Tuesday, July 28, 2015

{How-To} Manage Your TBR Like A Boss

I figured out early on that I am an anomaly in the book world in regards to my TBR pile. For those non-bloggers, that is To-Be Read pile for short. Aka what books I have on my list to read. My TBR list is always manageable to me. It is an elite list of books I know I will read and in a mostly timely manner. While many people have TBR lists in the hundreds, mine rarely is over 30ish. No, seriously. Don't judge my list off of my Goodreads list because honestly, I don't use that. I have the books that are on my radar that I want to read up in my head or short lists of review books in my May book. 

This is pretty unheard of and I get a Home Alone face about it pretty often because there are SO many books in the world to read, how can I NOT want to read all of them? I'll tell you why...Life is too short for bad books. I also consider reading a hobby and not something that should overwhelm me. It's why I rarely have more than one or two books on NetGalley and Edelweiss to review because if I request it, it means I REALLY want to read it and I REALLY want to read it now. Same goes for any other book that isn't a review book that I add to my mental TBR. To me, if I have hundreds of books I "want" to read, it's overwhelming and then I'm just reading to get through it and I'm not enjoying it because in the back of my head there's ALL the other books I have listed to read. That's not fun for me but maybe it is for you. I'm not here to judge. I am here by prompting of Hannah and Alexa to give you my criteria on how books make it to my list.

I ask myself these questions before committing to reading...

1. What's it about?
This is an obvious question and for me, a person who reads any and all genres, not always helpful. Because I read a wide variety of books and am open to anything I ask this to--duh--get a general idea of what it's about.

2. What makes this book unique?
This question is more helpful to me than the first one. I've read a hundred dystopian books, what makes this one unique? A new adult contemporary--is there anything about this that makes it stand out against my favorites that makes me want to read it? Like I said, life's too short for bad books so if I'm taking the time to read, it better be worth my time. Another reason my TBR is short. I'm taking the time to read it, I want to have a good sense I'm going to like it. Thus why most of my book ratings are 4 and 5 stars. I know my style while still being open-minded.

3. Who is recommending it to me?
This is a big one to me, too. There are very few people whose recs I will take seriously. That isn't to say YOU have bad taste in reading it's that the people I trust are the people that know me. They know my style, my tastes, my likes, my dislikes, my dirty little mind, and fucked up heart. Everyone brings their subjective response to a book but more often than not my close friends who rec me books will know what I like. And there are plenty of times I read one of their reviews and say, oh will I like this? And they say, well *I* loved it but I don't think you would like it as much as I did. I appreciate that honesty. Those select people know I don't waste my time with books that I might find just okay. 

4. Do I want to drop most things to read RIGHT NOW?
This is the absolute determining factor in whether or not the book makes the list. The preceding questions are helpful and obviously are the sole influence for what the answer to this final question will be. If I'm not immediately excited to read said book, I'm not going to add it. If I can't see myself making this book a priority in the next 2-4 weeks then it's just meh to me and will take up space on my shelves or Kindle. To me, reading should always be exciting! Granted, there are of course books I read that I 2 star or don't like but more often than not I like or love the books I read and it is because of this cut throat system. Ain't nobody got time to read bad books which is also why I have no issue DNF'ing. It doesn't happen often because of 'The System' but it does happen. Why would I waste time trudging through a book and wasting time when the next one could be a new favorite?

Now as a disclaimer, I need to mention the downside and the obvious question of, if you're so hesitant to add books to your TBR aren't you missing out on books to take a chance on? The answer is simple and it's yes, maybe. Of course, we are all going to miss out on books we would love and obsess over because they are just unknown to us. They sit quietly on the shelves of libraries waiting to be opened and loved but due to circumstances we just never get to them or even hear about them. That's the risk we all take and there are books that I would not have added or passed the test of question 4 had it not been for the people I refer to in question 3. I would never have read Daughter of the Forest had it not been for Hannah's pushing. I would have never discovered the joys of historical romance had it not been for Alexa. I would have missed out on all the amazing that is The Vampire Academy had Betty not shoved it down my throat. And I would never have had my torrid love affair with all things Karina Halle had Stephanie not turned me on to her. And I definitely wouldn't have become inspired and obsessed with Girl Before A Mirror had Cass and Ellice not threatened me bodily harm.

What do we think? Are you cut throat with your TBR choices? Do you have a list a mile long? Do you like this? What are your thoughts?


  1. This post makes my heart sing! Life is indeed wayyyy too short for books you don't love. Yes, we may miss out on some but if we are choosy, the ones we DO read will have a better chance of being awesome, you know?

    I am so inspired to whittle down my TBR now! YOU RULE.

  2. I'm one of those people that have the hardest time DNF'ing. It has nothing to do with feeling bad or anything. It's more because I'm far too curious and hopeful that it will get better. So I will often continue reading a book even if I'm not feeling it. Part of why I love blogging is deconstructing why a book did or didn't work for me so finishing a book I didn't necessarily love is an exercise in analyzing.

    I also have a TON of books on my GR TBR pile that I (again) hope to get to. I actually have been going through my shelf pretty consistently and removing books I know I am no longer interested in. But like you, I do have a running list of books that are "MUST READS OMG NOW" books.

    I put a lot of weight on WHO is recommending a book to me before I take their recommendation. I know that probably sounds mean or snobby but I may not always have the same tastes as the recommender. Plus, I am fully aware of the fact that I am, unfortunately, really picky.


  3. I need to learn your ways, Master Kelly ;) But seriously, I would love to be pickier about my TBR! I'm making SOME progress this year, but I have a long way to go. I like that you laid out the questions you ask yourself before adding something to your TBR. I can definitely use these as inspiration to whittle down my own TBR pile!

  4. Your post could not have come at a better time, Kelly! I have wasted SO MUCH time just going through my nearly 1000 book tbr list.That's time I could've spent reading. No more! I am cutting back my tbr list to books I own or have to read soon. <3

  5. I recently went on my Goodreads account and got rid of a whole bunch of books on my TBR, it was overwhelmingly big, and I got rid of most of the books on there! So I was pretty proud of myself, as for buying books for my shelf I need to learn to follow these guidelines more often but I've been getting better at it! great post!:D

  6. I'm one of the people with the crazy Goodreads TBR list. Mine is up there, but I do actually make my way through them. However, I get slowed down because many of the books are firsts in a series and if I really enjoyed the first book I have to put my TBR on hold while I read the sequels. I like your thinking, though, and now think that maybe I should do a purge of my list and only keep the ones I'm for sure going to read soon...ish.

  7. MY TBR is totally overwhelming! There are a crazy amount of books on it and they are all books I own because I buy way too many books! Instead of getting rid of half (or more) of those books though, I think doing something like this to narrow down what books I most want to read in the next few weeks or months would be a great idea. I love having a home "library" and having lots of choices, but some more organization would be great :)

  8. rarely over 30???? So so jealous. I don't know if this would work for me, but I am seriously jealous of your manageable TBR.

  9. I'm also one of those people who doesn't have overwhelming TBR stacks. My TBR is only 5-10 books/month (even though I have 800-ish books on my Goodreads shelf but nope I also don't use that). Honestly my TBR usually depends on my reading mood. But I do find it hard to DNF a book when I had a sudden change of mood because idk, maybe it'll get better or maybe I'll be back in the mood for it? Oh and I also don't do book haul. I only buy like, 2 or 3 books per month, which helps a lot in keeping my TBR manageable.

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress


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