I know I’ve spoken about this at length in various posts, whether it’s about my ARC habits or how I pick the books for my TBR, but I thought it would be fun to talk about my overall methods for curating a TBR post for each month, which includes picking the specific books and determining the categories I should read each month. I remember back in 2015 I followed Andi on an experiment of using TBR-related categories when picking books for the month. It worked so well for me because my mood reading for a specific book mixed well with the reading obligations I still wanted to follow. The lists would include things like format, genre, publishing year, debut author, etc. – any kind of book you could think of, in order to diversify your reading choices. My current TBR posts follow a similar structure but I am typically able to pick certain books now instead. Here is my current TBR post setup:
As I’ve discussed before, there are plenty of “required reading” books each month. These are basically books with due dates of some kind. I keep physical ARCs around here because I tend to view them differently than egalleys. I will usually have 1-2 books from the library and 1-2 blog tours on deck in the coming month, so those make up some slots on the TBR. I also have a monthly book club pick. All of these things have specific guidelines of when to finish reading and reviewing, so they get a special section that basically means “Lauren you have to read these or else.”
My State of the ARC post discussed this at length and featured this same grouping. In order to stay ahead and/or keep up with various egalley pub dates, I developed a new system for reading each month. I try to make half of my reads each month review copies, so why not outline it further? There’s one backlist/already published book, two books that are coming up within that month or the following month, one book publishing much farther in the future, and one “freebie” depending on what my review copies look like that that moment. I like to keep up with books publishing in multiple months because I have guaranteed scheduled posts AND can be on top of something when the time comes!
Mood Reading & Freebies
The last kind of category (with multiple types of books inside it) is related to my mood reading or “freebies.” These are the less strict or structured books/categories. I always try to read toward my bingo card or yearly challenges, so you’d see those books on there. The same goes for new releases; sometimes I preorder a book or get super excited about something releasing soon, so I prioritize acquiring and reading it right away. I usually have some audiobook ideas in my head, which could overlap with any of the other categories of course. And finally, mood reading – for the times I really am just in a specific mood, series binge, or seasonal read (summer books in the summer, fantasy books in the fall, Christmas books in December, etc.).
I’ve integrated a monthly poll in and out of my TBR posts over the months. They tend to just… not work for me very much. I don’t ever end up reading the book that people pick! Usually there’s a “theme” to the poll, like “help me choose an owned/backlist book to read!” and I just avoid it… lol. I’ve been thinking I really should bring it back because I realized after 2 months into the year that I haven’t even attempted to read a retelling for one of my book challenges and that needs to change ASAP. Maybe picking my top options and polling people will help each month?