How to cope with your unread library

Kirsty Logan writes at the Millions about her vast collection of unread books, why she keeps them, and how she avoids feeling guilty about them. I have absolutely felt this way before:
Last week I bought a book. I looked at the blurb and read the first paragraph, and I could feel the texture of the book in my mind....With every sentence I read, the book I had imagined shrank smaller and smaller. By the end of the third page, it had disappeared. The actual book was by no means bad, it just wasn’t the book I thought it would be.
Been there! I think I'm also less likely to read books I got for free, or bought for cheap, as opposed to books I've borrowed, or expensive books I've bought. Am I alone in this?


  1. If I've borrowed a book, I read it almost immediately. I feel silly holding on to it for too long. But books for free almost never get read, while books I bought sometimes get read right away and other times I forget I ever bought them.

  2. I need to study her methods on not feeling guilty. I've put myself on a book-buying ban until I can complete all 26 unread books on my shelves.

  3. I even read the books I got for free. But then, I don't accept free books unless I'm pretty sure I want to read them. The reproachful gaze of unwanted, unread books haunts me as I pass the guest bedroom, where they are inevitably shelved.

  4. I have stacks and stacks and stacks of unread books, most of them given to me for free. They're conference giveaways, mostly, with a few publisher freebies various editors I know thought I'd like. I do try to cull books from conference goody bags, but I take some to give my mom, and then when she gives them back to me, they sit on the shelf. I'm afraid to get rid of them without reading them after one time when I discovered a new-to-me author I loved, then realized I had her first book in a stack of freebie books I'd planned to get rid of. Most of the freebie books aren't books I'd have bought for myself, but I keep thinking that someday I might be in the mood for that sort of thing. If I ever get a strange craving for a historical romance set in Scotland, I'm set for life.