The Great Cataloging Project and The TBR Pile of Doom


Hello all! Remember a couple of months ago when I mentioned I was working on a cataloging project as part of the lead in to my 2020 reading goals? Well, I finished the project and I’ve been keeping up with it as I get new books and read ones that I have in my pile. You may be wondering, what is the result? Exactly how many books do I have in my TBR pile? Welllllllll, it’s a lot. When I say things have gotten out of control, I really mean it!

Between physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks I’m currently sitting at a grand total of:



So, let me just let that percolate for a minute…..AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

First of all…how did this happen? Well, I’ve always had a large tbr pile but a lot of this has been building up big time since around 2007 or so, first slowly and then in ever-increasing book hauls. What happened in 2007? That’s when my husband (then fiance) and I bought our house and moved the hell out of our parent’s places. More room! Spaces to fill! I could put books everywhere! Oh, and I did. At first it was one room but that didn’t last too long. Every room in my house has books now, even the bathroom. πŸ˜€ I’m fond of used book stores, thrift stores, etc. There’s even a place nearby that gives books away for free–as many as you want you can just take. I may have had epic book hauls a time or two from there. As I started hanging out on various forums and other online places I started making friends and getting book recs and every time I was out in a book store I’d look for those books and authors I’d seen mentioned. Before you know it… *gestures* So, in a nutshell, that’s what happened.

Okay, now that I’m 30 seconds older and wiser and maybe a bit more calm, let’s figure out what to do about this number. Obviously I’m never going to be able to read all of these books. Some I picked up and have since lost interest in reading. At some point I’m going to do a bit of a purge, maybe once the weather is nice I’ll have a yard sale (I have a ton of other stuff in my house I want to get rid of so this might be a good option). Either way, sometime in the near future I will be saying good-bye to a few of these books permanently and this list will be cut down. I don’t know how much it will get cut, but it will at the very least be trimmed.

Other than that my plan for 2020 is to just read as many owned books as I can and to somehow stop acquiring quite so many new books. The only new releases (with maybe one or two exceptions) I’ll be getting will be sequels to series I’ve already started. My book hauls are going to start looking a little bleak, but I’ll probably be posting more TBR piles instead. These plans line up nicely with the #StartOnYourShelfaThon challenge which I’m really excited for!

pusheen typing gif

I pulled all the data I put into Libib while cataloging into an excel and cleaned it up. I’ve created a brand new page on my site which will be updated on and off (I’m hoping once or twice a month if I don’t get lazy maybe more) in which you’ll be able to see my entire TBR list. Right now this list features my entire catalog of unread Speculative Fiction books (except a ton of anthologies because….well…I don’t need *that* kind of pressure).

So, without further ado…..


Please enjoy my complete and total triumph as a book hoarder and my despair at realizing I’ll never get to actually read all of these.

52 thoughts on “The Great Cataloging Project and The TBR Pile of Doom

  1. Leticia Toraci says:

    Lol, I’m in a similar situation when it comes to ebooks, soon I’ll have no more digital space. When it comes to physical books I’m still somehow under 50 so that’s OK but I have a physical book ban too! So I’m joining this challenge and will soon post about it.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      The digital ones don’t worry me quite as much at the moment because it’s not as if they’re taking up a huge space in my house or anything, it’s all these books in my house that got me stressed right now lol. Under 50 is great–totally manageable! Good luck on getting your list down too. πŸ™‚

  2. evelynreads1 says:

    Wow that number is huge! I don’t think I would have the patient to catalogue all of that haha!


  3. Tammy says:

    Love this, Lisa! I started cataloging my books on Libib too a few years ago, but lost momentum and never finished. I’d love to get back to it, since I have even more books than you do!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Well, this is just my unread books. For speculative fiction. I actually have another catalog for ALL of my books, fiction, nonfiction, read, unread, everything. But things weren’t tagged correctly to be able to pull what I needed from it for my reading project. Anyway, I’m approaching 3000 books in my total library (also that catalog is strictly physical books). GULP. Literally have books all over my house.

  4. Bob says:

    Wow, nice job! Goodreads tells me my TBR pile is at 1418, but (at a guess) I’d say that’s probably about a 1000 owned (physical & ebook) and in need of a read, and 418 I’d like to buy at some point.

    I like the idea of cataloging them by word count. With physical books, I can easily grab whatever fits my mood, whether it be a short read for a road trip or a doorstopper to immerse myself in, but that kind of ebook visibility would be nice.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Thanks! Yeah, my GR TBR is mostly where I keep track of things I’d like to read, I don’t own all of those books. My main catalog of owned books has always been on librarything (as i like their cataloging system better) but that’s ALL my books and to separate out the genre ones would have been unwieldy and I’m not sure that it was entirely accurate so I needed to re-catalog my specfic books….into a third cataloging system so…yeah LOL.

      It would be nice if word count was readily available on everything!

  5. Captain's Quarters says:

    I loved this post and yer new page. I have cataloged most of the physical books in the hold with the exception of the childhood favourites. I still have to do the bajillon ebooks that I have. So if ye have 821 unread ones, have many read ones do ye have? And I hope when ye purge ye do a post on which ones ye get rid of and a small list of reasons why. I love those!
    x The Captain

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Thanks! For this cataloging project I was only counting my speculative fiction books–read is somewhere in the 600’s. This is also my first time cataloging all my digital content as well.
      When I start my purging process I’ll probably go through and do posts on them. Might as well get some content out it, lol πŸ™‚

  6. sophrilreads says:

    2 4 years ago I discovered I had the same issue. I had close to 1000 owned books. Some read most not read. I created a process that helped me get my physical TBR down to 197 as of today. If you are interested hit me up and we can talk.

  7. Infinity's Bookshelf says:

    Is it bad that I’m both shocked and envious of you? I’ve never catalogued mine but they all fit on one overflowing shelf. I can’t wait to watch your progress and I hope you get it down to a more manageable level!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Haha, thanks? πŸ™‚
      I’ve always had a ton of books, but when I moved out of my parent’s house into my own space I started cataloging so I could keep track, this was also so that I wouldn’t accidentally buy duplicates when out at used book stores–I’d start forgetting what I had at home!
      Thanks, I’m hoping I can get it below 500 by the end of this year, that would be a good start. I’ll be sure to update my progress here. πŸ™‚

  8. Avery @ RedRocketPanda says:

    Holy book gods… that is a lot of books and I congratulate you for cataloguing them all because it must have taken a long time! Last year, I think my owned unread books were about… 150-170ish? Then we did a massive clean out and I got rid of about 100 books in total (including ones I’d read and didn’t want or ones I hadn’t read and had lost interest in) taking my total of unread books down to just over 100. Since the start of January, I’ve already read 5 of those so I am (hopefully) well on my way to reading them all!

    I’d definitely suggest taking a look to see which ones you’re not interested in anymore, then tackling the rest of them. It felt much more achievable that way for me but it might work differently for you πŸ™‚ You can do it though!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      LOL. Well, the digital stuff I did on and off over the course of a couple of days. The physical books (which is the bulk) took a bit longer, but I dedicated an entire weekend to it so not too much longer, maybe four or five days.
      I’m definitely going to be doing a bit of a purge at some point. I like to hold on to things but right now all of my stuff is making me stressed because there’s just so much, everywhere.
      Thanks, appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  9. @lynnsbooks says:

    Yep, I totally get it. And that would be over 7 years of full time reading for me if I never added another book during that period. It’s an addiction, this wanting to have all the books but I have got a lot better now I use the kindle more – or at least my *ahem* ‘little problem’ isn’t quite so noticeable to everyone else. I can be a secret book hoarder now mwahahahahaha.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yes, I’m starting to love ebooks more and more LOL. Also, I somehow don’t feel as guilty as for the digital content, maybe because the physical books take up space and I have to look at them all the time, judging me lol. It would probably be the same amount of time reading for me since SFF isn’t the only thing I read during the year. I’m going to do a small purge at some point. πŸ™‚

  10. Kitty Marie's Book Reviews Blog says:

    Wow this seems like a massive organizational undertaking! It must have felt very good to finish it. πŸ˜€ Best of luck in making a dent in that pile, it’s quite a big one. I’ve been thinking of cleaning up or trying to make sense of my TBR but have just been making very random in-roads through it here and there, lol.

  11. Zezee says:

    Lol! Well I’ll cheer you on your quest to conquer the TBR Pile of Doom. YOU CAN DO IT!!! πŸ˜€
    I totally feel you on this though because I have about the same amount of unread books. I also into to seriously scale back on the amount of books I buy.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Thanks! πŸ˜€
      They pile up really fast! It might take a while to get this number to a manageable level but I think it can be done, just need to get serious about it lol. πŸ™‚

  12. Sarah says:

    Oh gosh. I thought my TBR list was out of control at just the desire to read like 1100 books! And knowing I must own close to 200 books I haven’t read. 800 – I’d be crying. How will you ever decide what to keep and what goes?! Be strong friend!

    I totally understand though, sometimes just buying the book is half the fun. Especially when they are already used.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Haha, thanks. I’m actually going through a bit of a purge process and I’ll have an announcement post up on Friday about that. πŸ™‚

      Yeah! Part of my problem is that I have a bit of an addiction to collecting things. And it’s really easy with books when I can get them so cheaply used. Also I love being surrounded by them! But at this point things really have gotten out of control so it’s time to buckle down. πŸ™‚

      • Sarah says:

        I know the feeling! You are definitely not alone. I went through a bit of a purge myself recently, but it was less about books and more about my daughter’s toys…

        So I could make room for more books… lol.

      • waytoofantasy says:

        LOL! Yeah, books aren’t the only things I’m purging either. I have realized I have accumulated a ton of stuff and it’s kind of stressing me out? So I think I just need to let some things go. πŸ™‚

      • Sarah says:

        Marie Kondo Time! I struggle with this. I don’t want to call myself a hoarder (I’m not, not like you see on TV anyway). But I have this annoying habit of getting rid of stuff or giving it away only to realize I needed or wanted it later. And then I regret it.

      • waytoofantasy says:

        That’s rough, I don’t think I have regrets once I let something go. Okay maybe once or twice. But usually once my mind is made up it’s set.
        I actually did KonMari my linen closet! And I fold my clothes in my drawers Kondo style lol. I am hoping to do a KonMari of my whole house eventually, slowly going through one room at a time, purging and reorganizing.

      • waytoofantasy says:

        Yeah, that’s how mine had been so far. I did one hall closet and then the other hall closet. Although I am probably going to do this one whole room next altogether because it really needs it! Lol

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