One of the greatest challenges for any book lover is often what book to read next from our massive TBR lists. Of course, while it might seem simple, this process can often result in joy, excitement, tears, and agony depending on the size of your list and the strength of your convictions. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I get stressed out trying to pick the next book to read. I worry I’ll pick a book I don’t like or I’ll miss out on a book that’s amazing because I picked something else.
I also get a lot of books from the library and ARCs from NetGalley and this creates a pressure to read those titles before the due date or publication date. Sometimes I don’t really have a choice and I have to read that book from the library because it’s due in a few day and it has a long waiting list. Since this essentially takes the decision out of my hands this can provide some relief or it can create anxiety because it’s not the book I wanted to be reading at the moment. I won’t lie, there have been plenty of books that I check out, don’t have time to read, return, and then check out again in the future.
For some readers, previewing samples of books helps them decide but honestly, this just makes me want to read all the books I sampled. For others, it’s all about buddy reads or reading the books everyone is talking about, or getting their hands on the latest release by a favorite author.
Part way through the year I made some changes to how I use my TBR list which I keep track of on Goodreads.
The first was purging my TBR pile. GASP! I know, it seems crazy to take things off my TBR but it actually really helped. I had sooooo many books on the list that it was just too overwhelming to pick one. I took a few hours and went through my TBR asking myself how much I really wanted to read each title. If I was so-so or felt like I could get around to that title whenever, then I took it off the list. I wanted to create a TBR that was filled with books I really, really wanted to read. If I make it through all of those then I can search up more books. For me, it was a huge relief to see a smaller, more manageable list that I feel like I can actually get through.
The second trick I started doing was creating a mini TBR; essentially I picked about two month’s worth of books. Then when I’m ready to pick a new book, I look at just that small list and pick something off it. It’s much easier to pick a book out of 20 titles rather than 200 titles. As that mini list gets smaller I’ll add other titles to choose from.
So far these tricks have been working for me but there are still days where a reading slump, a bad mood, or too many good choices can make picking my next read hardest challenge I’ve ever faced.
Do you have a method for picking your next book?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.