Today I’m sharing a new feature to my blog: Patreon Picks. Every couple of weeks, I’ll be asking my patrons on Patreon what blog post they would like to see. I shared a few different suggestions and they all voted. And the votes are in. This week’s Patreon Picks is a look at how I pick my monthly TBR. I just recently shared my TBR for September too, but excited to get into the details on how I decide which out of the dozens of books I want to read.
I wanted to pop on here and give you an update on my reading life for the next few weeks. Of course I’ll be doing my mid-month checkins, but I’m reading as much as I can for my first Summer Reading List.
Yes, it’ll be my first time creating a summer reading list for my blog and I’m excited and nervous. It was almost last minute and it actually stems from a bigger project I’ve been working on with my TBR. Here’s how this all came about:
I was looking at my April TBR and just wanting to finally catch up with my growing TBR. Every month, I feel like I receive so many books and as much as I want to read all of them, I can’t. I’m always playing catch up and I always seem to leave a few books behind. I want to fix this problem and really only read new books as they come out (and a few older books mixed in each month).
My first challenge is reading all the new books currently releasing. In order to catch up, I need to ignore my backlist and only focus on the new releases. I figured since I’m reading all these new books then I’m going to put together the summer reading list. So what I decided to do was work on putting this list together and spending my summer reading only backlisted books.
My second challenge is then dedicating my summer to solely reading backlisted novels. This means only the books I’ve accumulated on my bookshelves over the years. No new reads. No library holds. I’ll read a new release every once in a while (especially since my review job is reading ONLY new releases), but I want to finally catch up on my fantasy series, start some new fantasy, and read older books written by some of my new favorite authors.
I always feel like I don’t have enough time to read my backlist while new reads continue to publish every single week. While there’s no stopping the train over the summer, I want to read pretty much only new books for now. When June/July starts, then I’ll be switching over to an 80/20 split; eight backlisted novels and two new reads or something like that. I would love to read at that ratio until the end of September where I’ll switch back to only reading new books until the winter.
I’m not sure if this method will work, but my biggest issue is the backlisted TBR. I want to dedicate an entire season to reading them and catching up with my TBR. Even if I make a small dent, I’ll feel proud that I dedicated time to reading these books and finally feeling the accomplishment of reading them.
I apologize to everyone who don’t want me to read only new releases, but it’ll be for a little while. My review numbers will be going up as well, but I’ve decided I like having reviews on here. It’s a part of my reading life and something I don’t want to ignore anymore.
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?
The other day, I took a look at my Goodreads Reading Challenge and I noticed that I’m eight books away from hitting 100 books this year. Wow.
I’m honestly surprised and happy for myself. I started off the year with a goal of 50. When I hit that goal, I bumped it up to 75. When I got that, I thought “eh, why not go for it,” and increased it one more time to 100.
I’ve never read 100 books in a year. I think it honestly took me three years to read 100 books. And with working from home part-time, I’ve had a lot of free time to read more books.
But now I’m down to the wire. I’m eight books away from the end and I’ve got a real truth bomb for you; I’m not going to read 100 books this year.
Now that we’re down to the end of the year, I’m feeling more lazy. It’s because it’s the holiday season and unlike most shopping outlets, I’m not in a mad rush to finish the year with as many books as I can. I like to end my year with a fizzle and enjoy my time with my family and friends.
If I started my year with the challenge of reading 100 books, then I would have approached it more strategically. I would have figured out the math on how many books I had to read in a month, every month, to actually make it to 100 without burning out. I would have planned my books better as well. But this year felt like a year of experiments and reading 100 books was one of them.
But I didn’t start my year off like that and I honestly don’t feel like cramming eight books into the last 15 days of the year. I think I want to spend my time with my friends and playing games and enjoying the holiday season than be cramped in my room reading because I felt obligated to finish 100 books.
And that’s the rub. Sometimes we set these goals for ourselves and we suddenly think that it’s a top secret mission. We have to read these books. We must. But the truth is that we don’t have to. It’s the reason why so many people leave their Goodreads Reading Challenge to one book in the year. They don’t want to be forcing books into their reading when they don’t want to.
So maybe next year I’ll read 100 books. I’ll plan it out so that I can finish evenly, feel less stress, and enjoy my reading life.
“A novelist is a person who lives in other people’s skins.” – E. L. Doctorow
I didn’t know much about Forough Farrokhzad. I’ve actually never heard the name before, but when I received this book from Netgalley, I was interested in reading the life of a poet and how that life can be fictionalized to tell the tale. I didn’t know that fiction was really the only way you can tell her story.