Discussion: How My TBR and Reading has Changed Since I Started Blogging

Back when I had never heard of book blogging, bookstagram, booktube and pretty much any social media morphed with the word book, my reading ways were very different. Before the Summer of 2016, I barely had any idea what was going on in the bookish world.

It started slowly, with bookish tumblr, I was never active but my feed was filled with pictures of pretty books. I have had goodreads since halfway 2015, but never was active, I just used it to keep track of which books I read. I remember a time when I literally had a list in a notebook somewhere on which I wrote down every single time I finished a book. Now I have detailed lists on goodreads and even excel files.

Before I started blogging, I think I read about 50 books per year, of which most were from libraries. I think I bought about 20 books each year, and these 20 were almost all second hand or thrift store finds. I barely spent any money on books. This all changed when I started blogging and got caught up in the community. I started writing reviews, reading other people’s review and above all adding books to my tbr.

I wish I could look back at what my tbr looked like back in July of 2016, because I’m pretty sure it’s size grew exponentially after that. I still have 11 books from before July on my tbr and I’m pretty sure those were the majority of books. I think all the books on my tbr back then were books I actually owned, were part of a series I had started reading or were by authors I had read books of before. My tbr was almost literally a pile.

So what happened after I started getting more into the book community was that I got to know so many more books, books that were apparently very popular and amazing and of course, newbie as I was, I added pretty much all of the books I could find. This is one of those pitfalls that is very easy to fall into as a newbie.

Back in November (?) I started going through my tbr and it stressed me out, all those books I had yet to read, and half of them I didn’t even know what they were about. I started removing them. My tbr is now not very long but still, it’s stressful.

TBRs are weird mythical things that never seem to end, and I’m always torn about them. Are they good? Wasn’t the way it was back when I had no goodreads better? I just read whatever I felt like reading, whatever I found intriguing in the library. Now I spent hours contemplating which book to read next, reading reviews, adding and removing books from my tbr. Is that worth it?

True, I’ve found more amazing books than I’ve ever read before during my time as a blogger. I’ve found new favourites, read more diversely than ever, reviewed amazing ARCs and learned to love different genres. But on the other hand, reading back then was only for fun, no keeping track, no “oh no I need to read that book right now because…”.

Keeping track of what I’m reading is fun because I can see what I’ve read, I can look back at what I’ve experienced, but it feels like I ‘have to’ read a lot to make up for that long TBR. I won’t simply go to a bookstore and pick up any random book anymore, because is that book worth my valuable time? With over 40 amazing books I need to read, is that one book that intrigues me worth it?

I think we’ve all become a little obsessed with our tbr. At least, I know I have. And I’m trying to keep myself from being obsessed, because I miss that feeling of going to my dad’s bookshelves and just picking up a random book that sounds fun. I miss that feeling of wonder when going to the library and reading synopses of every book, because now I usually go right for the books that I’m looking for. I miss that feeling of not having to keep up with my standards. And I know that they’re completely my own, nobody’s telling me what to read. I’m putting myself on this path of ‘having to read everything on my tbr’.

Sometimes I feel like completely deleting my tbr, but I know I’ll never do that. Instead, I’ve made a someday-maybe list, with all the books that sound interesting, but without the pressure of having to actually read them. If I never end up reading them, I won’t be sad. On my actual tbr are only books I know I really want to read and I will read one day (preferably close). This system actually seems to work for me.

What’s your opinion on tbrs? Did yours change when you came into the bookish community? Do you get stressed about the endlessness of your tbr?

(if you didn’t know already, I have a weekly meme called Down The TBR Hole, in which you go through your tbr 5 books at a time. Go check it out)

32 thoughts on “Discussion: How My TBR and Reading has Changed Since I Started Blogging

  1. I’m new to book blogging, but I think it’s actually going to cut down on my stress from TBR’s! I’ve had a Goodreads account since my freshman year of high school, and back then I’d add random books to my to-read shelf whenever I felt like it, and I actually started to hate Goodreads because of it. It stressed me out because there were so many things I wanted to read, but like you said, I didn’t even know anything about half of them: they were just random books I found on the site. Since I started blogging though, I went through my Goodreads account and removed almost everything from that list (half of them were cheesy YA books anyway…I love YA books if they’re well-written, but some of these just looked like cheesy Hunger Games rip-offs). I know I can’t read everything, especially if I want to have time to review these books too. I’ve now got maybe 15 books on my TBR instead, and I’m feeling a lot better about it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I’m happy that it helped you, it seemed like it had the opposite effect on your tbr as it had on mine. Adding random books to your tbr didn’t do me any good either, but I’m glad you’ve found your way out of your gigantic tbr!

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  2. I haven’t been blogging for very long, but I have noticed how much my TBR has changed. I’m sure I’ll always have hundreds in my goodreads Want to Read shelf, but what I’m reading and when has changed. I’m, honestly less concerned about reading in a timely manner right now, because many of the books I review are a few years old, but I do get that anxiety about wanting to be timely with my reading and reviews. I’ve discovered a lot of great books that I never would have thought of reading if I wasn’t actively blogging. Which I guess is the good side of the over thinking it. Great Post!

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    1. Blogging definitely has done great things for me reading-wise, and I don’t really feel the stress of reading and reviewing ARCs on time (basically because I never have any clue when they will be out) and books that are already out I often don’t review because of a lack of time and motivation. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I go back and forth between letting blogging influence what and how much I read! Some days I am 100% okay with not reading anything and others I am sitting there like ‘I should be reading right now.’.

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    1. Oh yes, I definitely know what you mean. Some days I feel like I should be reading or should have read everything and anything, and on other days I just don’t care.

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  4. Sometimes I do get stressed over my TBR not because I have a ‘due date’ or anything to read them by but because I’ve heard great things about them and it sounds so interesting but I don’t own it yet or I just haven’t had the time to pick it up. Lately I’ve received so many books in the mail that I’ve ordered and I want to read them all right now but I know that I can’t. I’m a slower reader so that’s what frustrates me. Down the TBR hole has helped me so much because then I really push myself to ask myself if I’m really going to read a certain book or not.

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    1. I know that feeling. I’ve bought a couple of books lately too and now I want to read them all too! But then I don’t read them for some reason. There’s just so many books I want to read! I’m happy down the tbr hole is helping!

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  5. This is so interesting and I agree with so much of what you’ve said! My TBR doesn’t stress me out, but I do feel more daunted by it and I didn’t even really have a TBR before blogging, I would just choose a book from the library when I wanted something. I’ve also found that I now read so many more recent releases, whereas before blogging most of the books I read were ones that were much older YA titles! I’m not sure if I prefer it now, but I do love the sense of community associated with reading when you’re a blogger!

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    1. I also read way more new releases! I used to read simply the books I found at the library which were usually older books. I so also love the community when reading, there is always someone who wants to discuss your opinions over a book. That’s just so lovely because I never had that before!

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  6. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve definitely been introduced to so many more books than I would have known about before. Of course my tbr is absolutely huge and I’ll probably never complete it, but oh well. πŸ™‚
    Check out my TTT and my current giveaway.

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  7. I really agree with a lot of this! I think the real reason I even have a TBR is so I don’t forget which books I want to read at some point. I just use it to keep track of good books, rather than see them on my Twitter timeline, and then forget about them when I go to the bookstore.

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    1. Oh yes the forgetting is a good reason for a tbr. I’ve got many books on there that I would probably never read if they weren’t on my tbr, simply because I would have forgotten about them!

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  8. Oh, this is really interesting to hear! Personally, I think that whilst blogging has definitely changed what kind of books I read, I don’t feel that much pressure with my TBR. I’m not very good at updating Goodreads so I just tend to keep a mental TBR of the books I really want to read, or store a few away for later. I basically only look at my actual TBR list when I’m buying books to go on holiday! And I still like going to the library to just find random books haha.
    I guess my system is a little similar to yours! But I hope that yours works & reduces that feeling of having to read books πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good you don’t feel pressured! I think if I were to keep a mental tbr I would forget everything I want to read, I’m not good with that, I like lists I can look back on.
      Thanks!

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  9. Oh I definitely know what you mean about missing the feeling of just picking up random books. Sometimes I’m at the bookstore and I know so many books there, and when I discover a book I hadn’t heard of and that sounds like fun, it’s such a great feeling! I really miss the kind of browsing I used to do. Though I do love finding out more about all the books that are out there. It’s a struggle haha #bookwormproblems

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  10. Being spontaneous is great! I love that, I try to read spontaneous as well every once in a while, but it’s a struggle :/
    Welcome to blogging! I hope you have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s for a project I’m hosting to introduce new bloggers to the community, but if you need help making your blog look good I can send you some links that might help you. (If you want you can also participate in the project! That would be awesome)

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