Since I started blogging a few years back, my TBR list has grown to epic proportions, and that’s great! I’m not likely to run out of reading material anytime soon, and obviously I’m getting loads of great recommendations from other bloggers.
But at the same time, it has also led to an unfortunate state I call ‘TBR overwhelm’, which has the following symptoms:
- A breakout of unread books on your shelf or Kindle.
- A sense of hopelessness, as you think you’ll never get through your TBR list, and read all the books you want to read.
- A chronic inability to choose what to read next, despite a huge amount of choice.
Recently I’ve been suffering a bad bout of TBR overwhelm, mostly manifesting itself as symptom 3 – being unable to choose what to read next – and it’s been slowing down my reading so much. Thankfully I think I’m through the worst of it now (yes, I’m going to continue this whole, ‘TBR overwhelm’ is an illness analogy!), so I thought I’d share some tips for any of my fellow TBR overwhelm sufferers out there.
Some of these tips may work for you, some may not, but when you get to the stage where it feels like you’re drowning in unread books, I think it’s worth trying a few things to see what works!
So here’s how to avoid TBR overwhelm:
- Impose a book-buying/borrowing ban.
One of the problems I have with my TBR list, is that it’s ever-growing, and for every book I read, I add another two. That’s great, because as I’ve said, I’m not going to run out of things to read any time soon, but it also makes you feel as if you’re making no progress at all.
So one way I’ve found to combat this is to focus my TBR list down to the books I own, but haven’t yet read, and banning myself from acquiring anymore (whether that’s buying them or borrowing from the library). Yes, it’s tough to ban yourself from buying any more books, and I will make an exception for particularly good Kindle deals or new releases I’ve been super excited about, but overall I think this works well. And it saves you money!
- Plan ahead.
This won’t work for everyone, but is worth a shot if your TBR is really stacking up. I know lots of bloggers do a post at the start of each month detailing the books they intend to read that month, and I think planning ahead like that and taking the choice out of it is a great idea.
I’m not too great at sticking with this, as I’m a bit of a mood reader, and will often end up not feeling like the book that’s next on the list, but I think this could definitely be beneficial for some people!
- Split your TBR into sections, to make it seem smaller.
This method is great for mood readers, who never know the kind of book they’ll want to read next: split your TBR into genre categories, and then if you feel like reading sci-fi, for example, you can head on over to that list and pick the first book on that list.
Goodreads is a great tool to use when doing this, as you can have various ‘shelves’ for different genres, so you can physically split up your TBR list into categories.
- Pick a book – any book – and start reading.
Usually as soon as I finish one book I’ll start another, but thanks to my recent bout of TBR overwhelm I’ve been leaving a couple of days between each one, because I’ve been struggling so much to decide what to read next. Therefore, the only way I’ve found to truly combat this is to be completely random about it, and just select whatever book comes to hand first and start reading it.
If I’m a few pages in and really not feeling it, maybe I’ll try the next one on my list (so basically the next closest book!), but for the most part this has been effective.
So have you ever felt TBR overwhelm? What methods have you found for getting over it?