I feel like every time I post a book haul, I talk about how guilty I feel for buying new books when I have so many unread ones, and I've already mentioned on here how I've had people ask me why I want more books when I already have so many that I haven't got to yet. So the pressure of the physical TBR pile is definitely something that I'm familiar with.
I think the reason why I feel this guilt and pressure is because I feel like the amount of unread books on my shelf is just kind of ridiculous and overwhelming. The above photos are of my three shelves filled with unread books (yep, that top one is double stacked). It's pretty visually overwhelming and sometimes having that many books literally looming over me doesn't feel so great.
When I was rearranging and cataloguing my books earlier this year, I made a physical TBR list on Goodreads, which I keep up to date every time I read a book or buy a new one. So according to that list, my physical TBR is currently standing at a whopping 122 books. That just seems like a lot. According to Read it Forward's TBR time calculator it's going to take me one and a half years to read all of my unread books, and that's only if I read 80 books a year and don't buy any more books, which obviously isn't going to happen.
But the thing is, I actually LIKE having a lot of unread books. I like having a wide variety of books to choose from and I like knowing that they're there for when I want to read them. I like collecting books and I like seeing them on my shelves. So why do I feel so guilty?
When thinking about this post, it occurred to me that I've always had a lot of unread books, I definitely had almost as many before I started blogging. This is because I've always gone to a lot of used book fairs and charity shops, bulk buying books for small amounts of money, and receiving piles of books for birthdays and Christmas. But the guilt thing is relatively new, and I think I might have figured out why.
Since I started reading book blogs and watching booktube and seeing people post monthly wrap ups of ten or fifteen books or talking about #0by16, I've slowly started to feel this pressure surrounding my TBR. I came to realise that I'm definitely not reading books as fast as I'm buying them. At the end of some months I've felt disappointed in my myself for not reading much, because I don't feel like I'm getting my TBR down at all.
I need to remind myself that reading is supposed to be fun, not a chore. It's supposed to be something I enjoy and look forward to, and I really shouldn't be putting pressure on myself to be reading a certain number of books or to only have a small amount of unread books.
It's okay, I'm not going anywhere (*touch wood*), I have the rest of my life to read all these books. I know that I'll get to them all at some point and I'm going to keep collecting books and having a big TBR to choose from.
Do you have a lot of unread books? Do you feel stressed out by it? Let's talk about it in the comments!