Five Great Tools for Slaying Your TBR Monster

5 Great Tools For Slaying Your TBR Monster

Posted October 13, 2021 by Amber in Bookish Things / 0 Comments


You ever look at your TBR and think, “Well crap.  It will take me another decade to read all these”?  Me too!

I have over 2000 books on my TBR.  It’s a daunting number, and except for posts like these or when I’m trying to be pretentious about how much I read and want to read, I try not to think about it.  If I read at a rate of approximately 100 books/year, it’s going to take me about twenty years to read all the books on my TBR now.  Forget any new ones I add in the next 20 years.

And reading slumps?  They don’t help!

Even though I have some over ambitious long-term reading goals, I do get through quite a few books in a year.  I’ve been keeping track on what I’ve been doing to maintain that number and if your TBR is daunting you, I wanted to share some of the things that really help me as I continue to chip away at mine.

1.) Diversify your reading

As much as I enjoy YA Fantasy, even I eventually need a break.  Tropes and characters start to run into each other when I read too much of one genre.  I try to mix up fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and fantasy, and so forth.  I find that it makes me more perceptive to whatever I’m reading and it takes longer for me to burn out and hit a slump.

2.) Vary your intake methods

At any given time, I’ll have an audiobook and a physical copy I’m reading.  If I have any Netgalley ARCs, I’ll also have an ebook.  Adding audiobooks to my mix means I can ingest these stories while I’m doing something else – often while I work.

The shift in media types also helps me feel like I’m moving through different activities.  Sometimes the smallest changes help the most.

3.) Grab a TBR book that’s outside your usual realm of interest

I have often been surprised and inspired out of a slump by reading a book that I added at a point when I was trying to diversify my reading.  Because I don’t know the genre, author, or subject as well, it makes it more challenging for me to predict twists and as such… I’m more invested.

Reading goes so much more smoothly when you can’t put the book down!  Even if the ending isn’t what you expected, taking a chance can reignite your spark to read, read, read.

4.) Let yourself DNF

Some folks are very against DNF-ing.  There are various reasons for this – commitment to finishing what they started, curiosity about the ending, guilt about quitting.  If you are strongly against DNF-ing, you do you!  But I still recommend this tip because it’s helped me.

Reading slumps slow me down more than anything else when I am trying to bust through my TBR.  Books that I am not enjoying are more often than not the reason I lose interest in reading – I just can’t be bothered to care.  Cutting the cord before I droop into that state of mind is incredibly helpful.

5.) Prune your TBR

Sometimes we get into a passion and add a bunch of books to our TBR on a single subject because we have a sudden urge to know more.  This happens to me a lot with non-fiction books!  I recently pruned about twelve books that were about Disney history… and mostly speculative and repetitive at that.  We all make poor TBR decisions sometimes.

We also change as readers.  Maybe two years ago you were really interested in fantasy, but now you’re more of a contemporary romance kind of person.  Putting a book on your TBR doesn’t mean you’re making a commitment to read it no matter what!  Removing books that no longer interest you and watching that number go down can be extremely satisfying.


How many books are on your TBR?  Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one with no self-control and have TBR books that numbers in the thousands.  I’d love it if you shared in the comments!

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