What I Learned from Cleaning Out My Goodreads

I have the hardest time sitting still and watching TV, so even though I enjoyed Star Trek Discovery immensely, I wanted something to do while I was binging it recently. So I randomly decided to start purging my Goodreads shelves of all the books on my Want to Read shelf that I don’t actually want to read anytime soon. It was a surprisingly interesting experience, so I thought I’d talk about it a bit more in a blog post!

I don’t often use Goodreads as a source of finding books I want to read. Yes, I organize my TBR by genre, but I don’t peek at those shelves an awful lot. I’ve been looking for things lately that I’m really excited to read since reading has been a struggle on and off this past year, but my Goodreads shelves were just too cluttered with things I’m not all that interested in anymore.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super brutal in removing books. If something still seemed vaguely interesting or I remembered why I wanted to read it initially, I kept it. So there are still way more books on my Want to Read shelf than I ever actually plan to read (we’re closing in on 800). But I do think I got it down to a point where I can be in the mood for a historical romance or a fantasy book and peruse my shelves and find something I want to read, rather than get bogged down in a bunch of stuff I’m not interested in anymore.

One of the things I noticed is that I added a lot of hyped books that I have no interest in now that the hype has died down. It really makes you think about which books are more of a fad and which are enduring favorites. Tied to that is the fact that I don’t really get recs from BookTube anymore, which is where a lot of these hyped books on my TBR came from, and so a huge chunk of books got removed.

I also noticed that I had a lot of books on my TBR that people recommended to me that I don’t actually think I’m that interested in just from reading the summary. It really speaks to the fact that I either have to take someone’s rec almost immediately in order to read it, or I have to hear about a book so much that I can’t ignore it anymore. Sadly, that means one-off book recommendations that aren’t otherwise on my radar tend to fall through the cracks, and I don’t remember who wanted me to read them anymore and why.

That said, while I don’t always remember getting the recommendation for a book, if a book doesn’t have great reviews or a personal recommendation to read it, there’s just no chance. I don’t usually care what a book’s Goodreads rating is because ratings are such an arbitrary rating system and they tend to be overinflated. But if a book has less than 3.5 stars? Especially if the top reviews highlight things I don’t care for? Then I have zero interest. Though if a friend rates it highly, then maybe that book just hasn’t found the right audience! So a low rating isn’t a dealbreaker, but there has to be a compelling reason for me to keep it on my TBR, and a number of books that were on my TBR did not make that cut.

Clearing out my TBR shelves also highlighted that I’ve lost a lot of interest in older historicals. There’s just too much modern stuff I’d rather read. Though there are so many repetitive Regency historicals still coming out. Can we PLEASE expand to different time periods and locations?? 

Also, can I just say. There are so many books on my TBR that I do not remember adding AT ALL. Literally no recollection of it, could not for the life of me say when or why I added it, and probably haven’t heard of it since. If they sounded super interesting or people I follow gave them good reviews, I kept them, but otherwise I removed all of the books that didn’t spark any sort of recognition with the assumption that those books will find their way back to me if I’m really meant to read them.

So yeah, going through my TBR was kind of a fun activity! I can’t say it’s made me change my attitude at all about adding books to my TBR shelves on Goodreads. If someone recommends it or it sounds good, I add away! And for now, my genre shelves are way easier to scroll through and find something to read. Not that I’ve actually done that recently, but at least I have the option!

What do your TBR shelves look like on Goodreads? Let me know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “What I Learned from Cleaning Out My Goodreads

  1. I desperately need to do this. Sometimes I’ll get in my head that I want to read all the books of a particular award or have a faze of being interested in a topic but later not really want to read them anymore. My GR TBR is currently over 2,000 so yeah. Need to do a clean out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Put on an audiobook and knock it out! It’s a great mindless task to do while you’re listening to something. And I don’t think you have to be harsh, but if you’re on the fence, my philosophy was that I’d find my way back to a book eventually if I was meant to read it 🤷‍♀️


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