This month, I decided to join Shealea’s #goodreadance2020 Spring Cleaning Challenge to take on a task that’s been on my to-do list since forever, but I never seem to have found time for – cleaning my Goodreads shelves.
I broke down this task into several sub-tasks, which I have also listed in last month’s wrap-up:
Update my reading queue shelf, add my newly-bought books
Break my to-read shelf into will-probably-read and will-definitely-read
Download my Goodreads data
🧹 Identify a new way to organize shelves (by representation, trope, or genre)
🧹 Update my old reviews and ratings
I decided to extend this challenge until October. Or the rest of the year, who knows. I was able to accomplish the first half of the list, which involves my exclusive shelves. Here’s a sneak peek of the before and after.
I went through each book on my shelves and re-evaluated whether I still want to read them or not and removed 200 books in the process. Yay!
If you want to be friends on Goodreads, you can find me here. 😊
When you create your Goodreads account for the first time, you have three shelves by default: read, currently-reading, and to-read. If you want to add additional ones for your DNFs, for example, all you have to do is tick the exclusive checkbox beside a shelf after creating it. But do note that these shelves are mutually exclusive, meaning a book can belong to only one of them at any given time.
Exclusive shelves offer one way to organize your books by your intention of reading them. Or at least, that’s how I use them. Here are my new shelves and a brief description of each.
read & currently-reading
These are two of the default Goodreads shelves, and they’re pretty much self-explanatory.
I already have a copy of these books, which means I will be reading them sometime soon. My goal is to empty this shelf so I can finally lift my almost non-existent book buying ban.
Fun fact: I previously named this reading-queue, but I realized that I was not reading the books on a first-in, first-out basis, so I though a rename was in order.
These are books that I stopped reading for various reasons, but who knows, I may decide to pick them up again someday.
Since I cannot rename or delete the default shelves, I had to work my way around them. This shelf contains books that I want to read so badly, but I don’t have a copy of them yet. These can be books from my favorite authors, anticipated reads, or highly recommended by my trusted friends. You can say that this is my High TBR shelf. Books that I do not own yet, but need to have a copy soon.
These books are not so high on my TBR, but I still want to read. Most likely, their synopsis had me intrigued, but I can wait a little while to read them.
This shelf contains books that I found a little bit intriguing, but I still need more convincing to bump them up to my to-read shelf. I also have here books from series that I am thinking about discontinuing. I put them in one place in case I decided to go back to them someday.
My process went like this: go through my to-read shelf, read the synopsis of each book, and decided whether or not I want to keep them. Not only did I manage to bring down the number of books from 410 to 212, but I also had some realizations about me and my reading preferences.
I am not too fond of contemporaries.
I am not sure whether or not to be surprised that most of the books that did not make it to the cut are contemporaries. I can’t remember if I used to read many contemporary books, but I know that I prefer to read fantasy books these days.
Some words can make or break it.
As I read book synopsis after book synopsis, I realized that certain words or phrases determine whether a book will make it or not. For example, suppose names similar to “too hot” or “out-of-this-world handsome” or any hyperbole describe a love interest. In that case, I raise one of my eyebrows (hypothetically, because I cannot do this in real life), and more often than not, that book is going away.
On the other hand, the mention of a heist, or the main character being a spy, or solving puzzles, gives a book many brownie points.
I still have a hard time letting things go.
Some of the books I added before, I have little interest in now. I created my might-read shelf for this purpose. Also, I can’t find myself to altogether remove a book from a series that I have discontinued. For nostalgia’s sake, I suppose.
I also renamed my dnf shelf to might-pick-up-again-someday because I can’t admit to myself that I abandoned a book.
But yes, I am working on that. 😁
After a month of consideration, I decided that e-books will be the primary format in which I will consume books from now on.
I do not own the majority of the books I chose to keep. Yet. And the thing about e-books is that they’re generally cheaper than physical books but not that much. It has always sparked a dilemma in me, whether to buy an ebook when the physical book is only more expensive by a dollar or so.
With this, I decided to revive an old project. When I was trying to learn web development a year or two ago, I created a book database. Information I stored includes the books’ prices on Amazon, which I monitor and update regularly.
You know, I suck at design, so the front end of my previous project was basically trash. So I recreated that database with a spreadsheet: same idea, but different presentation. And oh, the things you can do with APIs. 😍
But the important thing is: it works. I have a list of books, with their prices automatically updated regularly, so I know when they go on sale, even when it is unannounced.
For example, in the photo above, you can see that Lalani of the Distant Sea is currently at $6.00, but its regular price is $9.99. If I buy it today, I’d be saving almost $4.00. The Poet X is currently $7.49, but it was $5.99 a few weeks ago. I missed the window when it went on sale, but I’ll just probably wait for the price to go lower again before buying it, same with Headstrong.
While sorting my to-read shelves, I also took note of the books I wanted to buy and added them to this spreadsheet. This way, I can save a few dollars by waiting for a book’s price to go down a little before buying it. This small project makes my broke bookworm heart happy.
The next goal for #goodreadance2020 will be to categorize my books. I haven’t decided on my new scheme yet, but I have deleted all my shelves, so that’s step one. Haha.
And for the next month (or next few months), I’ll be going through my read shelf and decide whether to keep my ratings or not.
How do you categorize your books on Goodreads? Please tell me in the comments.
What makes you decide to read a book? Do you have any favorite tropes or genres?
Do you wait for books to be on sale before buying them?