Like most book readers, I’ve got a TBR list – both formally on Goodreads and as a wishlist in the Overdrive app, and informally in my head – but, to be honest, I don’t really plan on reading all of those books. I don’t prioritize my next book choice based on my list. I just don’t see that working for me because my reading habits and styles and interests are always changing and growing. Here are a few specific examples of why I don’t plan on following through with my TBR list:
1. Sometimes I see the movie first and then I don’t care to read the book.
This might be because I didn’t think the movie was very good, so why would I invest the time into the book? Or, now the lack of suspense just makes it something I no longer care to read. I know what happens – why bother reading the same story twice?!
Three particular examples of this are:
- The Spectacular Now, book by Tim Tharp
- The Lightning Thief, book by Rick Riordan
- Big Little Lies, book by Liane Moriarty
2. Sometimes I read other books by the author and realize I don’t really care for their work.
For instance, I know John Green has a big following, but I just can’t get over how pretentious and boring most of his books are. Read more about my thoughts here! Even though I added Looking For Alaska to my TBR because it is consistently on best-book lists (even making it onto the PBS The Great American Read program), I refuse to read it since I didn’t like An Abundance of Katherines or Paper Towns. The Fault in our Stars is bearable, but I can pick out a lot of other YA books that I enjoy more.
3. Sometimes I’m worried reading another book by a beloved author will ruin the series/author for me.
I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird numerous times, and even taught it in the years I spent teaching high school English, but I’m scared to pick up Go Set a Watchman. I’ve heard that Atticus is not as virtuous as he is in TKAM. The circumstances regarding how the book became published when Harper Lee was 88 never sat well with me, either. Did she really want the book read or was she taken advantage of?
Another book like this is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I adore the Harry Potter series and I don’t want to tarnish it. Cursed Child has had very mixed reviews, and since Potterheads worship J.K. Rowling, I know the work has to be pretty rough to not earn their praise!
4. Sometimes I read the first book in the series and wasn’t captivated enough to pursue the rest of the series…but if I come across it someday, maybe I’ll pick it up.
- King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
- Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman
- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5. Sometimes it’s a classic or a book with a lot of hype that I feel I’m supposed to have read…but I’m not really interested. I’ll get to it later.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
How about you? Are you strict with your TBR list, or do you give yourself wiggle room?