Discussion: Why I Don’t Set TBRs.

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent in the recent weeks. I’m sorry for that. Right now life is a bit chaotic and most of the time when I’m at home I find that I’m too exhausted to even open my laptop. However, today I wanted to talk about to be read lists. These lists are often set at the beginning of each month with the hopes of being able to complete them by the end. I’ve tried to complete my tbr’s, but every time I go to set one, I find that 99% of the time they are forgotten about by the end. So, here are the main reasons why I no longer set tbr lists. 


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Being pressurised to read is never fun, even if that pressure comes from yourself. I find that by setting a monthly to-read list, I feel like I have to meet a deadline. It’s like a challenge almost. A taunt. I have to meet this deadline, and I won’t be satisfied until I do. I also feel so guilty when I don’t meet it. There’s an expectation that comes with tbr lists, one that I’m determined to meet, but if I don’t feel like it, or find myself gravitating towards different books, I will deviate. Meaning that, in the end, the tbr list gets completely ignored and is therefore pointless.

Unexpected Obstacles

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Work. Life. Everything in between. Finding that balance in all aspects of your life is impossible at times. Sometimes I’ll come home from work absolutely exhausted, to the point I can’t find the energy to even pick up the book, let alone focus on the content of it. If I set myself a tbr list, I’d feel obliged to read it, and would feel so guilty for not completing it. It’s a never-ending cycle of wanting to read, but finding the time to do so is impossible sometimes. So why not make the time you may ask? Because I’m a mood reader, and if I’m not in the mood to read then I won’t cause I know I won’t enjoy it.

My mood is the biggest reading influence. I spend more time trying to decipher the mood I’m in and correlate it with the type of book I want to read than I do actually reading the book. Not going to lie, it can be a frustrating process especially when I find myself torn between two genres.


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I’m sure you’ve heard me mention this before, but my great school rebellion was to not read books. I hated the fact that I didn’t have a say in the books I could or could not read. On top of that, every time I actually went to read those set books I was always conscious of the fact that I had to have an analytical mind whilst reading them in preparation for my exams and essays. Therefore, I never felt like I had the freedom to just appreciate the book as a story alone because I always had to have that analytical mindset. So, every time I set a tbr list my inner rebel unleashes itself because I associate my tbr with that notion of being forced to read instead of just letting me have the freedom to read what I want when I want.

What about challenges?

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The only challenge I tend to take part in is the Goodreads Challenge. However, this year I’ve decided not to set one for myself. By not setting myself a target of books to read I felt a lot more free with my reading. I don’t feel obliged to read a book just so I can turn it into a number in a list I’m probably never going to use.

However, while I can’t get into reading challenges myself, I do see a lot of benefits that come with it. If you find that you thrive when you have that competition, even if it’s against yourself, it’ll get you motivated and energised to read. Challenges are also great in building that sense of community. By taking part in the challenge, you also get that additional motivational from the others that are also taking part. It’s a great motivational boost, and the sense of accomplishment when you complete your target is the best feeling.

To be read lists and challenges are not for everyone. I know that they are certainly not for me, but there are a lot of benefits to following these tbr’s. It’s a good way to keep you in check and formulate a reading schedule. However, personally, I prefer the freedom of picking a book when I want to when I want. I never follow the tbr lists I set, so why should I set them in the first place?

Do you struggle with tbr lists?
What are your tips for completing them?
Do you like reading challenges?


15 thoughts on “Discussion: Why I Don’t Set TBRs.

  1. This is such a great post😊 I completely get what you mean about your mood influencing your reading, I also find the weather influences my reading as well😂 I always set very loose TBRs because I know I’ll never meet them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have definitely become a mood reader. I am so busy with my job that I don’t usually have time to read for long periods of time during the working week. However, I have started putting out TBRs with books that I know I am going to read e.g. ARCs or books for my collaborations with my sister. I always put on my TBR a lot less than I actually read in a month. It makes it achievable for myself.

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    1. Work definitely takes up a lot of my time as well. I love the idea of setting low tbrs, that’s a great compromise in how you can still have a tbr, but lessen the pressure to complete it.


  3. You know me the only thr list I have is the one I set yearly for goodreads but that’s it’s. I don’t like monthly because it’s like you mentioned it’s too much pressure and I already struggle with book slumps and pressure in school. I might plan out what I’ll read next but I’m not like if I don’t read it’s not the end of the world. I just base it off what I’m in the mood for.

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    1. I think having a plan of what to read is good, especially if your mood is leaning towards a specific book. The important thing I find is having the freedom to deviate from it.


  4. “I was always conscious of the fact that I had to have an analytical mind whilst reading them in preparation for my exams and essays” THIS THIS THIS is so me when we had to read books at school – I never truly enjoyed the stories I read, even if I could have, precisely because I felt like I had to go in and over analyze everything and it just killed my whole reading mood there and I hated it, haha.
    I also never set TBRs – well, not really. I kind of have a TBR when I have an ARC to read, or when I only have two books left before I can buy new ones, well, I’ll read these two books, unless I re-read something. I rarely ever set TBRs, I don’t really like feeling… well, somehow “stuck” with this TBR and I know I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t follow it, in the end. Yet, I don’t want to feel stuck and I want to pick up whatever I am in the mood for, just, to keep reading fun 🙂
    Fantastic post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For all that the school wanted to encourage us to read, they did a great job at putting me off reading haha.

      If I have an ARC (which is rare) I will make it a priority because there is nothing I hate more than not meeting a deadline someone is reliant on.

      Mood reading is my kind of reading haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely see where many people do not like TBRs or challenges. I read about 10 books per month, and set a monthly TBR where I select about 5 books ahead of time that I want to get read that month. I find that this keeps me on task, yet gives me some wiggle room for mood reading. I don’t take part in challenges because they feel too restrictive….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great compromise. Having the flexibility to adjust your tbr is so important. The challenges definitely feel restrictive to me as well, and I think challenges are worse than tbr’s because it’s like you have a point to prove almost by completing in.

      Liked by 1 person

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