A bit ago I posted on stories a picture about setting up my monthly tbr on paper and mentioned how that helps me to gain more oversight on what I want and need to read. Saar from Walking Through the Pages asked me if could share my system in a post. And I decided to combine it with talking about why monthly TBR’s tend to work for me.
Now I won’t sit here and pretend that monthly TBR’s are the holy grail. They are not. They work for some people and not for others. It depends on a lot of different things as to why they will or will not work for you. Personality, mood, lifestyle, reader type and so on. I also can’t say that I always a 100% read what I have on my TBR. I never know what the month will bring me. Even so TBR’s do help me get through quite a bit of books and help me gain oversight.
Structured and Overview
TBR’s make my reading structured between library books, review copies, buddy reads, readalongs and own books. That is something I personally need. Especially with my depression I find it easy to know what book is next on my list. On bad days I can see my tbr and know what has priority over the other. I don’t have to worry about books that aren’t on that list. In addition to that it obviously creates a great oversight. I know what needs to get done.
Smaller Selection to Choose From
It also makes the selection to choose from quite a bit smaller. Without TBR’s I would aimlessly stare at my shelves sometimes. It would take too much time to make a decision. With a TBR the selection is smaller and the choice is easier.
Sense of accomplisment
Sense of accomplishment is another big one for me. I can strike of books that I put on my tbr and it makes me feel like I am making headway in my goals for that month. That I am striking books of my tbr. Or am busy with that in any case.
My System on Choosing a TBR
This year I really started with making things visually representative for myself like my reading goals. I printed out the books I wanted to read this year and the series I wanted to finish or catch up on and created bingo cards for them. These hang up on the door to our storage room. I pass this a lot of times a day. It shows great progress. Or not when I’m not making any haha.
It is a starting point towards choosing my TBR. For every month I create a piece of paper where on I make three columns. These three are for own books, review copies and library books.
Library books I write down as soon as I have picked them up. Obviously I estimate reading time for a book. If I pick a book up at the end of July, likely it will be added onto the next month. Though it can also depend on the length. I limit myself to about 3 books at a time (unless they are comics) and I usually reserve them through the app. So I rarely have a big stack of them. That helps.
With review copies I try and read them the month before release. However sometimes i request later or I get approved later so that is always a bit of a shifting around thing. I don’t write them down in the order of that they need to be read. I generally know what order they are being released in.
When it comes to own books this depends on if I am participating in anything like read-a-thon’s, readalongs or buddy reads. Or all at the same time. It happens. But often enough I don’t have any of those either. After that I see how many books I have on my list and how realistic that amount is and if I can add more books. Then I look at my own mood or goals. Are there certain books I’ve had my eye on for a while to read. Or is there something from my goals that has been catching me eye?
Knowing the Amount You Read
I have also noticed that the more that I do these TBR’s the more I know what I can read in a month. That way I don’t make TBR’s that are too overwhelming for myself. This also comes with experience over the years though I think and can go up and down. I know now that I am not reading as much as I did at the start of the year so I know not to put too much on my lists. Having some wiggle room for last minute buddy reads or needs in reading and such is nice to have too.