The Untouched Bookshelf Challenge! – An Invitation to Participate in something new

Do you have books on your shelves that you haven’t read? Not even once? Do you have a lot…? Are there books that you own and would like to read, or you know you should, but they somehow always happen to fall behind on your ever-growing TBR list?

(I can’t be the only one. Please, tell me I’m not the only one!)

The answer for how to finally get to them is here:


For a long time I was lamenting about these eternal inhabitants of my TBR, and I tried different ways to get myself to read them. I decided not to buy any new books, until I’ve finished all of them, but a little time had passed and I couldn’t keep this up, only while reading one or two of these books. Nothing worked.

Then I realized: I’m certainly not the only reader who suffers from this ‘unread book gathering’ disease! If I could get other people to do this challenge with me, maybe it could work. Maybe we could do this together.

That’s how the idea for The Untouched Bookshelf Challenge was born.

And as you might guess by now, I’m desperately in need of it. Last week I counted all the physical books that I own but have never read, and the total completely astonished me! 67! I have 67 books that I’ve never touched. And I’m cheeky enough to state that I read every book I can get my hands on!

Well, I know most people probably don’t have this many. (Or do they…?) And that’s fine. It doesn’t mean they can’t participate in a challenge like this!

That’s why I invite YOU to participate in this challenge!

What is it and how to join?

  • the purpose of the challenge is to encourage its participants to read all the physical books they own
  • all participants have to make a list of the books they own but haven’t yet read
  • anybody can participate – no matter if the list only consists of a couple of books or a hundred
  • you can’t buy any physical books until you finish your list (that’s the challenge!)
  • books you get for free, win on a giveaway, get as a gift, get from NetGalley/Edelweiss or directly from the author don’t count (you can get and read them while doing the challenge)
  • obviously the list can only contain physical books
  • e-books don’t count, either (I’d prefer not buying any of these, either, and that’s how I’m doing this challenge, but making this one a rule seems very naive – I totally get it if you can’t NOT buy an e-book for like one dollar on a sale)
  • there’s no time frame, since it heavily depends on the length of the list and the pace one reads, which both are individual things
  • you have to post regularly about how you’re keeping up with the challenge, however I don’t want to make an actual frequency a rule (see reasons above), so I don’t mind if it’s weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or completely random
  • you can make your posts your way: they can be about the books you’ve read as part of the challenge, rants about how you can (or can’t) manage it, some sentences on why you slipped and bought some books, or you can simply link the review of a book back to the challange…anything you can think of and you enjoy writing
  • if you slip and buy a book, it’s okay, but you have to add it to your list
  • I’m going to do the link-ups thematically: like lists, reviews, rants, etc… I’m setting up a page on this blog that will contain all the links and rules. The link-ups are going to be permanent, they won’t change with time. You’ll be able to find all the posts written as part of the challenge.
  • once you’ve finished you should do a post that sums your challenge up
  • since there’s always readers who has this problem, you can join in the next time you wake up to a pile of unread books you own (I‘m not naive, I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen to me again eventually…)

People can join in any time, but if you’d like to be among the first ones and you can make your list by Sunday, I invite you to The First List Posting Event!

I am going to post my list of these 67 books on Sunday, 25th November! Join me, and have a list-dreading party together! It’s going to be hard, but we’re gonna be there to motivate each other! 😉

If you can’t make it, but wanna join, just post your list later. Anyone can join at any time!

So… I know this has been a lot, so let’s make it simpler!

If you accept my invite, all you have to do is:

  1. Make a list of all the physical books you own and have not yet had a chance to read them!
  2. Post the list on Sunday (25th Nov.) or at any later point of time!
  3. Link that (and any later) post back to my page ‘The Untouched Bookshelf Challenge’!
  4. Watch out for said page, so you could see the rules, what happens later, and how other people cope with the challenge!

What do you think? I’m open to ideas, especially since this one is such a newborn project! 😀

If you like the idea, please share it on social media, so more people can join! Use the tag #TheUntouchedBookshelfChallenge if you talk about it. Spread the word! The more we’re doing this, the more support we can give and get! 😉

I’m so excited! I hope many of you will join!

Hugs 🙂

59 thoughts on “The Untouched Bookshelf Challenge! – An Invitation to Participate in something new

    1. I didn’t know about this particular one, but I thought a version of this idea might be out there somewhere. I thought these are the conditions I want to do this by, and whoever wants can join me 😊 I think though these challenges are similar, they are not quite the same, so everyone can join the one that fits them better 🙂 or it’s even possible to do both, since the books in the challenge might only be partly the same. Thanks for letting me know, though! 😘 This one is a very creative idea for a challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is such a great idea. I definitely should do this because I am pretty sure I have over 100 physical books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet but there is no way I can go without buying books especially for as long as it would take me to get through all of those books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! 😁 Well, it gets harder with the number of books increasing 😅 I don’t know how I will manage with my 67 books either… I thought it might be at least a tiny bit easier starting out now, just before (but not too close to) Christmas… Maybe some gift books will compansate not buying books for a while 😅 this effect won’t last for 100 books long, though 😂 (neither for 67😭)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I literally have a book buying problem lol. I have one tiny shelf for all my books at the moment and I literally have no room left on it but yet that doesn’t stop me from buying more books like it should lol. I eventually had to start putting the books I’ve read in storage just to have room for my TBR books on my shelf. See a major problem 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m the same! I literally can’t go near a bookstore with a filled wallet because I find myself buying some more books… even if I’d need that money for something else… Who cares if I read something else now? I *will* read it one day! 😅 I always have to ask the person with me not to let me buy any books 😂 they don’t always manage 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I do most of my book shopping online because we don’t have bookstores in my small town. Every time I go to places like Walmart I immediately go to the book section. Sometimes I manage to leave without getting a book but 9 times out of 10 I get at least one book. I do t think anyone could actually stop me from getting a book I really wanted.

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      4. Ah, with online shopping it’s even easier to spend carelessly! I just click and click… Just this one more… Then again… And again 😂 and then I’m surprised by the pile delivered 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you have books on your shelves that you haven’t read? Not even once? Do you have a lot…? Are there books that you own and would like to read, or you know you should, but they somehow always happen to fall behind on your ever-growing TBR list?

    I did try something similar on my own lst year (I told myself that I only get to buy one new book for every 6 I read from my tbr-pile – physical and e-book) but only made it through a few months…and my failure was mostly due to e-book sales so I do like your idea. On the other hand: at the moment my e-book pile grows a lot and my physical one stays quite constant since I have managed to get over my tendency to leave second hand bookstores with bags full of books XD I mostly buy physical books of ongoing series and read them immediately so my pile doesn’t get any bigger…but also not smaller since I somehow read e-books the rest of the time XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s really hard to do, I tried this before on my own as well and I completely failed😂 that’s why I decided to ask others to join me. I hope that will be motivating enough to succeed (well, with only at least some minor fallbacks 😅) Will you join? 🙂 A not-growing pile is still a pile waiting to be reduced😉


      1. I’m still considering it. It’s just that I really doubt I would manage to go through with it (my tbr pile has been not growing but also not shrinking for a very long time XD) and my experience with past failed reading challanges has been that I get totally demotivated and loose my motivation to read anything for a while and that is also somehow counter-productive

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I see how it can demotivate you if you fail :/ I completely get it why you’re not sure if you want to join. The challenge will be here for you later, too, if you ever decide at to participate, though 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah. Perhaps I do my own private challenge at first and just take a stack from my tbr-pile instead of the whole but keep the rules and see how far I get with that 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have so many I am not sure if I can make a list, it will take to long. I want to participate though and I have a goal to read 24, that will be two each month. I might get in more, but that is my goal. I will try to put my list together but we shall see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you can’t make the list, I think it’s okay if you simply state what your goal is and then simply post about the books as part of the challenge 🙂 Just link up the posts accordingly! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am tempted to do this in 2019. I have done reading challenges of one kind or another for the past 2 years, but was thinking of spending 2019 just catching up on the books that I own but haven’t read, and reading other things that I have been meaning to read for a while. I’ll give it a thought, and if I do do it, I will link back to this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really pleased I got my books down just before Christmas. I’ve had piles of books before and adamant I’m not going to clog up my book case with unread books this year. As I finally got my books down I ordered 3 books from Amazon read one leaves 2 to go. Once read the 3 then I will order 3 more.

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  6. I Invited Her In Adele Parks , Tell Me a Secret Jane Fallon , The Secret of Married Women Carol Mason . All three my favourite authors. I’ve read I Invited Her In and reviewed it on my website. 2 more to go

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So I just found this… and think this is a great idea… I have gathered over the years many books to a series or author that I am slowly reading through but i get distracted or hung up and stop reading…. I want to make a list cause i have a lot. but I am curious of how to count books. as i have books that i was required to buy for a creative writing class that we were never made to read… do i count these books… do i not? (they are like best non required readings of 2009, or best new poets of 2008….
    and I just got a book today due to it sounding interesting only to find out that it is part of a series and is book 8 in the series… and thigns don’t make sense if you read them out of order. (so i guess put it at the end of my list? and buy the books as i need to get to book 8?)
    And I know i have a few books that are a full collection that was gifted to me by family years ago that i got through book 1 and a 1/4 of the way through book 2 before i just decided i really didn’t like the style that to aurthor used…. do i bite the bullet and finish reading the series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you want to join!! 😊 Maybe you could do it step by step? I mean, you could write a shorter list to begin with, if that helps. And once you finish your first, shorter challenge, you can decide if you still want to do it, or it’s too much. You can start with the books you think would not put away that easily. Then see how it goes☺️


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