Chit Chats

Chit Chat: Book Collecting, the Unread Shelf and the Eternal TBR

Let’s talk first world bookworm problems.

I’ve decided to do another Chit Chat post – it’s like a discussion, but with less serious and important topics. And today I was looking at my unread books shelf (by now it’s a pile on the floor next to my shelf but shhh) and I saw that I had around 30 unread books. And I freaked out.

Is There a Pressure to Own Books?

I find myself constantly buying books, even though I have plenty of unread ones. Whenever I am out and about, I tend to go to a bookstore, and I always leave with a book. And I am not sure that I was always like that. I used to get one big pile of books during Book Fair, and then just read that throughout the year. But in recent years (and I cannot help thinking that it’s due to blogging), I am just piling up books all the time.

And it has a lot to do with me being exposed to so many great books and wanting to read them all. Plus, if you’re an international reader, you know how hard some books are to come by. I get really excited when I finally see a book everyone’s read in my local bookstore, and then I have to buy it.

Plus, I always buy books on my Kindle, but they never feel like something that belongs to me. They aren’t substantial, I can’t see them on my shelf, so they don’t feel like actual things I own (even though they cost the same).

And ever since I made a Bookstagram (hey, you can follow me HERE), I tend to gravitate towards beautiful books and needing to feature them on my feed.

That’s Too Many Unread Books

I find that the amount of books I haven’t read and I bought gives me anxiety. I hate that I don’t read as many physical books, and yet I continue to buy them. I even buy duplicates on my Kindle because it’s so much easier for me to read from my Kindle at night, when I do the most of my reading.

Sidenote: can we agree that once you buy a print book, you should get a digital version? That would be the only right thing to do. 

The books keep piling up, and I have very little control over it. And the truth is I don’t buy nearly as many books as other people do. And I am still stressed about a book I bought over two years ago and haven’t touched yet.

I Will Never Read All the Books I Want to Read

I think the reason I buy so many books is because I genuinely want to read them. I get super excited and I can’t wait to start reading them. And I’ll never get to read all the books I want to. This haunts me. Imagine – we will never be able to finish every single book we wanted to. That’s both terrifying but also great since there’s always a new book to discover.


I would love to hear from you! Do you buy a lot of books? How many unread books sit on your shelf? Are you stressed about the number? Share all of your thoughts in the comments!


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30 thoughts on “Chit Chat: Book Collecting, the Unread Shelf and the Eternal TBR

  1. This is very relatable. I have about twenty unread books in my shelf. Half of them are books from Owlcrate and the other half are books I got for my birthday. I’m also a slow reader so that doesn’t help with all of the books piling up. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure that comes in handy. Plus if you really want the book you can just wait until your TBR contains less books. I read contemporaries pretty fast, so those are off of my TBR quickly, but it takes me forever to read fantasies. Most of my TBR is fantasies for that exact reason. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had to force myself not to buy any more physical books. I have one shelf for my TBR’s and thats’s full. However, my ebook collection is huge and keeps on growing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I don’t even count my unread books because the number would probably be farcical. So, if it makes you feel better, it’s definitely a LOT more than 30! 😋

    I love the physical object of a book, and it makes me happy having a big collection to peruse. And since I pretty much never use my kindle anymore, it’s always physical books I go for. Buying loads partly comes from the whole ‘so many book, so little time’ thing, plus I’m a big mood reader and I love being able to go to my shelves and have a wide range to choose from, rather than feeling I have to read something simply because it’s all I have, lol.

    If I’m ever feeling vaguely guilty for buying more when I already own lots, I justify it by saying that I do read loads too; and even more so, there are far worse things in life to be addicted to than books! 😋

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I feel you on everything you said! I really love owning books and just having them as physical objects that I can look and see how big my collection is, it’s quite satisfying. And it does make me feel better that you have way more 😂 And definitely, being addicted to books is way better than being addicted to other things 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I wrote a post fairly recently on my owned TBR and how I have to stop buying books until my pile of physical copies of novels I haven’t read yet shrinks a little bit. I’ve actually been pretty good about it so far (I’ve only bought one book in like two months which is insane). This might also be due to the fact that I am literally broke. But oh well.

    I love buying this and collecting things (particularly books) and I love reading them too but I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to have read every single book I own. It’s a little bit of a waste of money in my opinion but there’s not really anything I can do about it now. I’ve just been trying to cut down the amount of books I read and be very picky about which books I do end up buying.

    You shouldn’t feel guilty about having unread books, it’s totally okay. You’ll get to some of them someday, and the ones that you don’t, you can enjoy looking at them sitting on your beautiful shelves. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, this is so relatable! It seems silly that anxiety could be triggered by something like unread books…but there it is. I think part of it is that I feel I’ve failed myself as a reader when I don’t get to *all* the books, if that makes sense. (I’m so jealous of Clara in instances like this…she reads so quickly that she literally has no TBR at all, and her problem is finding NEW books to read).
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. I used to just buy books on a whim, whatever looked interesting. Now I walk into a bookstore and I know almost every single book and its plot, so I already know what books are well loved, so I naturally want to read them all. Thank you so much!


  6. Ahh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! Like you, I don’t buy that many books (I have around 10 unread books that I’ve accumulated over the years), but danggg they stress me out because it makes me guilty about reading a new book when I have unread ones on my shelf. I should maybe unhaul them to get them off my back, but I know they’re stuff I still want to read, so the struggle is real here. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the first one who has a similar number of unread books, so far people have only told me that they have WAY more. I am so glad you get what I mean, I feel exactly the same, like I know I want to read these, but why haven’t I yet 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, that’s so cool to know! Yeah, I’m not the type of bookworm who buys a lot of books, but even that small number can be stressful. I just organized my bookshelf today though, so hopefully my brain is ready to get some books ticked off now. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know how many unread books I have, but definitely more than 30. I seriously cut back on my buying and collecting a couple years ago. Partially for financial reasons, and partially because I was converting a room into my “library” and I wanted my shelves not to be doubled up. I intentionally bought bookshelves with shelves that weren’t as deep as my old ones, and I re-considered books I already had again and again as to whether I would actually read them/needed to keep them. But my TBR list is ever growing, it’s just more public library oriented. And I do find that stressful, so I completely understand.

    I saw something earlier (I wish I could remember where) that said something about making sure the books read this year are the most important, because we’ll never get to all of our TBR books… it was phrased much better but seems to apply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I wish I had access to libraries, that would make everything easier. As an international read, the only way to get books is to buy them, so that’s my only option 😅 And yeah, it definitely applies. Thanks for commenting!


  8. Great discussion post! I definitely relate to that, I currently have 47 unread books on my shelves and I really want to reduce that to at least 20-30 books! I’ve recently tried to limit the books I buy in the way that I will only buy books I will read within 1-3 months, so I don’t acquire new books that I won’t read for years 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this post. So relatable. I’ve probably got 100 unread physical books and I really want to get to it, but as you mentioned, being a book blogger you want to read the recent…we simply get swept up in the hype.

    I’ve tried to cull my buying and will be culling down my NG requests too and hopefully I’ll be able to focus on my copies at home. I also seek out the library for new releases. Now I really only buy books that I love or a sequel to a series I’ve already got.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, that’s a lot! I envy you and am anxious for you at the same time 😂 That’s a great way to deal with it. It’s great that you have libraries for that, I would love that! As for lowering NG requests, can’t relate, that’s my one weakness I can’t deal with!


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