Me, Myself, and My TBR Jars

Why I Don’t Do a Time-Based TBR

One of the most common videos I’ve seen on booktube, and a post I’ve been stumbling across with book blogging as well, is a TBR. Many of us readers like to list which books we intend to read over a given time period: a week, a year, or, most commonly that I’ve seen, a month. Most people I’ve seen tend to swerve from this list, I’ve noticed.

I personally have never done one in this way. I haven’t looked at my shelves, asked myself what I want to read that month, and made a list. That’s because I have these:


They’re my TBR Jars, which you may have seen around the book community as well. Often they’re filled with books you intend to read, or particular challenges you want to fulfill, over the course of a year. I don’t know who came up with this, but I think the original idea was to pick out one book every month and add that to your existing TBR.

I don’t do that.

These jars are so full because they contain a slip of paper for every book on my shelves that I would like to read (though series are condensed into one slip to avoid confusion). In addition, each jar has 5 blank slips; they’re basically wild cards, which, when picked, allow me to choose any book on my shelf.

My system works as follows: I finish reading a book. I pick one slip of paper from each jar. Say none of them particularly appeal to me. I pick a fourth slip from one of the jars. Then, I decide based on those slips which book to read. I read it. Rinse and repeat. If a series pops up, I have the freedom to continue with the series or introduce a slip for the next book to the jars.

How do you decide what to read next?


20 thoughts on “Me, Myself, and My TBR Jars

  1. This is such a smart, creative idea to the existing TBR jar idea! I love it! I usually just pick a decent amount of books that I feel interested in that month! It’s pretty spontaneous for me.


  2. I tend to pick books at random and see if I’m in the mood to read them. If not, they go back on the shelf. Not necessarily the best system, as I’ve had some books sit unread for years, but I find it hard to force myself to read a book.


    • Being forced to read a book is a fantastic way to limit enjoyment thereof–I think that largely contributes to why so many people loathe the books they have to read for school. The important part is finding a system that works for you (and reading anything is great; I don’t think how long books go unread matters so much. You’ll get to them eventually)–picking books randomly off a shelf can also be a lot of fun ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very similar to how my TBR works, I have just one TBR jar with a selection of books I feel like reading in the near future and I intersperse reading these with books I just feel like reading.

    Do you have a bloglovin account? I’d love to follow you on there if you do, it’s just an easier way for me to read blogs ๐Ÿ™‚



    • I think I’d be more inclined to stray from the jars if I didn’t have so many books to read or significant success in sticling to it. Its gotten me to read books on my shelves I might otherwise have skipped over in a journwy to read books I’m feeling like reading in the moment.

      I don’t, unfortunately. Sorry ^^;


  4. I LOVE that you have blank slips in your tbr jars as wild cards, that’s such a great idea! I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that. I think the idea of tbr jars are great, firstly they look super pretty, secondly, they probably make you pick up books that have been on your shelves forever that keep getting pushed back in favour of newer, shiny-er books. But as of yet I don’t have one, the thing is I don’t know if I would like being restricted and not being in control of what I read next because I’m a mood reader. Maybe I should go tbr jars by genre or something, LOL.

    Great post!


  5. I love this!Such creative and fun idea for deciding which books to read. I just usually browse my bookshelf and pick whatever I’m in the mood for. And your jars are cute too with the ribbon. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • I only recently added the ribbons to help me differentiate between them when I’m picking slips, but I do rather like the colors. I was having trouble deciding what to read next by just browsing the bookshelf, but this method also somehow makes me feeling like I’m being held accountable for the books I read. I think it’s because I’m putting the finished slips into a box so I can see how many books I’ve read.

      Liked by 1 person

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