To-Read

It’s now been exactly a month since we were asked to leave campus. In several ways, this has been a month where I’ve been able to do all of the things I’ve envisaged doing with my time, but never been able to do because I’ve consistently been under the impression that I didn’t have the time to do these things. Rather, I didn’t make time for them. Things like learning the guitar – and reaching out to my friends for help with that. Or learning coding, and reaching out to my friends for that too. Writing book reviews and reading books every day too.

A result of the book reviews I’m writing every day now is that I spend a lot of time on Goodreads. Since 2016, Goodreads has been my go-to for several things: book recommendations, making friends,keeping track of my own reading. While I’ve waxed eloquent about how much I love the algorithm because it has introduced me to some great books, today, while uploading my latest review, I saw that the algorithm recommended a book whose plot made me instantly decide not to read it. I decided to look at some of my other current recommendations – and what I noticed was a disturbing trend of some poor recommendations, especially those that stem out of my to-read shelf.

I blamed the algorithm for a few seconds before recognizing that if this was a trend, there’s likely an issue with my to-read shelf that’s leading to these suggestions in the first place. I had about 500 books on there, accumulated largely in the past 6-7 months. Since I’m someone who enjoys a large range of books, in terms of the genres I read and like exploring, I generally add a book to my to-read shelf the minute the blurb looks interesting – without really looking at much else. Glancing through my to-read shelf I realized my mistake instantly. These are too many books whose subjects no longer interest me at all, and books I wonder when I was interested in even, resting on the to-read shelf.

I cleared it all out in 10 clicks.

My to-read shelf now contains 0 books. I’m going to build it from scratch, and actually follow-through on reading the books I add to that to-read shelf. While it’s likely to grow faster than I read books I add to the list, I feel like this will make me genuinely interested in tracking my interests and reading habits over time. I’m going to move books around shelves as well. I’ve created a “Not Now” shelf for books I add to the “To Read” shelf but decide to discard for the time being. That way atleast the algorithm can differentiate recommendations for me.

Only one of those ten clicks made me feel things. That last one. Oh, it was brutal.

It was only when I clicked that final time that it hit me that I had effectively just discarded all the books that I was curious about in the past 5 years – without reviewing them or taking a back up. I felt sad for a few minutes and ate a chocolate bar to overcome that.

I wouldn’t have read those books anyway though, honestly. Not one of my to-read books has “purposefully” made its way to my “read” shelf. It’s happened by accident.

Let’s see what I discover next.

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