Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How Do You Decide to Add Books to Your TBR?

My economics professor might say this: our ability to read is limited by finite resources. Unless you’re Fillmore from Sherman’s Lagoon the thing you are going to run out of is not books—it is TIME.

Library books
Flickr Credit: faungg's photos
If everything were perfect, we’d have all the time in the world to read any and every book that takes our fancy. But it isn’t a perfect world. We can’t read everything we want, Blofeld shoots Tracy as they drive off into the sunset, and George Lazenby never stars in another Bond film again. (If you don’t like my James Bond references, then that is your problem.)

In other words (again, as my economics professor might say it) we have to make choices with what we read because our time is scarce.

So how do you pick what you’re going to read? And, for that matter, how do I pick what I’m going to read?

The latter question is easy, ‘cause I’m about to tell you.

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1. It is an author or series that I already love.

I feel like this probably goes without saying for many bookworms. If I know I like the author or it’s a series and I’m loving it—of course it will go on the TBR list! Of course it will. That’s what people do.

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2. I like the genre or the style.

I look for something new and interesting to read sometimes, and when I do, I generally look to my friend SPECULATIVE FICTION. Which does not mean just thinking about fiction, as I originally thought—it’s like sci-fi and fantasy and paranormal and stuff. I like those kinds of books, so if I find a book that is in the bubble I usually read, I plunk it on that list. A girl’s gotta read.

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3. I’m trying to expand my horizons or perspective or understanding of the subject at hand. 

This usually happens because I’m trying to read more diverse books than because I actually want to know the origins of gardening tools, or something like that. Maybe if it is for school, I can motivate myself with that thought. As it is, the biggo issue I’m going for now is trying to look at the world from perspectives that are not my own, and appreciating them for what they are. So I have a lot of those. That I will get to. Eventually.

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4. I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe in you.

There is hype, and there is many respectable blogging buddies esteeming a particular novel. Hype is like weird emotions that people feel and share and make books seem (maybe) cooler than they are. But when I see that other bloggers, who may like what I like or share similar interests or ALL THINK THIS BOOK IS THE BEST THING EVER… then it usually goes on my list. I trust that the people whose words I like to read can give me other good sources of reading. And it does happen often. Like, if I’m a regular on your blog, you can pretty much bet that I’ve got your name next to a book I’m meaning to read thanks to your recommendation.

And I mean that.

I am not always good about getting on top of these, unfortunately. In part because I am more inclined to read books I already know I’ll like—the main perp here being rereads—but sometimes I am just selfish and biased and don’t get to books other people recommend even though I should.

But, like I said, my time is a scarce resources. I’m forced to make choices. And maybe they’re not the best choices—but I’m working on it!


All of that, of course, leads to the final discussion. YOU. I am talking about you, who is reading this, just now. How do you decide what you’re going to put on your TBR? And (dun dun dun) how good are you at getting to them? (Because I am not that good.)


16 comments :

  1. Well, if I see a good review and it looks like it'd be up my alley I'll probably add it. Online hype is also quite influential. And of course series and authors I already know. I have a tbr of 376 on goodreads, which is mostly how I keep track of things, and when I'm stuck for what to read/ not on a library ban like right now I'll look at those books. But by now some of them I'm totally uninterested in and I can't un-add them. so maybe 200 are ones I actually want to read. But a few weeks ago I read Golden, which was on my list and other ones I've conquered this year are my life next door, half bad, truthwitch and Passenger

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    1. I myself have a Goodreads TBR of 70 books, but that is because I don't actually keep my TBR on Goodreads, and that is sort of just a holding spot that I haven't gotten to yet. Blah. Why can't you un-add them though? Can't you just delete them from the list by clicking the x or checking the box or something?

      Ahhh I really really need to read Half Bad and the worst thing is I actually own it. Silly me.

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  2. Really interesting post! I never really thought about the decisions I make when searching for my next book. I guess I always just thought there was a certain randomness to the TBR, but I definitely see myself making the same choices as you.

    Although, I would say that a matter of convenience plays a huge role in what I'm going to read. Do I have it? Does the library have it? Is there an audiobook of it? If it's some small self-published book, then no matter how good it is, I probably won't ever read it.

    Really interesting point! I might have to write a response post to this, with some of my own thoughts:)

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    1. It turns out there are systems where we do not usually see them. Odd, no? But it's definitely been an influence lately on what books I decide to order special...

      That is also true. I mean, I am not very trusting of small self-published books anyway, but the books I can't get ahold of in a decent fashion definitely fall into the canyons of shame.

      If you do write such a post, please share the link with me so I can make sure to read it and comment back! I'd love to see what you have to say. :)

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  3. These days I have so little time for reading that unless a book is assigned to me I probably won't finish it if it doesn't grab me right away. It doesn't have to be jaw-droppingly good, but it needs to get my attention--and keep it--within the first chapter or so. I still feel sort of guilty about this, but like your professor said time is scarce.

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    1. Oh yeah, I have been in that boat, a lot of times. Sometimes it still happens that halfway through a book I give up and return it to the library or donate it or something. And I don't think that is bad, either. Yes, time is scarce, but also, not all books are for everyone, either. :/

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  4. I have a limited budget and I can't always find the books that I want in the bookstore so I buy what I can see and afford *shrugs* :(

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    1. Ah, I understand. Fortunately, I have a local library close so I usually can get what I want for free. :)

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  5. OH YES THIS. I actually add books fairly liberally to my GR TBR ... it's really picking them out of the pile that's the problem. Definitely yes to understanding the world from more PoVs -- determined to pick up a book with a deaf MC this year. And blogger recs go a long way, of course! There's also *ahem* the small matter of the price on Book Depository. Some books are like HALF the price of hyped books, would you believe it ... *sighs* Very insightful post, Heather -- I'm certain your economics teacher would approve! ;)

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    1. And I hardly use GR at all. *laughs and then stops and then sighs* And that can also be a problem... Looking at a bunch of books and having trouble deciding which one is going to be next because they're all so good, or sometimes having a bunch of books that look less interesting make books that are of great interest look less interesting, too. Brains are weird.

      (If you do read such a book lemme know how it is because I am curious about how it would turn out.)

      *shakes head* Book prices are so frustrating. And thank you! I am glad to have written it so economically.

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  6. I tend to add books when I see them and then regret it later. If I like the cover or I saw someone on a blog talk about it or it seems interesting I'm like 'I'll give that a read!'. But sadly there are more books than time :/ My TBR on Goodreads is over 400 books atm :o


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    1. XD Oh no! Impulse TBR-ing is going to be the death of us all, I bet. *shakes head*

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  7. I guess I just sort of...add books I'm interested in? I have no strategy for this and it backfires on me all the time. Sigh. But mostly I just go for what I'm in the mood for and what looks awesome.

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    1. Ahh, the good old-fashioned way of doing things. :) I get that, and I sometimes do it too, so I can only give you the thumbs up.

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  8. Cool post! I basically use all of these, though I also have a habit of judging books by their covers and, from there, reading and adoring the description. So. I don't know that I actually have a process, so much as a "OOH THIS LOOKS COOL, I WILL DEFINITELY READ IT.... someday."


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. I know, I do that too. I almost didn't read the first book of my favorite series because the cover was ugly. xD And yeah... the process is definitely about putting things off, I think.

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