Wednesday, April 30, 2014

'Having A Good Reading Month' and Other Thoughts on managing my TBR

Today I wanted to do something completely different from what I've posted before. I wanted to do a discussion post, and specifically I was thinking about my TBR pile and monthly TBRs in general.

For many, especially in Booktube, I've seen scheduled TBRs ahead of time, and for bloggers a lot of our TBRs can be determined by books needed for review. Previously I was so interested in TBRs that I created a themed TBR schedule for each month. I was so enthusiastic about the idea I scheduled months in advance, going so far as to fill up my 2014 with themed TBRs. What I hadn't counted on was how much of a mood reader I am.

Let me explain why themed TBRs, and even set TBRs in general, no longer work for me. I started my themed TBRs back in October, when I first started the blog, and in the beginning they worked pretty well for me. Then, something dreadful happened. I was reading a book that just didn't interest me as much, but since it was a part of my theme and the set number of books I had wanted to read, I pushed myself to read on through it. You might be able to predict what happened, and sure enough I fell into a reading slump. November was 'series marathoning month' and I managed to read Percy Jackson, but couldn't complete the third book in the Ruby Red trilogy and couldn't finish Crown of Midnight. I started to feel disappointed in myself, because I wasn't reading a certain number of books or fulfilling my TBR goals.

The reading slump lasted for awhile, and I would read a book over a pretty long period of time, but I wasn't able to read as much. It felt like running into a wall, and I couldn't figure out the problem. I continued to try my themed TBRs through December, January, and into February. During this time the reading slump ended (thankfully!) and I decided to think about things more to try and avoid another reading slump. 

First, I made a decision that I was going to allow myself to DNF a book. Not finishing a book didn't mean I was bad at reviewing it, or should continue on, but that the book wasn't one that I enjoyed as a reader. That's fine. Pushing myself to continue on with such a book, that I didn't even end up finishing anyway, was problematic because it took away my interest in the story. However, the problem had continued on, and that was when I discovered that I'm a mood reader.

For me, I prefer to read a variety of different books throughout the month, and I always want to have the opportunity to spontaneously choose what book I'd like to read next. By February, I had largely figured this out as I sort of allowed myself more freedom in choosing my next read. It was a smashing success, and I base that on how much I enjoyed the books, and not necessarily how many I read. That's another thing I want to address in regards to TBR. For me, my to be read pile had been a numbers game. Every month I pushed myself to read on so that, by the end of the month, I had read many books. While I do naturally read quickly, I decided that I never want it to be pushing myself to read a number of books- it took away from the enjoyment of each book and made the focus to be more on hurrying along to get to the next book.

So, what does all of this rambling mean? Firstly, themed TBRs and set monthly TBRs aren't something I'll continue on with. Yes, I do have a list of ideas for themes picked for each month, and I had even gone to put down a few books for each month when I was first setting up my system. Looking at it now, I don't see the appeal of a TBR for me. I have some books piled up that are from a variety of genres and that I can have as options. But, if I really want to read a book I hadn't chosen, then I grab it from my shelves and read. This is just my personal preference, and it's really helped me in my reading. I've truly enjoyed each book that I've been reading lately. Also, I'm not worried about how many books I read per month, or if I don't finish some of them. Adopting this mentality has, ironically, led me to reading more books and finishing (and more importantly enjoying) many of them. In summation, my TBR isn't a TBR anymore. It's my reading a book, enjoying that, and then continuing on with whichever book I happen to want to read next.

Now I want to hear from you all, if you've had the patience to continue on with the entire post. Thank you! I hope you liked more of a discussion post on the blog, and let me know if there are other topics you'd like me to discuss and if you like this sort of post in general. 

Do you have a set or themed TBR? How do you cope with reading slumps?

In a way, I guess this is my long awaited, mentioned-but-never-written reading slump update. I hope you've all enjoyed, and happy reading!

From the paper world,


  1. I read this whole post and I agree. I usually do TBR lists, but if I don't stick to them I'm fine with it. I'm totally allowed to go astray from my TBR pile. I often don't have time for all the books I have on the list and sometimes I have time for extras, but I don't get the chance to read what is on the list. I have my reading list pretty planned out each month because of library books so that makes designing TBR piles easier.

  2. I have a rough reading schedule that I do tend to follow, but I'm not really a mood reader so this works for me. I still read a variety of books each month because I make my schedule by release date so I feel like I never really get bored. I read a lot. Probably about 3 books per week, but I try my best to take my time and not get stressed out because of my TBR. I just want to be able to enjoy the books I'm reading. This doesn't always work out for me and I do get stressed out at times, but for the most part it works for me. I'm glad that you're feeling less stressed! Reading should be fun!


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