All About Books

A book blog, mostly touring foreign worlds of fantasy novels with occasional detours into space and explorations of magical realism, featuring book reviews, random bookish thoughts and hand lettered quotes.

Monthly TBRs: Why and how they work for me

Monthly Reading Lists

I’ve been putting together monthly TBRs for the longest time. I can’t even remember how long it’s been since I started doing it, it’s just what I’ve always been doing.
I often see people say they can’t do it because they are mood readers, but I say you can anyway! I’m a mood reader too and sometimes I start a book from my list, stop reading it after only 10 pages and grab a different one that wasn’t even on the list. I make monthly TBR lists even though I am  a mood reader and they most often work for me.

Why I make monthly TBRs

I love making lists

I’m obsessed with making lists. I write lists for basically everything, so of course I take the chance to write a list of books every single month. I would probably do it too even if I didn’t have time to read a single book. And because I love crossing things off of lists even more, I write down a book that I spontaneously read, just so I can cross it off right after.

It keeps book buying in check

Putting together a monthly TBR makes me realize that I could easily plan out my reading for the next 3 months, I have THAT many books I always feel like reading at a time. I would be really excited about those reading plans without buying a single books for ages, which is obviously not going to happen but it helps. Putting together a monthly TBR is hard because I’m always in the mood for at least twice as many as I’ll have time for but at least it makes me think “I really don’t need to buy any books this month” because it would make it even harder.

Too many options

I’m overwhelmed by the all the books that are sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. If I didn’t have a list of at least a few titles that I’m going to read next, I would waste precious time every single time I finished a book and had to choose a new one. Putting together a monthly TBR is not easy, but it’s a lot easier than choosing just one book to read next. Now, when I finish a book, I just pick one from a very short list.

I don’t forget about UNREAD books I own

Yes, sometimes I do forget that I own certain books, especially those I only have as an ebook. That happens even for books I’m sure I would love and was really excited about when I got them. They just go down in the masses of books that make my (owned) TBR. When I make my monthly TBRs, I go through all the books on my GR shelf and see what I’m in the mood for hence not forgetting any books that might have been forgotten otherwise.
(I would be too lazy to do that every time after I finished a book, if I just wanted to choose my next read from all the books I own)

How I make them work

Leave time open for SPONTANEOUS reads

Sometimes I’m in the mood for a completely different book, sometimes I get a book I wasn’t expecting, other times I buy a book on a whim just right after I discovered it. There are many reasons that all of a sudden I don’t want to stick to my TBR anymore. And it works, because I expect it to happen and try to plan my monthly TBRs accordingly. I know roughly how many pages I can read each month and try to make a list that only covers about 3/4 of that.
(I mostly fail at this one. My lists are often long enough to cover two whole months)

a little of each

I try to have a variety of books on my list, not just different genres, but also different formats. I can’t read too many ebooks in a row for example, I just need a physical book every now and then. As for genres, even if I’m currently in a mood to read ALL the fantasy and know that won’t change anytime soon, I put a few titles from other genres on the list anyway, just in case.  


Probably the main reason why monthly TBRs work for me is that I don’t really care if I end up reading according to my list or not. If I suddenly don’t feel like reading a single book from my list anymore, I just make a new one. It’s not like I’m setting myself any rules, that I have to read these books (even if it’s ARCs that I should read), I just don’t stress myself like that. My monthly TBRs are more like guidelines.

Do you put together monthly TBRs? If so, why? Or do they just not work for you?