My TBR Jar and I are Frenemies

June 18, 2015 Discussion 52

This is my second attempt at making a TBR jar; the first one was a catastrophic failure as I put in ALL the books that were on my Goodreads TBR, which, if you’ve read my post about how my Goodreads TBR is outrageous, you’d know that was a lofty and highly unattainable goal. Once I realized that was hopeless (and got over my intense and misplaced hatred towards for the TBR jar not magically making my TBR pile smaller) I decided to shoot for smaller goals: the books already on my bookshelf.

My main issue with the TBR Jar is with myself, actually. I lack follow through when it comes to these things because really, what’s stopping me from putting what I picked back and pretending it never happened? NOTHING, I TELL YOU. I guess it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept because I’m not being FORCED to do it. No one is going to kick me in the shins if I don’t read what I picked.

But so far, it’s going pretty well. I drew Black City for my first read and Hex Hall for my second, with my reviews posting soon. Then I decided to read the sequel to Hex Hall, which also happens to be on my shelves, so two birds with one stone and all that. So far I haven’t put anything I drew back so yay, follow through.

Another thing I was really worried about that I’ve touched on in other discussion posts was if anyone would want to read reviews of older books, since that is what is mostly on my shelves. In my survey about on people prefer book reviews, most said they didn’t mind, so in hopes of balancing things out, I’m going to try and mix up review copies with my shelved books.

And I do have to admit that it’s kind of fun pulling out a slip and not knowing what you will be reading next. I’m not too much of a mood reader so this isn’t an issue but I imagine if you pulled a contemporary book and you were in the mood for fantasy it would kind of put a damper on things. I can’t deny it’s a good feeling to finally read the books that have been collecting dust.

Does anyone else have a way of culling their TBRs?
Do you have a TBR jar? How does it work for you?
Do you review older books?

52 Responses to “My TBR Jar and I are Frenemies”

  1. Karen

    Oh I definitely review older books. Mostly I just post about the books I’m reading at the moment and with my couple of years of inactivity in the reading-for-pleasure department I’m so behind on new releases.
    I used to just buy one book, read it and then buy the next one for me to read. However with book blogs and book tube and the general Goodreads/internet I have a couple of extras on my shelf but not too bad. My want to read list on Goodreads is pretty long though… haha. I had a cull a couple of months ago deleting things that didn’t interest me anymore but I still have over 70 titles on there… haha.

    • Alise

      I used to be that way too! But, like you said, once you join a community like this it’s so easy to get behind. That’s great that you haven’t become overwhelmed though! 70 :O We should trade lists haha

      • Karen

        After everyone went to BEA the list did grow considerably… Haha. Did you see that too beautiful to be an ARC of Illuminae? I want it so badly!
        No please have mercy. I beg you… Then again as our tastes seem aligned it would be a horrendously long list filled with great books. I might be able to deal with that. Maybe.

  2. Bec

    I had a TBR jar. Once. The first time I went to use it I picked one book out, put the paper back, then picked another at least 5 times. I’m too much of a mood reader as you are aware haha.

    And older books are 90% of what I review because buying ban. People can deal. Plus it’s always great to lead more people to old favourites and underrated books.

    • Alise

      That’s what I thought my issue was going to be as well. No one is going to look at me with disappointment if I draw again. So far I haven’t done that if but I draw Les Mis it might happen, haha.

      I actually haven’t noticed! Probably because my mind is still stuck in 2013 for some reason. True!

  3. Wattle

    I have all the intentions to make TBR jars (multiple, because I am a mood reader so I’m going to split them into genres!) but I haven’t quite got there yet. I might now though, that I have some free time (and multiple jars :P) like you, I intend to use the books on my shelves (or uh, kindle, which I guess is a virtual shelf).

    I like reading (and writing) reviews for older books, I don’t like just reading and discovering new things, you know? Sometimes a gem is 20 years old and totally underrated :)
    Wattle recently posted…Wattle’s Wonderings #3

    • Alise

      Ah, that’s a good idea! Best of both worlds. It really is a great way to sort of narrow down books already on your shelves.

      True enough! It’s actually sad to think about that sometimes though, who knows what great older reads we are missing out on?

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Way to go Alise!! Yay for making progress with the endless turmoil that is the tbr shelf *shudder* I’m a terrible mood-reader so I know that the jar wouldn’t work for me…unless I only filled it on a case by case basis with the books I’m in the mood to read at that moment >.< but I do really like this idea. The surprise aspect of it sounds like fun and the gods know we need all the help we can get with our tbr shelves :) Good luck with this Alise^^ ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #25

  5. Laurel-Rain Snow

    Oh, yes, I do review older books…

    Nowadays, my TBR list (of books actually owned)—I like to make that distinction, too!—were purchased in 2014 and 2015…so I’m not as far behind as I was for a while there.

    I have pages for them on one of my blogs, and also a handwritten list, in case I don’t want to go online to find them. The Jar sounds great!
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGE

    • Alise

      That’s pretty good! Most of mine are from 2011 on, so there are a lot of books from the paranormal genre back when Twilight was big. Good thinking! Thanks!

  6. Olivia @ Fluttering Pages

    Yeah, i’ve tried a TBR jar. I had it for a while, and it worked pretty good at first. But, it didn’t end up working well for me because I’m a mood reader. Like you said, I would end up getting contemporary when i was in a fantasy mood and that kind of ruined it. And i’ll agree, it did feel good to get some older books read. But, overall, it just didn’t work very good for me.
    I’m glad it’s working for you! I don’t mind reading older reviews at all. I like seeing older reviews because sometimes it feels like everyone reviews the same thing at the same time.
    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages
    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages recently posted…The Liebster Award

    • Alise

      Yeah I was wondering if that would happen to some people! I’m not too much of a mood reader so I really hope this method works out for me. Thank you! :D Yay, I’m glad!

  7. Becca

    That’s exactly why I have never done a TBR jar – I’d never ever stick to it. Or, if I did, I’d get all pissy because I just wasn’t in the MOOD to read Shatter Me. I really wanted the jar to give me The Book Thief. Why didn’t the jar give me what I already decided I wanted to read? How dare it!
    Becca recently posted…COVER DISCOVER TUESDAY: Beachy

  8. Meredith

    I attempted a TBR Jar once when I had a bunch (Probably close to 200 books) of books from the book fair my mom is in charge of each year. See, book fairs, especially used books, are the death of me, because they are priced for a couple of dollars are less so if the book sounds slightly interesting I will buy it. I combined those books with books I bought from stores, and it was very overwhelming. I found that I was excited to pull a book out from the jar, but the book was usually something not too exciting to read. So that TBR jar was short lived. Soon after I re-donated all 200 books plus books on my shelf I knew I would never read or I did read and didn’t feel the need to keep them.

    How do I deal with my TBR now? A bunch of random ways. I’ll go to my bookshelf, close my eyes, and pull out a book. If I haven’t read it then that’s what I’ll read, but if I have I will do the process over again. Another way for me is I’ll go on my TBR list on Goodreads, and choose a couple of books. I will then request those books from my library. The library can be deadly though too, because I always leave with way more books than I came in to pick up.

    I review old and new books. I don’t see the fun of reading all the new hyped up books, because the hype impacts my opinion of the book. I’ll go in having high expectations and end up DNF-ing or hating the book. Plus, every book has a story to tell, whether it was a story created in 1950, 2001, or 2015. If everybody read the same exact books published in the same exact year things would get boring real quick!
    Meredith recently posted…The Stories We Don’t Tell by Melissa Thayer Blog Tour and Giveaway!

    • Alise

      Nothing adds to your TBR pile quite like a book fair! I know I can’t resist them either, the amount of books you can get for the price? Best thing ever. I know at some point I am probably doing to have to do the same and donate, but I want to see how many I can get through before that happens.

      That’s a pretty good system, that way you want read something you are looking forward to. Oh my gosh, tell me about it. Summer of 2013 I came home with 43 books once D:

      Good point, I will try and remember that! Hype can kill a book, for sure. And as time goes on you kind of forget that and can go into the book blindly again. True enough!

  9. Ju @ Fictional Skylines

    YES I’M LIKE A KID THAT STEALS A COOKIE FROM A MIXED ASSORTED COOKIE JAR AND PUTS THE COOKIE BACK IN IF I DON’T GET MY FAVE TYPE. It does feel good to read an old book now and then and I’ll be looking forward to these reviews of your’s since there are quite a lot of old books I don’t know about because I just recently started blogging.

    And yup, my Goodreads TBR shelf is a whopping 600+ of books that piqued my interest in the slightest bit over the past 3 years.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Reading Habits Tag

    • Alise

      I feel you! I know I am on the very edge of being that way so I’m really trying not to put something back because once I do, I’ll do it all the time D: Yay! Glad to hear it! :D

      Haha yeah, mine is around that number after I went through and deleted books about a year ago.

  10. Kirsty-Marie

    Me and TBR jars to not get on. Mainly because I’m so indecisive, the first time I had one, I put like four back in a row and gave up, asking somebody else to pick a number out of whatever books were on my shelves that I wanted to read, and then I’d HAVE to read it. I never really thought I was a mood reader, but I think I’m getting there.

    Most of my books that I haven’t read are older books, and once I do get to them, I haven’t really reviewed them, only a few, I read the Heist Society series last week, and didn’t really want to review them at all, even though I loved them, but decided to do more of a series review instead.

    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…I Love You…But I Don’t Want to Review You

    • Alise

      Hmm, that’s a pretty good idea! I like the idea of relying on someone else because they are there to back you up and get on you if you don’t read that book.

      I know exactly what you mean! The Heist Society books were fun but I’m not sure I could review each of them, either. Unfortunately I don’t read that much so I need to review all the books I DO read so I can have posts.

      YES. Our major dilemma.

    • Alise

      Yeah, I’m worried that will be a habit I pick up. I was okay with reading the next book because it’s also an old book on my shelves I needed to read someday anyway xD

      I get that, I always feel the pressure of reading ARCs looming over my shoulder whenever I read something OTHER than ARCs, aha.

  11. Joy // Joyousreads

    I, too, have an outrageous TBR pile, but I’ve not found an effective way of culling it. Every time I look at my TBR shelf, it makes me wonder what in the hell was I thinking buying those unread books to begin with. Lol.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…Bad Day

  12. ShootingStarsMag

    I like reviews of older titles, because sometimes they are easier to get a copy of, or they might be something I own but haven’t read yet. I don’t have a TBR jar, but I do think it would be a fun idea so I can weed through the many books I own and don’t know when I’ll read.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

  13. Valerie

    Oh I would definitely NOT FOLLOW my TBR jar. I am very much a mood reader, and I easily get attracted to new releases. So kudos to you for succeeding (somewhat from what I’ve read hahah). But hey! Second time is….the charm…no that’s the third time. But look at you succeeding on the second time!
    Valerie recently posted…A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

    • Alise

      Haha, for me it’s more I resent being told what to do xD Three books out of the jar are better than none so I consider that a success, lol.

  14. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Ah, I agree, my TBR jars and I were absolutely frenemies! You’ll notice I used past tense… because we have since broken up. I basically would get irrationally mad no matter WHAT I picked out of the jar. Even if it was a book I DID want to read (because I tried the whole using a smaller group of books thing), I would get ridiculously ragey and refuse to read the book. It was like some kind of rebellion against a piece of paper? I had two, one for review books and one for bookshelf books, but it didn’t matter, I never liked whatever I picked. I don’t know, it is clearly me, which is why we parted ways ;) I do hope this system works better for you now that you’ve narrowed it down!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Hitting the Creative Wall

    • Alise

      That used to be me, too! I resented that little jar for telling me what to do so I know exactly what you mean. At this point I recognize I have an issue so I’m pretty determined xD Thank you!

    • Alise

      I wish I could do that! I always am like “No, I should get through this ARC” and never read my shelf books D:

      Haha awesome, let me know when it goes up!

      • Terri M., the Director

        Well, being a mood reader is playing against me right now. I don’t have any ARCs that are pressing reads. Works been stressful so staying focused on one book is not working. I keep reading in one, put it down because I can’t focus and then I go and pick up something different the next day the same things happens.

        I hope after my break coming up, I’ll be back in a groove.
        Terri M., the Director recently posted…Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Prisoner by Dennis W. Green

  15. Haraiah

    I can relate. I am a mood reader myself. My first attempt at a TBR jar I put all the titles I own physically except for the sequels that their previous books I haven’t read yet. It was still a fail. And up until this moment that jar in sitting on my shelf, mocking me. But I haven’t touched it for years. LOL.

    Even a monthly TBR list I can’t follow. I’ve been trying since I can remember and this time I’ve made it a very short list so when my reading mood deviates I can easily pick up another book and eventually go back and follow through that list. Still didn’t happen. I will start reading one or two on that list and it’s all good, then I find myself looking for another title, and another, until I can’t make myself go back. But I am not losing hope. That day will come. Hahaha.

    It’s just that when I force myself to read a book there is a chance I will still enjoy and love it, but there is also that chance where all I will think about while reading that particular book is: “I don’t want to read it. I’m not in the mood for this. Why am I reading it?” Then I’d end up not liking it and I don’t want that to happen.
    Haraiah recently posted…June 2015 New Releases: Part 2

    • Alise

      Aw, I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! I’m worried that will be the case for me eventually. Haha, I know, my first TBR jar had gathered so much dust on it, it was pretty gross.

      Hmm, maybe the problem is making a list feels so forced? Like you start the month with a list to read and have to get through, it almost becomes a chore. I think what I like about the TBR jar is that it is somewhat spontaneous.

      True, true. I can see how that would be a big issue, I wonder what I will do when that comes up for me. I might just put it back in the jar? Not sure.
      Alise recently posted…My TBR Jar and I are Frenemies

  16. Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    TBR jars will never work for me. I am SUCH a mood reader. I can’t stick to a schedule or a piece of paper or any type of medium meant to organize me. I’m a creature of whim and feels. I will drop everything and obtain a book I see in a second if I really want to read it. I think it’s a great idea to mix between review copies and your own books. It’ll really balance your reading, so it doesn’t seem like you’re stuck with such an obligation. Oh geez, my TBR is 800 books long. It’s scary. Lovely post!
    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books recently posted…Review ~ The Royal We

    • Alise

      I know what you mean. It’s strange because I LOVE to schedule, I just can’t follow one. I’m kind of glad I can force myself to read something xD Mine is 700 so I share your pain, haha. Thank you!

  17. Romi

    It’s so great that this is working, Alise! I adore the TBR jar idea and did it once, poorly for maybe three months, but… I’m the kind of reader who likes to choose what they’re reading, and even if I’ve got a jar full of books I know I do want to read, likely as not if the one I want most isn’t pulled out I’ll feel really dissatisfied, and who wants that going into a book? Right now I’ve actually decided to pick three books each month and instagram the fact I’m going to be reading them, and that’s worked! I’ve almost finished all three and should get through the review copies I have waiting, too. And I’m getting through books that’ve been on my shelf for a long time, too, so I know that satisfaction.
    I’m totally into you posting reviews of older books! I have a bunch of books published in different years that I want to read, so I’m definitely not going to shy away from reviews that aren’t about just published books.
    Romi recently posted…A Q&A and a giveaway! (Open AUS)

    • Alise

      Thanks! My first one was a failure as well. I can see that, I grew resentful of being told what to read back then so I was kinda in the same boat. That’s a good system, something to keep to!

      Good to know! I’ll read any review so it is nice to know other people feel the same!

  18. Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm

    I have been tempted to try this myself. I own so many books that I haven’t gotten to read yet. But I am also a little worried that I would just put it back if I didn’t like what I picked out of the jar, which would kind of make the whole thing pointless. Maybe I should try it though. I definitely need to lower my physical TBR pile by a considerate amount. I own hundreds I haven’t read now. NOT GOOD!!!! >.<
    Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm recently posted…A Colleen Hoover Mini Review Extravaganza!

    • Alise

      You must try! It’s really hard not to pick another book BUT if you go into it with a positive attitude and recognize that you NEED to read some of your unread books, I think you will do well :)

  19. Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

    I am the worst at following through with things like a TBR Jar, BUT I have been so tempted to try this as I have so many books collecting dust on my shelves that deserve to be read. I think I might create my own TBR jar very soon. I review every book I read (or I try to) new and old. I don’t discriminate on book ages when I’m buying books, either. As long as they sound good, I’m happy so I like to read older book reviews as well as new and upcoming :D

    • Alise

      You should, see if it works for you! And I am the same way, I review every book I read. That’s good to know you feel that way, I’ll write reviews of my older books too, then!

  20. Tiffany (About to Read)

    I don’t mind reviews of older books! I actually prefer to read reviews of books I’ve already read.

    I like the idea of a TBR jar, but I know it’s not really for me. I like to read based on my mood and a jar just wouldn’t fit that style.
    Tiffany (About to Read) recently posted…I’m Not Sorry

    • Alise

      I also like to do that, it’s really interesting to compare thoughts like that.

      I feel you, if I was a mood reader it wouldn’t be for me either.

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