Reading || The Unread Shelf Project & 2018 Goals


I’m already exhausted, can I go back to bed?

It’s always irresistible to enter into the new year with grand plans about how we’re going to fundamentally transform our lives isn’t it? The new year is like a blank canvas, we can throw away all the bad things and start again with unbridled joy and hope like a newborn babe.

This year the grand plans are going in the bin, I never keep those resolutions for more than five minutes and the year-on-year accumulation of failed plans is frankly depressing. I don’t think much of this obsessive goal-driven culture we’re developing. By all means, live your “best life”, but my “best life” will include a healthy dose of TV and burgers.

The one area that I did succeed in last year was my reading goals. I read more long books, non-white authors and books already on my shelf (though I also bought a load of new books in their place). Reading is one area I can make goals that won’t take a hammer to my self-esteem if I don’t keep them. So let’s get started:

The Unread Shelf Project

It seems I’m not the only one with criminally long shelves of unread books as the lovely Whitney (aka @theunreadshelf) has come up with a challenge for 2018 to read as many books from our existing shelves as we can. She recognised that Bookstagram is the WORST enabler for new book purchases because we’re all hooked on pretty book covers and get FOMO every time we see the same book more than twice, so she decided to do something about it! We can make what we want of it, so here is my project:


Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?!

On those brightly coloured bits of paper are the titles of unread books from my shelf, to be picked out at random. When I pick a title out of the jar, I HAVE to read it, and if I really don’t want to read it, then it has to be given away. The only exception to the giving away are my vintage penguins because they’re so pretty they’re basically ornamental. I’ll be sharing some of the jar adventures on my Instagram stories (and maybe getting you guys to pick out some for me…) so watch out for those.

Whitney’s first mini-challenge is to assess the size of the problem. Well folks, I have 345 unread books on my shelf and Kindle. I know. Fiancé was horrified, although he lives with them so I don’t know how he didn’t realise.

Also, because it’s 345, the TBR Jar is actually the TBR Jar and Teapot…

Picture my cousin and I standing in Robert Dyas looking at this massive jar. She’s like ‘ohh that’ll be fiiine, you definitely don’t need to go bigger than that…’

Cut to me trying to cram bits of paper into the top of the jar knowing that I’m only about 60-65% through my TBR. Problem.

Luckily I spotted a decorative teapot we don’t use for actual tea making. Open up that teapot folks and you’ll be in for a surprise of the coloured paper variety…

But what about when FOMO strikes?!


For every five books I read out of the jar, I get to buy a new book, hooray! Other than that, buying new books is off the table for 2018 unless it’s using vouchers (aka free money). I’ve already got a priority list of books to buy, starting with We Are Okay by Nina LaCour because the Diverse Books Club HAVE NOT STOPPED GOING ON ABOUT IT.

Other Reading Goals

Realistically, I’ll get pretty demotivated by being too tied to the jar if I have a bad run of rubbish books. Plus I have so many British and American white authors on my shelf that I could very well take a backward step in my diverse reading. SO, the jar will not be employed for every book choice (though the choices still need to be off my shelf if possible) and I need to set some other conscious goals. To be fair, they’re pretty much the same as last year:


This translates to:

  1. At least 15% books to be over 450 pages
  2. At least 25% of authors to be non-white
  3. At least 35% of authors to be from countries other than the UK and US

Fear not, I have a handy spreadsheet to track these.

Review, Review, Review!

My final goal is to review more and review sooner.

They can be a lot of effort to write and sometimes I find them daunting because I convince myself I have nothing interesting to say, but when I was putting together my top ten books of 2017 posts, I was dismayed to find I’d only reviewed one or two – and these were supposed to be my favourites! I tend to finish a book and want to take time to “organise my thoughts” but this just gives me an excuse to procrastinate / forget. So no more of that. I won’t review every book, but I will definitely do more. It also gives me more of an excuse to blog more often and generally get back into writing.

I also signed up to NetGalley at the end of last year. This is a website where publishers can provide advance copies of new releases to people so that they’ll have a bank of reviews and ratings ready when the book is published. Writing a review is part of the deal, so that should give me an additional kick up the backside to get into the habit of writing my thoughts sooner rather than later.

That’s it! Whether you have lots of goals or are being resolute in your lack of resolutions this year, I wish you the best of luck and a happy start to 2018!


4 thoughts on “Reading || The Unread Shelf Project & 2018 Goals

Add yours

  1. You actually know how many unread books you have?? I suspect I have a couple of thousand at least…

    I admire your strictness in only reading one book at a time. I usually have several books on the go at once, because at different times of the day (or week) I fancy reading different types of books. For example, if I’m on the train to work and sitting squashed resentfully between two large men that are man-spreading, I can’t concentrate on anything heavy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d suggest counting them but I feel like we’d be there all day…
      It depends on the book, occasionally I will have a couple on the go – particularly if one is a hardback that I don’t want to carry to work. Too many means I get distracted and then forget about one of them and have a mad panic trying to finish it at the end of the year!


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