A simple trick for your To Be Read list

The three pieces of information that help me recall why I added a book to my TBR.

When it comes to revitalizing your reading life—or revamping your reading journal—here at Modern Mrs Darcy we believe that one time is just as good as another. There’s nothing magical about January 1; you can implement change at any time.

But I also know that we’re a journal-loving crowd, and with that in mind, I’d like to share an old trick I’m planning on implementing more rigorously in my own reading journal this year, and it has to do with keeping track of the books I’d like to read one day.

There are a lot of books I’d like to read. (Shocking, right?) I read book news, I talk to readers about what they’ve enjoyed, I see interesting books while browsing at the bookstore.

A simple trick for your To Be Read list

The habit I’ve fallen into this past year looks like this: I’ll jot titles I want to read on a post-it note, or capture the title in a note on my phone. And then, if I’m being thorough, I’ll periodically transfer these titles to a running list I keep in my everyday bullet-ish journal. (See the photo above.)

This isn’t a bad strategy: I’ve captured the titles so I can remember them. I have a TBR (i.e., To Be Read) list ready and available.

But there’s a problem with this method: I can’t tell you how often I’ll pull out my TBR and think, I’ve never heard of this title before. Or wondered, How did it 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 I too often forget—and not only because many months can go by between when I learn of a book and when I actually sit down to read it. Sometimes I forget in the short interval between when I request a book from the library and when I pick it up a few days later! (Embarrassing, but true.)

A simple trick for your To Be Read list

I started a new journal a few weeks ago, simply because I used up my old one just before the new year. And in it, I’m returning to a method I adhered to several years ago, that served me well. I fell out of the habit because it takes a little bit of extra effort and a moderate amount of extra space, but my frustration with my current method has convinced me that this bit of extra effort is worth it.

The method is simple. In addition to capturing the title and author, I write down three extra bits of information, that all conveniently start with the letter W:

  1. Who recommended it?
  2. Why did I add it to my list?
  3. When did I add it?

These 3 W’s aren’t meant to turn reading into some kind of weird competition, like who recommended the best books to me, or how quickly can I knock out my TBR titles. No, it’s more fun than that. These three pieces of information help me recall that initial moment of bookish enthusiasm that made me think, That book sounds like something I’d like to read.

At this moment in your reading life, 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 were excited to read them.

Many of you are planning your Reading Challenge selections right now (I’m doing the same, and will share my own list soon), and resolving to clear some books off your TBR and your unread shelf as you do it. I’m cheering you on as you do: it’s so worth taking a look at your TBR (whether that’s in your journal or on your actual, physical bookshelf) as you plot what to read next.

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. A trick for when you’re stuck in a reading rut, and a to-do list trick.

A simple trick for your To Be Read list


Leave A Comment
  1. Christine says:

    I keep my TBR list as an Amazon wish list. (I don’t intend to buy them all – I usually get them from the library – but it’s a convenient spot.) Amazon lets you write notes, so if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll write where I heard about the book.

    Happy 2020!

    • Anita says:

      Christine, I do the same, only I have multiple wish lists because my TBR is so long. I divide up into genres (contemporary fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, etc.). I’m a mood reader, so this way when I want something to read I can go right to the list that fits my mood. Like you, I actually get most of my stuff from the library, but this is convenient. I switched from a big list on Goodreads because I couldn’t figure out how to add notes in Goodreads, although I see below that someone says you can.

    • Danita Hiles says:

      Brilliant idea! I shall copy you. I love this idea but am balking a bit at starting another journal. I will ise Amazon and apply Annes three W’s! Thanks for the great ideas, ladies!

    • S says:

      I am definitely adopting this because I definitely lose track of why I put it on the list and where I heard about it! Great timing as I just started a new 2020 tbr list!

      • Nanci Byers says:

        If you are just starting a TBR list, do you still have an older one and are you still planning on reading those? I am just curious!

    • Barb from CNY says:

      I do the same thing! It works well especially if I sort by price, I can figure out when they go on sale. I didn’t know about the note feature, so I will be using that to keep track of who recommended them.

  2. Jackie says:

    This is actually a pretty brilliant idea. Historically, I’ve tracked everything in mass on Goodreads, but every year, I try to go in and clean up my TBR and end up purging EVERYTHING on my list because I can’t remember why I wanted to read the book in the first place. I think I’m definitely going to try out your method this year.

  3. Leigh Kramer says:

    Goodreads has a Private Notes section once you’ve added a book to a shelf. For my TBR, I’ve started noting where I first heard about it or why I’m interested. If I heard it on a podcast, I throw in the link to the episode. No one can see it but me and it’s so helpful to have access to that information.

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks for this tip! I didn’t know about the private notes section and have often thought il that feature would be useful for the information Anne mentioned in this post.

    • Saarah says:

      Goodreads private notes feature was so helpful for me to jot down personal tidings regarding a book or the time I read it (e.g. birth of nephew, read book in hospital waiting room). I’m a bit wary of it now, however because I’ve lost a few personal notes from some reviews.

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you for sharing!!!!! I keep my TBR list on GR as well and have often had the same issue as others. Ditto – was not aware of private notes. This is a great suggestion.

    • I also have a bullet-ish journal and have drawn blank book spines on shelves. I add the name of the book I want to read, color it in when I buy or download it, color it darker when I’ve read it.
      I like to read books in groups of similar books with different viewpoints – so my journal bookshelves have names: “Child’s Viewpoint” has Cold Sassy Tree, Davita’s Harp, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Hate U Give.

    • Monica says:

      I used Goodreads to track everything reading related. There is a section that you can say who recommend it and you can also private notes etc. Sometimes I feel like Goodreads is overwhelming but it saves me a lot of time of recreating what already exists.

  4. Sara says:

    I have a ‘bullet-ish’ journal too. I like the way you refer to it. I don’t use the bullets so is it really a bullet journal? Probably not but it doesn’t matter much. I write titles and author last name in my bu-ish jo and then I transfer to my Goodreads TBR.
    All the best. SG

  5. Liza says:

    I also have a list; I add where the book is located (library, Libby, mine). That is helpful for me to know where I can get the book when I’m ready to read it. I’m trying really hard not to buy anymore books unless I absolutely have to, a space issue at my house. Thank you for all your recommendations and ideas!!

  6. Kim says:

    I love this and am so happy I’m not the only one who keeps a list on Amazon only to go back and wonder ‘why’ did I want to read this?? New list in my BuJo now!! Thanks!!

  7. Dee says:

    I use GoodReads for my TBR and don’t really care how long it gets (although it does annoy me when a book ends up on there twice, usually – I think – because there are different editions of the same book). What I have done this year, however, is choose 20 books from my TBR that I’ve saved to a list on my library’s website, and I intend to read those 20 this year (rather than always just getting what sparks my fancy today). 20 Books for 2020

  8. I use Pinterest to track all my reading, including a board for books I want to read. I use the section features of each board to organize by fiction, non-fiction, memoir, classics, etc. I try to pin from either the publisher’s website or amazing so I can click through and get all the details of the book. The description of each pin could be used to keep notes like you’re describing. I may have to do that! Thanks for the ideas. Love your blog!

  9. MacKenzie says:

    Love this idea! So many of the books on my TBR are there for leadership, personal development, or career reasons. And then when I’m looking for the next read I can’t decide which one…this is an awesome idea because having that why will be a big help in what to pick.

  10. Leland says:

    I love Dee’s suggestion and might try it. A TBR Sub-list of the TBR list!
    I keep a running list divided by month in the Notes section of my iPhone and iPad. I always have it when I’m at the library or visit a book store or run into a good garage sale. If a friend recommended it I add the name—that way when I read it and go to cross it off I can remember to thank that person and start a conversation about it.

  11. Kristin says:

    I use a virtual ”For Later” shelf in my county library online account. The shelf shows when I added each book to my shelf and it can be sorted by fiction, non-fiction, publication date, etc. There is also a shelf for “in progress” for those I didn’t finish before the due date and a “completed” shelf. (For more obscure books that the library doesn’t carry, I add those to my amazon wish list.)

    • Ruth says:

      I maintain a list of titles on the “My Account” section of my public library website. Don’t know if this feature is common to other library systems’ websites, but ours allows patrons to create multiple lists such as “Tracking Titles.” The titles are linked to the catalog so it’s easy to find out if the book is available or move it to my hold list when I’m ready to read the book.

  12. Mary Kay says:

    This looks like a useful method!
    One thing that I have wondered for a while now- why is the list “to BE read” instead of “to read”? I’ve tried googling this question, but just get a lot of people’s TBR’s!

    • Marcia says:

      “To be read” is passive voice, which means the subject (in this case the book) receives the action- “This book is to be read.” “To read” is active voice; the subject is doing the action, as in “I want to read this book.”

  13. Denette says:

    I like to use my library’s website for print books and their Overdrive site for audiobooks to track my TBR. I have multiple lists broken down by genre for me and seasons or topics for picture books for my son. I really like the visual aspect of the lists because seeing the covers usually jogs my memory about why that book is on the list, but not always. You would think that, by this logic, that I would enjoy using Goodreads to track my TBR but surprisingly, I don’t and I’m not sure why. However, now that I know I can add a private note to Goodreads…well I may give it another try! There is something just so easy about looking through my list on the library site and seeing what looks good and then with a few clicks putting it on hold or driving to go grab it from the stacks that day. I do love the idea of a print TBR list as I love to keep a journal and hard copy planner, but I rely so much on the visual cue of the cover that I’ve not been able to make a printed list work for me.

    • Heather says:

      I do the same thing. I use my library’s list function to keep a TBR as well as a “read in 2019”. The lists can be made private (which I do) and then it’s so easy to move them to holds. I also keep a very paper journal for books I’ve read because that allows me to capture books that the library doesn’t have that I read. But since 99% of my reading is library books and my library’s website is amazing and easy to use it works for me!

  14. Caylee Dyck says:

    Ever since I started listening to the podcast almost four years ago my TBR on goodreads has grown exponentially. It wasn’t until recently that the length of the list was starting to get to me – in particular not remembering WHY I had added a book! Thank you so much for this post Anne – you continue to make my reading life (and life in general) better! Also – thank you to the comments re: goodreads private notes! I will use this feature for sure and am planning on doing a good de-cluttering of the 589 books on my TBR 🙂

    • Glen says:

      That’s a good suggestion, which has occurred time a time or two (at least to wrote down who suggested it) but which for some reason never got implemented. Maybe lack of space? But I’m go I go to start now start now,

  15. Janna says:

    I keeps a running list of books I hear about on your podcast, including title, author, and what made it stand out to me. This can be as simple as “WW II” or “dystopia” or “same auth. Poisonwood”. Then I periodically shift the list into Excel, and when I’m looking for something to put on hold at the library, I’ll open the doc and pick something. I don’t have a good method yet for shifting books into a “read” tab, so that will be my bookish New Year’s resolution!

    • Terrie says:

      I use excel extensively and whenever I finish a book from the TBR, I just do a cut and paste and move it to the finished tab by year so I have a tab for 2018, 2019, new tab 2020. That way I can easily track what I’ve read by year. When I move it to the new tab I add my rating and any quick notes about whether or not I liked the book. It works terrifically well for me!

      • Nanci Byers says:


        I used to use Excel exclusively to track my books, and I also did a tab per year. It’s nice to be able to sort the data, say picture books, or YA, or historical fiction (I’m a librarian) and it was great until the file got so large, it crashed and I lost the entire file. It was heartbreaking. But I think I will go back and try again. Although I do want to look at the Evernote app. One of my favorite aspects of using excel was at the end of the year, I would create a pie chart by genre to see what genres interested me most that year.

  16. Jeannine says:

    I use multiple amazon lists for my TBR. I have a couple by genre and I separate fiction in a books list, Kindle books list and a Kindle Unlimited list. When i run across something I drop it into one of the lists. I use goodreads but run into the same problem as others and purge it annually. I operate under the assumption that If it interests me it will come across my radar again but it’s nice to know about that notes option. Also, if I come across a kindle book on sale (less than $2 or $3) I will purchase and add it to a collection on my kindle I created called TBR and I have a second “priority TBR” for the ones I want to get to soonest. I really only do that if a book is on sale that doesn’t go on sale often and I want to own it.

  17. Janean says:

    Anne, my idea for you would be to sort of combine both formats by converting your current method to a 2 page spread in your Leuchtturm. On the left side of your journal page, you could list the title and author. On the right side page, you could have 3 columns for who, why, when. I think this would give you the best of both formats. You’d save a lot of room in your journal (you’d be able to capture about 33-35 books per 2 page spread vs. what looks to be the 12 or so with the current method), and by not having to write it all out each time, you’d be more likely to do it because it would be less effort. See my post below for the basic layout that I’m talking about for the double page spread, title/author and columns, although my right page has different categories. I love your idea and I’m definitely going to be whipping a version of this up ASAP!


  18. Denise says:

    To keep track of books I would like to read, I use the same method my dad used: he kept a stack of index cards with the title of books and the authors’ names. He kept this stack of cards on his desk; from time to time he would edit out what was no longer of interest to him. When he ventured out anywhere that might have a used bookshop nearby (my husband was always looking for out of print titles so they were boon shopping companions)he had the cards in hand. I do the same thing, keep a list of titles and check off what I’ve found, or delete what I’m not interested in. I also keep a very long wish list on Amazon 🙂

    • Sara F. says:

      Wow do I love this old school idea. I love yo clean up my Goodreads list, but after editing one book Goodreads returns the curser all the way yo the top of your list. So then all this scrolling. However I love having Goodreads lists in the used book store where I can go alphabetical or by pub year quickly. Bookish problems!

  19. Emily says:

    I have a running list on Goodreads but I also keep an old school spreadsheet. I have a different sheet at the bottom for each year. The current year has two sheets (one that is ongoing and the other for “done” books for that year). The list is alphabetical by author and then the books are listed in publication order for each author. This list is for authors I have been reading for years etc. I have a different sheet for referral books/authors and I list out next to them where I heard about the book (blog/friend etc) and when I heard about the book. I Iike the spreadsheet because I have a running list of all the books I have read in prior years stored in there as well.

    • Terrie says:

      My kind of reader! I use excel in much the same way and it allows me to track the things I’m interested in remembering. I also have a tab per year so I can easily separate what I’ve read by genre or author each year. A physical journal, while lovely to look at, just isn’t helpful to me because I can’t easily sort it. I’m a sorter! 🙂

  20. Janice Cunning says:

    A couple of years ago the Toronto Public Library (TPL) added a saved feature which I love. You can add books to your saved list and also create categories. I created categories for novels, memoirs, non fiction, light reads, etc. I also create author categories if I want to read that author’s backlist. Once I am ready to read I just add to my holds list. You can also opt in to have TPL save your borrowing history. I do this and also track books I finish in a paper journal. Like many I enjoy planning and tracking my books almost as much as reading.

  21. Patti Kush says:

    I keep an Amazon wishlist (like another commenter I check many books out from the library but found it convenient to use the wishlist) but in early 2019 I revamped my Amazon list and then also started storing my TBR on libib.com and that led to a fantastic reading year for me this year and helped me read titles I had had on my list way too long rather than reading mostly newer books. I could explain more on your show, lol. Maybe TBR list ideas/organization could be an episode featuring a bunch of different ideas/methods from listeners?

  22. Tali Mullins says:

    I use an excel spreadsheet so I can put whatever data I want in the cells and organize it however I choose (title, author, length, whether or not I own it, what format, etc). I am ridiculously organized in this way and about this way only…lol

  23. Mimi says:

    I keep a “Great Books for 2020” list in Evernote divided by genres, fiction, nonfiction, classics, middle readers, memoir, etc. For most books I note something about the book to make me remember why I listed it, (i.e. fav of MMD or Metaxas rec or WWII)
    I just updated my list for 2020 and it includes 750(!) books. Then at the bottom I list Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall and my planned books for those quarters. Those planned books increase as the year progresses and include selections for two book clubs. Adding the date is genius. I wish I had started that years ago.

  24. jo says:

    Immediately transfer them to a request at my local library. They also keep a list of the books I have read. Saves me oodles of time and paper!

  25. Eileen says:

    I use my Amazon wish list as my tbr list. I use the comment section of the list to write down where I got the title from. I can also check each day to see of the price goes down. It works well for me.

  26. RAQUEL EVANS says:

    I use a combination of:
    Amazon wish list (to track unowned TBR–this makes it really easy to watch for price drops, and I also make notes of which books are NOT available through my library to prioritize buying those), and,
    Goodreads to-read list (to track already owned books that I haven’t read yet and want to–otherwise they can kind of get lost in all my already read books, my husband’s books, etc.)

    Both of these have places to leave notes about the books, so I should really start doing this! Especially on my owned books list, there are some I downloaded as kindle freebies just to try, and others I really wanted to read at the time I got them, but just keep forgetting about them (even with the list!).

  27. Meagan says:

    I keep track of mine on a Pinterest. I subdivide a few categories out (non-fiction, cookbooks, and food) but otherwise keep all the fiction together. I’m a visual person so while I might not remember a title, the cover usually sticks in my brain. Plus it’s searchable. Once I buy or read a book, I take it off so it also serves as a good tool for friends and family looking to buy me books without getting duplicates/books I’m not interested.

  28. Peggy says:

    I looked at yesterday’s modern Mrs. Darcy and saw no where to print out your book files…I would love it if you could have that available again, it sounds wonderful! Thanks!!!

  29. Casey says:

    I’m a little embarrassed that I have more than 950 books in my Goodreads TBR list! I need to prune and start adding something like these details to help me prioritize.
    The Goodreads Private Notes become available once you shelve a book, but as far as I can tell, it only works on the full website, not in the app. Which is useful, but not as useful (for me) as it could be. I do not often have an internet-connected computer with me when out in public browsing books.

    • Shyla Strathman says:

      Casey, I found out the same thing (you can’t take notes on the app). I even asked Goodreads about this because I really wanted to be able to record who told me about a book I added to my TBR. They stated it is only available on the website, not the app. It’s too bad because this would be a real plus for me when using Goodreads!


  30. Aimee says:

    I have a TBR list on Good Reads but I didn’t keep notes on it. I found my best TBR list is in my notes section on my iPhone. I do note there where I heard/read about the book and sometimes put a link. I hadn’t thought of noting when I heard about a book I want to read or why–these are excellent additions!

    I will say–noting where I heard about a book I want to read has led me to see that the books I’ve most enjoyed lately are ones I’ve heard about through MMD/What Should I Read Next?/One Great Read. That has helped me be more choosy when I’m deciding what to read from my TBR–when I need something good, I look for books I’ve added from Anne or her followers.

  31. Susan Schwartz says:

    I love using Goodreads for my TBR list. I can use notes, too, if I want and the info is always on my phone when I go to the library or bookstore. Goodreads also keeps by category I create a list of all the books I’ve read and my reviews. Since that’s over 3,000, it requires a database to be manageable and accessible.

  32. Kayla says:

    Goodreads I love it I can just scan the books and it’s all in one spot I’ve used it for years. My reading tastes have changed and sometimes I purge and start over only keeping the ones I’m super interested in but it works well for me!

  33. Alyssa says:

    I keep my TBR in my bullet journal and it’s a pretty basic list but I add two pieces of information that are critical to me: 1) A notation of the genre of the book (F – fiction, HF – historical fiction, M- memoir, YA – young adult, P – parenting, SH – self-help, etc.) and 2) two or three descriptive words that give me sense of the book. These might be a time period, or major theme, basically just a what caught my eye about the book. An example entry would be ” HF The Island of Sea Women – Lisa See (Korea WWII). Having these two things help me decide what I should read next or add to my library holds list based on how I’m feeling, the type of book I’m looking for, etc. without needing to re-Google it or search for it on Goodreads.

  34. Mindy says:

    I use the goodreads app to keep track of books I want to read! If I’m out and someone mentions a book I want to read or remember I can add it quickly to my “want to read” list.

  35. Janice Hoaglin says:

    Like many others, I use Goodreads to list all the books I want to read. It is a massive list, but I use shelves to categorize genres, and also have shelves for who recommended the book. I have individual shelves for certain people, but I also have a “recommended by friends” shelf, and have only to look down the list to see who of my Goodreads friends gave the book high recommendations. Last year I also created a paper list of my priorities for the year, and am doing the same this year. That has helped me stick to going back and reading titles from favorite authors that I had not gotten to in the past, or moving on in some favorite series.

  36. Natasha says:

    I keep a list on Goodreads and also on Pinterest. On Pinterest I have one board for books I want to read and one board for books I read. I loving pinning stuff so I’m usually on Pinterest at least once a day. I also keep a ook journal for all the books I read. There are spots for me to write when I read the book, where I got it and other spots where I can make notes. It seems to work pretty well for me.

  37. Ashley says:

    I have two sections in my library dedicated to my TBR. One is a TBR cart, all the books I’m most excited to read next are on the top shelf while all the ones I don’t want to forget about, but will take a while to get around to, are on the second shelf. The second section is the top two shelves of my biggest bookcase. They’re dedicated to books I’ve brought in the last 12 months and divided with month marker cards. I’ve been doing this for less than a year but it’s changed the way I read for the better!

  38. Sarah says:

    This is SUCH a good idea!
    I have books on saved in my library or Amazon account (mostly from you) and when I get them I always wonder: why did I pick this?

    Totally doing this now!

  39. janB says:

    Yes to this! Just yesterday I deleted my entire TBR list on Goodreads for the same reason. I often don’t recall the book, how I heard about it, who recommended it or why I added it.

    I now will be using a spreadsheet and a paper journal to add books to the tbr and who recommended it.

  40. Lettie says:

    I keep a TBR list of the books in kindle form on Amazon even though (like a lot of you) I get most of my books through the library. I check every day and sort by price to get deals on books my library might not carry. I also keep a list on the Overdrive app that my library uses for any library books with an ebook version. This duplicates (in a way) my Amazon TBR list but this way I know which ebooks I’m able to get through the library so I don’t purchase those. I keep a list of books I’ve read on Goodreads as well.

  41. Glen says:

    I kept going to the TBR shelf and thinking,….nope, dont feel like reading that. and nope, i want something funny, or historical, or…whatever. So I alphabetized the shelves, and decided I would just read the next book in the alphabet, no matter what it was. And if I didn’t want to read it, or didn’t like it today, it was going to the used book store. So far, its working pretty good! At least, the stack is going down!!

  42. ShirleyG from Willoughby says:

    I just keep a running list. I get most of my books from library (only a few authors I want to buy). If I decide to put on order with them, I’ll read the description. If it doesn’t grab me, off the list it goes. My list is far too long so no worries if I drop some now and then. Sometimes once the book comes in to library, I’ll read jacket and say “what was I thinking” and off it goes. Or I’ll start reading, if I’m not thrilled within 10 pages or so, off it goes. Like I said, far too many books to slug through something that doesn’t grab me. But there have been quite a few books that I normally wouldn’t have read that were great–ones that I were recommended via books reviews or sites such as this. There’s just too many and not enough time!

  43. Sharron Padden says:

    Regarding reading challenges, I got a synopsis of my reading for 2019 from Audible. I listened to 87 books last year. Is that in range of other readers or am I not keeping up?

  44. Gina says:

    What do you do when you read one of the books on the TBR? Or what if you start reading it and DNF? How do you annotate these events?

  45. Jen says:

    Great idea! My husband gave me a book for Christmas, and I asked him how he’s heard about it. He said it was on my Amazon wish list – I had absolutely no recollection of putting it there!

  46. Viola says:

    I used to keep a list on my phone but lost the notes when I got a new phone. I love using Goodreads to list the books I want to read. I also have my wish list on Amazon which I have linked to Goodreads as well. I get emails when a book on my list is available for purchase (new release) or on sale (if I have not read it yet).

  47. J. Robinson says:

    I have two lists in my phone notes. One is a personal TBR with an informal label system by genre or type. Ex. MY-mystery or D-diversity. Some books have multiple labels. I also keep a “Recommendations for Others” list. I use the same labels, but these are books I cannot see myself reading (yet!), but could help me with readers’ advisory on the job. I am a public librarian. I started these lists when I began listening to lots of reading podcasts including yours. 🙂 Happy Reading in 2020!

  48. Emily says:

    I keep my TBR list on Goodreads in the “Want to Read” section. However I’m a heavy library user so, every time I add a book I want to read, I also save it to a second list called either “At Library” or “Not at Library”. Then, when I’m in a bookstore, I won’t buy a book that I could read for free from my library.

  49. What a great system! Completely understand the pain of wondering “How the heck did that end up on my TBR?”, it’s happened to me occasionally. I’m lucky, though, that generally my recall for the “why” of a book is pretty good if the title is distinct enough. If the title is vague, or it’s an author I don’t know anything about, I’ll add a comment to my spreadsheet (I’m such a nerd, I know, but it’s the system that works for me) with a little memory jog. Happy reading and journalling in 2020, Anne!

  50. Nathan White says:

    I like it and have totally had this happen. Goodreads tracks some info like date, maybe should add a field for “recommendation notes” or something. I will periodically sort my “To Read” list on Goodreads by Date Added, Number of Ratings, and Average Rating, and try to shave at least one book from each sort by working from the bottom.

  51. Barb says:

    I use an amazon wish list, mark who recommended in the comments and if it’s on Libby or not. It tells you the date you added it to the list. Then in Libby, I have a wish list of books to read. I add them to my Hold list based on estimated hold time and what is already on the list. Lastly, I record what I have read on Goodreads. I did an excel spreadsheet with my book bestie for several years and that was so much fun, but we stopped reading the same type of books and didn’t have the time to keep it up.

  52. Beth Roireau says:

    Thank you! I use Goodreads for my TBR and when you originally posted this I didn’t see how to implement the suggestion. I’m grateful you found a way bring this post back to my attention. I’m going to try making Goodread bookshelves for my recommendation sources and my “Whys” to see if it works for me. In that past Goodreads “genre” bookshelves haven’t worked for me but my “poc authors” and “owned” bookshelves have worked well. Happy Reading in 2021!

  53. Marsha Hamm says:

    I’m old school and keep my TBR list in a card file using recycled card catalog cards (retired librarian). I usually include who recommended and genre but really need to add more specifics as to the “why” because I often find myself wondering,”Why?” When I can I like to add the date of entry–If it has been languishing there for 4-5 years, it’s time to read or purge. 😉 Loved this post!

  54. Vera says:

    Another trick for your TBR or if your reading MOJO is broken? Find a GREAT blog like this one! OMG! Where have you been all my life! I’ve already found great suggestions and reading inspirations! Ta-ta 2020! I say BRING IT ON to 2021! Let’s dance! Let’s read!

  55. My best trick for my reading journals is to have ABC pages by author. More pages for A, S, and common letters. Have a pen and a pencil handy. I write TBR and suggested titles on the authir pages in pencil. When I read the book, I overwrite in pen. Any color will work. Thanks for your tips using the 3 W’s, Anne!

  56. Kay Welch says:

    I just found you through “A Quilting Life” – Sherri McConnell, and I’m so glad I did. I’m an avid reader, and normally I give myself an annual reading challenge. I hit a block for 2021, so I think my challenge will be to make a better journaling system for my TBR and my “read”. I love to listen to audio books while I quilt. Most of my personal challenges lead me to find new-to-me authors, revisit some long time favorites, or try a totally new genre. getting my lists in a more useable format will help me to continue my new discoveries. thanks

  57. Maureen says:

    I have a running list in Word. When I want to read a book from this list, I check if it is on the running list the local library keeps of books I’ve already read. Then I check to see if the library has it in their collection. If it’s in, I place a hold on it for pick up in 2 days time. If it’s on loan, I put reserve it.

    However, the ratio of English books to French books in our small Québec community means a small number of available books and I often have to place an inter-library order through the local library, ordering by E-mail. And I get books from all around the province. Service is very good even though we can’t physically browse on site now because of COVID.

    The library does offer a type of wish list but after reading about everybody else’s TBR systems, I realize that a spreadsheet, which I am highly familiar with, is probably by far the easiest and most efficient system for me. I could use the sort feature for lots of things and add any number columns to my heart’s content at any time.

    Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. I marvel at the high number some manage to read.

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