A couple of years ago, I brought back an old method for keeping track of the books I’d like to read one day. It proved to be a game-changer once again.
You won’t be surprised to hear my TBR (i.e., To Be Read) list is swimming with titles. I’m constantly adding to it, when I read book news, talk to readers about what they’ve enjoyed, or see interesting books while browsing at the bookstore.
I used to jot these titles down on post-it notes, or capture them in notes on my phone. If I was being thorough, I’d periodically transfer these titles to a running list I kept in my everyday bullet-ish journal.
It’s not a bad strategy: I captured the titles so I can remember them. I have a TBR ready and available.
But there’s a problem with this to-be-read tracking method, and that is one of meaning: so often I’d pull out my TBR and think, I’ve never heard of this title before. Or wonder, How did this book end up on my list?
When I first hear about a new book, and I’m excited to read it, I’m certain I’ll never forget who told me about it, or where I saw it, or WHY I wanted to add it to my TBR. But of course, that’s not often the case. It doesn’t take long for me to forget why I was once so excited about a book—I’ve even forgotten in the short period of time between when I make my library request and pick it up a few days later!
This bookworm problem (and others like it) was top of mind when it came to designing My Reading Life: A Book Journal. To cultivate a vibrant reading life, you need books on your horizon you’re excited to read. That’s why the journal includes space for your To Be Read list, in addition to book log pages, book lists, and more.
Importantly, you need to remember WHY you’re looking forward to read a book, or your initial excitement evaporates. That’s why, in addition to capturing the pertinent details—title, author, and date you added it—these pages prompt you to record why you’re adding it to your TBR.
What about a certain title appeals to you? For my own sake, I like to capture:
Who recommended it? Why did I add it to my list?
These prompts help me recall that initial moment of bookish delight that made me think, This sounds like something I’d like to read. It will also help you know later whether it’s something you still want to read—or, at minimum, if you want to read it right now.
This method is easily adaptable to any reading log; that’s where it all started for me before I had the opportunity to design My Reading Life. (See the photo of my old school book journal above. Four years later, I’ve read three of those five books.) It also works for those who favor a TBR stack over a TBR list: jot this info on a sticky note and pop it on the book in question.
At this moment in your reading life, here on the cusp of a new year, I hope you have plenty of books you’re excited to read next, and I hope you’re able to implement a method that helps you remember why you’re excited to read them.
I’d love to hear what methods you use to keep track of your To Be Read titles; please tell us in comments!
Happy reading, friends!
P.S. Last year I blew your minds with my simple trick to avoid TBR overwhelm. And this little trick is perfect for when you’re stuck in a reading rut, or want to enjoy some variety in this season of your reading life.
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