My bookshelf already looks better. I got rid of 12 books from my spreadsheet that I know I won't read. Plus, there were over a dozen books that had crept onto my shelves with no mention in my reading list. Most of those were put out as well, and I added the seven books that I do intend to get to. I also put 8 more titles "on notice" by sticking them in a box. All told, I eliminated 4,932 pages from my reading list, about a 20% reduction. The eight boxed books are potentially another 2,644 pages to go, although some of those titles will find their way back to my reading list.
Overall, I'm proud of myself for this. My bookshelf is cleaner, my reading list is up to date, and my reading is not an emotional drag for the first time in months. Of the books that I own and will read, I have 21,535 pages to enjoy, although that number will drop as I finish a few more books before the end of the year. I would love to be below 20k pages by January 1st, but hesitate to set that goal knowing how busy I am between now and then. In any case, that is a do-able number for next year's reading and I intend to set that New Years Resolution for myself.
Next up are my Goodreads shelves. I already created a couple of new exclusive shelves, titled "potential to-reads" and "removing from reading list". The "removing" list currently stands at 43 books and growing; I'll delete this list and its contents once I've gone through all the unread books. I'm moving books I'm interested in but not actively pursuing from "to read" to the "potential" shelf. This will create a pool of books to draw from if I want something new but also remove the emotional burden of a 200+ title "to read" list. Books that I own will stay on the main list, as will books on my "anticipated purchases" list.
Okay, that's all very complicated. But the point is, I'm lightening my load and making reading a fun hobby rather than a chore. It's very much like handling our finances; now that I know where things are, I feel more relaxed and in control. Anything that helps reduce stress this time of year is definitely worth the time.
Now there's a better question: what to do with the books I'm not reading? Options include donating, trading, or selling. I'm leaning toward selling for the money and because it wouldn't create more books for me. Has anyone else done online book selling? Or have a good charity to donate to?