Tackling the TBR – May & June 2015 [1]


This post is slightly inspired by Niki @The Obsessive Bookseller who posted about her new method for tackling her TBR list. I had always planned to tackle my TBR list this summer but her post inspired me to take a more definitive route of action. I’ve tried various ways to tackle my growing TBR list (it was one of my major New Year’s Resolutions this year) but so far, my attempts have been futile.

So while I have a few personal goals (like finishing my t-shirt quilt and learning Spanish) for the summer, my main focus is tackling my purchased TBR list. This is my last true summer vacation as a student (I have a summer semester next year for school) so I REALLY wanted to get the majority of my books read when I have the time to read copious amounts of books and write the subsequent reviews.

For my plan of action, I had to ask myself: why do I not read the books I buy? It’s not a matter of finding the time to read (I still average 3-4 books a week) so what is it?

  1. I have WAYYYYYY to many books on hold at the library. It’s actually embarrassing since I have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. I find that most of the books I am reading are because I have the eBooks checked out from the library and I have to read them before they expire. (And Murphy’s Law dictates that multiple books become available at once so that also adds to the problem). It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something that takes up all my reading time.
  2. I buy too many books-more than I manage to read. Honestly, who doesn’t have this problem? I blame Kobo and their awesome contest periods where I win promo coupons and subsequently do a bulk purchase.

Once I identified these as the source, it was time to come up with a game plan for May and June (so that I would be in better shape for July and August when I would reevaluate). And here it is:

  • For the last half of May and the entire month of June, no books shall be added to my holds lists at my libraries. I will put novels on my wishlist reads instead to add at a further time.
  • No buying books for the entire month of May and June. (The slight exception is if it is a series I select from my TBR jar and need the sequel to complete the review or a book goes on sale for $1–I’m not missing out on saving money!).
  • I can browse freebies but can only grab sequel books that I already have or I have had it on my wishlist.
  • Read at least 1 book from my TBR jar a week.

Hopefully, this will get me in shape for July and August when I can make a significant dent in my Kobo purchase list (I’m going to do a second post with my new game plan). I would love to use Netgalley more and read some of the freebies I’ve acquired over that last few months, but with my current system, it’s just not going to happen. In an ideal world, I would read one library book, one purchased book and one freebie/ARC per week. But it’s hard when I write a series review blog and have to read multiple books to write one review. Plus, I enjoy series a lot more when I can read all of the books at once and not have to wait–or try to remember what happened in the previous book–for the next book. So we will see how this goes!

What methods have you tried to tackle your TBR list?

Have any worked?

Do you have any summer reading plans?

Comments 9

  • It seems like we share the same reason to why we have such long TBR piles. I think I’ll be taking your advice, haha. (YES, I’m going to have to break book buying bans if the deal is too good.) And the only summer reading plan I had was trying to take up the Infinite Summer challenge where I try to finish Infinite Jest in a summer. …I still haven’t bought a copy yet, so that kind of shows my “progress.” XD

  • This is something that I’ve been having a hard time tackling LOL!!! I have the same habits when it comes to using the library. I check out books from the library waaaaaay too much that I almost hardly pick up a book on my own shelf. It’s something I’m currently working on, in terms of temporarily using the library less so I can get to the books I do own.

    I wish you the best of luck and I hope you reach your TBR goals!!! 😀

    • Thanks! I hope I reach them and I hope you do too!
      It’s so much fun checking to see what books have been added and checking up on my holds. Such an addiction but I’m slowly weening myself off…at least I like to think I am 😛

  • How is your Tackling the TBR going so far this month?! Your reasonings for putting a TBR system in place really sing to me – why do the books we don’t own always seem to take a higher priority than the ones we paid good money for on our shelves? Granted, there is something comforting about knowing those purchases will always be there, but they have to be the best books because we were willing to spend money on them, right?!

    I love that part of your plan is to stop requesting new titles at the library. I have about fifteen titles on hold (releases from now until the end of the year) and it feels like way too many. I hate the rush I feel to get them read. I wish I could figure out a way to get back to my “only request one book at a time” method (which was brilliant even though it only lasted a couple of months). Although I’ve never had enough requested to justify a spreadsheet. 😉

    Anyway, your system looks awesome and I wish you the best of luck! And thank you for being the sole sign up on my linky – you’re my hero. 🙂

    • I know right? I think it’s the whole “lending” part about the library. You only have a certain amount of time to read something but, like you said, your purchased books will always be there. That’s probably the case for me because I am currently living in a very big city that has way more books than my tiny hometown (though to give credit to my local library, they’ve really improved their selection in the last few years–which only adds to my problem) and my library card in my new city is temporary until I’m done school so I want to read as many books from them as I can.

      Haha, yeah, that spreadsheet is a bit of a dirty secret of mine. It’s mostly just a way for me to keep track of what eBooks and physical books I have on hold between my two libraries. It also helps me predict when I am going to get books. The suspend feature has become a favourite of mine in the last few weeks 😉

      So far I’ve made a really good dent in getting rid of my holds at the library! True to my word I’ve only put one book on hold (it was Katie McGarry’s latest and only because I’ve been waiting a year for it and I knew the holds list would be crazy if I didn’t act soon) but I haven’t added anything else. Like I said earlier, the suspend feature has been great in pacing out my books so I don’t have 30 out at once. I also haven’t bought any which is great.

      I haven’t been able to read any books I’ve purchased but I have 3 weeks blocked off in the near future to dedicate solely to my TBR list so I’m feeling pretty good.

      No problem signing up for the linky 😉 I’m honestly surprised more people didn’t because I feel like this is a problem a lot of us have. I hope your TBR tackling is going well!

      • Exactly! That very limited time frame stresses me out, so the book feels like it should get a higher priority than anything else. I’ve seen a couple of bloggers who claim their libraries let them check out books for MONTHS at a time and I’m not sure if that would help my problem or hurt it. I can see your motive though – gotta read all of those pretty library books before they are no longer available to you.

        The funny thing is, I teased you about the spreadsheet, then after looking at my library holds for the fifth time in three days I thought “you know, this would be a lot less stressful if I had a spreadsheet…” lol. I might actually put one together so I can remember when things are coming out. Brilliant.

        I’m also glad to hear you made a good dent in your library holds, and I hope you’re three weeks of purchased-books reading starts soon! My challenge is going pretty well too – I predict that by the end of the month I’ll have read at least half of the titles on my TBR tackler shelf. I love making a list and then checking things off of it, so this system has been pretty gratifying for me so far. I only cheated once with a library book that suddenly became available… 🙂

        • When it comes to the spreadsheet, don’t knock it ’till you try it. Lol, I hope that works for you!

          Glad to hear your challenge is going well! I actually managed to clear some time this week to read some books from my TBR so I’m feeling pretty good!

          And it’s ok to cheat every once in a while just so long as it doesn’t become a huge excuse 😉

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