Weeding my TBR | sharing tips and my own progress

I don’t know about you guys, but when I first started blogging, I threw everything on my TBR! Okay, not everything, but basically any book that got any amount of hype. Here I am, almost five years later and my TBR has grown immensely. There are so many books on there that I have no recollection hearing about. And every time before now that I’ve tried to weed my TBR, I’ve become overwhelmed. Goodreads doesn’t have a very good weeding feature that I’ve found–every time you remove a book from your “Want to Read” shelf the whole page reloads and then you have to rescroll to where you were…it’s a process. So every other weeding attempt has found me giving up after deleting like 10 books, max. But I think I’ve finally found a way to clean up my TBR!

Weeding my TBR

Sort your TBR first

One of the biggest difficulties with my previous weeding attempts is that it’s hard for me to remember what I’ve already taken a look at and decided to keep. When I was still working at the library, we would divide big group weeding projects (thousands of books) up into sections that made it a lot more manageable, so I did something similar here. I alphabetized the titles in my TBR list and just took it one letter at a time–I didn’t have to do everything all at once. There are a ton of different ways you could sort it–author, publication year, page count, whatever! Just pick a way that works for you and stick with it throughout the whole project.

Figure out your weeding standards

Another thing I learned from library weeding–you don’t have to look at every book. If there was something that was in good condition and was circulating well, then we just left it on the shelf. Similarly, if there’s a book on your shelf that you already KNOW you want to read, then just go ahead and leave it.

But for the books you do want to look at, you’ll have to decide what determines if it will stay on your list. Here’s the process I go through:

  1. I reread the synopsis–does it grab me? This is the most important step for me because if it doesn’t sound interesting to me anymore, then I’m probably going to remove it.
  2. I consider the overall star rating. Anything under 3.75 may act as a little warning flag for me.
  3. Last, I consider my Goodreads friends ratings. Most of my Goodreads friends are other bloggers that I interact with and I trust their ratings more than the overall Goodreads rating. If the Goodreads rating is low, but my friends are giving it 4 or 5 stars, I’m more likely to keep it.

You can obviously use whatever standards you want, this is just how I’ve been doing it.

Remember the sunk cost fallacy

Sunk Cost Fallacy is something that we talked about in my Econ classes A TON. Humans act in this really irrational way where we’ll do something even if we’re not enjoying it because we feel like we have to for whatever reason. For example, people will overeat to a point where they’re super uncomfortable at a buffet because they feel like they need to “get their money’s worth”. In my case, I’ll keep a book on my Kindle even if I’m not interested in it anymore because I paid for it. This has been a huge sticking point for me, but finally I think I’ve gotten past it. Don’t let the fact that you bought a book make you keep it on your TBR if you’ve lost all interest in reading it!

How well did it work?

This is the first year that I’ve been trying to keep track of my TBR growth. At the beginning of the year, my TBR was at 383 books. By the beginning of August, I was at 469 books which is an 86 book increase. That’s not even taking into account books that I’ve read from my TBR, so with that in mind I’ve probably added over 100 books to my TBR so far this year.

I started this project towards the end of August, so I’ll use 469 books as my TBR starting point. It’s taken some time to get through it all and even though I’ve been adding books in the meantime as well, I’ve gotten it down to…..drumroll….306¬†books! That’s a difference of 106! It’s crazy to me that I had so many books chilling on my TBR that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore. It’s almost like I’m starting over fresh! I can now move forward with my lighter, more concise list. It feels like I can actually go to my TBR to pick my next read now instead of feeling crazy overwhelmed by it! I know that I’m actually interested in every book on my list. I was reminded of so many books that I feel EXCITED about and I’m going to try to actually use my TBR in the future instead of just adding books to it.

Reading new-to-me authors (+ popular authors I’ve been meaning to get to)

I participate in a monthly book club and this month’s book was supposed to be Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. However, after reading it the hosts of the book club didn’t feel like they would necessarily recommend it, so this month’s book club is Liane Moriarty in general with a slight focus on NPS. I’d never read anything by Liane Moriarty though I have heard a great deal about her. I decided for this month that I’d read NPS (since that was the original plan) and that I’d also read Big Little Lies since it’s super hot right now (with the show and everything). And all of that got me thinking about the purpose of this post: how to read new-to-me authors.

discussion posts

I think this is a universal thing, right? We don’t always “find” an author when their debut book has just come out–we usually find them somewhere in the middle of their career when they have a few books already published. This has happened to me with Emma Millls, Victoria Schwab, and Neil Gaiman (just to name a few examples). The question is, when you find someone, what do you do next? I react in a couple different ways:

Reading their published works in order

This is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to a series. For example, with Susan Dennard I was obviously going to read the Truthwitch series in order because duh. But what about when someone has a bunch of standalones? This was the case for me with Emma Mills. I loved her covers and the premise of all of her books sounded good to me. So for her, I decided to start with her first official book, First & Then, and go from there. Even though they were standalones, I wanted to read her books in order in case there were any easter eggs from book to book (I don’t think there have been). Regardless, for some reason it felt important for me to read her books in order.

Not reading their published works in any specific order

For an author like Neil Gaiman, I’ve been jumping around. I’d read Anansi Boys way too young and remember almost nothing about it. Recently, I’ve been jumping around between his adult and young adult books. I think I want to read pretty much everything he’s written eventually, but I don’t feel that same urge to read his works in order.

How do you like to read books from new-to-you authors? Do you do a mixture of the above like I do? Do you do something completely different?

Here’s a list of authors I’ve been meaning to read, let me know how you think their books are best read:

  • Kristin Hannah
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Julie Buxbaum
  • Erin Watt
  • Nicholas Sparks
  • Ruth Ware
Bonus question: Who are some of your absolute favorite authors?

On Slow and Steady Blog Growth | My Book Blogging Journey

Hello everyone! Some of you have been on this journey with me since practically the beginning, but I think most of you are pretty new (to me, at least). I’ve officially been a book blogger since March 2015 which means I’ve been doing this for almost 4.5 years (yikes). I originally started my blog because I was at a time in my life when I was reading A TON of books, but not retaining much about them. I had just graduated with my undergrad and was working part-time, but my husband was still in school/doing homework, so I had a lot of free time on my hands (thus the much reading).

I was frustrated that I would read a book, but then couldn’t remember anything about it. So I started this blog so I could have a place for my reviews and could hopefully remember more about what I was reading. I had (briefly) run a personal blog before this (super embarrassing and long deleted) so I sort of knew what I was doing, but not really.

My blogging journey since then has had a lot of ups and downs. I would go through spurts where I would post EVERY DAY (sometimes more than once) but then others where I wouldn’t post for weeks. This is what my yearly blog stats currently look like:

Yearly

2016 was clearly my most productive year, but that’s also when I started Library School and I had to do blog posts for some of my classes. Thus, a lot of those views are actually from classmates and don’t really count since, you know, they were doing it for a grade.

My next (and biggest) dip came right after I had my baby in April 2018. Some of you might remember that he came 5.5 weeks early and then we promptly moved up to live with my parents in Seattle for an internship. That summer was a HUGE dip in reading and blogging and it’s been hard to get back in a rhythm since. As soon as I whip out a book, my baby MUST come over and see what I’m doing, so it’s been harder to get reading time in. Despite that, in the beginning of 2019 I recommitted to this blog.

But then, life happens again. Another turbulent April. My grandmother unexpectedly passed away, we had three weddings around that time as well, plus my husband was graduating from Grad School, and then the next month I was trying to wrap everything up at work since we were moving to a completely different state…it was a lot.

Now we’re here. Life has calmed down significantly as we find our new rhythm in California and as I figure out what it’s like to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I’m hoping to be able to dedicate time to reading and this blog again on a more consistent basis (fitting blogging and reading in at naptime/bedtime).

From a mildly seasoned blogger, I just want to convey the message that it’s okay if your blog isn’t growing as fast as you want it to or think it should. I cannot count the number of posts I’ve seen where someone is like, “OMG I’ve been blogging for 6 months and just hit 1,000 followers thxsomuch!!!” Which is fine, good for them. Honestly, I have no idea how they do it. I’ve been blogging for years and currently have 918 followers–at least half of which I’m SURE are either bots or inactive accounts. Here’s a look at my monthly views since this blog’s inception:

Monthly

So if you’re a new (or old) blogger and you feel like things aren’t happening for you just…don’t get discouraged, okay? Remember why you started your blog in the first place. It’s a journey and it can be frustrating, but in the end you started your blog for a reason and I’ve found significant comfort in regrounding myself in that reason.

I have no idea how my stats compare to other blogs, but those are real numbers and I’m only looking to compare my blog to where I’ve been in the past. This June has been looking much better than last June, so that’s enough for me.

5 Best Reality TV Shows for the Summer

This is a departure from my usual, I know, but in addition to reading books, I also love watching TV! My husband and I have a few reality TV shows that we especially love to watch over the Summer.

Best Summer Reality TV

The Amazing Race

If you love traveling but you’re also broke (it me) then this is a show for you! You get to see a ton of cool places while the contestants travel and their challenges are also fun to watch. Their current season is about to wrap up, but if you have time and want to get a CBS All Access subscription (I know, it’s annoying) then you can watch all the back seasons as well as this current one. I liked this current season especially because the contestant were past Amazing Race teams as well as teams from previous Survivor and Big Brother seasons. Which brings me to…

Big Brother

CBS just does reality TV right (we’re also HUGE Survivor fans). The new Big Brother season starts TONIGHT. Since we don’t actually have real TV, we’ll be watching it tomorrow, so no spoilers! I was actually surprised when my husband got into Big Brother too. He already liked Survivor and The Amazing Race, but I thought he’d think Big Brother was dumb since it’s so much more about the social drama. Much to my delight, he’s just as into it as I am! I LOVE the drama and the social politics and it always gives me such pleasure when people are super petty when voting for the winner at the end. Karma, baby.

America’s Got Talent

I’ve been sort of in and out with AGT the past few seasons, but this Summer, I’m solidly in. I really love Terry Crews and I’m excited for all of the fun dance/magic/comedy/variety acts that they have this year.

Songland

Who else has been watching this gem? It’s new this year and my husband and I have been LOVING IT. It’s fascinating to see the transformation that songs go through from conception to being recorded by an artist. I really hope this show comes back next summer because it’s amazing!

So You Think You Can Dance

My OG Summer obsession…seriously though, I went to the Season 4 live tour and had their poster in my room (aka I liked tWitch before he became Ellen’s DJ). I’m SO glad that they don’t have Vanessa Anne Hudgens back as a judge this year and I hope that D-Trix isn’t just a judge for the auditions. I love the new audition stage plus the 360 cameras. The live show format has changed over time, so I’ll be interested to see what they do this year. I liked last season where the contestants got paired up with each other as in the OG seasons, so I hope they do that again.

What TV shows are you watching this Summer? What are some of your favorite shows in general? Let me know in the comments! And if you want to talk about any of these shows I AM HERE FOR IT.

Update on My 2019 Reading Goals

At the beginning of the year I had this post¬†listing my reading/book goals for 2019. Now that we’re about halfway through the year, I thought I’d give a little update as to where I’m at! For those of you too lazy to click my link (sheepishly raises hand), here are my 2019 goals:

  • Reread the Harry Potter series
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Neil Gaiman books in general
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Jane Eyre
  • VE Schwab books

2019 Reading Goals

Reread the Harry Potter series

Hello goal that is apparently never going to happen. I checked out the audiobook for The Sorcerer’s Stone at one point, but never got around to listening to it. I thought audio could be the way to go, but I’m so

bad at listening to audiobooks when I’m subscribed to too many podcasts. The holds lists are always so long for these books too…I honestly don’t know if this will get completed.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Yeah…haven’t even gotten close on this one.

Neil Gaiman books in general

I did purchase an eBook copy of Good Omens when it was on sale a few months ago. That combined with the TV show…I think I’ll get to it this year. Beyond Good Omens, I have a physical copy of The Anansi Boys on my shelf. I’m pretty sure I read that one way, WAY back (when I was probably too young to be reading it) but I want to read it again when I’ll actually remember stuff. I’ve also heard good things about¬†Norse Mythology so that’s on my list. Oh! And I read Coraline.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Confession: I had a physical copy of this book, but I’d bought it secondhand from a library book sale and it wasn’t in great condition. So in this last move, I got rid of it *puts face in hands*. However, I did this fully intending to check it out from the library. It was one that I figured I would definitely be able to check out. Long story short, I’m still planning on reading this!

Jane Eyre

A couple of years ago, I posted about this wonderful app¬†that allows you to read classic books in digestible little chunks. I stopped using it after finishing Northanger Abbey but writing this post has given me a burst of (perhaps misguided) inspiration! I’ve just redownloaded the app and added Jane Eyre to my list. So we can mark this goal as “IN PROGRESS”.

VE Schwab books

Finally, the only goal I actually feel good about. Yes, I finished the¬†Shades of Magic trilogy and LOVED IT. I’m so glad I finally read these books! I’m currently on hold for¬†Vicious¬†and I intend to love it just as much as¬†Shades of Magic.

So by my count, I’ve finished like… 1.5/6 goals. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes!

What were your 2019 reading goals and how are you doing with them?

Discussion: How do you feel about affiliate links?

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about a (potentially?) touchy topic: AFFILIATE LINKS.

discussion posts

I signed up for the Amazon Associates program back in January. For the first six months, you’re on this trial period where you have to produce three legit sales before you’re officially an Associate.

Now, the reason I decided to go this route is because I’m trying to monetize my blog. I thought it would be awesome if I could make a little money doing something that I was already working on anyway. And especially now that I’ve transitioned into full-time stay-at-home mom status, it would be AMAZING if I could make a little extra money on the side. With that being said, in the almost six months that I’ve been doing this, I’ve produced about 20 sales netting me a whopping $2.86 (which I can’t even cash out, because there’s a $10 minimum).

That got me thinking about how affiliate links might be perceived by readers and other bloggers. I feel like sometimes there might be a perception that bloggers posting affiliate links are greedy? Or perhaps disingenuous? I’d honestly love to hear how you guys feel about affiliate links in the comments. Personally, I don’t mind using affiliate links if I was already planning on purchasing an item or if the post made me interested in an item. For example, I was researching sippy cups for my son to use and had no problem using a blog post’s affiliate links when making my purchase. But I’m not going around to random blogs and purchasing stuff from their links just for fun.

Here’s my policy for posting affiliate links

For general review/mini-review posts:

If I would recommend a book (generally 4 stars or higher) I’ll include links for all the different available formats. I don’t feel good about posting links for books that I didn’t particularly enjoy. That IS something that feels disingenuous to me. I only want you to buy it if I also enjoyed it. I’ve also decided to post links for all of the different formats because I don’t want my readers to feel like I’m pushing the most expensive format onto them so I can get the most kickback. That’s not my goal either.

For my “Best Book Deals” posts:

I get a ton of emails listing discounted eBooks, so I decided to compile some of those and post them on a weekly-ish basis to make things a little easier on you guys. Now, I certainly haven’t read every single book that I link, but I try to provide a really good variety. I’m mostly looking to post YA books and other adult/non-fiction books with titles, authors, or subjects that I think you guys might be interested in (I’m certainly NOT posting every single book deal that’s sent to me–that would be madness). Then, I have a section at the bottom of these posts highlighting the books that I recommend. The books in the “recommended” section are all books that I HAVE read and legitimately recommend.

For other posts:

I don’t have any hard and fast rules for other posts like I do for my reviews and book deals. If you look back in my archive, you’ll probably find a mixture of me inserting Amazon links and not.

I’d like to make a little more money with my links, but I’m not about to start linking to everything on Amazon just to try to get you guys to buy things.

But what do you guys think? Do you generally have a more positive or negative feeling towards affiliate links? Are you currently using them/have used them in the past? How did that go? Let me know in the comments!

SARAH DESSEN + NETFLIX = HEART EYES

We have all heard this news by now, yes? If not, brace yourself…Netflix has optioned not one, not two, but THREE of Sarah Dessen’s books! I am BEYOND excited.

Sarah Dessen Netflix

We all know that I am a Sarah Dessen STAN. I almost died when she retweeted this blog post of mine. My brother-in-law even noticed and said something. If that doesn’t show my true devotion to this queen, then I don’t know what does. According to this article by Hollywood Reporter, they’ll be doing Along for the Ride first which I am so pumped about. All I’m saying, though, is that they better include The Washroom because it is the best Sarah Dessen location of all time.

I’m also eager to see This Lullaby turned into a movie. I’ve long thought that this is the one that would be most suitable for a movie. I hope they get Remy perfect and I can’t wait to see her and her girlfriends on screen.

Though I’m sad they didn’t pick my fave (The Truth About Forever) I am happy with the choices they made and am BEYOND excited to watch them. Until then, did you guys know that Sarah Dessen has already had two of her books made into a movie? They combined¬†That Summer and Someone Like You into one movie starring Mandy Moore which you can rent on Amazon Prime for $2.99.¬†It doesn’t have like…GREAT reviews, but I liked it.

How excited are you guys for these movies? Who would you pick to play the main characters? Let’s chat in the comments!