'To-Be-Read' piles are scary things. They appear out of nowhere. One day, you have but a few books to read, then suddenly you have 300 or more and just cannot keep up.
I honestly don't know how I'm going to get through all the books I own - even if I were to be ruthless and unhaul a bunch of them, I'd still be left with more than I can read anytime soon. But, I have four tips that have helped me to read more and, little by little, tackle (some of) my TBR.
I know it seems obvious but the only way to get through your TBR is to do just that: read them. I know, I know, it's incredibly tempting to binge watch the entirety of the new Netflix series that's just dropped. There's always a new book haul to watch on youtube or drama on twitter to catch up with, but if you can use that time for reading instead, do it. Some people say set aside time for reading, but (as we'll get to in point three) that's not going to work for everyone. Set aside time for watching Netflix. For me that's when I'm eating a meal since I can't hold my book and eat unless I want to get food all over it. If I'm sick or exhausted I'll mindlessly watch youtube, same for when I'm in a car and reading makes me travel sick. Those moments where I physically cannot read, I fill my time with other things I want to do instead.
If you put reading after all your other hobbies (eg. Netflix, as mentioned above) then you're never going to sit down and read. You'll always say "just one more video". If you want to get to the latest John Green before it's old news and already announced the next one, then you just have to put the laptop down, stop reading blog posts, watching youtube videos or playing Snake on Facebook (I'm addicted to it. It's on the messenger app and I literally cannot stop!) and you need to pick up your book! It's something non-readers cannot understand, but to be honest, I don't think us book worms get it either: we love books but it's just so hard to do sometimes. Reading is a skill. Sure, everyone around you is literate, we can all read, but to be a reader is tough. And like all skills, it takes practice. The more you read, the better you'll get and the faster you will get. You'll soon learn when and where works best for you. You'll discover which books you absolutely adore and be able to narrow your book buying to those genres. I'm going to make myself sound a bit like a hypocrite here, but sometimes you need to lock away your electronics and force yourself to start a book. Eventually, you'll get lost in it. Again, it takes practice. Get into the habit of reading over other things and it will soon be second nature.
If you get that wonderful little notion that you want to read - do it. Drop everything and do it. Don't just sit and think "oh I'll just finish this Buzzed quiz first" because by then you'll be sucked in to the world of buzzed quizzes and lists and your desire to read will diminish. When you are hit with the want to read, grab it and run. Run to the fictional worlds of your characters. Live with them for an hour or two. Go on an adventure and learn something new. And here comes the hypocrisy from point 2: if you really aren't in the mood to read - don't. Do not force yourself otherwise you'll resent the book you've picked up and you will more than likely end up in a slump. So I guess, force yourself to start reading but don't torture yourself if you aren't having fun. Reading is supposed to be fun, and if it's not, that's ok. If you can only read one book a month - hell, if you can only read one book a year - that doesn't take away from you being a reader. You are still one. You are no less than those machines who somehow churn out 200 books a year. I want to know what you thought about that one book - even if it's Harry Potter. A 20 year old book that everyone has reviewed before. I don't care. Tell me about it.
Read the books of your choosing. Don't pick up that sponsored book every big youtuber and blogger is raving about if it doesn't interest you. Don't be afraid to read and like books nobody has heard of. Equally, don't be put off by negative reviews or the label of 'problematic'. We worry far too much about what others think of our reading habits. I've been there and done it. I've avoided books I desperately wanted to read because they were old and unpopular or because (white) people said it was harmful to another race. I've chose books I would never be interested in and forced my way through books I hated just to be part of the club, to say I read it and it was great. I was too scared to have unpopular opinions. I was scared my opinion didn't matter. But it does. Everyone's does. Reading is subjective - none of us read the same book. Choose your books wisely. Read what your heart wants you to. Put down the biggest YA book of 2kwhatever that you are despising just books it's being praised as the holy grail of books by everyone else. Read what you enjoy and you will read a hell of a lot more. Trust me.