Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Time to Do a Little Reading. What's on Your TBR?

This weekend is going to be a busy one. We have plans for a round of golf, dinner with best friends, and of course celebrations for Father's Day on Sunday. But in any moments of down time, my attention will be occupied by a book. It's a big reading weekend!

Tonight I'm starting the 48 Hour Book Challenge. The challenge is hosted by Mother Reader and is a nice social event with lots of reading. I'm starting mine at midnight and rolling on through 11:59pm Sunday evening.

At the same time, this weekend it's time for a #FlashReadathon. There's no host for this, it's just a free-for-all. Everyone reads and socializes about in on the social media platform(s) of their choice. They've already taken pretty heavily to Twitter this evening. I'm getting antsy to join in.

It's always fun to read with a bunch of my bloggy friends.


While I do love reading and socializing, sometimes I find it hard to find a good book. This is more often because there are too many to choose from than too few. Like most serious readers, I have a TBR. A TBR is a "to be read" list. In my case, the TBR contains about 2,000 books -- including both those housed in my home library that haven't been read and the books I've shelved on my "to read" shelf on Goodreads.

Becauese I'm also a bit of a mood reader, I tend to be pretty indecisive. I like to have a plan and very frequently keep a stack of books in my nightstand. But if the mood doesn't strike right, I'll often find myself frustrated and not feeling into a particular kind of book. That can spell disaster and send me into a book drought where nothing sounds good. It's a bad, bad thing.

To help me combat this problem (and to help keep books from getting buried deep within the TBR and forgotten) I decided to make myself a TBR jar.


I created a spreadsheet with the names of all of the books on my TBR and their authors. I then printed it out. Each strip was then cut and folded.

Originally, the plan was to use a large mason jar since I have several prettily decorated ones leftover from our wedding. But after folding only a small portion of the strips, I soon realized that there was never going to be enough room. I considered only placing in a handful of selected books and replenishing as the supply grew low, but decided that just wasn't what I wanted.


After a search of the house, I found a large container that used to house indoor tulips. It's a 7" diameter cylinder that stands about 15" high. Basically, it's ridiculously large for something like this.

After folding, and folding...and folding. It's now around 3/4 of the way full. And I'm not done. I have a handful of strips left to cut and fold. Man, that's a lot of books!


It's been a pretty long undertaking, but I'm excited for what it will allow me to do. I'm pretty giddy for the moment I reach into it and pull out the first strip. The plan isn't to lock myself into something. The plan is to give me a random idea of what to read. I've made the decision that (at most) I will allow myself to pull out three strips when I'm stuck and don't know what to read next or when I'm just not feeling the book I'm reading. From those three strips will come the choice for my next read. If any of the strips happen to be a book I've already read somewhere along the way, they will be tossed and replaced by another fish in the jar. I'm hoping that will allow me more diversity in my reading, as well as prevent me from getting in reading slumps.

There is a good mixture in there. There are children's books, memoirs, humor, YA fiction, historical fiction, and much more. Most genres are represented. It's a fun new toy, but a daunting reminder of all the books I want to read...a daunting reminder that will no doubt grow as I find more books to add to my TBR, to my Excel sheet, and to my jar. It's amazing how many wonderful works of literary art there are out there for me to get my hot little hands on.

If only I could read them all...



How many books are on your TBR? Do you keep a separate TBR for immediate planned reads or do you lump it all together like I do? Do you have a TBR jar?

I'm ready for my crazy weekend, especially all of this reading. I'm ready to break out the books and to maybe have the moment arrive where a dip in the jar is taken. Hooray for reading! Off I go!

10 comments:

  1. I keep my TBR pile on Goodreads and mine it periodically when I need a new read. I love your jar idea for the kids.

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    1. Goodreads is so incredibly handy. I didn't even think about using a TBR jar for kids. Great idea!

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  2. What a great way to pick books! Good luck on your reading and enjoy the weekend.

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    1. Thanks Carl! Hopefully it proves to be a fruitful addition.

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  3. I have a TBR bookcase (well, two) and a list on Goodreads. My "randomizer" method is sometimes to look at the page number of the last page of my last book, and count out that many books on my bookcase. (I also vary where I start this count.)

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    Replies
    1. That is a very clever way to go about it! I think everyone needs a random read now and then.

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  4. Do you have an update for the 48HBC? I'd love to see you at the finish line!

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    1. I do! It has just been posted. Thanks so much for hosting!

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  5. I ADORE this idea, Elle, and I can't believe how full your jar is! I keep a running TBR list on Goodreads and mostly keep it mental for the "immediately to read" list. I might like to make a jar for books that I know the library has, so that I won't have a good excuse for not reading them. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaina! It's ridiculously full...it's almost more ominous than helpful at this point. It stares at me whenever I walk in the room. But...I'm pretty sure it will prove helpful. I'm too indecisive a lot of the time.

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