As most of you will know, setting monthly TBRs (To Be Read) is a thing in the book blogging world. I love seeing what other people plan on reading that month, either on Instagram, their blogs or YouTube. It’s always fun to see people get enthusiastic about books they really want to read.
I rarely ever set monthly TBRs for myself, though. However, lately, my feelings on TBRs have changed a little.
I’ve always been a mood reader and before this year, I don’t think I’d ever set myself short term TBRs – except for readathons. I have a longterm TBR list, but that basically entails all of the books I ever want to read, maybe. It’s a long list. When I say “oh, that one’s on my TBR” it can mean anything from “I’ve heard people talking about that book and it seemed interesting so I might want to read it one day” to “I came across that book once, added it to my Goodreads TBR and then kind of forgot about it” to “that book’s been gathering dust on my shelves but I really want to read it and it’s eating away at me that I haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
But I’ve mostly stayed away from monthly TBRs. Like I said; I’m a mood reader and when it’s time to pick a new book to read, I like to be able to choose something I really feel like reading at that moment, and not be “forced” to read something because I put it on my list at the start of the month. That’s kind of always been the way I’ve looked at monthly TBRs: lists that force you to read something, even if you might not feel like reading that book at that moment. To me, it always seemed like a way to take the fun out of reading.
Now, though, I’m starting to become a little more mellow
in my old age. I set a TBR for January, partly because the first prompt of the bookish challenge I was doing over on Instagram was “TBR” but also because I felt like giving it a try. And I didn’t hate it! I read much more than I usually would in a month. I don’t think I can put all of that down to me having a TBR, but it definitely helped to motivate me. At the start of the month, I didn’t think I’d finish six books by the end of it, but I thought “I’ll put it on the list, just in case.” And I finished all of them. Setting a TBR ended up being really fun and motivating – who would’ve thought!
Despite that positive experience, I didn’t set a TBR for February because I didn’t like the stress of having to choose a bunch of books to read in advance. It’s too much pressure! So, I went back to my mood reading ways and only picked one book I wanted to read (or start reading) before the month was up, which was The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.
That method worked really well for me. At the start of the month, I was suddenly in the mood for a sweet contemporary novel, so I picked up Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Then, when I finished that and had fulfilled my contemporary craving, I started Tenant, which I’d been looking forward to. I had a great time reading it (I’m actually going to finish it tonight).
So, I think that’s what I’m going to do from now on. It’s a kind of mini-TBR, I guess. I pick one book I want to read that month, but I don’t have to read it right away. In March, it’s going to be The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien, but I don’t anticipate picking it up any earlier than near the end of the month. This way, I get the fun of the anticipation (knowing I get to read Fellowship soon) as well as the fun of the whims (who knows what other books I’ll end up reading next month?).
Now, I’m curious! What kind of reader are you? Do you set a TBR, are you a mood reader or are you somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to chat!