Historically, I’ve never been good at actually utilising my Goodreads to-read shelf for anything other than stockpiling a list of books that look and sound cool. I was a reader who just borrowed books from my library immediately upon watching a booktube video that had praised it.
A few months ago, I changed that habit and actually began to reference my to-read shelf at the beginning of every month. Mostly because I noticed whilst I was favouring new releases, so many books I wanted to read had been put on the back burner.
Which isn’t a bad way to read by any means, but it wasn’t necessarily working out best for me. It’s not like the new releases, with all their hype and praise, were actually turning into 5 star reads. So I decided something needed to change and it started with utilising my Goodreads to-read shelf and have turned into something that’s actually functional.
There are only three tips on this list, all of which helped me achieve several of my own reading goals in 2019. I’m exciting to share these easy tips with everyone, so if you’re looking to elevate your reading and achieve some goals this year, definitely keep on reading!
Tip #1 – Review your Goodreads TBR when creating a monthly TBR
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Prior to every new month, I find it helpful to pull 8-10 books from my Goodreads TBR that I plan to read for the upcoming month. I select 8-10 books because I know that’s what I usually read on average per month. I never really exceed 10 books on a list because I think any more would stress me out.
Sometimes it helps that I theme months or set monthly goals if I don’t know where to start. Which might be the case for some, if you’re like me and have 100+ books on your to-read shelf currently.
A monthly goal might be to read a certain authors work, reading sequels you need to catch up on, or participating in a readathon. Themes might include ‘fantasy February’ or ‘sequel September.’ Alliteration is fun and personally makes me excited, so I love themes like this!
I’ve already denoted February ‘Fantasy February’, because I plan to read a majority of fantasy books. So when I begin to plan for that month, it’s already narrowed down a big list of books for me.
Tip #2 – Regularly cull books for your TBR shelf
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Personally I find it really satisfying to let a book go from my TBR shelf. I’ve gotten in the habit of doing this most months, although this might be something you do every other month. Whatever works best for you.
It might be a good idea to order your tbr list and see what books have been on your shelf the longest. I know that the longer something sits on my list, the less likely I am to be as interested in it, compared to when I added it. So sometimes it’s easy to cut them loose first.
If cutting a certain book from your tbr stresses you out, then make a plan to read that book within a month or two. And if you can’t read it in that time frame, then it might be time to cut it loose after that deadline.
Just remember that books (not just popular, but moderately popular or slightly well known) circulate around feeds all the time. Especially when you’re consuming a lot of bookish related content across various platforms. So it’s likely you won’t forget about the book and have the chance to re-add it to your list in the future if you become interested again at a later time.
Tip #3 – Don’t add every book in a series to your TBR (!!!)
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Maybe my most important tip, because it’s something I see people doing all the time and I can’t express how confused it makes me – is not to add an entire series to your tbr.
Why do you need to add book 2 of a series when you haven’t even read book 1? You don’t even know if you like book 1 enough yet to continue on with the rest of the series? The answer of course, is you don’t need to add it.
Can you imagine adding all the books, in several series, to your tbr? Say you added the Throne of Glass series, The Mortal Instruments series and The Vampire Academy series to your shelf at once. This would equal to 20 books being added to your to-read shelf at once! The thought alone gives me a headache. Because it’s obviously just going to bring up the number of books on your to-read shelf that you will eventually get stressed about.
Instead of adding the entire series to your shelf add a book at a time. Start with the adding the first book to your tbr. Then when you’ve completed that book, add the sequel and so forth. I also tend to do the same with authors who write standalone novels. Particularly if they’re releasing books of the same genre. Read one standalone, then view their other work and add the next standalone from them that excites you.