Crafting the Perfect TBR

One of the biggest problems I face as an avid reader is what comes next? There are so many books that are coming out every week, and the one hundred plus unread books in my apartment also exist. Throw in potential review ARCs, gifts, and the fact that libraries are a thing, and there are just too many books.

Blonde woman with glasses smiling surrounded by stacks of books.

Maybe not too many. But, with all of these books, how the heck are readers expected to choose what comes next, bookwise? I’m on a book no-buy (aka I’m not buying any books right now), so my potential reads has shrunk considerably. But I still have access to everything else I listed before. So what am I supposed to do?

I break it down and prepare a To Be Read stack monthly. At the top of each month, I pull out seven to ten books that I’m interested in reading. I try to keep a very specific mix in there; books that I’m very excited about, books I kind of look forward to reading, some I feel meh about, and a “gimme” book. Let’s break that down.

We all have books that are priorities in our stacks. Mine tend to be Young Adult reads, because they’re quick and compelling, so I can get through a bunch with some serious speed. But if I were to read all of my YA books at the beginning of the year, I’d be stuck with books I’m less excited about for the rest of the year. So I only grab two or three of those.

The books that I kind of am interested to are a weird section. These are usually books I started, but got distracted by other, newer books. There’s (usually) nothing wrong with the books in this section, I just got distracted while reading them. For example, I was given (and started reading) It Devours over a year ago. It was in my January stack because I need to actually finish it, and see where I sit with it. I have no issue with the book, it just didn’t hold my attention as much as some of the other books I have!

Now the meh books. These ones are always a bit of a bummer, because they’re books I’m not as excited about. Sometimes they’re books that I was quite pumped up about, but when they got to me I didn’t care as much anymore. These reads tend to be adult fiction; I really enjoy adult fiction, but it always takes me a minute to get into. So I have to throw some of them in. If I didn’t, I’d be stuck with exclusively meh books at the end of the year, and that is no good.

The “gimme” books are always fun. I try to only include one of these, because they’re a great way to break up a slow book. I had two “gimme” books in January; Fusion for Beginners and Experts by Rebecca Sugar and F**k Plastic by The F Team. These were both quick books (one was a picture book), but they got my reading year off to a banging start, and they gave me some space from The Power (Naomi Alderman), which is a weighty book. Often, “gimme” books are either short stories, picture books, or graphic novels. No shade to those types of books, but they’re easier reads for me, so they have to serve a purpose.

Of course, this formula isn’t perfect. Sometimes a book takes over my reading, either because it’s good or because it’s difficult. Then I have to throw in a couple of “gimme” reads to break it up, or add in extra priority book. While I love an organized, specific stack, I think it’s important to go with the flow now and then. Sometimes we need to forego the meh books for ones that just make us feel good!

My next month’s TBR looks like this:

#futureboards by Sarah Centrella (Meh)

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (kind of into)

Power to the Princess by Vita Murrow (a gimme, but also very interested)

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (kind of into)

The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz (kind of into)

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (very into)

Unladylike by Cristen Conger & Caroline Ervin (very into)

Sissy by Jacob Tobia (very into)

I have to be careful to not read all of my “very”s so early in the year, especially since I read so many books I was excited about in January. Here are some books I think you should add to your TBR; I think all of them were beyond “very interesting!”

What are your reading plans for February?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.