Monthly TBR Lists: Finding What’s Right

Posted September 4, 2015 by Andi in General / 22 Comments

As a blogger your TBR list is basically your life line.There are thousands of books published every year and there is no way to physically read everything you want to. You have to pick and choose what to read and when to read it. You have to give books priority and put some on the back burner. It is a constant struggle every month trying to decide what to read and what can wait.

Many moons ago when I was co-blogging I used to write out a specific list for what looks I planned on reading and I would read them in that order. At the time it worked for me and saved me the trouble of having to make the hard decisions on what book to read next. I gave that up when I started blogging solo and kind of went by the seat of my pants. But times changed and my TBR list got more and more out of control so I tried again in May. I wasn’t all that successful as I only read some of the books that month.


Trying to come up with something that would work for me I noticed Gail from Ticket to Anywhere did a list but it wasn’t a strict list with titles. She decided to do categories and it was something that worked for her. By not putting a requirement on a title she gave herself the freedom to still pick a book and just have it fit in a broader grouping instead of being specific. Taking a page out of her book I gave it a go in June and it was pretty successful for me. I was able to read 8 out of 10 categories.


Still trying to figure out what worked best for me I took another course of action in July. This time I went with publishers as my category. My theorizing behind this was that I sometimes find myself not giving the attention to some publishers that I should be. I figured this would help me get that focus. Sadly it  didn’t work as well. Sure I read 8 books again but this was 8 out of 13 so I’m not sure this is the right course for me.


August I did something a little different and I combined the categories I didn’t fill in June and July to see if I could knock those out of the park. As you can see I was mildly successful. I ended up reading 9 books and finishing all the categories but I got more into New Adult books in August so I had to bend my list to fit what I read. Not ideal as I was trying to fill categories but further showed my experiment on using publishers as categories was definitely not a good one at all.


After 4 months of trial and tribulation I decided to go back to what worked best for me in June but makes things even broader and to include my new found love for New Adult books. I have a good feeling about September and the categories. I know I will be slowed down some by Queen of Shawdows release today since it is a big book, but we’ll see how it goes with the other categories.


How do you decide what to read next? Do you have a method for picking? Are you a mood reader or do you go by a strict list? Share in the comments!

*black paper notebook found HERE
*stickers (most of them) found HERE
*Foxy Dori found HERE
*white pens found HERE

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22 responses to “Monthly TBR Lists: Finding What’s Right

  1. This is a great idea! I take forever to pick my next read since I greatly depend on my mood but that doesn’t work at all because it usually leads to a slump. This month, though, I got a bit strict as I am planning to cross out some e-galleys I have on my shelf. I’m going to try this one next time. 😉

    Let me just say, that notebook is #goals. 😉

  2. Both Gail and you are way more dedicated to making a TBR list than I could ever be! I’ve always thought about making one, but it just doesn’t happen. I can’t determine ahead of time what mood I’ll be in for books. Some days all I want to do is read fantasy, others just New Adult. I’m so fickle and can’t force myself to read something I don’t feel at the moment.

    Dani Johns recently posted: Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  3. This was super interesting to see your process! I adore your notebook and all your stickers, I might have to get some! I go back and forth with TBR lists too. I started an excel sheet for the first time this year since I’m doing 4 challenges, so I could keep track. It’s also become a good way for me to keep track of ARCs I have to read, and I do try to pick books for the upcoming month but I don’t always stick to it. I’ve been meaning to read Storm Siren and The Royal We every month since May hah. And I read all of the Tamora Pierce Alanna books in July, which weren’t even on my radar before. I love your broad category idea, that might work really well for me. Loved your post!

  4. Those stickers are so cute. I wish I could be more organized about my TBR, but I’m truly just terrible at it, and I have no ambition to be better because I’m a mood reader. I put everything into a Google calendar (I need to be able to see my weeks and days) and I do my best to follow it. I often fail and I tend to focus on new releases, but…whatever? I think the thing I need to be better about is DNFing. I feel like that would cut down on a lot of my reading bc if I’m honest, I shouldn’t bother finishing anything that isn’t at least 3 stars, right?

    But I digress. I basically wanted to say…you are way too organized.

    Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler
  5. A. I love that paper!! Thanks for including the links. B. I’ve always been jealous of people who are organized enough to plan out what they’re going to read. I am SO bad at that. When I started follow Gail on Instagram and saw her category TBR, I thought it was such a cool idea. Maybe someday, I’ll do something like that… until then I’ll probably just be standing here in front of my bookshelf having anxiety about picking my next book (because I’m always feeling like I’m forgetting something important).

    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted: So Obsessed.... (10)
  6. First off, love that book. I might buy one eventually. White on black is really awesome.

    Second, I love learning how other bloggers make their TBR List, especially when I’m now finding it’s becoming necessary to keep on top of when ARCs are due, review requests received and finding space for “fun” reads.

    This post is super helpful, thank you!

    Debbie @ Silk&Serif recently posted: ARC August 2015 – Wrap Up
  7. Heh, my first questions was going to be “where did you get the notebook”, but you answered it before I even had a chance. Thanks for that!

    I have a terrible time constructing lists of books to read each month because I’m such a moody reader. So, now I just pick a general theme. Right now I’m in the mood for horror and supernatural stories because October is right around the corner, so I just wandered around my library picking books off shelves that I thought MIGHT fit that category. Then I cross my fingers and hope it’s a hit.

    Jackie recently posted: The Secret Life of a Book Blogger
  8. I’ve noticed a yearly trend 2013 was all about the old books, 2014 was all about the new releases, and 2015 it a mixed bunch. I used to have a list that went ARC, Bought, ARC, bought, but it all went to heck when I found bargain priced books. I start binge buying books. Now, I just read the ARCS I would feel the guiltiest if I didn’t review and then go on my mood. It’s actually a horrible way to do TBR’s because last month I only manages to review 1 BOOK. I am even appalled. But this month I’ve already two reviews in and only the first week has passed so I’m hoping I will stay on this good reading train. Going to another country and not having internet also helped my reading this moth. We shall see how the rest goes. So all this to say. Nope. I don’t have a way I do my TBR anymore. It’s a go with the flow list right now. Haha.

    Veronica @ The Talking Bookworm recently posted: Book Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
  9. After a lot of trial and error I have found that the only thing I want to track with a physical book is reviews I have to write and other to do items. For books I need/want to read I am strictly digital now. I track what arcs I have on goodreads and plan out what I’ll read (and track what I actually read) in a monthly Reading Tracker post on my blog.

    Emma @ Miss Print recently posted: Lock & Mori: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  10. I’m a mood reader, but I am mindful to get to books I’ve requested in a timely manner. I do this by limiting what I request to books I’m super interested in, which cuts down on the amount I have. Unsolicited books are in the I will read them when I feel like it pile.

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