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! 

4 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!
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    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.

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  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. :')

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    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.

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