Almost all of my books are registered at BookCrossing. The site now has new sort options and printable lists. So today I sorted my bookshelf, alphabetically, to show only my TBR (to be read) books, and printed the list.
The last time I made a rough counting of my books, I had about a thousand waiting to be read. So it was somewhat of a shock to print my list and discover -- 2,672. How in the hell have I collected so many books?! And when will I ever possibly have time to read all of them?
I keep track of everything I read, and so far this year I've read 23 books. That's an average of 1.76 a week. At this rate, by December 31 I'll have read 91.5 books. If I do not acquire a single new (or used) book ever again, I can read my entire inventory in about 29 years.
Every year my one resolution is to send out more books than I bring in. And every year I fail. Of course that is an impossible goal. If I skipped every library sale, then maybe I could achieve it. But let's be realistic, I'm not gonna. My mom, sister and I go to three library sales a year. Our little city library has their annual sale during the summer. The little city next to us has their annual sale in October, usually the weekend right around my birthday, which means I have birthday money to spend. And the larger city on the other side of us has their annual sale at the fairgrounds, the big sale, every February. That one is the highlight of our year!
I also join the occasional book box on BookCrossing. This is where one member starts a box of books, and makes a list of other members who want to participate, then sends the box to the first name on the list. That person picks out whatever books he or she wants to keep, replaces them with an equal number of books from his or her own library, and then sends the box to the next name on the list. Yesterday I received a Potluck Book Box, which contains a hodge podge of genres, with the only stipulation being no romance. I picked out eight books to keep. But, I'm replacing them with thirteen of my own books. So I'm sending out three more than I received. Of course those thriteen are all books I've either already read or have more than one copy of, while the ones I'm taking from the box will all go in my massive TBR pile. But it still counts!
I send out a lot of books. Once I read a book, I don't usually hang onto it, unless I just really really loved it, or it's autographed from an auhor I really really love. But generally, once I finish a book I look for a new home for it. I check wish lists on BookCrossing, or I may offer it up in the forums there. Or I list it on Book Mooch or PBS.
My mom retired a year ago in December. She told me one day she now reads probably four times as much as she did before, and she assured me that when I retire, I'll have much more time to read. And that's why I feel the need to hang on to all my unread books. Because someday, I will get to each one. Eventually. Or die trying.