The new year is always a good time to set resolutions that will help make this current year better than the last. Gym memberships and diet program sign-ups increase dramatically every January, and people flood social media with their ‘word of the year’ and resolutions posts.
Bookworms have resolutions too, and one of the most common ones is "taming the TBR (to be read) pile”. Or in some cases, you may need to replace ‘pile’ with ‘tower’ or ‘island’ or even ‘universe’. (Ask me how I know this.) But where do you even start such an impossible feat as taming the amount of books you want to read, especially when irresistible new books pop up every day?!?
I (Carrie) have no idea. None. My TBR pile is out. of. control. It has been for quite some time now and shows no signs of diminishing in the foreseeable future.
So I asked my associate editor, Annie, to give some insight here. (Don’t let her great suggestions fool you, though - she’s as hopeless as the rest of us.)
Participate in Reading Challenges/Readathons
This time of year, there are lots of great reading challenges for you to start! Some go all year, and others are more monthly. These can make taming that TBR pile fun - and give you an excuse to finally read that book you’re not sure about (and which would otherwise stay on your TBR list to infinity) - plus they provide great accountability to keep at.
May I suggest Hope By The Book’s reading challenge? We’ve got three levels so you can do as little or as many as you choose! Find out more HERE.
Readathons are typically for a day or a week, though some are seasonal. You can find these on various book blogs and on social media. These are a great way to power-read your way through a chunk of your book stacks.
Everything is better with friends, even reading! Grab a friend or two, pick a book or series, read and discuss. Kinda like a book club but more one-on-one - AND it can be done online which is perfect for us introverted readers!
The ‘Reading Nook Stack’ Method
Stack five books at a time by your favorite reading nook (like on your nightstand or next to your reading chair). Read them off one by one, and don’t add any more until the last book has been read. If you change your mind on a book, switch it out instead of adding to the stack. This helps keep your immediate TBR within a reachable goal. Take caution though! If you overachievers out there decide to use more than five books at a time for this method, you might find yourself in trouble!
Audiobooks are a great way to knock a book off your list while doing chores or commuting. I've even done it while shopping! Of course there is Audible and Scribd but you can also check out audiobooks through Overdrive and Hoopla, etc. And if Richard Armitage happens to be the narrator, all the better ;)
Set aside reading time
Keep this commitment of at least once a week, even if you are able to add more reading time. That way, even when busyness creeps up, you'll still have this time devoted for reading. Mark it on your planners and Google Calendars and carve out time each week for dedicated reading time.
Cull your Goodreads lists
Goodreads is a handy website that lets us keep track of our books read, series, authors, and what our friends are reading & reviewing. It also, let’s just be honest, adds even more stress to the overwhelmed TBR-owner. My want-to-read list is a metaphysical impossibility, yet I continue adding to it when I see a book on someone’s social media or blog. And sometimes my one-click reflex is faster than my thought process, so it’s prudent every once in a while to go through and make sure you really want to read that book that grabbed your attention.
Make a TBR jar
A) That’s super fun to say - “TBR jar”
B) It’s a super handy way to help yourself over those “I have 5000 books on my TBR list and I have no idea what to read next” dilemmas.
Take strips of paper and write down a TBR title on each one. Fold them up and fill up a mason jar with the papers. Each time you finish a book, reach in the jar and grab another title, and so on. Thanks to one of our reviewers, Andi, for pointing out this idea from BookRiot right as I was finishing up this post! Perfect timing :)
These are all great ideas! But, let’s face it… at some point we just have to surrender to the teetering TBR tower, acknowledge that we’ll never get it read in one lifetime, and hope Heaven has a library :) Until then, happy reading!!