No New Books for a Year!: The Back To My Bookshelf Challenge

I have lots of unread books on these shelves that I still need to read (And that’s only one wall of my library!).

I absolutely love my personal library and I like keeping it in tip top order. However, this has become more and more difficult with the excessive number of books I’ve acquired since my amazing husband finished building the library three years ago.

In an effort to do some organization and cleaning for the New Year, I decided to assess my collection, and I was alarmed at how many I haven’t read. For the past few years, I’ve focused on reading new releases. The library, Book of the Month Club, indie bookstores, the list goes on… have all kept me well-fed with the freshest books.  As a result, I ended up ignoring the books I already owned.

This glut of books extends to my Kindle as well. Because of Kindle’s Deal of the Day and other sites that send daily updates on deeply discounted ebooks, I have hundreds of titles on my Kindle that I haven’t gotten to.


My goal for this year is to read almost entirely from my own library, both physical and digital. I will still get books from the library for work-related reading, book club selections, and the occasional newer release — I don’t want to be completely out of the literary loop, plus I still want to continue my Worth the Read? series.

And book purchases? No more for now. I even canceled my Book of the Month Club membership, which was pretty painful. I will accept books as gifts (duh!), but those will be the only new additions to my collection this year.

As much as I relish acquiring books, books, and more books, I think it will feel good to enjoy what I have. It will also be satisfying to cross off some backlist titles (older books available from a publisher, as opposed to new releases) that have gotten pushed waaaaay down on my TBR simply because they’re not brand new. It’ll also be good to save some money!

If you’re looking to cut back on your book purchasing and want to turn to your own bookshelves for great reading, try the Back To My Bookshelves Reading Challenge.

I’ve created a list of 20 categories, and the aim is to take a look at your shelves and find books that fit 12 of those categories (one book per category) and read them over the course of the year. I tried to choose categories that focus on the sentimental reasons why we keep and cherish books (e.g. your personal history with the book; who gave it to you; where you were when you bought it, etc.).

I’ll write about the books I read for the challenge in future posts, and I’d love to hear what you find on your shelves. Let’s take a trip down memory lane!

Click here to download your free printable Back To My Bookshelves Reading Challenge


What are your reading goals for the year? Please share in the comments below

4 responses to “No New Books for a Year!: The Back To My Bookshelf Challenge”

  1. Allison Avatar

    Love your printable, Kristen! Great minds think alike this year 🙂 It will be fun to dig into my shelves and see which of my books fit these categories.

    Also, your shelves are great. I’m looking forward to learning what’s on them. I only have one shelf at the moment and it’s full (which I think is what prompted my own reading goal). I think we need a bookshelf photo tour soon!

  2. Rachel @ Never Enough Novels Avatar

    What a terrifying challenge!! I also own loads and loads of books, but get this weird anxiety if I haven’t gone to the library or bought used books in a while. Love this idea.

    1. Kristen Avatar

      We’ll see if I can resist the urge…I feel I might crack at some point!

  3. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review Avatar

    I do want to read more of my own books! I don’t think I can go cold turkey for an entire year, but I’m definitely going to try to be more conscious of what I acquire. I’ll follow your progress with interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *