Discussion: TBR lists – Do they Help or Hinder you?

Today I want to do a discussion on TBR lists and whether they help or hinder your reading experience.

TBR lists also known as ‘To Be Read’ lists for those of you who may not be familiar with them are extremely popular throughout the reading community. Each month many people post or video their choice of books to read that month but for me TBR’s have always been both a blessing and a curse.

Throughout the years I have attempted to have TBR’s on numerous occasions and all of them have ended up the same way. I make the list and then I don’t use that list at all because it’s as if I am forcing myself to pick up those particular books and I lose all interest in them until they aren’t on a TBR. But for many TBR’s are so helpful as they can help you organise your time.

One occasion in which TBR’s are helpful for me is when I have books for reviewing from Netgalley, publishers or authors. I always make a note of these books and if they have a deadline the reviews need to be up by. This is the one time I come close to having a TBR, it’s mainly to organise my blogging schedule and time and outside of these books I never add more to the list of ones I must read. I always just freely pick whatever I fancy next.

Do I have any sort of reading list?

I struggle with small TBR’s but I have a reading list in terms of books I own that I need to get to, which links in with my summer reading plan. I’m wanting to use this summer to read all the books I own and still haven’t gotten around to. So far I’ve actually already started to listen to myself for this and I’m reading books I own rather than looking online for new books to buy… please don’t judge me I have a book buying addiction.

I’m struggling to find the motivation to read?

I wanted to include an answer to this question in here because it’s a place I find myself often. If you are regularly finding that you are in a reading slump and you do give yourself TBR’s then definitely try a month without one, perhaps you feel the same way I do and feel confined and as if it is forcing you to read them. When I feel forced I never want to pick up a book.

Secondly sometimes when I feel unmotivated I also have moments where I just need to force myself to pick a book up and start reading. Once i’ve started I get back into the love and joy for starting a new book and I feel so happy that I forced myself.

Let me know in the comments ifΒ Β TBR’s work for you? Do you give yourself an itemized list of books you definitely want or need to read every month?

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35 thoughts on “Discussion: TBR lists – Do they Help or Hinder you?

    1. It’s great to hear that you are a mood reader as well! I also have a giant TBR of books I want to read, it’s a bit unrealistic because more books are on it than they ever get wiped off… Thanks for reading Emma!

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  1. I have a “master TBR” (typed up and 9 pages at the moment) and then I try to make a TBR for the year which helps with my Goodreads challenge. I refer to it when I go to buy books but I also don’t rely on it too heavily cause…. life happens and sometimes I have spur of the moment buys.

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    1. Oh wow! That’s some amazing organisation you have. Is your “Master TBR” your giant book list with all the books you want to read? I definitely need to make a list like yours, I always make a note somewhere random and then forget about that certain book I told myself to check out!

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      1. Thank you! I like organizing things so mayne thats why lil. Yes it’s all books that I want to read ever. I always look things up on Goodreads just in case there are sequels and novellas that I don’t know about. I think it’s pretty useful that way it’s all in once place. It’s a never ending list but it’s nice to have around

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    1. That sounds like me! I definitely need to make a list of all the books I own that I haven’t read yet though. I just look at my shelf and see what’s on their and go that one will do for now! Monthly lists don’t work for me either, all about the mood reading!

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  2. I’ve been making monthly TBR for a little while now and I feel it helps me. I feel it helps me focus for the month. I sometimes will read off the list. I do feel bad when I don’t read something that I didn’t for the month but I don’t let it get to me too much. I do feel like it pushes me to read more.

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    1. That sounds great. I’m so glad they work for you. I would love if they worked for me and gave me a bigger sense of organisation but I’m too much of a mood reader and I just pick up whatever I fancy next! Thank you for sharing your opinion!

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  3. The only time I make TBR’s is for readathons with reading challenges. I make seasonal reading plans to go along with seasonal book bingo, I feel the term TBR is too structured and too strict.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Ashley! I can see how TBR’s would be great for readathons and challenges. I’ve never actually done either so I’ve not experienced a challenge TBR. I definitely agree with your comment on them being “strict” – that is the sense I get when I try to make them. Their strict and I don’t stick to them as it brings with it a sense of being forced. Thank you again for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for sharing Donna! It’s been so interesting to see how people keep track of their reading too. I definitely have come from this post and reading people’s comments with the idea that I would like and I need to make a spreadsheet or list of the books I own so I can mark them off when I have read them! I also started a ‘blog diary’ of sorts well a notebook which I have started writing my ideas for posts and mini reviews for books I finish so I can type them up later from bullet point form into actual posts!

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  4. I never say ‘this month I’m going to read A B and C’ because I know I’ll never stick to it. however, I do check my goodread TBR shelf because there are so many books in there that I’ve wanted to read and its the best way to find a book to read.
    – Yasmin

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    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion Yasmin! I never really check my goodreads TBR because there are hundreds on their, it’s out of control. I think I need to go on and sort it out to see if I still want to read the books I added all those years ago. You’re the same as me though, I also don’t like saying i’m going to read certain books because i’m such a mood reader so I’ll never stick to it.

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  5. Such a lovely post! I don’t set TBRs every month because I’m a mood reader and I prefer choosing what to read in the moment, not having everything set in stone for the next month. Just like you, though, I do try to make a little list for the books I get from Netgalley since they obviously need to be prioritized, but I don’t get that many so it’s not overwhelming at all πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Marie! I’ve found that alot of people are like us and are mostly mood readers. Also they like to make a yearly TBR or a large TBR so they aren’t given a sense of confinement with monthly ones with just a few books on them. It’s definitely nice to choose what to read in the moment!

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  6. Since I’m a terrible mood reader I mostly don’t set monthly TBRs for myself. I think the only time that I attempt to is when I know I’m going to read the books (if they’re anticipated releases and releasing that month) or if I have ARCs (because I have to read those). Any other time I find monthly TBRs really confining. I’ve started setting yearly TBRs instead of monthly ones because it gives me a huge list of books I know I want to get through. So, while I have a TBR it’s also one that offers me a lot of books to choose from. And surprisingly enough it’s working for me so far this year. Great discussion!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your opinion Melissa. I definitely am the same as you, I too find them so confining. Yearly TBR’s sound so much better. I think that sort of TBR would work best for me too, a loose idea of what I would like to read in a year then it’s not like i’m forcing myself to pick up a certain book that week!

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  7. I’m a big mood reader, but I like having a list of books that I can always choose from. So I’d say that they help. Thanks for an awesome post!

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and am very impressed by your blog. I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

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  8. I have a super loose guide in my head of what I want to read, but there’s no way I could ever be “I’m going to read these specific books” because I am WAAAY too much of a mood reader, haha. I have a shelf on Goodreads that’s called “2017 TBR” which is a super tentative of books I’d like to try and read this year and that’s as close as I’ll ever get to setting a TBR haha. I definitely understand why some people like doing them, but they’re not for me! The only exception for me is readathons when they have challenges, but even then I’ll find myself changing books πŸ˜‚ Great post, Hannah!!!

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    1. Thank you Lauren! There seems to be so many of us which are Mood readers. I think your Goodreads shelf is a really good idea, I definitely need to do something like that but then I get crazy and start adding every book I see to goodreads and my TBR just ends up being 500 books deep… I looked at it the other day and I was like I need to sort this so bad!

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  9. TBR… hmmm. It’s really hard for me to plan a book ahead of time that I want to read because once I finish one book, my preferences may change and perhaps I’ll want more from the same author or maybe I’ll fancy something totally different. For example, I just finished reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and now I’m in search of more book by child narrators (current read? John Burnside’s A Summer of Drowning)
    I definitely agree with your “Reading Slump” section. I don’t ever call my reading laziness a slump. I always find that as soon as I’m about 50 pages into a book and have entered the story world, it becomes hard to get back out and I automatically fall in love with reading all over again! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your opinion! I’m definitely a mood reader and struggle to plan a book ahead of time, like you say my preferences could change. I’m in a reading laziness point right now. I’m struggling to choose what to read next. Thank you again for sharing!

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  10. I always have a couple that I aim to try and read – usually ARCs or library books that have a time limit! I do agree that having to read books makes me far less likely to want to pick them up though, so most of the time I just go with what I feel like.

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