Imaginative Discussions: TBR Management

Posted August 6, 2014 by Kara in Imaginative Discussions / 19 Comments


So a couple weeks ago I wrote about feeling overwhelmed and like blogging was holding me back from reading what I wanted to read when I wanted to read it.  A lot of you commented telling me you felt the same way.  But a lot of you also told me you have abandoned the ARC schedule and all the strings that come along with it.  At first I was a little jealous, but I started thinking about it and it’s so freeing!

I recently started reading Vampire Academy; if you talk to me ever, you’re probably already tired of hearing about it.  But I’m gonna go on a little more.  VA awakened that series-binge joy I haven’t felt in a long time.  Reading is just pure fun with this series.  So I’m on the third book now and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.  Because of this, I’ve gotten reckless with my reading schedule.  I’ve DNF-ed quite a few weeks recently, and also I’m at the point where I’m drowning in books sitting on my shelves unread.

So this post is a formal declaration that I’m abandoning strict schedules.  My ARCs that I’ve requested, that is physical ARCs not obtained at BEA, will obviously still have some priority.  But if I feel like reading a specific book off my shelf, I’m going to do it, no hesitations.

This brings me to the real point of this post:  managing my outrageous TBR pile of owned books, and how I’m picking my reads with such an abundance of choices.   I’ve got a bit of a system down and also! I made a TBR jar!


If you’ve never heard of a TBR jar, the concept is simple:  you write down the titles of your to-be-read books onto strips of paper and put them in the jar.  The next time you need to pick something to read, just select a title from the jar and presto! All done!  I’m hoping this will help me whittle down my enormous TBR, and also help me pick what to read next when I’m stumped (which happens way too often.)

So here is my new choose-your-next-read system:

  • “Me” book – right now, I’m mid-series, but once that’s over, I’ll use my TBR jar to help me pick!
  • Review book
  • FF book
  • “Me” book
  • Review book
  • “Me” book
  • Review book
  • FF book

Pretty simple, but I’m hoping it helps give me the variety I’m sorely lacking in my reading.  Basically, I just want more “me” books and less “strings attached” books.

How do you pick your next read?  Do you have any sort of system or do you read purely based on mood?  How to you keep your TBR pile a manageable size?


19 responses to “Imaginative Discussions: TBR Management

  1. I used to have a system and then I kept changing it and swapping it and in the end, I just ditched it and did what anyone else does, tried to make a list and epically failed! No, seriously, I usually try to make a list of books I’d like to read in a period of time and if I manage them all, yay, and if I don’t, well, it wasn’t meant to be, but I don’t kick myself for reading off the list as well like library books. Reading should be enjoyable and I like to have a variety of reads on the blog, so by chucking out the list and reading a random book people might not have heard much, it’s enlightening and enjoyable and surprisingly, it’s the library books that I’ve wanted so much that bring me out of mini slumps! I tried a jar for a while and just went off it, but good luck with yours Bekka, sometimes it works for people, I hope it does for you!
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Film Review – Catching FireMy Profile

  2. I totally did away with a TBR list a few weeks ago-best thing I’ve ever done! I now just go to the library and browse books, until one catches my eye. I love picking out books with no pre-conceived ideas about them 🙂

    Then only ARC program I do is Blogging for Books, which is one book/review a month, which is easily doable for me.
    Finley Jayne recently posted…{Reading Highlights} The Wonders of Water & Invasion of the Sex Crazed, Man Eating Bug!My Profile

  3. I’ve been trying hard to be a ‘free’ reader too but I feel so terrible about letting my ARC pile fall behind. I keep telling myself to focus solely on that so I can get it under control and THEN I can read whatever I want but I’m forever sidetracked. I could really get my TBR piles and review copy piles under control if I could only stay away from the damn library. I will never understand the draw to that place when I have my own library at home. lol

    I made a TBR jar (or container, since it’s not exactly a jar, but TBR container just doesn’t have the same ring to it) as well but have yet to use it. I used it once and I became all whiny because it wasn’t one I was in the mood to read. lol
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Never Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia GlazebrookMy Profile

  4. I’ve been thinking about creating a TBR jar, too! I have a system that I really like right now, which is basically just scheduling in books that I own and need to read, ARCs, and other books, but I’m thinking about adding a TBR jar to the mix as well…probably beginning in January so that it’s a “new start,” and I want some more time to reflect on other changes I could possibly make as well.

    I like that more people are starting to realize that getting bogged down by ARCs is not a good thing! Reading becomes less fun when there are always strings attached. Good for you for deciding to do something a little different! 🙂

  5. Wooohooooo! Free at laaaaaast 😀 I’m so glad that you’ve embraced a system that makes you happy and feeling able to choose what you want to read! When I stopped pressuring myself to read review books, I found myself suddenly excited to read some of them again since it was now my choice anyway. I’ve stopped paying attention to release dates when choosing a book and just choose whatever sounds good, but have still got a fair number of review books read, so I think it’s working out well. I still want to make a TBR jar but am a bit terrified by the time investment, haha. Maybe I’ll do it while listening to an audiobook to feel better about the time 😉
    Anya recently posted…Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {ARCs and $5 Giftcards Weekly!}My Profile

  6. This is a fantastic idea, I always have trouble trying to decide which book to grab off my TBR pile which usually results in me going and buying a completely new book to read, essentially adding to the TBR chaos. I am definitely going to find myself a jar or something similar and give this a go

  7. I’ve gotten to the point where I just read what I want, when I want. If that means binging on review books for weeks, so be it. Or if I just want to pick up a HUGE novel of 1,000 pages and work on it for a few weeks, then I’ll do that. I think if I did the jar thing I’d go into a rut again because I’m a huge mood reader and I’d probably keep redrawing a book!
    Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) recently posted…Because when it comes to reading physical books again, it’s go big or go home.My Profile

  8. Honestly, I wish I could do this, but I am weak when it comes to eARCs. My EW ARCs archive themselves when they reach the release date, so if I don’t get to them when I’m supposed to, they’re GONE. Bleh. If I didn’t have that hanging over my head, I’d feel better about playing fast and loose with my physical copies.
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…DNF ReviewsMy Profile

  9. I do a digital version of this! With a 400+ tbr pile I’d get wrist cramps writing them all down, so I have them all listed on Goodreads and just select me next read using and searching for the number it selected. Took a moment to work out how to add numbers onto my shelves though!

    Under The Mountain

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