Last night, in a fit of strange productivity, I decided to make a book jar because my TBR is getting a little ridiculous considering my book buying problem. And also because I frequently forget some of the backlist books which are tucked away on my bookshelf and barely get a look-in thanks to all the shiny shiny new books jostling for pride of place.
I am an inherently indecisive person. I’m sure I have mentioned this countless times or else you may have gathered it along the way. Ask anyone who knows my IRL and they will confirm this to be a truth universally acknowledged. This personality trait makes it difficult for me to decide many things – from the most trivial and frivolous (whether to make curry or bolognese for tea) to the more important (whether me and Liz should plan a trip to D.C. and NYC or Disney World). This obviously also filters through into my reading habits and, frankly, I don’t know how I ever decide on a monthly or seasonal TBR – I think I just add books arbitrarily, which is also probably why I suck at sticking to TBRs.
Enter: the TBR jar. Everyone has seen the pretty examples, right? You get a jar, you write down your TBR books on little slips of paper, you fold them up tightly, and then when you’re in need of a book to read, you simply pick one from the jar. It’s almost like you are then fated to read that book because you chose it or (better yet) it chose you.
I’ve never been sure if this method is for me since I am very indecisive and don’t even trust myself to pick the right tiny slip of paper. But it’s worth a shot, right?
I’ve also decided to level-up the TBR jar by adding my own little set of rules… to make it a game of sorts. I will be essentially doing ‘Stick or Twist’ with my TBR jar picks. Simply – I will pick a slip of paper. If I like it and want to ‘stick’, with that choice – great, off I toddle on my merry way and enjoy the book (hopefully). But, if decide I don’t want to read the first book I pick out, I can ‘twist’ and choose another. If I decide I also don’t really feel in the mood for the second round choice I’ve picked then I can ‘twist’ again and pick out a third option, but whatever I pick out then I have to read, regardless of whether I feel “in the mood for it” or if it’s a really, really long book. (This sure adds an element of danger since I have included hunkers like Moby-Dick and Vanity Fair!) Hopefully this element of risk to the jar will make me really think about saying things like “eh, I don’t really feel like that one”.
So in the spirit of reading my own damn books, here it is… the first round of Book TBR Jar Stick or Twist (I’ll work on a snappier name for next time)!
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. I saw parts of the adaptation on TV a while back and really enjoyed it so I’m sure I’ll enjoy the story but there’s one thing that’s kind of putting me off sticking with this… and that’s its length.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I adored The Shadow of the Wind when I read it, haven’t re-read it since though and that was some years ago. I think this is a sequel to that?? So it would require a re-read of another book first. No, thanks.
PS – I just Googled and found out The Angel’s Game is a prequel, not a sequel, so I could have stuck with that since having to re-read another book was pretty much the only reason I didn’t stick. Damnit, Emma! But I must stick by the rules of my own game so…
Pick #3/The Book I Have To Read
Smoke by Dan Vyleta. Ok, ok, I can do this, phew! I bought this book last year when I visited my friend in Oxford and went to YALC. We popped in Waterstones in Oxford and I treated myself to this book (it was a hardcover I physically bought ok, it was pricey compared to used on Amazon) and I then promptly forgot to read it. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this but the concept of people’s sins being visible by a smoke that comes from their body is a pretty interesting one and I hope it lives up to the intrigue of the concept!
Well I think Round One of the TBR Jar’s outing has gone pretty well – at least I didn’t end up having to read a huge tome or anything! I’m looking forward to seeing if I do actually stick with this one. Of course I won’t just be reading stuff I pick out of the TBR jar, but I will be making sure at least one TBR jar pick per month happens, maybe even two, who knows, we’ll see how I get on.
What books do you have on your TBR for this week/month/season/year? Do you have a TBR jar? Comment below and let’s chat!