A challenge for book hoarders like me

If tracking my reading journey this year has revealed anything, it’s that I am one of those readers. The ones who hit up bookstores and libraries on the regular (and can’t leave without books, plural, in hand). Who sign up for every existing e-book email list. Who scour “best of” articles for new titles. Who recognize there’s a problem then start a “want to read” list on Goodreads anyway. Book hoarders and me, we understand each other. I am one of them.

For the last 11 1/2 months, I’ve been wrestling with my bookshelves. Not literally. That would be alarming. First off, assuming they could become sentient and mobile, my bookshelves would win, easy. The sheer tonnage of my books in my house!

I am one of those readers. The ones who collects books faster than I can read them. Book hoarders and me, we understand each other. I am one of them.

From a certain angle, my bookshelves can look downright menacing … good thing this bookcase is screwed into the wall.

Plus, my Nook is crammed full of books too. Opening my library is like…


At the dawn of 2016, I was tickled to discover the Read My Own Damn Books challenge created by Andi at Estella’s Revenge. I had such excellent intentions. The very best! Well, you know what they say about good intentions…


I still have 19 days until the sun sets on 2016. And you can believe I’m waiting until the bitter end to do my end-of-year stock-taking. But … spoiler alert: I’m that kid who thinks s/he can cram a semester’s worth of work into one weekend. Which is to say: If this challenge were graded on a percent scale, I would not be earning a passing grade. Fewer than half the books I read this year came from my existing library. And that library? Real and virtual just keep on growing. 

That’s where Benjamin Thomas of The Writing Train comes in. He proposed a brilliant, if terrifying, idea: The Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge. A competition to see who can do the best job of crushing his/her personal Mount TBR. 

There are rules. There are points. There are rewards. Here’s the gist of it, courtesy of The Writing Train:

  • Choose the number of books you’d like to read per month
  • Pair up with one other person
  • Determine how many books you’ll add to your TBR list per month
  • Determine a mutually agreed upon prize for the winner.

We’re starting January 1, and book hoarders are invited to join. Even if you’re not a situation-critical book hoarder, you’re still welcomed to join. Visit The Writing Train here to find out more about the challenge and how to sign up!

4 Replies to “A challenge for book hoarders like me”

  1. Wow. First of all, I’m surprised you ended up reading such a small percentage of books you already own – I feel like you made such an effort this year and so often talked about a book being one you already had on your shelves or in your Nook (then again, you do read A LOT of books per month).

    Secondly, this new challenge sounds really cool. I am tempted to join you, but I don’t know… I have many books, especially on my Kindle, that I should read, but I’ve always been the kind of reader who does get to her books eventually – I just feel like it really depends on my mood. I’m bad at reading things when I don’t feel totally into the experience. And yet, I wasn’t always that way; in school, I always did our reading assignments and usually enjoyed them. I didn’t even slack in college.

    So now I’m sitting here wondering why I can’t be that old disciplined version of myself. Sigh….

    At any rate, I’ll be watching and rooting for you (and anyone else who participates in this challenge this year). And I will make an effort to read more of the books I already have, at least even looking through the list on my e-reader (my far too small shelf is mainly reserved for art books, reference books, and longtime favorites – ah, apartment living) before I head to the library or bookstore, so thanks for that incentive and inspiration.

    1. I had some really good months of reading my own books, especially May and November. But I wasn’t consistent enough to make a huge dent in my (humongous) pile. I’ve definitely gotten better at reading books I buy quickly and especially at not buying discounted e-books unless I already had the book on my reading list.

      I think what makes it challenging is that I’m also someone who reads according to my mood, and I have no problem putting down a book I’m not into. So I might buy a book that sounds interesting in the moment, then get distracted by other books. My acquiring outpaces my ability to read. What I’d really need to do, I suspect, is not go online and learn about any new books. This would force me to read what I have. But … that’s hard to do. 🙂

  2. The eternal struggle to read all the books we acquire. Sigh. I’m finishing up the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge too, and I did not read nearly as many of my own books purchased before 2016. But I did not buy as many books this year which is both a good and bad thing, if you know what I mean!

    1. I definitely know what you mean!
      I didn’t buy as many books as usual and read quite a few of the ones I bought this year. I’m counting that last part as a win. 🙂

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