[Discussion] What to Read Next?

Before I figured out how to borrow ebooks through OverDrive, I was limited to my fairly small personal collection and sporadic trips to the local library when I could talk my parents into taking me. This was also before I actually started using my Goodreads account, so I did a lot of rereading and checking out whatever looked good (based on a glance at the cover, maybe a quick read of the first few pages). Oh, I also had the school library, but their fiction collection gets smaller as you get older and I wasn’t a fan of nonfiction.

All this to say, now that I have a pretty extensive digital library as well as a never-ending list of books to look at next, I feel like I spend as much time choosing what to read as I do actually reading.

To TBR Or Not to TBR?

Even before I can decide where a book goes in my to-read queue, first I have to decide if it gets added to the queue at all. Whether I came across the book on a “101 Books to Read Before College” list (as an aside, I’ve been working on those since, like, middle school, and yet I’m two years into college without ever having finished them) or from a review posted to a friend’s blog or in a Goodreads recommendation list, I’ll check the synopsis and skim some reviews to see if sounds like something I’m actually interested in.

If I’m honestly not sure, or if I just don’t have time to check it at the moment but don’t want to forget it, I shelve the book as maybe read to come back to later; if I do want to read it (and/or I enter a Goodreads giveaway for it), it gets shelved as want to read / TBR. Once I acquire the book, or if it bypasses this whole process because it was gifted to me, it gets moved to my read next shelf.


Priority Status

From the books on my read next shelf and the TBR books that I know my library has, I like to put together a tentative reading order. At the top of the list is usually upcoming ARCs, as well as time-appropriate titles (ex: LGBTQIA+ rep for Pride Month, or seasonal reads) and books that fulfill reading challenges. If a book has been on my list for a while, it’s likely to also get bumped up a few spots so I don’t forget about it again. And with all else equal, hype can also get a book priority status in the queue. 


Other Variables

Once I have the order laid out, I don’t always stick strictly to it; I might shuffle it around if I commit to a blog tour or buddy / book club read, or if I’m just more in the mood for one book or another.

Sometimes I read the first book in a series and love it so much that I have to marathon the rest before moving on to something else. Sometimes I find myself with a book hangover and reach for an old favorite to get me through. Sometimes I’m feeling anarchic and randomly pick a title from the next 10-20 I have listed.

But if I’m being totally honest, sometimes I just don’t feel like pulling up my spreadsheet to check what’s supposed to be next, or I might be suddenly interested in a particular book or genre β€” in which case I’ll just look through my Kindle until a title catches my eye. A little spontaneity never hurt anyone, after all.

Do you plan out your TBR? If yes, how do you approach it? If not, would you ever consider it?

13 thoughts on “[Discussion] What to Read Next?

  1. i actually have montlhy TBRs but to be honest, i’m a mood reader. i usually try to add different books to the TBR as i like to have a plan ahead of me but before blogging i didn’t really follow it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s definitely fair! I’ve never been able to stick to a monthly TBR unless I’m doing a monthly challenge like Asian Lit Bingo, but what’s definitely helped me is having a variety – some of every genre, a mix of lighthearted comedy and end-of-world high stakes and friendship feels, so that I’ll hopefully be able to find something that I’m excited to start!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wooow you’re so much more detailed than I am :’) I absolutely love all of this! I mainly just add books to my tbr and read them when I get the chance (meaning when I force myself to read it bc it’s been there for too long). I think an advantage that I don’t really have the ability to get those free kindle books (I don’t have a kindle and I don’t really like reading books on my phone).

    I do really love your system of maybe read – want to read/TBR – read next! When I have the time to clear out my Goodreads TBR, I’m definitely implementing this! Though I’m not sure I’ll actually be able to stick to that TBR.. not with all of you posting amazing bookreviews and anticipated books posts :’)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha thanks Michelle! at this point I have too many books on the TBR (and even the read next shelf) so they tend to get forgotten about if I don’t periodically go through and plan out a bit … and the backlog may be part of the reason I haven’t done Down the TBR Hole in a while come to think of it πŸ€” but I hope the shelving system works as well for you as it does for me!


  3. I make the list and put them in order of when they came out, ones that haven’t come out yet get priority usually but I’ve put ones that I’m on tour for as top priority for this month, next month I go back to the ARCs on NetGalley and the month after, tackling backlog, and of course you know, veering off the list because I’m incapable of following my master list. I’m glad someone else really thinks this out too lol, tar planners unite!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t do TBRs because I am such a mood reader and having the list gives me massive anxiety. I just shove everything that sounds like I’d want to read it on the to-read shelf on goodreads and call it a day, lmao. For ARCs I do have my sheet sorted by pub date and I try to read based on that & my mood, but that’s about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Honestly, I am really bad at maintaining TBRs. I’m a huge mood reader and I try to read ARCs first but that doesn’t always happen.
    I just look at my bookshelf or through whatever I have on my Kindle and click on whatever seems most interesting.
    Hype surely has an effect on it all but mostly, it’s just really random.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. if it works, it works haha. I think that’s definitely part of why I try to limit the ARCs I request, bc it can be hard to remember / make myself actually read them before release date and I don’t like just reading ARCs for weeks on end πŸ€”

      Liked by 1 person

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