Many people, including me, create a ‘TBR list’ at the beginning of each month/week/insert-chosen-time-period-here: a list of books which you intend to read in said time period. At the beginning of each month, I set myself a list of ten books which I want to read that month. Now, if you’ve read my wrap-ups, you know that I am crap at sticking to this. It’s not that I don’t look to this list every time I reach to start a new book, because I do, but for some reason the second I commit a book to this list – however much I want to read it – it is as if I am saying ‘I’m not going to get to this right now’. You can probably guess that I am writing this post with my January TBR failure on my mind (more of that in my imminent wrap-up), but I have decided that today is the day where I tell you my thoughts on my monthly TBRs and talk about exactly why I can never seem to complete one.
Firstly, I love the idea of a TBR list: in theory, writing down a set amount of books that you want to read in a given amount of time is a brilliant idea. It enables you in advance to select some books from your general TBR that you want to tackle now, then pushes you to actually read them by a deadline. Doing this every month would help me shift some of those books that have been on my shelf for absolutely ages, so if the list worked out perfectly, I would be its biggest fan.
Unfortunately, I never can seem to stick to the list. Even if I name ten books which I’m desperate to finish (usually about 5-7 would be this case – the rest would the TBR jar picks, challenge books and long-stay TBR shelf members) I very rarely get the majority read. There is something in my nature that doesn’t like reading things if I’ve been told to read them, even if it was myself doing the telling. If I see that I intended to read a book by the end of the month, I will often find an excuse to pick up something else, even if the first book was my most anticipated read. I will eventually get around to the books I am most interested in, albeit at the end of the month rather than earlier on, when I will read every other book BAR the ones I told myself to read. It’s just the way I make decisions; if I feel pressure to do it, I probably won’t.
So you’re probably thinking why I even bother creating the list if I know I will not stick to it. Part of the reason is undeniably that I am deceiving myself by thinking that if I spend enough time using the TBR list method, I will eventually fall into the habit of doing it. This could well happen, but deep down I’m not holding out hope. The real reason is that I think I secretly enjoy having that guideline, even if I know that I will go completely off-topic. There’s something I quite like about looking to the side of my DVD case, where I keep sticky tabs with my TBR on, and I get a great deal of satisfaction every time I get to remove the sticky tab of a completed book. Every month I have exercised the TBR list, I have read some of the books. The most recent examples have both been consistent…-ly bad. Okay, in both cases I read four of the ten books on the list. However, what I have now taken to doing is leaving the previous month’s list up, as the following month, I often revert back to the list and take books off of it. Therefore, the TBR list does decrease, but sometimes slightly later than it should have done.
For the foreseeable future, I shall still be posting incredibly optimistic ten-book monthly TBRs, then sharing with you in my monthly wrap-up how much of a failure I have been. It provides quite a bit of amusement to me that I can be so bad at following my own rules, and I actually quite enjoy looking back and thinking ‘look at all of those things I said I would do but didn’t that month’. So, you can keep on expecting TBRs from me in the knowledge that I am simply being optimistic.
Thanks for reading!