Discussion- How do you decide which book to read from your TBR pile?


We’ve all been there…staring blankly at the bookcase or e-reader seeing titles but not being drawn to any particular book. Do you go with the next book that’s releasing? The book you’ve had the longest? Do you spin around twice, close your eyes and point?


I have a method I use and wondered if anyone else does this too?

I grab about 5 books- sometimes for review books I’ll grab the books releasing soonest or I’ll even base it on which covers are prettiest. Then I’ll sit down with all 5 books and read one chapter from each. Most of the time at least one book will be harder to put down than the rest so I choose to read that one.


There have been times where none of the books really hit me-and this is usually meaning I’m in a slump or not in a reading mood. In this case- proceed to Netflix. Other times I’ll be unable to put down multiple books so I decide to read a few chapters each prior to bed.

I want to know how you choose your next book?


  1. says

    That is so SMART! I wish I had a system because it sounds like it’ll make my life so much easier. Unfortunately, I’m more of the “do random things!” type of person.

    For me, I just pick up a book. There really isn’t a rhyme or reason to it. If I’ve got a bunch of review books for July, I’ll probably go for something already published. Yes, I’m also a big time procrastinator! I actually really like the spontaneity because it makes reading more exciting but it’s interesting to think of what would happen if I did your method!

    • says

      I don’t do this every time but it comes in handy when there’s nothing I’m really wanting to read specifically. And I feel you-i AlWAYS want to read something that either comes out in 6 months or has already released.

  2. says

    That’s much more organized than what I do. Mostly I follow my mood—sometimes I feel like reading the latest release so I make a trip to the library or I pick something from my shelves. As for review copies, I just see which one is about to release and make it a priority to read/review. No fuss, no muss 🙂

    • says

      I try to do that too and is easy when I’m in the mood for a specific book. Sometimes nothing really strikes me so I use this reading a chapter method.

  3. says

    That is a really good idea! Your method reminds me about the time when I was younger, and I would read multiple books at one time thinking I would get through more books. (hahaha!) Usually, I grab some books that look interesting, and place them in a pile. I then proceed to work my way through the pile. Nothing exciting, but it works!

  4. says

    I should try that method next time when I can’t decide! Normally I simply know what I want to read next, I somehow decide during reading my current book. But when I really don’t know what to read next it’s kind of a problem for me… I start hopping around, take all the maybe-interesting books out of my shelves and leave piles of books everywhere. Then I stare at the piles a long time. Sometimes I find my book that way. Mostly I run out of time because I have to leave for work or else, so I just grap one and start reading. Unfortunately making a reading-list out of the complete pile doesn’t work for my, I tried several times, so I have to put the books back sooner or later (My husband always complains about piles of books everywhere. But I think he knows it’ll never change^^).

    • says

      Yep, I have piles too. I’ve finally put them up for the time being…we’ll see how long that lasts! I love it when I know exactly what I’d like to read but sometimes it doesn’t work like that. And I have so much trouble with a reading list.

  5. says

    I like your way! I usually just randomly grab whatever I am in the mood for. When I have a really hard time choosing what is next I hand a stack to my husband and let him pick one out for me. It takes the pressure of myself to choose, because I really am bad at making any decisions in a timely matter.

  6. says

    I read any books for challenges and as for others on my TBR list I try to always be reading one I own (I draw from a jar) and then just whatever the library happens to have in.

  7. says

    I’m a major mood reader. Typically, I just go by whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. However, I’m a creature of habit and if I read one author I’ll tend to read through their backlog or re-read books by them because it takes too much effort (in my mind) to switch to another author’s style. 😛 Sometimes (like this week) I’ll read based on if its an ARC and I need to get a review up for it.

  8. says

    Now that sounds like a good way to choose which book to read next 🙂 I am not good at choosing one, sigh :\ Which is why I haven’t really read anything for days, lol. Okay, fine, I know of many books I want to read now, but I just don’t feel like reading at all. How mean. When picking books to read.. I just look at them all and see if there is one I really want to try 🙂 Usually there is, lol. But it also happens that I read a bit, then but it down again and don’t read for a few days :p How mean. Hmph. Anyway. Gorgeous post Kristen. <3 Thank you for sharing 🙂

  9. Valerie Pennington says

    I have a system that’s taken me awhile (I MEAN AWHILE) to come up with but I’m really happy with it. I make it in groups of three. One of the three has to be a book I own (any book, I own SO MANY), one has to be a non-contemporary (I’m trying to branch out), and the last one can be anything (though usually contemp), it can come from anywhere, it’s a free for all. They don’t have to go in any particular order. I have a shelf dedicated to my TBR list and it literally changes everyday. I put my library books up there and then I make a tentative schedule. If something doesn’t work, I have no qualms about putting it back in the pile or just calling it quits. It’s worked well for me in the past but I do tend to forget about my ebooks though…

    • says

      I love it when one book in particular calls to me–in that case I read it. If I can’t decide I do the chapter thing. I get frustrated when I have to decide and nothing really appeals at that moment.

  10. says

    Perfect timing! I actually just recently discused this: on finding a reading system that works for me. Essentially what I do is alternate between ARCs and library boks/books I already own. For every review copy I finish, I ‘reward’ myself with an older title or something I have on my shelves that I’ve been wanting to get to.

    With ARCs, I tend to read them by release date (though if one sounds SUPER AMAZING or I’ve been itching to read it, I’ll bump it up). Sometimes when I’m having trouble narrowing down my selection from my shelves, I’ll get my book jar to choose for me!

    That said, even though I’m a BIG fan of this method, I don’t force myself to stick to it. I’m a fierce supporter of the idea that reading & blogging are for fun. If I want to binge on an older series I do. If I want to read a few ARCs in a row I do.

  11. says

    I’ve been dealing with this issue all day, I’ve been trying to force myself to read Rebound or Silence Of The Lambs. Neither is sticking with me, most likely because of my mood. I tried to read The Cemetery Boys and Dream A Little Dream, but no dice. I think it’s time to say hello to Angel.

  12. naila be says

    I have a different problem
    I stare at my ereader and I usually have at least 5-7 books I want to read
    and I don’t have the heart to start a chapter and not finish the book because then it will join my other pile “The-Currently-Reading-but-In-Fact-I-Have-Put-Down-For-Some-Reason-Even-If-I-Love-It” I have 30 books in that pile


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