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
I 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.
I 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 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…
It 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:
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 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…
My 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!