How Do You Choose What To Read Next?

Out of the TBR’s (To Be Read) in your home…. what is the method to your madness?  (Well… maybe your is not madness… but oofta (yes I said oofta – and yes I put parentheses inside parentheses) mine sure is).

I am curious as to how you choose that next read –

Are you:

AIO – All In Order – as they come in they are read – check off the list go the next… check check check (If so YOU are SO ORGANIZED!  WOW!)

TBR and LL – Library Loot – a bit of the TBR mixed in for variety

ATSL – As The Spirit Leads (and honestly this is my personal favorite… I read what I want to read when I want to read it, with  the exception of Book Tours)

I have heard some of you talk about your systems of organization when it comes to the TBR and seriously that impresses me… I wish I could stick to that but I tend to read as I am called to a book (at least as much as possible, unless it is a tour book or a book club read with a commitment date)

For those of you who are book reviewers, do you think we easily over commit ourselves to read books offered to us as books are so much our passion it is hard to say no? 

How much is too much?

Thank you in advance for your insight.  Every Sunday I go through this…. choosing what I plan to read for the It’s Monday, What Are You Reading meme.  I take into account book tours and audio choices and then try to mix in one that I have no commitment to other than the fact I want to read it.  I am curious how you choose your books.  😀

81 Comments on “How Do You Choose What To Read Next?

  1. I am generally a ‘as the spirit takes me’ kind of girl! I do try and plan out reads but I always change my mind.

  2. My review requests are different and I read those in order of release date or in time for a deadline, etc. But my physical TBR shelf is waaaay different, and it’s too overwhelming for me to stand in front of it and choose. So, I let do the work! I have a separate list in Goodreads for my physical TBR books ( and so I enter the number range in, get a number, and choose whatever book has that number in the list. Way less stressful. 🙂

      • I do the random thing, too! LOL Sometimes I just can’t decide and that decides for me. It’s sorta fun to do it that way! LMAO Glad I’m not the only one! 😉

    • Cool Idea…..I agonize over what to read next. I am going to try

  3. I am totally a as the spirit leads kind of reader, though since I’ve started my blog and have committed to certain book reviews, I find it somewhat stressful and I need to look at that.

  4. I’m another ATSL reader! Unless it’s a library book or book tour commitment, I read whatever title is calling my name the loudest. I tried the first in-next read system, but that didn’t work for me as I kept eyeing the bright, shiny new books calling my name. No matter how much I try, organization and I don’t get along! *L*

  5. My first year I read as I received but found myself having frequent slumps and getting behind as I became a robotic reader. Even though, I still accept more requests than I should, I now guarantee 4 requests/month and then for the rest of the month, ATSL from my tbr request pile, and have found less slumps so far (hope I don’t jinx myself lol.

  6. I’m as the spirit leads me.

    I try not to do two of the same kinds of books back to back. But that’s pretty tricky when all I review is romance.

    I’ll do a historical, then a contemporary, and I try to mix in some non review YA’s, etc.

  7. Um, yeah, I totally overcommit myself, and then I’m frustrated that I don’t have time for much non-review reading.

    My method is to keep a spreadsheet of my SCHEDULED reviews. That way I can make sure to get them read in time. I tackle them in order of when theyr’e due. First due (if I have the book) gets read first.

    When there’s a (very) occasional lag, I’ll tackle library books, and lastly books I’ve bought a long time ago and am waiting to get time for.

    I used to be as-the-spirit-leads, but reviewing kinda killed that.

    • I kept a calendar of reviews for a couple of years but after the thing crashed and got corrupted I realized just how stressful having all those reviews planned ahead was making me feel. So now I write my reviews and post them as the mood strikes me.

      • Yeah, I’ve learned to let go a bit. If I don’t get to something, I still post about it, offer my apologies, and promise a review eventually. I have a list of “late” reviews so that when I have time – and feel like it – I can get one or two out of the way. Doesn’t happen very often, though!

  8. I think it’s wonderful that people have a schedule and I suppose I do to a certain extent. However, I know that I am easily overwhelmed by “commitment” reading and I try not to say yes to very many reads that must have a review posted on an exact date. Yes, my eyes are always too big and I’m very greedy about books. I try not to want every one that I read about, but it’s hard.

    These days, I am a ATSL to a certain extent with a few commitments thrown in. I’m trying to be selective about saying yes because I know I will get stressed and then, it’s not fun.

  9. AIO?!? Are there really people who do this?! Can I hire them to organize my books, my kitchen, my life?!

    First in line are book club picks and reads for upcoming author events, after that, I’m definitely a “as the spirit moves me” kind of girl!

    Looking forward to seeing you next week at BEA!

  10. I use a combination of methods, with review books at the head of the line…usually. But if I’m feeling as though I’m doing “homework” with the review books, I change things up a bit. And I try not to have more than one review book a week.

    I have my Old TBRs in my bedroom, with newer ones on top of the office bookcase; I gradually move a few of the old ones into my office, which is “the last stop before reading” queue. From there, it’s ATSL.

    Once in awhile, I’ll completely veer off course. But once I’ve chosen for the week, I pretty much stick to the list.

  11. Ooh, great question!
    In terms of ARCs, I read in order of release date. For other books I let me heart guide me. 🙂

  12. I usually go by what has the next due date at the library. Otherwise, it’s whatever I feel most in the mood to read. If I’ve started only having one kind of book for a while (i.e. dystopian), I’ll probably try to mix it up.

  13. As long as I don’t have any library books that need to be returned soon, I’m usually an ATSL kind of reader. But also a big believer in letting do the choosing for me. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter to me what I read, as long as I’m whittling down that TBR pile. And it’s gotten me to read some books that I had been putting off.

    But usually I go the way because I’m just that indecisive 😉

  14. I look over all of the over 800 books on my Kindle and then I buy a new one!!!

    I seriously need help.

  15. I’m a ATSL with the exception being review books. I like to alternate contemporary fiction with historical; romance with literary; etc. I try to keep my reading in the summer a bit on the light side. And then there are the books on my Kindle – I will never NOT have a book to read, LOL.

  16. I tend to over commit, then wish I could just pick from my shelves, then make the msitake of going to the library and finding something that I really want to read and then finding out I splurged for a new release that is already coming out in paperback that I haven’t even gotten to yet! So, no, there is no method to my madness!

    • I do exactly the same thing, I stress myself over this all the time. I’m trying to learn to step back and catch up on reviews and then read books that I want to read.

      I haven’t figured it out yet. 😦

  17. I read as the spirit directs me-every week is different-there may some great books from the library-something that was already sitting on my bookshelf-something that caught my attention. I will say that I am not accepting as many review books anymore for this reason-I feel I must commit to what I agree to review and I was not reading other books that I wanted to. Some weeks I may just need to read something light other weeks could be my memoir mood weeks-one never knows what the week will bring.

  18. Library books (primarily wishlist finds) come first. Then comes my own TBR. Then come the review books. I don’t take many review books on any longer.

  19. I over-commit. 😦 Much as I wish I didn’t, it’s kinda hard to saw no. I mean, how do you do that to a fabulous book??? But as for reading approach, I keep a list of ARCs, but I mix them up with LL’s and TBR’s. I get myself sooner into a rut if I just had a list.

  20. Depends. Currently I am trying to read all of the books I have for review before my school year is over. (fourteen days with students, but who’s counting?). This summer I plan to read as the spirit moves me but trying to alternate between adult and young adult books as I have two blogs to support. I will be carting home more books that I will have time to read when I move to Duluth for the summer.

  21. I let the last book I read “recommend” the next book I’m going to read. Usually there’s something in the book I’m reading that recalls some other title in my queue. I generally have at least three titles going: one in audio and two in print (on for book club/group and another for my personal.) I don’t review ARCs or anything less than a final, so I’m less pressured that way.

    Once a book fell from a stack and onto the floor right in front of me. I figured that was pretty much a call “to be read” and so, I did! Doesn’t happen often though 🙂

  22. I do the same thing every Sunday too! In fact that is just what I was working on. I usually log in to my library account to see what is due soon and what can be renewed. I factor that in and then look at books I’ve received for review and then books I’ve bought. Usually I read books from the library and then books that are part of book tours or for review before books I buy. I make exceptions for books I’m dying to read. Sometimes I deviate from my list because I’m not in the mood for the books on my list or I end up not being able to get into the story.

    This week I am guided by the books I need to read for work too. Good luck with picking what you read next!

    • I should just make my library account my home page. I have it open at least once a day checking when things are due. Sigh.

    • I like that you check what is due back at your library… that’s smart. I usually wait until I get the notice by email from my library that says I have something over due and then quickly try to read it… 😳

  23. I know my reading eyes are bigger than my reading stomach! Lately it seems I’ve been reading books to prepare for author events.

  24. I used to make my reading list for each month, two or three months ahead but lately it’s seemed like “homework” doing it that way. So now I either stay with a series until I finish it or just grab a book at random.

  25. Great question, I often wonder the same thing! The books I accept for review do take priority (and book tour books top the list) but I do make sure to throw in a library book or one of “my own” purcahses every few reads.

    I don’t have much of an organizational system when it come to my TBR list, I just read what I feel like (unless I have a deadline).

  26. I started keeping a spreadsheet of the review books I’ve gotten so that I can keep those in a bit of the forefront of my mind. I will usually look at the publication dates on there and sometimes I pick based on that. But most of the time, I just grab something as I see fit. I’m not a very picky reader as far as my mood, so I’m usually satisfied with whatever I end up grabbing for the week.

  27. That’s a great question! I’m more of an ATSL reader. I’ll have a TBR pile that will get rearranged according to what my mood is….and what new books I pick up. 🙂

  28. Some of each. I try to get review copies read asap. After that I go with either netgalleys or other books, but I’ve realized my eyes were too big with NetGalleys so I’m trying to read my backlog there.

  29. Since I’ve become a book blogger things have changed. I’m so overwhelmed by my review books, I read them as I receive them to try to stay on top of them, throwing in books of my own whenever I can!

  30. Depending on deadlines for tours and book club, I manage (I say this loosely) my TBR pile in order of receipt thereof but improvise according to deadlines, reading challenges, and desire. I went through a period where I was reading non-fiction upon non-fiction. I soon tired of that and needed a nice light read, so I chose A Pointed Death by Kath A. Russell. It was indeed a nice break. There was a bit of biotechnology in the novel but it broke up what was feeling like monotony with all the business and biographies at the time. So, in answer, I try to read as received but remain flexible for things that come up. I never want my book blogging to feel like a chore, so I have done it in this manner so far. (and yes, I am behind on my TBRs :))

  31. AIO. Compulsively organized.

    I make lists of TBRs based on categories, challenges, etc. I then….(oh my, am I really going to admit this?) number the lists, and use a number generator to reorder the list so the selections are somewhat random.

    When I need the a book to read, I just select the next one from one of the lists. (Getting books from the library “out of order” throws the whole thing into a shambles and sends me into a tizzy…lol)

  32. I don’t sign up for book tours because sometimes I’m in the US sometimes I’m in Mexico so there’s no point lol but if I download something from NetGalley or Galley Grab I just go by their expiration dates. The sooner the date is it gets bumped on my reading list 🙂

  33. I feel your decision confusion!
    I average reading about 15 books a month, with the help of Audibles. I review at least 12 books a month on my blog.
    Review books are mostly AIO. I have a lot of review books per month – usually about 8 so I put them on the calendar first. Some are specific tour dates and some free scheduled.
    Then I line up a few TBRs. I have done “Help Me Pick” posts so my commenters can help me pick at least the first couple.
    Right now I am trying to get to/through a box of books that I won over the past year or so. (This is just a handful out of many won books I have to read!)
    I generally pick Audibles ATSL – just for fun to fill in time gaps. 🙂 I think I read more UF on Audible, but not only UF.
    Absolutely I think I take too many review books. It is hard to resist when they look good and are free. 🙂
    I do try to vary so I don’t read two of the same genre at the same time where they might get confusing.
    My Monday post this week has a few yet to be decided!

  34. I have to say that I think I have actually toned down a bit but I have to say that i think its easy to get into that over commit way.

    As for what I will read next I usually tend to stay with the books I rec’ in order unless its something for a tour.

    I love Kathy’s comment about my eyes being bigger then my tummy.

  35. I’m definitely an ATSL reader. My tbr pile is growing like a weed (and yes, that does include the books I’ve been given for review, unfortunately). I’m always being drawn by the latest new releases and so the tbr pile often gets left a bit longer.

  36. It’s difficult! I read review books roughly around the time that they are going to be published (yes, I keep a list!) and otherwise, library books go before TBR, but not always. If my commitments are few I’ll go as the spirit takes me (that feels like real freedom, and it always makes me happy).

  37. It ATSL for me.
    Sometimes I will read several books on one subject, or genre. Other times I want a complete change.

    My blog post for Sunday was about which book has been sitting on my TBR shelves the longest.

    Have a good week, Sheila!


  38. When choosing my next book it ends up being a combination of what do I need to read in my review pile, what do I feeling like reading, adventure, paranormal, romance, all three, and what do I have to get down deadline. I have been trying hard not to buy too many new books, but I Am WEAK! Have a great week!

  39. I am a ATSL for sure! However I try to read ARC’s before the release date to have a review up on the date or close to it. But I am not always successful. Library books and bookcrossing bookrings get priority too.

  40. Fun discussion, Sheila!

    I am definitely As The Spirit Moves Me – tucked in between book group books. I belong to 2 book groups and sometimes go to a third at my library.

    I don’t plan ahead, even a week, because I love that feeling when you’ve finished a book and select a new one! It all depends on what kind of mood I’m in and what I feel like reading next.

    That said, I do try to alternate adult books and kid/teen/YA books since I have two book blogs, though it doesn’t always work out that way. This week for instance…it took me 2 weeks to read Cutting for Stone and even though I’m overdue for a kid/teen book, I needed to get started on my book club book for this week, The Tiger’s Wife.

    I stopped requesting review books (at least adult ones – I still have a paid job reviewing kids’ media) because it was too much pressure and I didn’t have time to read what I wanted to read.


  41. I definitely have a tendency to get over-committed. My system, if you can call it that, is kind of a mixture of your options. Sometimes the structure is nice, because then I don’t stress (yes, I do sometimes; how silly) about what book to read next.

  42. Like you, I am a mood reader and choose accordingly. There times when I say I think I am going to read ‘this book’ ths month and it doesn’t happen. I read slow, only 1 book a week so I have to be very careful on what I say yes to for reviews, glad I caught on to this quickly. Reading because of a deadline messes with my enjoyment of reading.

  43. I think I’m mostly an “as the spirit moves me” kind of girl. I try to get my library books read before they’re due. I have a tendency to pick up more library books before I can get to the books on my shelf though. I’m thinking of implementing a moratorium on library books until I can get through the physical books on my shelf!

  44. I’m mostly an “as the spirit moves me” but honestly, I usually end up reading books based on obligations. I have the books I’ve taken in for review. And my answer is a resounding yes to your question: “For those of you who are book reviewers, do you think we easily over commit ourselves to read books offered to us as books are so much our passion it is hard to say no? ” I also have a book club book every month. And I have been finding too many books on NetGalley that I feel like I need to read within 6 week so or so of getting them. When I do have time to read a random book from my TBR pile, I usually just go with whatever I happen to be in the mood to read at the moment.

  45. I go back and forth. Some months I am all responsible and alternate between review books and recent releases I want to read. Other months I just ignore all the review books and read whatever I feel like at the moment.

    I have been able to keep my TBR pile at a steady 200 books…so even if I am not making a dent in that pile at least it’s not getting any bigger. I have a feeling BEA might destroy that fine balance 🙂

  46. I’m a bit of a mix mutt in that regards. I have a summer reading list on my computer and I have to box loads of books to pick up and read at random. So I have a list and “as the spirit moves me” sort of gal.

  47. I’m definitely an “As the Spirit Takes Me” kinda girl! The best way to go 🙂

    I’m wondering if you got my e-mail about winning the giveaway last week?

  48. I am guilty of over committing so my time is usually scheduled. I am certainly a mood reader which sometimes makes the scheduling difficult.

  49. I am totally driven by whatever mood I am in unless I have a book that I am obligated to read for a review and then I read those in order.

  50. Oh, and yes, I do think I overcommitted myself in the past.I’m trying to catch up, this year, though–before the year ends. 😉

  51. Good, except I didnt get email oh boy. Thank you though!
    I wanted to stop and see. bye for now

    • I just double checked Joann and yup at 9:33 am this morning… I just forwarded it to you again… (had to check as I sent our quite a few books today and a lot of emails too :D)

      Enjoy your read! I love having you on the meme!

  52. I am not a book reviewer, so I imagine it would be difficult to make decisions keeping that in mind! I just read alot, lol, and I base my decisions on where the spirit moves me. Many times my choices are based on the weather- if it is sunny and warm, I like books that are set in sunny and warm places. If it is rainy, I like scary and Gothic, and so on. 🙂

    • Mine too Erin…. I love summer light reads and tend to drift more towards YA … like you a rain storm calls for mysteries 😀

  53. I used to accept review books and I have stopped that. That wasa good decision for me as I can read more what I want now. I have stopped collecting books in my home as well. SHOCK! If I find a title I want to read, I add it to my good to read list and then reserve that title from the library.
    I belong to 2 book clubs, so I make selections my priority and that I fill in with titles from the library.
    I had never thought to use, but am goign to try that to select my next book from my very long to-read shelf on Good
    I am finding more enjoyment in not having review deadlines! Very interesting post!!!

    • Good job Jen… I wish I could stop accepting books but that breaks my heart… I love having them in my home and love reading and sharing them. I use my library quite a bit too 🙂

  54. Fun seeing the responses. I rarely accept review books anymore. I have a wish list and I try to only buy books from it. And then I read for the the challenges I’ve signed up for, hopefully from my own piles of books. I’m always listening to an audio book in the car and that always comes from the library from my wish list. That was more complicated than it seems on a daily basis 🙂

  55. Hi Shelia, back from the Uk, which you may have already realised from FB, but now so much to catch up on! I have just caught up with your posts, which are as always interesting. I certainly seem to over commit and never say no when offered a book to review but maybe i need to learn to do so. So many books so little time. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: