As every book lover knows, the TBR list is longer than any human can finish over a lifetime. So how can we decide which one on the list of many to tackle next?
1. Read What Your Favorite Characters Read
How many times has the book you’re reading (whether fiction or nonfiction) referred to another book? The main character is a reading a book or talks about an author, or a biography has a footnote with a book reference. For example in Northanger Abbey, Catherine is obsessed with Gothic novels, Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho in particular. After reading what Catherine read, I can see a little more clearly why an imaginative young girl would suspect Henry Tilney’s father of sinister deeds.
2. Speed Date Books
Yes, you can speed date with books. At the bookstore or a library, grab five or six books that you are not familiar with. Take one book and spend one minute just looking at and reading the blurbs on the cover. Next, spend three to five minutes reading the book itself, getting to know your “date.” I recommend writing down a rating or an interest level. After repeating the process with all the books you chose, pick only one–I know it’s so, so hard–to take home and “have a second date.”
3. Pick A Number
Sometimes picking a book title out of a jar just doesn’t work for me. I’ll pick the paper, open it up and say, “I want to read that, but not right now. I don’t feel like crying.”
Assign a number to each book on your TBR list. No really, write a number next to each title on a list. I recommend grouping by genres in certain number ranges. For example, YA books are in the 200s biographies go in the 900s. (Don’t get mad, Dewey. This is just for personal use.) Then use a random number generator to pick in the number range you specify. This method may seem silly, but it’s unbiased, and it will help you choose within the genre you feel like reading.
4. Use Decision Tree Memes
Pinterest and other sites are full of decision trees that help people decide what to read next based on what they already like. Some are more helpful than others, and some will only add more books to your TBR list instead of helping you take a few off. But if you’re on a high from a book you just finished and want to keep going, these memes can help you go straight to another similar book.
5. Alternate Your Granola And Your Ice Cream
We know granola, bran flakes, chia seeds, kale, etc. are good for you. In this book metaphor, the classics that you were required to read in high school (but didn’t) might fit under the category of “good for you.” Surprise! Some of them actually metaphorically taste good too! So take a moment to “eat your yummy granola” and read a classic book that is both good and good for you.
On the other hand, as anyone with taste buds can attest, we can’t eat kale for every meal, every day. Every once in a while, we need a slice of pizza, a cookie, a bowl of ice cream. Not exactly what we should fill our diet with every meal every day but, man, we love them. Likewise, we need to alternate our deep thinking, serious (but still enjoyable) books with light, just-for-fun books. Go back and forth. One book on one side, the next book on the other, and then something in the middle. Lather, rinse, repeat.
6. Let The People Decide
You can create a Facebook poll and have your friends vote on which book you read next.
How do you decide which book to read next?
YouTube Channel: Between Chapters
Featured image via Heroine Training