Over the last couple years, you guys may have heard me reference my TBR Jar once or twice. Usually in a two part symphony about how much I love it, and also how much I wish it would pop up a book I want to read. I thought for today, I’d talk a little bit about how I use my TBR Jar, and why I actually really do love it.
So this… is my TBR Jar. It’s a giant glass vase that I repurposed, and to give you some sense of scale, it’s about 6″ in diameter, and about 6″ tall. I really like that it’s open and easy to get my hand around in there so I can root around for the lucky star I want to pull out.
People who have TBR Jars use them in different ways. My actual TBR of books I’ve never read and want to spans to almost 1000 and I can’t imagine making up a little star for each one of those books and once I fish it out… hunting for and possibly needing to buy that book to read it. Not my cup of tea. Rather, I started using a TBR Jar because I have an extensive personal library and I wanted to make sure I was reading the books I owned.
I don’t discuss it a lot, but I have a running challenge for myself on this blog called The Great Bookcase Crusade where I push myself to read (and re-read) the books I own to assess if they’ve truly earned a spot on my shelf. Left to my own devices, I’m a mood reader. I have read Harry Potter and the Dark Tower and the Hunger Games trilogy so many times, and I will keep pulling those old familiars off my shelf and leave the others to gather dust. I didn’t want to be like that, so when I initiated The Great Bookcase Crusade, I took the time to sit down and jot down the titles of every book (or the first book in every series) I own and put it in the jar.
I really, really love the randomness of my TBR Jar.
I have never pulled a title out of my TBR Jar and then went “oh man, I don’t want to read this one”. Well, okay, that’s almost true. Once I pulled the title of a book I listened to the previous month, and I put it back in the jar because I wasn’t in the mood to re-read it again so quickly. But generally speaking? I love the randomness and it gets me excited. It’s a surprise every time!
And the variety my TBR Jar allows me is really good. For example, my most recent three draws:
- The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
- Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
While all three of these are fantasy, they run the gamut in my personal library. The Bone Season is adult fantasy, urban, and it’s a brand new book I picked up at BookCon. Tuesdays at the Castle is a MG novel that’s a bit older but had been recommended highly, so I picked up secondhand last Christmas. Eragon is a YA book I’ve read many times and I’ve had in my collection for … forever. Each one of them was a surprising pull and I was delighted to get them. It just adds some fun to this challenge for me!
Of course, TBR Jars are each to their own. I chose to use my hardcopy library as a base, but it does mean every time I get a new book, I have to take the time to add a new lucky star before I put it away. I add sequels when I finish the first book (assuming I own the sequel). There is some habit to it. You have to decide how you want it to look, what you want it to hold, and you have to stick to it.
Once upon a time, I actually had FOUR TBR jars. Mason jars, old candle jars, and vases made up the bulk of my TBR Jars, and it was getting out of control because the slips of paper I was using were just too big… so I switched to lucky stars. As you can see in the above picture, I am not the best at folding them – this is actually one of my better ones. Before I started with my TBR Jar, I couldn’t fold any origami to save my life, so only repeatedly watching YouTube videos and lots of practice has gotten me to a place where I can usually get them to pop correctly and hold their shape. I’ll be honest – there are a couple in that jar that are… less than satisfactory that I didn’t feel like dealing with!
Folded squares work just fine for those who aren’t digging the origami. I just needed to downsize how many jars I had, so I kept the largest one and redid all my titles into lucky stars. It took an age, but I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
And, being just a bit shallow, I really like the way my TBR Jar looks. I am all about bright color because they make me happy, and this is a jar or joyful stars with secret book titles tucked inside. Honestly, it looks just as much decorative as it is functional.
So … that’s it! That’s my TBR Jar and why I use it and how I use it. 🙂