Monthly TBRs- To Be or Not To Be…

thoughts orangutan

Wayyy back in January, I made the mistake of saying in my resolutions that I wanted to try having a monthly TBR this year. It’s not been going so well. At the beginning of March, I came across a TBR I wrote for the month before and realised that while I read 12 in February, I’d actually only read 2 off of the list. “Nevermind,” I thought, “I’ll just write add all of these books to my TBR for March”- have I read any of the books? Nope. Admittedly, I keep falling into a slump, but it’s really not promising. So I decided to think about why it is I don’t tend to stick to these TBRs and what I could potentially do about it.

Why I don’t like having a monthly TBR

mood reader2I am a MASSIVE mood reader– which means if a book doesn’t take my fancy in that exact moment, it won’t get picked up. And honestly, I consider it a disservice to a book to read it at the wrong time, because if I do try to read when I’m not feeling it, my rating can drop by 1-2 bananas. So yeah, unless I’m powering through a slump, I don’t like to force myself to read things I don’t feel like reading.

distracted2I get distracted by library books and ARCs AND ALL THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS. Okay this makes me sound like I have the attention span of a cat but I have the attention span of a cat guys! I do have a general rule that library books and anything with a deadline will take precedence in my reading (unless it massively contradicts my mood and I know that if I read it, I won’t enjoy it). So a lot of the time, I’ll write a TBR with the best intentions and then some other book will come along *through no fault of my own* I’ll end up reading something else (seriously, how does one walk into a library to return books without walking out with several new ones?)

I do what I wantI don’t like to be dictated to– even by my own list. Yeahhh this is not something I’m totally proud of, yet if a sign says “ENTER”, a part of my brain goes “no thanks!” While I can basically force myself to follow lists for *life’s most mundane tasks*, reading’s supposed to be fun and I associate lists with chores etc. Weirdly enough, if I stick a book close to my bedside or put it in my bag, I’m likely to get seduced by mere proximity (unless I get distracted- see above) BUT if I write it on a list, it’s probably going to get ignored. And I’ll probably get annoyed at myself for putting it on my list in the first place and ergo making my reading less fun, which leads me onto…

under pressureIt puts the pressure on– and honestly, I’ve been trying to make my reading more relaxing this year, which is the whole reason I made a resolution avoid doing a goodreads challenge… which makes me wonder why I put “try and keep to a tbr” on there too…


It reminds me how crazy big my general TBR is and *hello pressure* again. So *WHY* am I even worrying about this?! Okay I better answer that question…

Why I’m trying to have one:

organised mary poppins.gif
If only it was this easy…

I do want to be more organised. Sometimes I see books that I was supposed to read piling up and that doesn’t feel good to be honest. A lot of my reading is so all over the place that I worry about not ever getting to certain books (especially books that were given as gifts and I’m starting to feel guilty that the *exact right* mood hasn’t struck and I still haven’t read them, but gah I still want to and this is getting silly!­)

slumps suckSLUMPS SUCK– I definitely feel like the massive downside of being a mood reader is my propensity to fall into slumps. I do get good patches where I can whizz through loads of books at once buuut I also have low points where I go ages without wanting to read at all and that’s no good. Which inevitably means…

mountain of booksMy general TBR piles up– and I just end up staring at it guiltily and because I’ve decided that mood reading is the way to go I think that even tackling one little book will be a bad idea and hmph I’m overcomplicating all this aren’t I? 


So what to do?

Writing this post has made me think- there are clearly upsides and downsides to having a TBR– at least for me- which is why I’ve decided to compromise! I reckon if I thought it through, I could probably identify a couple of books a month that I should really read and *not go crazy* adding ten books that I know it’s unlikely I’ll pick up. If I can have the wherewithal to stick a couple of books I plan to read close to hand, then I don’t see much difference in putting it on a list (here’s hoping 😉 )

So what do you think? Should I try to have a mini TBR? Or is sporadic reading the way to go? What kinds of TBR do you keep and what works best for you? Let me know in the comments! 

133 thoughts on “Monthly TBRs- To Be or Not To Be…

  1. Nope, I could never do a monthly tbr cuz I’m a mood reader too. And I don’t like to force myself to read something when I’m not in the mood because yeah, it just runs the risk of dropping my rating, and then no one wins. And don’t worry, we all get distracted by the new books we come across lol. I guess my compromise is that I keep a spreadsheet with ARCs, and I try to choose from there first in order to get everything read on time. I also have a kind of immediate tbr list, but that’s just kind of so I won’t forget about certain books when I get distracted by new shinies. It doesn’t mean I’ll actually end up reading those soon lol.

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    1. So get that! And yes I definitely get what you mean there, because that happens to me for books I’m not in the mood for too. hehehe I’m glad I’m not the only one 😉 I think that’s a really good way to do it. And that makes a lot of sense lol!!


  2. I suck at monthly TBRs I can do one week at most. Mostly that is because I read a lot of library book and they have a deadline. I like the keep my TBR mental so if I stray no one can tell haha

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  3. Ah I understand this dilemma – I am also a bit of a mood reader, and I can see how making those TBR lists would add pressure and make you want to rebel against them! Your compromise strategy sounds good though. I sometimes use an alternating strategy, which is a little similar… i.e. after I’ve read a book I “have to” read (i.e. one from my ‘must read next’ TBR – I don’t read fast and consistently enough to make monthly TBRs!), I’m allowed to read whatever I want after it. It doesn’t always work but it’s sometimes helpful 🙂

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  4. It sounds like you have found a good compromise. For myself, I borrowed someone else’s idea (I forget who at the moment) and have a “top TBR” list on Goodreads where I put a few (no more than a dozen) books which I want to prioritize. They’re not required reading though, but it’s the TBR list I look at first when I’m picking a new book. That way I’m more likely to find one of my priority books that I’m in the mood for instead of picking the shiniest book on the shelf. So far it seems to be working.

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  5. I completely get not wanting to be beholden to a list you make at the beginning of a month! It got a bit too stressful for me to comply at one point and I stopped doing TBRs. I then just did one huge post with all the books I own (as physical copies) and that’s the pool I have been choosing from for the past 3 months or so. It’s been going really well 😀

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  6. I’m a mood reader too, so I completely get what you mean! Making a monthly TBR is hard for me, and I just started doing it to try and be more organized. I’ve sort of compromised, and my monthly TBR is all the ARCs that I know that I need to read and review for that month or the next-I try and make them priority if I can. Then I add what I call my “pleasure” reads that are books I totally read just for me…I usually don’t review them because I don’t have time and they are just books that I want to read and savor. Anway, those are the books that I often change my mind about during the month. I might see something else on my bookshelf, Kindle, or buy a new book that I just can’t wait to read! I never used to make monthly TBRs, and I might stop but I at least like having the list of what ARCs I need to read so I don’t forget any or their release dates.

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    1. Ah I’m glad you get what I mean! I really agree- I do want to be more organised though. And that makes a lot of sense. And yeah I do totally get having a selection of books not for review (I usually have a fair number of those every month too) And yeah I can always change my mind too! That makes sense!

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      1. Yes, I definitely got it 😉 Being organized just really helps me out or I can’t keep deadlines. i’m glad that I’m not the only one with a bunch of books they don’t review; I just don’t want to review them all. Or feel like I have the time. Definitely you can change your mind 🙂

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          1. LOL, yes I know me too! That is the only thing about putting it on a TBR or on Goodreads that you are reading it-people will say they can’t wait for your review, and I’m thinking “you’ll be waiting until eternity because this book is all for me.” Ugh! Then I feel guilty, lol. I need a clone. One to read and just write reviews all day and the other to work, clean house, take care of my kids, etc… YW 🙂

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  7. Haahhaah lovely post! They are definitely a pain in the arse if not managed properly. I think a mini TBR is the way to go. Especially when you REALLY want to read something you’ve consistently pushed away/failed to get to! Even worse when those books have just been picking up dust on your bookshelves. 😀

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  8. I feel exactly the same! The big amount of unread book pressures me, but that‘s silly because reading is almost the only time where I can relax completely.
    Ich really like this post, it was so much fun to read, especially with all these pictures 😂

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