Let’s Talk Bookish: TBR’s

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Eternity Books. This is my first time participating, and I’m looking forward to participating in more of these in the future.

This week’s prompt is: Are TBR’s necessary to be a book blogger or reader?

I’ll save everyone the scrolling and give the answer here: No.

End of post! We answered the question! Just kidding. There is more I have to say on this, obviously.

Maybe I’m biased as someone who rarely does TBR’s (and who rarely follows through with them when I do post them,) but the only times I feel like a TBR is necessary is if you’re participating in a read-a-thon and have specific prompts to fill because that does require planning ahead.

Other than that my own version of a TBR is to just make long lists of books I want to prioritize- usually these lists are anywhere between 10 and 20 books- but knowing I’m only going to get to 4 or 5 them in any given month; that makes it a less restrictive list, as I definitely lean towards being a mood reader. My issue with having no list at all is when there are so many books I want to read I sometimes get into this funk where I can’t decide what to pick up at all so I just… don’t pick up anything, which is very counterproductive. So, I personally like a mix of structure and lots of freedom. It’s easier to pick from a list of 20 books than a list of 400 (which is what my current Goodreads TBR is getting to be), and since I’m only going to get to a fraction of those, it still leaves me with plenty of room to let my mood decide what to pick up from the list next.

I also don’t post these lists anywhere because they’re not the traditional “These are all the books I’m planning to read this month” TBR, they’re more of a “Here’s a huge list of books, and I’m going to aim for reading at least 4 of them, and if I get to more, then that’s great, but if not that’s fine. And also there’s no way in hell I’m getting to all of them.”

I also am acutely aware of how many mood readers there are in the book community who likely don’t even make the long lists that I do. For mood readers, sometimes having a TBR can hurt more than help which is totally understandable, in my opinion. I’ve experienced that annoying feeling of forcing myself to read a book I’m not feeling that week or that month and enjoying the book a lot less than I would have otherwised, and possibly ending up in a reading slump because of it. So, I’ve personally just come to the conclusion that more restrictive TBRs that lay out exactly what I’m going to read and not giving me any extra options are just not for me, and so it makes sense to me that there are definitely others who feel this way as well, perhaps even more so.

All that being said, for other types of readers, TBRs certainly can be helpful.

Both types of readers are valid, and I happen to fall into the category of not using TBR’s, but people who do use TBR’s are equally valid and probably a hell of a lot more organized and disciplined than I am. Plus, I like reading TBR’s to try to identify the upcoming trends in the community as well as to see if there’s any books that sound intriguing to me, even if the person hasn’t read and reviewed it yet.

Tl;dr: Make TBR’s if you want, and if you’re the type of person that thrives as a reader that way then great, but they’re not necessary at all, and for certain readers they’re probably even counterproductive.

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