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!