Going Against the TBR

Posted October 5, 2016 / Discussions, Features / 18 Comments

Do you ever just completely randomly choose your next read?

I feel like I usually have a GENERAL idea about what books should or will be coming up next for me. I’ll mostly pick from that vague list in my head or on my Goodreads “up next” shelf I (sometimes) use. It could be a library book that’s almost due, an ARC I’ve been planning to get to, a recent release that I’ve been anticipating, or just some other random book I’ve been meaning to pick up. It’s just kind of in my head, waiting to be read next. Every time I reach for a new book, I have some kind of reason for picking it up, or at least the idea of it.

There are obviously some exceptions to this. The moments where you’re sitting there with almost no idea what to read and suddenly pick something completely random to start next. Some of these books end up being great choices! Aaaand sometimes not so much.

Lately I’ve noticed myself being a little more flexible with choosing my next read. I go with my mood but also keep my TBR in mind. I have some books that need to be returned or read soon for blog tours and buddy reads, but for the most part? I read what I want, whenever I want. I have to keep the hobby fun.

Why I’ve chosen some of my random recent reads:
  • Browsing for a new audiobook while in the mood for a specific type of book
  • Keeping a similar mood going when browsing my Kindle for my next read
  • Hype caught my attention and I couldn’t stop thinking about the ARC sitting in my living room
  • Deciding I should probably catch up on older ARCs that I haven’t read yet

Here are some of the random books I’ve picked up lately,
why I chose them, and how they worked out for me…

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

This may not count because this book is kind of always in the back of my mind? All you book pushers have been trying to get me to read this series for a long time. After loving Maas’s other series sooo much, I knew I’d get to this. I just so happened to be in the mood for a fantasy book via audio and pressed play without thinking about it. I realized after I kind of wanted to do the book of novellas first, but I don’t regret my choice to start with this book. I ended up reallllly enjoying it and plan to keep binging the series until the new book is released in September. It’ll be fun to participate in the excitement with everyone!

Bottom line: Definitely a great random pick! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series has to offer.

All the Summer Girls

In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the aspiring writer who can’t seem to put down a book–or a cocktail–long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired… again.

In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women being to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier–and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.

This has a low rating on Goodreads but some friends seemed to generally enjoy it. I was scrolling through Hoopla one day and saw it on there. I was in the mood for a good summery adult fiction book so I downloaded without thinking much. I realized eventually I had it on my Kindle too (damn you Kindle sales!) so I switched over to the ebook version. The audio narrator was kind of terrible and monotone. This book wasn’t fantastic but I actually did enjoy getting to know the characters. The ending was just okay for me but I’m actually glad I read this one in general.

Bottom line: Glad I took the random risk to read this one! It fit the mood I was in just fine 🙂

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

This book was a really super random choice. I was sitting on the lawn at the library, scrolling through my Kindle. I had really no idea what to read next but came across this one. I kept putting it off because of lukewarm reviews… and that’s pretty much exactly how I felt about it. It wasn’t bad; in fact, it was pretty enjoyable! Just definitely nothing to write home about. I like books about books so that was cool I suppose.

Bottom line: Not a great non-TBR-related read, but good because it met a square on my bingo card!

Caraval (Untitled, #1)

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

I decided that I wanted to either start CARAVAL or HEARTLESS, because I just was in the mood for a super hyped fantasy-type read. This one completely delivered for me! I’m so glad I read it and I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished. I highly, highly recommend preordering this book if the synopsis appeals to you. This book is so so magical.

Bottom line: Absolutely a GREAT idea to read this immediately… but the wait for book two will suck!

Overall, picking random books has worked out well for me!

Of the four books, the lowest rating was 3 stars. Even then, I did enjoy the book. It also met one of my challenges, so that’s a huge bonus I didn’t even think of when I started it. I love having the flexibility to just pull whatever book I’m in the mood for and go from there. I’ve noticed this is more true with audiobooks than physical or ebook copies, unless I need to start a new Kindle book ASAP after finishing one.

How about you? Do you follow a TBR? If you do, are you
flexible sometimes and choose something random instead?

18 responses to “Going Against the TBR

  1. I never pick randomly but maybe I should for one month, just to shake things up. Instead, I have a monthly list: my book club selection, a series or a new addition to a series, an indie or ARC, a classic, and one standalone of my choosing. It’s been like that for years. OCD on my book reading habits!
    PS -Glad you got to read Throne of Glass!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin’

  2. I’ve never been very good at following a tbr haha. But every now and then, I end up requesting & receiving ARCs and have to actually make a (very flexible) plan of some sort. Reading random books has always worked for me too but now and then I find myself struggling to pick a book because I’m in a weird mood. Anyway, I’m glad picking out random books worked for you! 🙂

  3. weendizz

    For the most part, I stick to my review pile spreadsheet that is sorted by release date and once I’m all caught up on my review pile, I’ll pick up my reward reads (books I didn’t get for review but bought). Sometimes I’ll put review books down so that I can read a book that I’ve been anxious for.

    I like order so the list stuff works for me but I’m known to let my hair down every once in a while and read whatever catches my eye.

  4. I’m very un-random. I almost always read off of my TBR or based on other people’s reviews. Unless it’s a book club pick selected my someone else. Those are my most random reads, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

  5. We’re very alike when it comes to picking out our next reads! I generally have an idea of books that, in theory, I’d like to read next (or need to read next, in the case of ARCs and blog tour books). But more often than not these days, I find myself randomly deviating to pick something random to read – and I really have been enjoying these “detours”. I think it’s really nice to have that flexibility, and it definitely helps keep reading fun!

  6. Oh god, I’m terrible at sticking to a plan!! I go rogue all the time because I’m such a mood reader. I just can’t force myself to read something if I’m not in the exact right mood for it. And when I’m picking books sometimes I get this like inner fear or anxiety over what to pick. And then I get nervous because I’m taking up precious reading time trying to decide. I’m better off to just go to the library and find something sometimes.

  7. I am definitely like you. I have a vague idea of a TBR in my head with ARCs and some other books I need to get to. I do sometimes pick random books based on mood or something else and I feel like it has paid off for the most part as well. I think being flexible is a good thing. Great post!

    • Yes – a vague idea is the best way to describe it haha. I feel like I never know exactly what I’m going to pick up next, but I have some thoughts about what I have coming “due” or what I’ve been in the mood for based on the season.

  8. Now that I think about it I too usually have some idea of what I want to read next. Occasionally if I am really struggling I have my husband just pick a book from my shelves for me to read. I think that counts as being a little spontaneous. 😀 I can’t wait for Caraval. I am glad most of your random picks worked out for you.

  9. I like the IDEA of following a TBR, but honestly I have to pick up whatever I’m in the mood for or I won’t be invested in what I’m reading. Therefore, however, I do have a LOT of unread books (Max calls it my “shelf of shame”) but I really try not to pressure myself to read a specific book.

    • Yes exactly haha. I have so many books I just NEED to read sometime but they just sit there. I like not pressuring myself either. Making TBR lists is a fun way to remind me of the books I wanted to read soon, but I hardly ever follow 😛

  10. Yay for bingo squares! Haha. I’ve been picking more random reads as well, for a lot of similar reasons. I want to read something like the book I just loved and finished, or want to catch up on older arcs/backlist, or want to read a hyped book. I have so many TBR piles that I try to pick from, but even those end up being a little random. Making lists is fun but it’s hard to stick to haha. I actually just read a random book last week, a YA historical that I’ve had on my shelf for a couple years (The Wicked and the Just), and it was a good pick! Love this discussion post 🙂

    • Yess exactly. I just have some kind of MOOD that needs to be satisfied and it makes me pick something really random haha. I have SO many books I need to read and “plan” to read next, but sometimes you just have to go off-script haha.

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