Why I Don’t Like Monthly TBRs

Are you a TBR curator? Do you take the time to put together a loving list of books you’ll read over a month? I used to be this person too.

This month, I decided to share my TBR and really work to build a TBR that fits my reading life. I put the books I  needed to read, the books I wanted to read, and some other fun throw-ins. But I’ve noticed something about my reading life when picking out my TBR. With that knowledge, I decided I won’t be putting together TBRs anymore.

Most times, when you see books on your desk, you get super excited about reading them. I know I’m definitely one of those people. But my mood reading has taken a form where it changes week to week. Day to day, even. What I wanted to read one day isn’t what I want to read the next day. I was almost forcing myself to read a book just because I made a promise to read it.

So I tried to keep with the TBR I compiled because I want to see what it’s like to read exactly what you set out to read. I found out this doesn’t work for me. I keep wanting to read other books. I even wanted to look at other books. Not everything on my list is what I want to read, so I understand that some will be need-to-reads. However, I want more control over what I want to read. I want to pick by the gut I live by and do it on the daily rather than monthly schedule.

I try to keep my list varied, but it’s always an unexpected journey with my mood. One day I’ll want to read a thriller while the next I want to read a romance. It changes so frequently that being held to a TBR felt like being imprisoned by my reading life. Staring at the books I want to read also doesn’t help. To me, it looks like a giant mountain of possibility that I won’t be able to climb in my lifetime.

Now one thing I definitely don’t want to do is get excited about a new book and abandon all the other books. I don’t want to read everything my book mail dictates to me because there are some books I don’t feel like reading right away. However, I also have FOMO (the fear of missing out) because everyone is reading some new book while I’ll be putting it off for a few months. The struggle is very first world, but it’s also very real.

I’ll still be keeping the books I need to read on the top of my list for the month. The books I want to read? Well, this mood reader is sticking exactly with her mood.

Do you do TBRs? Do you find them challenging?

32 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Monthly TBRs

  1. Great post! I agree with so many of your points, esp FOMO!
    I try to build my TBR around my ARCs. Then fill in with some library books and ones that I have seen rec’d by other bloggers.
    BTW I can vouch for Dark Matter and Sadie. And coincidentally, I am reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf right now!

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      1. Yes! I thought the world building was incredible. I loved the characters and the incorporation of African history and mythology. I’m not a fan of Marlon James’s writing style though. He’s a little long winded for me but I still liked it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The only TBR list that I have is the one on Goodreads so that I can keep up with books that have caught my attention at one time or another. If I try to keep a list of books to read during a week or month or year then I get discouraged and give up completely. I generally read a book a day but I read solely based on my moods – happy, sad, curious, dark, brooding, etc. So, I think, we are very similar. Great post.

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    1. My Goodreads is definitely a dumping ground for all the books I want to read. I usually just keep my TBR on there to see what else I want to read.

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  3. I don’t have a TBR as such, I do prioritise library books that I’ve reserved, followed by ARCs. Otherwise I just read what I feel like. I keep a separate list of books I want to read that I haven’t bought yet, but there are only a few on there.

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    1. Same! I try to be intentional when choosing books by my mood, but some things you need to plan out in order to have a wide breadth of books to read.

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  4. I do monthly TBRs, but I only pick 3 books. I tend to read about 7-11 books a month so it allows me to mood read like I love. I also very rarely read off of my TBR, it is just a plan and not a contract for me.

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    1. That’s such a good plan! I think I’m going to arrange a TBR for my book club reads and other things I want to participate in, but I want to go by my mood for a while longer.

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  5. This was my first month making (and sticking to) a TBR List. I made sure that I have a diverse list for the month to ensure that no matter what mood I am in, something on my list will fit. We will see how it works out for the rest of 2019. Happy Leisurely Reading! xo

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    1. I tried that too! But sadly, even with the diversity of books I wanted to still grab something off my shelf or pick up a series I didn’t finish.

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  6. I do not have a monthly list, just a general list of books I plan to read in the near future (up to 1 year). This approach works for my reading style, as it also gives a lot of freedom when choosing what book to read next.

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  7. I love this post!
    The past two months were the first months I’ve made strict TBRs to stick to and it’s slowed down my reading progress. I’m not able to mood read and it’s kind of killed my enjoyment. Next month I plan to leave my options more open with only a couple must-reads.

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    1. I think it slowed down mine! The idea of having to read something that I chose earlier in the month feels like someone else chose it for me. How strange a feeling!

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  8. Great post! I have a general TBR (for just things I want to read in no order), and then an immediate one, which seems to be always taken up with ARCS and book club books. So I’m trying to spend getting through my actual TBR this year, else it’ll never get any shorter

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    1. Yup! I need to really incorporate more books from Netgalley (which I plan to delete soon) and books for book clubs, but I want to just read what my heart tells me from now on.

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  9. Yes. I gave up trying to conquer my tbr I’ve decided to read books I always wanted to read they might be on my tbr so it might get smaller. Some are not. I’m also a mood reader and lists don’t work.

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    1. It’s tough. I use my bookshelf more than my TBR on Goodreads because that place is a landfill. I’m loving just seeing what I have to trying to pick from there.

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  10. Such a great post! There’s no way I could do a strict TBR. I’m totally a mood reader! Any must-reads I have for book tours or reviews or whatever are ones that I’m really excited about. My TBR is purely a list for me to refer to when I can’t remember what choices are out there that interested me (usually when I’m going to the library, or about to buy books).

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  11. I agree. I decided a year ago to purge my tbr list on goodreads so it’s empty. I read in the moment like how I did back in middle school when there wasn’t such a big book community on the internet. It has worked to calm down my FOMO especially when I admit to myself that I just don’t like most popular fantasy YA so I can finally ignore the hype.

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    1. That’s awesome to hear! That’s super bold you went off and deleted your TBR. I don’t know if I can do that, but if it helps with the FOMO, then that’s awesome.

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