TBR Planning Issues and Required Reading

Posted March 25, 2016 / Discussions, Features / 23 Comments

tbr headerI always have a very, very general idea of what books I want to read within the upcoming weeks. There are definitely times where I’m like “wait… what the hell should I read next?!” … but those times are few and far between lately. And usually, when those moments happen, it’s just because I can’t decide which books out of a certain ~group~ of books I want to read NEXT. I always have some idea. This is especially true for the different “required reading” books I have each month. My problem though is spacing out books correctly and WHEN to read certain things.

required reading

Each month, there are a few bookish events that I take part in. They always require reading a book by a certain time or within a certain timeframe. These ones are usually able to be planned for with my TBR but sometimes things get in the way (like ARC tour books – they always surprise me…)

The books I know I will have to read by certain dates include:

  • Last Wednesday of the month: Book Buddies Review book selection
  • Mid-to-late-month (dates often change): Book club (IRL) book selection
  • Whenever they come in, within a week: ARC tour books
  • Whenever I have them planned: Blog tour review books / posts

req readSo each month, by the middle or end of the month, I have 2 books to read – one for book club and one for Book Buddies. My issue is that I usually don’t start reading them until the week before (or a few days before) they’re “due.” I have to compile Book Buddies questions by the day before so we have time to prepare our posts. If I’m not in the mood to read the book at the moment, I have to power through anyways. I don’t have a choice. Don’t get me wrong, these are both books I WANT to read. It’s just that I might not be in the mood for them at the time I sit down to read them.

My bigger issue with TBR planning involves my unplanned ARC tour books. I usually sign up for them and don’t see the book come around to me until a month or more later. It shows up and I have to read it within a week. I LOVE these tours because I get to check out books I normally can’t read early, but it can be hard to plan a TBR around them. They’re usually unexpected and time-sensitive.

→ How to fix my issues: read when I’m in the mood and only request books I know I’m eager to read or don’t depend on my mood

If I’m kind of feeling my Book Buddies book three weeks before we’re going to post it, I just READ IT. Right then. We usually email questions to each other so all I need to do is prepare my questions ASAP after finishing it, take good notes while reading, and be all set. I keep the “Required Reading” section of my spreadsheet updated so I know when books are “due.” There’s honestly no solution for ARC tours, so the biggest key is to make sure I only request books I KNOW I’m going to want to read – regardless of my mood. Picking high fantasy when there’s a huge chance I won’t want to read that when the time comes… just doesn’t make sense. I can stick to lighter fantasy books or contemporaries.

planningAside from the required reading I have each month, I try to have a general idea of some of the books I want to read soon. It’s never anything fancy and usually stays in my head. I only recently started to try to write them out (and it barely works). These books usually are:

  • Library books (especially if I’ve renewed them too many times)
  • eARCs and physical ARCs I have that are coming out soon
  • Matching the season (summery contemporary books, holiday books during December, etc.)
  • Something I’ve been saying I need to read soon and still haven’t
  • Books I’ve been anticipating that are releasing soon

I usually read between 10 and 20 books per month. I realize that’s a big jump. In July last year I read 24 books and in March I read 9. I average about 15 because of the ups and downs. So, it’s hard for me to really say “these are 10 books I want to read in March.” That could be my entire TBR for the month… or only half of it. I’m better with giving myself more options (like what Nikki does – I’ve never tried the grab bag kind of method, but I usually say these are 20-30 books I want to or need to read soon).

→ How to fix my issues: give myself guidelines only as reference and keep track of library book due dates and renewals, plus ARC pub dates

I love checking out too many library books and then forgetting about them, or having the due date come faster than I thought. Lately I’ve been pretty good about reading MOST of them. I like to make myself a pseudo-TBR (even if it’s just in my head) for each month. I also have more info coming about this on Monday – I’ve further organized my TBR on Goodreads 😉

mood readingI really just give into being a mood reader most of the time. With ARC tours coming in regularly, it can be hard to do that since books have a deadline. If I get more than one at a time, I don’t have a chance to read anything else but the books I have. It’s a good problem to have because they’re all books I want to read, but I just might not be reading them when I actually want to read them.

My mood reading tendencies have gotten better because of this. I’m WAY more likely to pick up any book, read it, and enjoy it. Sometimes I get burned out by certain genres if I read too many in a row, but it’s been happening less and less. It sounds stupid, but I’ve been able to train myself away from having to mood read when I have certain deadlines. Whenever I feel too burnt out from following a TBR, I just pick out the next book I want and go with it.

23 responses to “TBR Planning Issues and Required Reading

  1. So interesting. I plan about 8 books a month – book club books and other books I want to review or just need to get to, but I always try to leave a little room for impulse reads for when I’m really not in the mood for the books I’ve planned. I also try to plan a variety – some YA, some adult, etc., so I can be a little moody with my planned books too. So far it’s working pretty well. And when it doesn’t, I can usually renew a library book and try again next month.

    Kate @ Mom's Radius recently posted: Book Review: Hello? (YA)
    • That’s a great system! I usually leave room for impulse books or if library holds come in, but I always have SO many books on my mind at a time. My post on Monday will show how I’ve updated my TBR planning a little bit 😉

  2. I am a mood reader. BUT I have to actually remind myself to just read books when I want to read them and not feel pressured by ARCs or what not to read certain ones because that can cause a reading slump. Although I wish I were in a book club, I am not so the only books I have to actually read by a certain time are ones for blog tours that I only do occasionally, and I guess books I specifically request for review. I wish you the best of luck! Try to just make it so you are always enjoying the reading. 😀 It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it.

  3. I am a huge mood reader, so it can affect the number of books I read in a month. If I feel “stuck” in a book I am halfway through, I usually finish it after a week and take a break from reading. I love the idea of a monthly TBR (lists are my thing!) but I can never stick with it because I borrow impulsively from the library. I’m trying to stay away and limit myself, but sometimes I don’t want to read what’s on my shelves!

    • Haha the library is my downfall sometimes too! I usually check out a bunch of books and feeling like I have so much time before they’re due… then I end up having to jam them all in and renew!

  4. Mood reading makes things SO hard. I usually end up committing to things and then putting them off until later because I’m not in the right mood. I definitely have gotten better at it lately but it can be overwhelming when I have a lot of commitments! It just FEELS different when you “have” to read a book versus reading whatever you want, even if you already do want to read it!

    • I know! That’s definitely my biggest issue – commitments. It’s just hard to motivate myself to read certain things when I don’t want to. I always choose books with my Book Buddies or Book Club that I do WANT to read, it’s just a matter of when I want to read them.

  5. I am the actual worst at planning books to read. I see people who have TBRs so nicely planned and I get jealous!! But I just can’t stick to a reading schedule. I just can’t 🙁 If I don’t read what I’m in the mood for at that exact moment, I won’t enjoy the book. It’s just how I am and I’ve learned to just go with it.

  6. That sounds like a great system. I love that you keep track of deadlines.

    I have an ARC to read this week that everyone else seems to love, but I am having a hard time with it. I need to be more picky in the future.

  7. I completely get the library due dates thing! I know for me, I usually forget about the due dates for some of the books – and then when I get the library notification, I panic!
    It looks like you do a lot of planning for your TBR though 😀 Which is really good! A targeted approach means you’ll be able to lower your TBR down! 😀

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