Back in July, I blogged about how I was going to use a TBR jar to help me cure my TBR antsy. And because I know you’re all insanely curious. . .
I failed spectacularly at using the TBR jar.
In fact, my TBR is now even LARGER than it was when I started the jar. The way I had the jar set up was just NOT working for me. I like to browse my shelves, and picking a random title out of a jar sounded good in theory, but never worked out. I would pull out names, decide I didn’t feel like the book at the time, shrug, and place the title back in the shelf(at this point, I may have gone on my computer and ordered even more books, but we won’t talk about that).
I love books. I don’t want to feel guilty about books, ever. And most of the time, I do pretty good at this. I don’t feel guilty for passing on books I don’t think are for me. I don’t feel guilty when I’m super in love with a book and try to get everyone to read it. I don’t feel guilty for reading fast. I don’t feel guilty for taking a short reading break. But I do feel guilty for buying books and not reading them in a timely fashion. It’s more because I BUY the books. And even though I pretty much never buy a book full price, I still dislike having 100 books on my shelf that I haven’t read.
Trying other people’s methods
I’ve tried using methods I’ve seen others talk about for whittling down the TBR, and again, fail. The TBR jar didn’t work well(I forgot about it half the time). I can’t stick to a reading schedule. Reading is the one thing in my life I don’t schedule, and I want it to stay that way. I enjoy being a mood reader.
So I’ve come up with my own method. I don’t know if it will work or not, but I’m really enjoying it right now.
TBRs + Jar Method
I liked the look of my TBR jar, so I’m keeping it around. . . but changing it’s function(more on that later).
When I decided to get serious about the TBR, I wrote down a list of every book I own and haven’t read. Nothing was excluded. Physical books, ARCs, E-ARCs, Ebooks, non-fiction, fiction, YA, adult, etc. Every. Single. Book. on my shelf that I haven’t read, all listed in a few spiral notebook pages.
I didn’t want to create the strict schedule of a reading schedule, but I wanted something that would give me a bit more structure and hopefully prevent those “But. . but. . I have nothing to read! days”(And yes, I have those even though I have 100 books on my shelves to read). I read about twenty books a month, on average, so I decided to create monthly TBRs for March, April, May, and June.
For each month, I listed twenty books I’d like to read, as well as a few “bonus” picks if I happen to read fast that month. And during that month, I’m picking books from that month’s list, but not in any particular order. Basically, I narrowed down my library for a specific month. I still get choices(twenty, in fact!), and can be a bit of a mood reader, but the TBRs give me a foundation.
I actually only listed 17 books because for twenty books, one spot goes to my book club book, and two are for my TBR poll winners(and for the TBR polls, I just draw from random books on my shelf, not necessarily books in that month’s TBR list). I also highlighted TEN books on each list that are my “priority” books that month(though it’s really seven, because the TBR winner slots and book club pick get automatic priority).
I got excited with March’s and also listed the genre & what format the books were in, but I didn’t keep that up. As you can see, when I read a book I cross it off, and where I’ve allowed places for the book club pick & TBR winner.
Now, because I’m me, I don’t expect to follow this plan exactly. Already, I’ve read a book not on my March TBR–Purity by Jackson Pearce. I also read one that was on my June TBR(I figure in that case I can just switch books). BUT I am hoping that even with a few off-course books, these lists and narrowed focus(but not completely restrictive!) will help me cut my TBR in half by August, which I’ve decided is my goal and pretty doable. Of course, can’t plan for everything–life interferes, reading slumps, etc. But if everything continues as it is, I do hope to chip away at the TBR.
And what about the TBR jar, you may ask? I’m using the TBR jar as a visual representation of my TBR. Sure, I can glance at the books on my shelves, but I can’t really *see* how many books I have left to read at just a cursory glance. I’ve written the titles of all my unread books on slips of paper, folded, and placed in the jar. Basically, it still looks like it did in the first picture, just with more paper. I can glance over at the jar and see how full it is immediately. Every other week or so, I’ll go through the jar and take out any titles I’ve read. The goal is to see the amount of paper in the jar dwindle down.
As you can see, the jar is quite full right now, but the visual representation is definitely working! I’ve already had to add a few more slips of paper to the jar(oh, Kindle daily deals, how you always get me!), so my goal is just not to run out of room.
Let’s chat about TBRs!
Do you ever feel guilty about all the books you own but haven’t read?(Or do you have more self control than I do?). Do you have any methods for taking care of your TBR? Do reading methods like schedules work for you?