Kernels of Nonsense: Monthly TBR Lists

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is bimonthly discussion feature where I talk about various book and blogging related topics. This week I’d like to discuss my decision to do away with monthly TBR lists.

If you’re like me, your TBR list is gigantic and no matter how many books you read, the list of books on this list seems to never stop growing. Sometime in the last year my TBR list has exploded. The number of books on my Goodreads To-Read shelf has literally doubled. If I’m honest (and I know us bookworms hate to hear this), I know I’ll never be able to get to all the books on my TBR. It is an impossible feat, but still I try.

Last October, I made a TBR list to help manage my reads. I had a Halloween themed month and needed a way to keep track of the books I was going to read throughout the month. It was the first time I had ever done a monthly TBR list for my blog and I found it very helpful. As a result, I began to make TBR lists and post them on my blog each month.

During the four months I made a monthly TBR post, I discovered a few things. The first is that I am a mood reader. For those unfamiliar, being a mood reader means that deciding what to read is not always easy. Sometimes you pick up a book and even though you may be dying to read it, you can’t because mentally you’re just not feeling it at the time. Things like ARC deadlines or library return dates become burdens, especially when you just can’t coax yourself into wanting to pick up these books (sometimes I’ll check out several books from the library and return them all a few days later completely unread).

The second thing that made it difficult to keep myself on track when it came to these lists is the library itself. I love my library, it’s part of a county-wide program that allows you to request books from other libraries that may not be available at your own. There’s only been a handful of times that I haven’t been able to get my hands on a book I’ve been wanting to read. But I’m not the only one who uses this system to her advantage and sometimes this means I must wait quite a while before a book hold comes in. I requested Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan way back in January and intended to read it that month. Unfortunately, it never came in and I’ve been waiting almost three months for it (it just came in a couple of days ago). This isn’t the first time this has happened and it can sometimes make it difficult to stick to my TBR list when I don’t know what books will be available from the library.

I also learned that freedom to read whatever I want when I want is essential for me when it comes to reading for fun. I tried to list more books on my TBR than I could possibly get to in a month in order to allow myself more freedom. The problem was it was never enough. Several times I strayed from my TBR because, like I mentioned before, I am a mood reader which made it difficult to predict what I’d be in the “mood” for as the month went along.

I elected not to make a TBR list for March as an experiment. I wanted to see how it felt not have to refer to a list when it came time to pick up a new book. It gave me a lot of freedom to pick and choose what to read and I had so many options when it came to requesting books from the library. I had a really good reading month and I’m not entirely sure it was because I wasn’t tied down to a list, but I can tell you that it felt really good not having to refer to it all month.

Do you make monthly TBR lists? Do you find them helpful or do they hinder you? Are you a mood reader like me or can you pick up any book to read (tell me your secret!)? Let’s discuss in the comments!

17 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense: Monthly TBR Lists

  1. Personally, I mostly use them to keep track of blog tours and ARCs that I have to read in a specific month. I’ll also usually add a book or two that I know I’ll want to read that month as well. I’m not a mood reader really but I also don’t plan every book I’m going to read. I definitely allow myself to pick up a book that wasn’t on my TBR if I want to and I don’t beat myself up for not completing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the only way I can use them, when I know I fully intend to pick up a book or if I have an ARC deadline approaching. I like making lists and checking things off, so when I make a TBR list and end up straying from it, I feel terrible about it. I talked myself in believing I would be fine when I did, but I wasn’t, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hm, this is a good question. I guess that bloggers who get more arcs need a system to track all the recent releases and write their reviews on time, but I get one or two at most each month so I’m not bothered with that.
    I also don’t borrow a lot of library books, sadly, because I read mostly in English and there just aren’t as many English books available at our libraries – especially not the newest releases and the genres that I like to read (I mean, it makes sense, we’re not an English-speaking country. Our libraries are great otherwise, we also have the inter-library loan thingy).
    So I buy most of my books or at best borrow them from like-minded friends, which means I’m free to read them whenever I want. I have a loose order in my head when it comes to books I want to read next, but honestly it’s always shifting because of new releases, so I’m horrible at keeping any kind of lists in this regard. I’m a mood reader, like you, so a fixed tbr would never work for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That I understand: keeping track of what ARCs you need to read before certain deadlines, but it’s so difficult to plan out the entire month. I like that, “inter-library loan thingy”, I will now refer to the system using that phrase. Being a mood reader and having slightly A-type personality that likes checking things off of lists usually don’t mix well.


  3. I’m a mood reader, too. I can never set a TBR list for the month because I know I’ll never stick to the list. I have a hard time with ARC and library deadlines, too. The freedom to read whatever I want is the only way I can read so much these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have no idea what kind of a reader I am. I think I may be a mood reader because sometimes I have a book that I know I would love but just can’t find the inspiration to pick it up. So, that makes me a mood reader, yes? From the short time I’ve know you, I see that at times you can be quite hard on yourself. *wink* But, at the same time, it shows me how discipline you are in your blogging, and I find that very admirable. Continue to do whatever makes you happy…my fiercesome overachiever…I mean tenacious reader. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that definitely makes you a mood reader. I also happen to think there are different levels of mood reading, so maybe we all have a little of it in us.

      I have standards, Lonna, standards! But they are personal standards, so they only apply to me, so nobody gets hurt. I think this is a symptom of my introversion. Thanks for the support!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha ha. Okay, okay, I hear you. Standards. Got it. Now, what can we do to lower the bar…inch by inch, little by little? What must I do to corrupt you? Mwahahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve made monthly TBR lists in the past, but I’ve started doing something different recently- I’ve started just planning out three books in advance. That gives me a good idea of what I’m going to read every two weeks or so and also helps me organize when I have to get to certain ARCs. So far, it’s been extremely helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve really struggled with whether or not to make a monthly TBR. I love reading people’s montly TBR posts, because it’s fun to see what they’ll be reading and what their anticipated “mood” for the month is. However, I find that the idea also sort of stresses me out- like creating another “to-do” list for work. Yet sometimes after I finish a book I sort of float around for a few days aimlessly without picking up a book, while I ponder what to read next. So, I think perhaps I ought to try a monthly TBR and see how it impacts my reading. Great post, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is basically what happened for me, it became a list I’m meant to check off and it can be a little stressful. I loved making TBR lists and also seeing other people’s, but I’m really enjoying the freedom of not being tied down by one. I’d love to hear how you feel about it if you decide to start making them. Thanks, Cristina!


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