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Tackling the TBR [69]: May 2021

tackling the TBR

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:

May 2021 TBR Tackler Shelf:

Well, I made it through the audiobook last month… kind of. Not so much for my two physical reads (which is why Million Dollar Demon and Aurian are in the lineup… again).

I didn’t pick up a single book for about two week in April. Probably the longest I’ve gone without reading something in 10+ plus years. I was struggling with mental health (postpartum depression, among other things) and was feeling very overwhelmed. Interestingly, it was my lack of motivation to pick up books that cued me into realizing there was something more than fatigue going on. I’m seeking help for those issues and am starting to feel more myself again. But my reading definitely suffered last month.

In addition to all of that, I lost several hours a day to this ridiculous game on my phone. I think I was trying to escape my uncomfortable feelings, but whatever the case I caught a glance at my screen-time data and almost had a cow. I’ve been walking around for weeks bitching about the fact that I don’t have enough time to work on all the projects I want to, but for some reason it took seeing that data to wake me up to how I was wasting my life. And this is coming from someone who has been heavily pursuing digital minimalism for the past several months. I deleted the app (that was hard to do lol) and decided I’ll leave it deleted until I no longer have projects I really want to work on (which probably wont happen – I always have something going on – but it has been a nice motivator to tackle them all). 

Reading drama aside, this month I’m continuing my Malazan journey with some short story fillers. I’m reading the second Scythe book because I like the first one a lot more than I thought I was going to. And I picked up a review copy of Son of the Storm (audio production quality over at Audiofilemagazine.com). That should be enough to keep me occupied the whole month. I’ve a personal goal to finish the ongoing physical reads as soon as I can so I can finally get to something else


Have a great month in reading!

by Niki Hawkes

 

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Tackling the TBR [68]: April 2021

tackling the TBR

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:

April 2021 TBR Tackler Shelf:

I’m mostly satisfied with my reading completion in March. I finally finished Deadhouse Gates and managed to also find time for Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews and The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. I went back to work from maternity leave and have been striving to find a balance between work/kids/reading. I discovered I missed my littles so much while I was at work that I didn’t bust out my headphones very often while home with them. Reading may have to transition to something I do at work and during commutes, which doesn’t offer a lot of time throughout the week. Careful title selection will be even more key than ever because if I’m going to find precious time to read, the book better at least be something I’m really going to enjoy. 

To that end, I’m continuing series with authors I already know and love and starting a new YA trilogy for my book club. Maybe by this time next month I’ll have found a new rhythm. 


Have a great month in reading!

by Niki Hawkes

 

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Tackling the TBR [67]: March 2021

tackling the TBR

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:

March 2021 TBR Tackler Shelf:

Whelp that didn’t go well.

I’m about 60% through Deadhouse Gates (I’ve been reading consistently, it’s just really dense) and 20% through The Heroes, but other than that haven’t touched my TBR for February. I might have made more progress, but my hold for Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang came in a week or two before my hold on The Heroes, so I decided to read that one instead since it was technically a carry over from January. I’m annoyed I’m so far behind my planned reading schedule for the year already, but really, it was developed more to help me stay focused on the titles that matter most rather than to be a do-or-die regiment. I really shouldn’t have decided to take on Malazan if I wanted to stick to a schedule, anyway.

So my TBR Tackler Shelf is identical to February’s and as much as that bugs me, it definitely reflects my reading life accurately. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a dent in it this month. I do return to work from maternity leave in a couple weeks, so that should give me a little more quiet time to absorb more books (surprisingly it’s not the newborn sapping my mental energy, but my four-year-old. I love him so much, but his constant chatter and need for attention make it impossible for me to read heavy fantasy novels when he’s home. #momlife).


Have a great month in reading!

by Niki Hawkes

 

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Tackling the TBR [66]: February 2021

tackling the TBR

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:

February 2021 TBR Tackler Shelf:

I may have been a little overly optimistic for my January selections. Deadhouse Gates is fantastic so far but going MUCH slower than I’d anticipated because I’m reading it at a snail’s pace. Not to mention I had a baby this month and the combination of sleep deprivation and taking care of a tiny human doesn’t leave me a lot of reading time. In any case, I bumped a title off my list for February to give myself a chance to finish DG, then on to another Abercrombie and a much-anticipated buddy read for Malice. I don’t think I’m going to get through them all this month, but at least I’m focusing on the best books first. Progress not perfection, as they say.

I did some reading analytics at the end of 2020 and realized 90% of the books I was rating poorly were YA, yet I read almost 20 of them last year. On the flip side, almost all of the fantasy books I read got high ratings (I was really selective in choosing my titles, so this didn’t surprise me). It occurred to me that all of that effort I’m spending on books I’m not really liking could be much better spent on ones I’m statistically more likely to enjoy based on my analysis. So 2021 has become the year of as many fantasy novels as I can possibly cram in. Consisting of Malazan, Faithful and the Fallen, First Law, and many others I’ve been “saving” for a rainy day. I’m cashing in for the rainy year that was 2020. So far this change has served me well. 


Have a great month in reading!

by Niki Hawkes