Tackling the TBR [82]: June 2022

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.

Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

June 2022 TBR Tackler Shelf:

Last month I actually made a good dent in my TBR – making progress on all but three of the books listed. March’s very poor decision-making still has me scrambling to dig myself out of a reading hole, and I reckon I have at least one more month to go before I’m back to reading just one book per format at a time.

To that end, this month I looked at the 7 physical books I had going and decided to make a game out of reading. I used to do this kind of stuff all the time when I was a kid and I figured I either needed to get creative with it or sob/rage until I DNFed everything and quit reading altogether. My game: read one chapter at a time, then rotate to the next book.

To my surprise, the game helped tremendously!

On average I spend about two hours a week physically reading print or ebooks (more or less depending on how many baths I have time to take). I’ve been gradually working to increasing this time, but no method has been super effective… until now. On just my ereader alone, I clocked in almost nine hours per week. Holy shit!!

I think the spice of variety, along with having some absolutely killer books to rotate through (broken up by the occasional dud) was key to my success. I know full well had I tried to read that much focused on a single title, I would’ve gotten burnt out. So instead of finishing a book a week, I managed to progress most of them to about the 30-40% range.

As with any new reading game I’ve tried over the years, I know I’ll eventually want to mix it up again. But for now reading has been a joy and I’m really proud of my progress. I’m currently down to 6 books going (finished one, DNFed one, started a new one).

My goal is to be down to only two books going by the end of June so I can start Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs. Then I’d like to be down to just one by the end of July. At my current rate, that’s totally do-able. We’ll see how it goes. :)

The morals of the story for the month are:

•Stop getting yourself into these situations where it takes you months and months to unbury yourself from your currently reading stack.

•When buried, do what you can to enjoy the moment despite the circumstances and get creative to make it fun.

•You enjoy books MUCH less when you’re anxious about getting to the next one.

To that last point, I’ve managed to have only one audiobook going this month, and wouldn’t you know it – I’m actually enjoying myself for the first time in months! I think one at a time with the quicker completion and freedom to choose that come along with that will be key to my overall reading health.

I’m pleased I’ve found ways this month to mitigate what could’ve been a massive reading slump, but the saga continues…

Have a great month in reading!

by Niki Hawkes

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