Randomly picking a book comes with unprecedented happiness and surprises. Once upon a time, I was a random reader. A pre-determined TBR list used to intimate me because of the constant pressure involved in ticking off books from the list. However, not long ago I have started planning a monthly TBR beforehand. It has helped in multiple ways as I have experienced a tremendous growth in me as a reader. In spite of disseminating my energy in deciding what to read I have been able to focus more on accomplishing an already defined goal.
Having said that, I want to add that neither I am an expert in making TBR lists nor I am telling you to follow a certain strategy as there isn’t any. I am just listing down some methods which have helped me in coming out of my comfort zone and exploring diverse writings from across the globe.
- Start Small
The initial phase is the hardest. There is bound to be some resistance in the beginning. You will need time to get into the mode of sticking to a predefined list. In order to tackle with this just start small. It doesn’t matter if you add one or two books to your monthly TBR, what matters is that you are able to read those books by the end of the month. You can even decide to re-read an old favorite if you feel you need time to settle in the new way of reading.
- Mix and Match
Once you have decided on a number, the next struggle is to decide on the books which would depend a lot on our current mood. Sometimes, we would be amidst a busy schedule and would want to read something light. Or, sometimes we would want to reach out to an emotional read. So, I would say experiment with genres.A series of dull books will only dampen your interest. Try to add variety to your monthly reads like short stories with thought-provoking novels or non-fiction with a thriller. The context switch would help you in sticking to a list because you would have the books to cater to your current mood on your list.
- Reading Challenge
After deciding the books for the month, the next thing is to keep a record of it. Goodreads has been a great help for keeping track of my reading progress. I set a yearly challenge and update the books I am reading which makes me feel motivated to read more. However, I understand a reading challenge can be intimidating. And, it might end up being strenuous instead of being a stress-buster if you are behind the schedule for some reason. However, it’s up to you if you want to take this challenge seriously or not because let’s admit that some days might take the better off you. I would say, keep an achievable target of say 10 books and read at own pace. Remember, quality is better than quantity. Setting a challenge of reading 5 books a year and successfully completing it is way more effective than setting a challenge of 100 books and give up in the middle.
- Engage in Conversations
Well, we have set a monthly goal, decided on the books and read them too, what’s left now is to discuss the bookish experience. Yes, one thing which has really boosted my reading is talking about it. I have been an introvert all my life so reading in confined space is what I have done mostly. However, in 2017 I turned to Bookstagram where I found people equally enthusiastic about reading like me. Since then, I have been involved in multiple discussions about the books I read, the book I wish to read, the books I don’t want to read and many more. You are to decide how do you want to go about it. You can stick with Goodreads reviews or your reading groups or you can turn to Bookstagram just like I did.
- Change is the only constant
Last but not the least is don’t get restricted by your TBR and alter the list if you feel the need to read something immediately or not read at all. It is alright to add/remove books from your TBR. Remember, it is difficult to manage reading with work and family. Don’t let it affect you if you are not able to cope with your list. Reading isn’t about just novels only you can always invest time in going through articles or research papers or blogs. You can read essays or little black classics or even audiobooks, the world is yours to read.
That’s all for today. I hope these pointers are able to help you in the same way as it has helped me. Let me know in the comments if you have a certain way of tackling books.
Happy (101) Reading!