18 votes

Tildes' Backlog Burner Event: Shrink your unread books list this April!

What is this?

First off, this is NOT an April Fool (I promise!). I know that many of us will be stuck at home for this month, I know that many of us could likely use something to pull our attention away from the news, and I know that many of us have accumulated quite the to-read list of books. As such, I'm thinking it could be fun for us to tackle those lists together and collectively clean up our clutter! Let's all burn through our backlogs!

The goal isn't necessarily to completely clear them, just to put a dent in them.

How does it work?

Your "backlog" is all those books you've been meaning to get around to read, but never have yet! For the purposes of this event, an item can be removed from your backlog in one of three ways:

  • Finished: you completed the book

  • Moved On: you tried it out, but it didn't hold your interest or wasn't for you

  • Removed: you are choosing to remove this from your backlog without reading it, likely because it no longer interests you, but really for any reason at all

Use this thread to talk about your backlogs, plan for the month, and once you start reading, inform us of any backlog downsizing and their associated categories. Give us a list of the books you removed. Tell us why you moved on from what you were just reading. Gush about how a particular item held your interest long enough to see it through. The goal of this isn't to read every book you own; it's to explore what you already have in the way that's best, and most meaningful, for you. If you're not enjoying a book, dump it and move on!

If you're not sure what you might write, take a look at a previous backlog post for games to get an idea. Also if you want to keep track of statistics or anything else like that, go for it!

What's the timeline?

I will post an update thread weekly, each Wednesday, for the four weeks of April. At the end of the month, I think it would be neat to tally how many collective books we all removed from our backlogs, as well as what the best finds were from our collective digging into our libraries. I expect we'll turn up some good hidden gems, as well as interesting insights.

Each week, I'll also include some "focus" areas which can help narrow down choices for what to read. Those are just recommendations for fun, however. Read whatever you like, whenever you like, however you like! If it's in your backlog, then it's automatically a good choice!

Do I need to sign up?

You don't have to do anything to officially join or participate in the event other than post in these threads! Participate in whatever way works for you. Also, because this is ongoing, it is okay to make more than one top-level post if you're updating the thread with new information.

Focuses for Week 1:

  • Books that have been on your to-read list for more than a year
  • Books that have single-word titles
  • Books that are less than 200 pages

Let's burn through these backlogs!


Meta Note: I am also running this same event for ~games as well. I am not active in the other media-focused communities on Tildes, but I encourage someone(s) to pick this up and run it concurrently for ~movies, ~tv, ~anime, and/or ~music (and any other places you think it might fit). I like the idea of it being sitewide, with people participating in their media format(s) of choice. Any runners for those groups have my full permission to steal this wholesale, tweak it for their target group, and post it there.

19 comments

  1. kfwyre
    Link
    My husband challenged me to, during quarantine, finish all the physical books I own that I haven't read. This was meant as a joke, as even if I did nothing but read I wouldn't be able to finish...

    My husband challenged me to, during quarantine, finish all the physical books I own that I haven't read. This was meant as a joke, as even if I did nothing but read I wouldn't be able to finish them in that time, but I've decided that I want to, at the very least, knock out a bunch.

    Most of them are comics/graphic novels, which read fast, but there are a good amount of full-length print books in there too. I think I'm going to try a rhythm of one print book to two graphic novels, hopping back and forth between the two.

    7 votes
  2. moocow1452
    Link
    I have Comixology Unlimited and Bonus Hoopla Borrows on top of my library upgrading to 10 Borrows a month, so I might be adding more stuff to my backlog while I just go deeper into comfort food town.

    I have Comixology Unlimited and Bonus Hoopla Borrows on top of my library upgrading to 10 Borrows a month, so I might be adding more stuff to my backlog while I just go deeper into comfort food town.

    4 votes
  3. [2]
    Whom
    Link
    Books are one area where I don't think I operate with much of a backlog. I vaguely want to get to parts of the English canon I haven't gotten to yet, but I otherwise mostly operate on impulse....

    Books are one area where I don't think I operate with much of a backlog. I vaguely want to get to parts of the English canon I haven't gotten to yet, but I otherwise mostly operate on impulse. Sometimes I'll get enough library books at once that those act as one, but personal circumstances slowed me down on that (and the virus has locked me in with what I've got!). So, with the ebooks I have downloaded and physical books I have from the library, I'm left with:

    Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (reading this right now and adore it, I'd LOVE to get recs of similar nontechnical books on computing history)

    The Evolution of Beauty

    a Faulkner collection that I mostly have for As I Lay Dying

    a William Blake collection

    Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking


    I can probably find some unread books laying around somewhere, but for the most part I think I'll have to go through things that I've kinda vaguely kept in the back of my head for a while and grab ebooks. For now, since it's a single word and in that Faulkner collection, I'll do Sanctuary after I finish Hackers. I love this idea, by the way. I'm excited!

    4 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I haven't read Hackers specifically so I don't know how it compares, but I remember really appreciating Where Wizards Stay Up Late. It's been a good while since I've read it, so I don't remember...

      I'd LOVE to get recs of similar nontechnical books on computing history

      I haven't read Hackers specifically so I don't know how it compares, but I remember really appreciating Where Wizards Stay Up Late. It's been a good while since I've read it, so I don't remember how technical it was, but I'm a lay audience when it comes to techy stuff, so it's definitely not too much if I was able to get through it.

      I love this idea, by the way. I'm excited!

      Thanks! Me too!

      3 votes
  4. [3]
    krg
    (edited )
    Link
    Well, as I posted in the bookshelf-showoff thread, I don't want to add to the shelf until I've read all that I got. So, here's what I got: Song of the Lark by Willa Cather - I've been about 3/4...

    Well, as I posted in the bookshelf-showoff thread, I don't want to add to the shelf until I've read all that I got. So, here's what I got:

    • Song of the Lark by Willa Cather - I've been about 3/4 done with this book for a while now. I should've finished it last November, but my reading has stalled.

    • Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes - I got ~150 pages in before I shifted to Song of the Lark.

    • Ulysses by James Joyce

    • English Music by Peter Ackroyd

    • Captivity György Spiró

    • Underworld by Don DeLillo

    • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    • Imperial by William T. Vollman

    • Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon

    • the other run-through of Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar

    • Cities in Flight by James Blish

    • part 2 of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

    • The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

    • The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

    hmm... I think that's all that I own that I haven't read.

    On top of that, I'd like to do another run through of:

    • all of my Annie Dillard. I like the way she thinks. I like her composition. It's very moving.

    • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. A chilling epic. I dare you to find something that leaves you with more unease. I want to say Blood Meridian has a similar timbre... but 2666 is so much better.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      That is quite an impressive list! How much/often do you read? A list like that would take me quite a while to get through, especially because so many of these are dense or heavy reads.

      That is quite an impressive list! How much/often do you read? A list like that would take me quite a while to get through, especially because so many of these are dense or heavy reads.

      2 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        Yea, I only expect to get through a few of those this year. Just figured I'd throw all my owned and unread books into the gauntlet. At my peak, I read about 100 books over the course of 2 years....

        Yea, I only expect to get through a few of those this year. Just figured I'd throw all my owned and unread books into the gauntlet.

        At my peak, I read about 100 books over the course of 2 years. I'd usually aim for 100 pages a day, or 3 hours of reading. Whichever came first. I don't really like the idea of devoting time to stuff that isn't challenging or significant, as pretentious as that is. Reading, anyway. I definitely indulge in watching garbage movies on the regular!

        Well, my reading has really fallen off over the past year-and-a-half. Hell, I'm gonna pick up a damn book right now! ...maybe after I pour myself a glass of whiskey.

        3 votes
  5. [3]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Not to pooh-pooh your idea, but I actually don't want to burn through my "to read" backlog too quickly, given that I have no opportunities to replenish it. Usually, I wander out to a local...

    Not to pooh-pooh your idea, but I actually don't want to burn through my "to read" backlog too quickly, given that I have no opportunities to replenish it. Usually, I wander out to a local discount bookshop every few weeks and buy some books to add to my "to read" pile. I can't do that now. When I read a book from my "to read" pile now, it can't be replaced with a new one, and there are only 8 books there to be read.

    So, I'll continue reading at (mostly) my normal pace - which will include re-reading some books.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      That's good point, and one I hadn't thought about. Feel free to participate in whichever way works for you (or not, if you choose not to). Also, I very much wish I had a local discount bookshop...

      That's good point, and one I hadn't thought about. Feel free to participate in whichever way works for you (or not, if you choose not to).

      Also, I very much wish I had a local discount bookshop like you do!

      3 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I'm very happy to have them around. They buy up bundles of remaindered copies from mainstream booksellers, and sell them off at a discounted price. The books don't go to waste, and I get my...

        I very much wish I had a local discount bookshop like you do!

        I'm very happy to have them around. They buy up bundles of remaindered copies from mainstream booksellers, and sell them off at a discounted price. The books don't go to waste, and I get my reading at a cheap price.

        I hope they survive the shutdown! They don't have an online channel: they rent out vacant shops on the cheap, between main leases. (This means they keep changing locations, which is interesting.)

        4 votes
  6. DougM
    Link
    We made a last minute run to the library before it closed a few weeks ago. These are what I picked up in addition to some others I already had. The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and...

    We made a last minute run to the library before it closed a few weeks ago. These are what I picked up in addition to some others I already had.

    • The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford (Finished)
    • New Dark Age by James Bridle (started)
    • The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford
    • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin
    • Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell
    • The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas
    • The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington
    • The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
    • Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up by Alex Speir
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The Infinity Gauntlet by Starlin, Perez, and Lim
    2 votes
  7. [8]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    This sort of an event could use some form of tracking on an individual basis. Participants could use Trello or other kanban boards, leverage GitHub and other Git platforms' project-management...

    This sort of an event could use some form of tracking on an individual basis. Participants could use Trello or other kanban boards, leverage GitHub and other Git platforms' project-management capacity, or take up a full-blown personal project manager and start tracking everything as if their life is one big project.

    1 vote
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      If anyone wants to do that kind of thing, more power to them!

      If anyone wants to do that kind of thing, more power to them!

      2 votes
    2. [6]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Why? For me, I have a pile of books to read: a literal, physical, pile of printed books. I take a book from my "to read" pile to read it, and the height of the pile decreases. That's how I can...

      This sort of an event could use some form of tracking on an individual basis.

      Why?

      For me, I have a pile of books to read: a literal, physical, pile of printed books. I take a book from my "to read" pile to read it, and the height of the pile decreases. That's how I can track my progress.

      Why do we need software to track what books we read?

      1. [5]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Are you engaging in the idea with curiosity or oppositionary dismissal? Our history of interactions suggests you mean no ill, but the composition of your comment implies you don't care too much...

        Are you engaging in the idea with curiosity or oppositionary dismissal? Our history of interactions suggests you mean no ill, but the composition of your comment implies you don't care too much for what I've proposed.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          In this case, I'm leaning more towards oppositionary dismissal. Using project management software to track what books you've read seems like unnecessary over-engineering of the type that many...

          In this case, I'm leaning more towards oppositionary dismissal. Using project management software to track what books you've read seems like unnecessary over-engineering of the type that many computer developers I've known would engage in - to the point where the software that tracks the reading becomes more important than the reading itself.

          My kobo has features like that - which I avoid and never use. I don't need my reading gamified.

          Just pick up a book and read it. If you need to track your reading progress, you can see your "to read" pile get shorter as the books get removed.

          1. [3]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            I'm inclined to think you haven't given my idea enough consideration, but I'm in no position to desire continuing this line of conversation. If it's not for you, it's not for you. All I'm gonna...

            I'm inclined to think you haven't given my idea enough consideration, but I'm in no position to desire continuing this line of conversation. If it's not for you, it's not for you. All I'm gonna say is: "second brain".

            Presenting objective caveats to the proposition – like you only have in the second reply – is most often welcome. Launching an offensive onto the person who dared suggest something that goes beyond your boundries of the reasonable is most certainly not.

            1. [2]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              You didn't give us anything to consider. When I asked you to explain this ("Why do we need software to track what books we read?"), you decided to challenge my motives instead of answering the...

              I'm inclined to think you haven't given my idea enough consideration

              You didn't give us anything to consider. When I asked you to explain this ("Why do we need software to track what books we read?"), you decided to challenge my motives instead of answering the question. I still have no idea of the supposed benefits of using software to track my "to read" pile. How can I consider your idea if I don't know what benefits it provides?