Some Thoughts and a Problem

So, I’m on holiday this week and thought I’d share some of the things that have been on my mind. None of this is hefty stuff, just me working through thoughts until I reach a satisfactory solution for myself.


Goodreads is dead to me

First off, GR has pissed me off for the last time. You don’t really need to know the circumstances as it’s just a series of small annoyances that have reached tipping point. The reason I haven’t moved away from GR sooner is simply because I’ve not been able to find a suitable replacement app/site. I took a look at LibraryThing a while ago, but didn’t like it, and Storygraph, which is still pretty cool, just doesn’t do what I want it to do.

So I dug around a bit and found a nice basic phone-only app called Bookshelf which suits my needs perfectly. Firstly, there is no social element, which is heavenly. Secondly, I can create as many shelves and as many labels as I like. Thirdly, while, yes, there is still a 5-star rating system (is it ever possibly to escape that?), it does allow for half stars and I don’t have to use it. There’s also a barcode scanning thingummy, so I can add books I’m reading without any typing at all, and, most importantly of all, I can add the correct cover-art for the copy I’ve read/am reading if it’s not already on the app.

I moved my GR data across about a week ago. Everything I’ve read from when I learnt to read until now is on there, although I am having to sort it out bit by bit as some of the data got messed up in the move (it was a big chunk of info), but since I find that kind of thing fun (librarian) this is hardly a problem.


Then there’s Readerly, which I love. Once I’m done sorting out my Bookshelf, Readerly is my next project. I’d like to get everything I’ve read since I started blogging on there. I love the way this app works and I’m dying to play around with it, but I’m pacing myself. One job at a time. And anyway, when I’ve finished cataloguing everything properly on Bookshelf I’ll be bereft, so Readerly will fill the hole nicely, I think.


ARCs and other free books

At work normal levels of madness have resumed. At home I’ve had to pick up my full quota of filial obligations. As a result, I’m back to having a lot less reading time. It also means that when I have chance, I want to read what I want to read.

So while it’s a ton of fun being sent free books by authors and publishers, I’m taking my foot off the accelerator here. I really wanted to be a “proper blogger”, but the time needed to do justice to the extra reading just isn’t there. (This all comes off the back of having accepted five books for review from various sources that I got unnecessarily stressed about at the end of last week).

I want to use my time to read the great stuff already on my shelves. I want to continue doing buddy-reads with Maryam and Lynn. I want to plough my way through the ridiculous amount of stuff on my TBR lists in a heroically slow fashion. And I want to enjoy the odd ARC now and then, if I’m really excited about something. Because I do still believe that books come to you at the right time and while I can often be heard wailing “why didn’t I read this sooner?!”, I rarely actually mean it.

Sometimes the thing you think you want isn’t what you want at all.


Library Books

book lot
Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Finally, I now have 38 library books out on loan.

This isn’t delightfully quirky anymore (if it ever was), this is officially A Problem.

The panic I feel just thinking about that stack of books is almost overwhelming, and yet I feel an equal panic at the thought of returning them to the library unread because that means I failed to read them. This is something I genuinely don’t know what to do about. Most nights before bed (because they’re all there in the bedroom at the moment) I go through the pile and try to pick one or two to return to the library and I’m paralysed by indecision. In part, I’m aware that this is a control thing. And another part of it is a knee-jerk reaction against feeling like I have to do things I don’t want to do (which sounds extremely childish, I know) – like for every task I have to do I pick up two library books I want to read. If that makes any sense at all?!

Not that I’m freaking out about this or anything, but … I may be freaking out about this a bit.


Anyway, I guess I’m looking for some advice here. Does anyone else do this? Or something similar? And what would you do if you were me? (please don’t suggest psychiatric help, I can’t afford that!)

Japanese manga character looking very freaked out


32 thoughts on “Some Thoughts and a Problem

  1. I don’t know if I have any advice about the library books… I haven’t used my library in a while because I have far too many unread books I own, so I think if I did bring more home I’d also get overwhelmed by them and feel bad about returning them unread. Maybe tell yourself that it’s not that you’re giving up on those books, simply that it’s not the right time and they’ll be there for you at another stage… I’m having a similar thing in general, though, because having just moved and seen all my books together for the first time in ages I realise how many I haven’t read while I keep buying and requesting new ones so I’m also going to slow down. I’ll catch up on my ARCs cause most of them I still do want to read, but after that I’ll be making my way through what I already have in the house.

    Bookshelf sounds really cool, I may check it out, though I do really enjoy the StoryGraph and Readerly together, so maybe I don’t need a third project! I look forward to seeing your gists as you update Readerly eventually! (I think I follow you – might have to double check that!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah, I’m glad I’m not the only one to have lots of unread books kicking around. 😄 it’s a bit overwhelming seeing them all in one place, I agree.
      Hmm, yeah, I must check I’m following you too on Readerly! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I stay at GR which is still great for tracking my shelves and reading progress. I’m not much into the community there anymore but have a few friends I don’t want to loose. Moving would loose the history and I don’t see enough value for the amount of work.
    As for your control issue I‘m the worst person to ask for advice. Hundreds of unread books on my physical shelf, 500-600 on my virtual tbr. Adding around 5-10 books each month.
    I don’t feel bad about it. But then again, I don’t hug library books. Bad girl 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ☺ The lovely thing about everyone here is that we all have massive tbrs (physical and virtual) and are therefore very forgiving to others with the same. Thank you. You’ve all made me feel so much better just with your replies! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good job on cutting the connection to devilreads. If you ever want just an offline database of your books, check out the free program calibre. It’s actually an ebook manager but I’ve found (since you can simply add entries) that it works great as my own “review” library. Good luck with the 2 places you’ve found. I hope they really work out well for you.

    As for the library books. Tell your husband that you can’t do it and that he needs to take ALL the library books and simply return them. Then let him deal with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooo, I’ll take a look at calibre, thank you Bookstooge. It being offline appeals to me.

      And you made me laugh out loud! 😂 Can’t wait to tell Thumbs he’s returning my library books for me – genius!! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thumbs walked in the door yesterday evening saying “so, I’m taking all your library books back, huh?” having seen my post and your comment on his lunch break. That creased me up all over again, but I do see how it could work. It’s an excellent strategy you both have. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Death to Goodreads!

    As for the rest of it – yup, I remember being in similar places. Now I read what I want, review what I want (and notice features do better than reviews anyway), and DNF what I want. The point of this is to make us feel better about ourselves, not be guilty. Whatever’s in the way between you and reading/blogging being a good thing is probably not useful.

    Re the Library books… maybe just stack them in alphabetical order, read the first chapter or so, and put aside all the ones that don’t grab you and say they’ve not come to you at the right moment and you might come back?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, I like that advice Peat ( it’s very like how I used to choose what to read next when I was a happy-go-lucky reader teen). That could work for me. Thank you. ❤

      And I want a tee-shirt with Death to Goodreads on it! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I will never leave Goodreads, it does what I need it to do (and I pretty much ignore the social aspect anyway). But I do understand about the pressure of ARCS and I’d love to reach a balance someday where I can read both ARCS and my own personal books equally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course. We each do what is right for us. ❤ But it’s nice to hear that others feel the pressure of ARCs too, even though they’re a lovely thing to receive.


  6. I also hoard library books… 😂 I do second the try a chapter approach! I also sort mine by age category and genre. Sometimes that helps me see what I’m really in the mood for. Also, think of it like returning the book means it could be going to someone it is good timing for right now. I find stacks of books really comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sat down with them all last night and worked through what I actually wanted to read and what I’d just picked up because of a great cover or a whim. Reading the openings really helped. The pile is halved. 😊
      But it makes me feel tons better that you do this too, and I like what you said: that taking these books back means someone else picking them up for whom it’s the right time.

      That said, stacks of books ARE very comforting! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I know this feeling! I (often) end up having mutiple ebooks on my reader, leading to so many unfinished books that I just stop reading (for a while) to avoid choosing. Choosing is difficult business! The simplest way out of this fix could be to to use a random letter generator (e.g. – and start the book beginning with that letter. If many books with that same letter, use a random number wheel or – pick lots! Seriously, this works and you’ve got to draw the line *somewhere*.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My libraries just opened up and I visited yesterday and got a bunch, probably 6 or so, but that’s because I really held myself back. I guess you’ll just have to accept that you won’t get to them all, which is hard to do. When I used to be in a similar situation, I would write down the titles of the books before returning them so I remember to reborrow and read them later. If helped, sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I commend your restraint! 😁
      I’ve been working through the stack to see what I really want to read, so have halved the pile now, but it’s a good idea to write down the titles – I’ll do that! Thank you Zeezee! ❤


  9. I’m actually enjoying GR for now, but will definitely take a look at the apps you recommend. I use calibre for Kindle stuff, and I have my very own ® spreadsheet which has just the right amount of info! 😀 But barcodes would be so much easier…

    Heh, I usually have tons of library books around – if it makes you feel better, right now I have at least 33 library books in the house (maybe more, I didn’t want to search anymore) 😀 And sometimes I return them unread, and with a resolution to borrow them again at some more fortuitous time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg, that makes me feel so much better!!! I’ve whittled my stack down following Peat’s advice, and have calmed down again now, but it still makes me unreasonably happy that you’ve got at least 33 library books!! 😁😁😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally!!! 🙌 Top borrowers, that’s us!!! 😄
        Out of curiosity, are yours all novels? Mine are mostly mangas and comic books, with a lot of art books thrown into the mix since I started painting again and opened the Etsy shop… But usually I don’t have more than 10 novels at any time and not more than 3-5 non-fiction 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mine are about two-thirds novels, and one-third non-fiction – popular history and philosopher at the moment. Which is definitely a mistake because if I read novels slow, I read non-fiction even slower!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, the shelves tag feature is brill! I can’t imagine ever having been without it. And yes, GR isn’t perfect ( what is?), but I can see we all use it in different ways. I’m glad to have left it because it was winding me up on a daily basis, but that’s not to say it’s bad. Just bad for me. ❤🙂


  10. I hear you about the pile of small annoyances that finally broke the camel’s back, if I can mix metaphors… 😉 I left Goodreads for the same kind of reason and post there only when I review ARC books because I think they should have maximum exposure, but I don’t go there anymore. I found that Library Thing is good enough for my cataloging needs, but now that you’ve mentioned Readerly I’m going to take a look there, since Storygraph – although nice – does not cover all the bases for me.

    As for the unread library books, why not return them to assuage your guilty feelings 😉 and pick them up again in the future when your TBR is not so crowded? Do you think this might work? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am going to return half of them, at least. Everyone has been so helpful, and I’ve gone through the stack and removed the books I’m not in the mood for. Am going to do a second sweep at the weekend, then take back as many as I can on Monday.
      Thanks to you all I’m feeling much better ( and more in control). ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am useless (less than useless even) on GR’s – I add books sporadically at best but I do use it occasionally – not enough for it to annoy me probably so I’ll no doubt just plod on – although I like the sound of your alternatives.
    Also – I’m sure I left a comment on here already – I swear that the universe is eating my comments – now that’s stressful let me tell you.
    In terms of ARCs. I don’t really get stressed about them – I had a mad rash of requests when I first joined NG and I’ve kind of come to terms with the fact that I’ll never completely catch up. Plus, I don’t review books that i DNF and I do state that in my profile so with quite a few books still on my shelf that’s the reason why they’re still there – who knows, maybe one day I will return to them although I would be ashamed to review some of them at this point. A very good (and wise) author once said to me that authors don’t just want reviews pre-release – they want reviews all the time. Obviously you have to temper that with the fact that you’ve requested an ARC and maybe somebody else could have read that pre release – BUT – two things, firstly, sometimes I end up with a rush of books being approved all at once, books that I’d assumed I wasn’t going to be approved for and so foolishly asked for others – this then means I probably have more than I can reasonably read and (b) sometimes the date of release is moved. This has happened a lot to me since covid – so I might think I have a set number of books one month and then a bunch of other books get moved to the same date. Of course, I could go into trauma but these days I tend to think I’ll get to them when I can.
    In terms of your tbr – don’t stress about the library books – return them all and seek them out again when you’re ready. I think even I would stress out about that many library books 😀 And, that’s definitely manageable isn’t it?
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, you’re fabulous! Thank you. ❤ You've made me feel a lot more chilled out. Just last week I finished reading the last ARC currently on my stack (it's not like my stack was anywhere near as big as many other bloggers' piles, but if there's one thing I'm good at it's making a mountain out of a molehill! :-D). But I really like that you allow yourself to DNF too. I honestly wasn't sure if that was OK to do. I'll try to be more zen about the whole thing.
      I did actually take nearly all my library books back. I kept five, that I really really wanted to read, and noted down the titles of the others. And without them looming over me, I feel a lot better! 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s