.
This was probably mentioned in one of my homeland security readings and I was like “YEAH I’M GOING TO BECOME A SUPER GENIUS AND READ EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING.” Okay, that’s not ideal and hard power vs soft power has always confused me. Delete.
The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone by Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Merp — Same thing happened with the previous Joseph S. Nye book. I was obviously in a mood when I added this to my to-read list. Goodbye!
At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA by George Tenet
I think it’s interesting that a memoir can be written about your time at the CIA when everything that you do is pretty much supposed to be top-secret. This concept amuses me and I like secret things and hearing about the intelligence lifestyle — so someday maybe I’ll read this.
A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
One of my best friends from high school studied school shootings before this huge wave of mass shootings and school shootings began. While I was studying the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas, she was looking why this happens. While the Parkland shooting is the most recent, painful shooting experience… for a long time the shooting at Columbine took the cake as the worst shooting in school history. I can’t imagine being a parent of one of Dylan Klebold. I want to read this book one day.
Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
I almost just removed this from my to-read shelf based off of the cover. But I’m a rule follower so I read the synopses of the book and wow(!!) I think I would’ve really missed out on a great book. I’m going to leave this on my to-read shelf!
The Human Cost of Welfare: How the System Hurts the People It’s Supposed to Help by Phil Harvey
I was in a criminology mood one day, apparently. I have zero desire to read this book. Goodbye!
Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration by David Dagan
Added this book the same day as The Human Cost of Welfare. I know that because a) the date on the website b) this book is also focused on criminology theory. I think that mass incarceration is such a huge problem in the United States and other locations around the world, but no one likes the idea of it – so why do we have it? Keeping this to read someday maybe.
Dirty War: Rhodesia And Chemical Biological Warfare 1975-1980 by Glenn Cross
When people come across my to-read shelf they must think that I’m absolutely nutty based on some of the books that I have added. I studied a scary thing in graduate school and absolutely loved it! Sitting next to me on airplanes last year was a little frightening while I was working on school assignments on the way to go home and visit family members. It’s not my fault that I loved to study Ebola and other scary potential things that could destroy our world. I’m going to move Dirty War to educational reads because I think that Chemical Biological warfare is very real and very frightening.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – keep keep keep
I’m keeping this on my to-read shelf, right now. I need to read it. I’ve only heard good things about All the Light We Cannot See. It will be read when I get back from my trip!
The Biology of Doom: The History of America’s Secret Germ Warfare Project by Ed Regis
Just like Dirty War, one day I will read this book. Germ warfare?? Sign me up to love this book. It’s an educational read.
There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey
I’ve tried reading this book a couple times. I’ve made it through the first 2-3 chapters twice before putting it down for something better. The issue is that I own the book and I hate not finishing a book! I might have to get over it, but for now… it’s a someday maybe.
It IS About Islam: Exposing the Truth About ISIS, Al Qaeda, Iran, and the Caliphate by Glenn Beck
Similarly to There Will Be Stars, I own It IS About Islam. I found it in the back of a secondhand bookstore in Tampa, FL. I’m interested in reading about Glenn Beck’s view on Islam and ISIS, but it can be saved for another future day.
Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly
I found Killing Reagan the same day as It IS About Islam in a clearance bin at the back of a bookstore. (I love clearance bins). Scored this book for $1 and I’ll read it eventually. I just can’t give books that I own to a new owner until I read them!
Ultimately, I’m only keeping two books on my to-read list! A couple made their way onto the someday, maybe and educational reads lists and several were deleted. It feels good to clean out the lists.