Even before discovering Book Twitter and the world of Book Blogging, I would usually set myself a TBR and stick to it, working my way through a list of books more or less in the order I’d written them down, sometimes months before. I’ve had yearly TBRs before that I have hardly deviated from.
But now, the way I read is changing. Now, more and more, I find that setting myself a list of books to read makes me chafe against the restriction, artificial and self-created as it is. Part of it is petty rebellion, wanting to be a bit ‘naughty’ and not follow the rules (sadly this is about as rebellious as I get these days!) but there is also something else going on.
I am becoming, slowly but surely, much more of a mood reader. Having studied literature at university, I got used to having set book lists and plodding my way through them methodically, and I guess I got stuck in that habit for a long time. I used to finish every book I started, dutifully, even if I wasn’t enjoying it. These days, I am much more likely to put a book down and pick up something else if it isn’t doing it for me. Sometimes it’s just a case of the wrong time, and I can come back to it later and enjoy it more. Sometimes the book just isn’t for me – and I’m learning to be okay with that.
There is, of course, the issue of books that NEED reading by a certain time – blog tour books, ARCs kindly provided by lovely publishers and publicists, author requests that make me feel very guilty if I leave them for months (it does happen, and I do apologise – I WILL get to them!). I have had to cut down on blog tours in order to accommodate my changing reading habits – I will always try and meet my commitments, I just need fewer of them at the moment.
What it boils down to is that I don’t want to feel obligated to read a book – I want to really, really fancy reading it. I think I’m having a sort of reaction against being so prescriptive with my reading for so long, and I reckon it will balance out again soon, so I will keep my hand in with the tours and so on, but for now, I am also going to let myself enjoy this new, freer way of reading.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this – do you set yourself a monthly TBR? Or are you a mood reader? If you take part in tours and read advanced copies, how do you stop it from feeling prescriptive and keep the sense of the fun of reading alive?