Friday, November 4, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Monthly TBRs

This may or may not be part of a series about various bookish pros and cons. A few months ago, I wrote about the pros and cons of TBR sizes, and now I have this post. Will I ever do any other pros and cons posts? Maybe, maybe not. I'm keeping it open.

As of a few months ago, I hated the idea of putting together a monthly TBR. I was reading anywhere from 10 to 30 books a month, and my reading schedule would pretty much be whatever books I got from the library. I considered making monthly TBRs a couple of times, but they always ended up with maybe two books on them and then a whole bunch of "we'll see" spaces.

But now, things have changed. I actually have TBRs planned for the next two months, order and all...and I'm really liking it. Why? Maybe it's because I'm going to the library less often, so I don't have an influx of brand-new books every couple of weeks. Maybe it's because I have less time to read in general, so I have to prioritize things. I don't really know whether I can give a concrete reason, but for now, TBRs are working for me.

But why didn't I like them before? I had quite a few issues with TBRs. Here are some of them:
  • I'm usually a huge mood reader. I find it so hard to force myself to read something that I don't feel like reading at that point in time. I didn't want to have to hold myself to something that I'd created weeks before - what if I was in a big fantasy mood when I made the TBR, but half-way through the month, I just wanted to read contemporaries?
  • My reading quantity habits can be...unpredictable. For example, let's take last July. I read over thirty books. I never would have guessed that I'd read so much, so my TBR would have run out. And there are months where I read a lot less than I'd expect to - then, I wouldn't finish my TBR.
  • I used to not know which books I'd have accessible to me at any given time. As I said before, I went to the library a lot, so I'd usually just pick up whatever I saw that was somewhere on my humongous TBR. I might not know what most of my reading would be until a week into the month. How was I supposed to schedule a TBR when I didn't even know what the options would be?
Now, I'm living by my TBRs. What makes them so great? Here are a few of the things I came up with:
  • It lets me prioritize my reading. I know I'm not alone in having a to-read list that I'll probably never get through in my lifetime. That can be pretty intimidating. Where do I even start? But if I take some time at the beginning of the month to make a list of top priorities, then the list is a lot smaller and more manageable.
  • It eliminates the slump that can come from having no idea what to read next. I know there have been a few times that I finish a really great book, can't decide what to read next and then just don't read for weeks because I can't think of anything. If I've already made a list of things I want to read, I don't even have to think! I can just go back to the list and see what's next.
I know TBRs aren't for everyone. But I'd definitely encourage anyone to at least give them a try.

In case anyone was wondering, here are my TBRs for the rest of the year:
Do you do monthly TBRs? Do you stick to them? How long have you been doing them for? Or do you hate monthly TBRs? Tell me in the comments! 


  1. Honestly I've never tried monthly tbrs, but the whole idea of them makes me shudder. Like you said, I'm a huge mood reader and having a list of books to read would kind of make me feel guilty if I didn't get around to them. It would probably stress me out way too much, and I don't really want to associate that with something that I love doing!

    1. That's exactly why I hated the idea of doing TBRs for so long! I knew I'd never end up sticking to them, and that just made the idea so stressful.

  2. This is something I've never been able to manage!! Eeek. I mean, I like the thought of having the month organised? But then I never knew what books might arrive in the mail from publishers, or which library reserves will come in SO IT'S TOO HARD TO PLAN!! I do wish I could read a bit more balanced though. Like some months I'll read mostly library books and then cry because my TBR at home never shrinks and is going to crash on my head.😂 I need to figure that out a bit more! Eeep. But having a planned TBR would be nice with the feeling of knowing what's coming up. :')

    1. Knowing which books you have to choose from DEFINITELY helps in creating a TBR! Like I was planning on reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom right after the Grisha trilogy last month, but my holds on them at the library STILL haven't come in! So I was scrambling to find something to read.