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How I plan monthly TBRs

With example: my September TBR

By Maureen Y. PalmerPublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 4 min read
My September TBR! Photo by me. Keep reading to learn how I chose these books.

Yes, I do actually use a numbered list of 6 steps each month. It’s fun! 😊 And it helps me keep on track to achieve my reading goals.

My Process

1. 1 roll of “TBR Tinder.” Inspired by the youtuber Kara’s Bookshelf, who created this game, I use a random number generator to pick a book from the list of my entire owned TBR and either decide to read it this month or skip it. But, I’m only allowed to skip something twice. If it comes up a third time, I need to either read it or unhaul it. The goal of this is to prevent any books from lingering on my TBR for an excessively long time, while also being fun for me because of the randomness element. For September, I rolled a 60, which is Masterpieces in Miniature: The Detectives. This is a collection of multiple books and short stories by Agatha Christie. I’m going to read the short story collection Meeting Parker Pyne Parker Pyne Investigates [edit: fixed book title] from this book.

2. Books I definitely want to read this month. Each month I may have books I want to read related to other goals. For example, this month I want to finish reading Hashimoto’s Protocol so I can learn to implement more lifestyle changes to help with my Hashimoto’s disease symptoms. In other months, I may have particular fun books I’m super excited about, or perhaps “deadlines” in the form of book club meetings or plans to see a movie adaptation, in which case those would also be added here.

3. ~1 book to complete a Read Harder prompt. I didn’t finish all 24 of the 2022 Read Harder prompts during 2022, so I want to finish the remaining 9 this year, for a rate of about 1 book per month. In September, I will be finishing The Best American Science Writing 2004, which fulfils “Read a ‘Best ____ Writing of the Year’ book for a topic and year of your choice.”

4. More book(s) owned since 2022 or earlier to reach my monthly quota. I have a goal for this year to read (at least) 36 of my owned TBR books (owned since 2022 or earlier) in order to decrease my owned TBR. I’ve gotten a bit behind on this, so I will need to read an average of four owned TBR books per month for the rest of the year to reach this goal. I already have 2 books in this category on the September TBR (Meeting Parker Pyne Parker Pyne Investigates and The Best American Science Writing 2004), so I will now add 2 more. I’m thinking Spring Pearl and Paddington Marches On. In months where I’m feeling less decisive, I will sometimes instead do more rolls of TBR Tinder to avoid being overwhelmed by my number of available options (currently 98! I’m working on reducing it).

5. More book(s) by authors of color if I don’t have enough yet. I have another goal to read (at least) 18 unique books by authors of color this year. In 2021, I realized that I hadn’t read any books by authors of color during the entire previous year! This was alarming, so I have since made a conscious effort to keep myself reading more diversely. In addition to Spring Pearl, this month I’d like to read Meet ClaraBelle Blue, which is a picture book by my local library’s writer in residence, Adiba Nelson. I will probably want to meet with her at some point for advice about my writing, so I thought it would be cool to read something she has written too.

6. Add up the total number of pages of the month’s TBR and divide by the number of days in the month to get a daily page goal. This helps me stay on track to actually finish my TBR, while also reducing stress because this way I never have to worry about if I’m reading enough to reach my goals; I just know that I am. I also recalculate the page goal (based on the remaining days and books) each time I finish a book, to give me greater accuracy if I read one book much slower or faster than my average daily page goal. My total page count for September is 818, giving me an average daily page goal of 27.

By Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

I hope you found reading about my system interesting! I realize it may seem overly complicated to many people, but I actually love planning like this. Also note that I don’t force myself to stick to the plan if I really want to read something else later.

Setting reading goals isn't for everyone, but I find it particularly valuable because it helps with my other goal of not wasting so much time on the internet. Reading is more satisfying to me and better for my personal mental health than internet time.

Please comment below if you want to see posts reviewing any of these books! Otherwise, I might not post reviews. Thanks so much for reading! :)

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About the Creator

Maureen Y. Palmer

Reading • Writing • Murder!

I'm an avid reader and aspiring author, currently working on my first mystery novel. Here, I write essays about reading and writing, as well as short mystery/thriller/horror fiction.

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Comments (1)

  • Test5 months ago

    I would love to see posts reviewing these books!

Maureen Y. PalmerWritten by Maureen Y. Palmer

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