Discussions

DISCUSSION: Let's Talk About TBR Jars!

July 18, 2018

Hello, everyone! I wanted to talk about something today that, if you follow my twitter, you probably knew was coming: TBR jars!

I’ve thought about making one before, but I always figured that it wouldn’t work for me, since I read a lot of “time sensitive” things (like ARCs and themed TBRs).

Then, it occurred to me—a TBR jar could really help me work on my backlist and stick to my book ban! Let me tell you why I think it will help:

1. It creates a visual representation of my owned, unread books! I’m a visual person, so seeing them all in one place works. (I only included books I already own, physically or digitally.)

2. It makes knocking out my backlist titles fun, because I want to see the slips disappear!

3. It will help me read books I’ve forgotten about or put off for a long time. (Like, years.)

So, I sat down last week and got to work. It took me almost 3 hours (and a lot of finger and wrist pain, lemme tell ya), but this was my finished result:

DiBRrH0VQAA_7Tt (1).jpg(As you can see, I kind of need a bigger jar.)

I love it! I think it’s so cute, it makes a great shelf decoration, and most of all, it encourages me to want to read backlist titles. I also put my unreleased ARCs in the jar, for thoroughness’ sake.

In case you haven’t noticed, when it comes to bookish goals, I tend to succeed more if I make myself accountable to you guys—so I’m setting myself some ground rules:

1. I’m only allowed one re-draw each time I pull a slip out! (Unless the 2nd slip is from the same series.)

2. If I pull a slip for a later book in a series, I can put the slip back but I also have to go grab my next read in that series! (i.e., if I pulled Tower of Dawn out right this minute, I would put it back, but I have to go get Heir of Fire off the shelf and knock out the next book in that series)

3. If I pull out a slip for a book I’ve already read, I am allowed to reward myself by grabbing a book of my choosing instead of drawing again.

4. Only one TBR Jar read at a time! I’m hoping this will help me keep my current reading count lower, since I’ll be excited to finish it and see what I draw next!

(Of course, none of this is going to affect you guys very much; I’m still going to be posting monthly themed TBRs, and I’ll still be trying to get ARC reviews up before they release. I’ll also still be doing buddy reads the way I normally do them.)


So, what do you think? Would you make a TBR jar, or do you already have one? Do you have any tips for my new “TBR Jar Rules”?


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  • Reply Kaya @ afictionalbookworm July 18, 2018 at 11:31 am

    This is such a great way to organize your TBR! Also, that jar is beautiful XD

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 18, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you so much haha! It’s funny, the jar itself is meant to put like, flour or sugar or something in? And it was empty and sitting in the cabinet so I grabbed it as a “temporary” jar, but once I put the papers in I just loved how it looked so I’m going to keep using it!

  • Reply Sarah July 18, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I might try this! Usually I use a randomizer, but I think the jar would be more fun and would make me more motivated to read the books I already have. 🙂

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 18, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Yesss! 😀 I was using an RNG with my “owned TBR” spreadsheet for a little while earlier this year, but it wasn’t very much fun and I ended up just clicking the RNG again until I found a title I was excited about, lmao. This way, it’s more fun and it motivates me to actually read the book I pull out, plus I like the visual representation reminding me to STOP BUYING BOOKS. O_O

  • Reply amyriadofbooks July 18, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I love the idea of a TBR Jar and I’ve had one for a while now. But unfortunately I haven’t kept up with it and it needs a major overhaul. I guess it doesn’t help books come out faster than I can read, and I continually check out books from my local library! XD

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 18, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Bahaha I feel you, sometimes I want to be like, “Okay, I need ALL of you amazing authors to just, like, CHILL for six months to a year and let me catch up!”

      • Reply amyriadofbooks July 18, 2018 at 6:36 pm

        LOL Right? Forever buried by my TBR pile.

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:48 am

          I always joke that my headstone is just going to say, “She died as she lived, suffocating under her TBR pile.”

  • Reply Priyasha July 18, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Beautiful way to organize …
    Great post 💛

  • Reply Megan July 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    That’s an interesting way to approach the TBR jar. I haven’t done it, but I might try it once I get settled into my new place :).

  • Reply tasya @ the literary huntress July 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Ahh I love the colors you use <3 I try to make one but I don't think it works for me as I ended up avoid using my jar xD I love the way you make it though!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you! I was lucky and happened to have a little pad of colored paper sitting around that I never use so I just cut that up!

  • Reply Nicole (Read. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.) July 18, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    What a great idea! I love how colorful your jar is!

  • Reply Kaleena @ Reader Voracious July 18, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    You already know that I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I am really interested to see how this winds up working for you. This seems like something that may be more useful for me than the Beat the Backlist Challenge as it is a tangible way to tackle the TBR Tower and accomplish that goal as well. I also read a lot of time sensitive books but really want to try to find a bit of balance to include more backlist titles.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 18, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you!
      I tried doing Beat the Backlist this year, too, and it hasn’t been very productive for me, sadly! I started thinking maybe it was partially because there’s no visual representation, since I don’t have a TBR shelf or anything, and I’m very much a visual person. 😂 I would love to see it if you give it a try too!

      • Reply Kaleena @ Reader Voracious July 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        I was really motivated for awhile by BTB, but definitely the lack of a visual representation and all the looming time sensitive reads steered me away. I probably will give this a try at some point in the near future!

  • Reply sophrilreads July 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    This is a great idea. I hope it works well for you!

  • Reply sophrilreads July 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    This is a great idea. I hope it works out well for you😊

  • Reply Marie July 18, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    OH I love the idea of a TBR Jar so, so much – and your looks so pretty and colorful, that makes me want to do one now haha 🙂 I think it is such a great idea, especially to get to all of the backlist titles and the books you already have that have been waiting for you for so long sometimes. I never have a massive physical TBR, but I do have some backlist titles I really want to get to. Maybe I should to a To-Get-Next Jar, to help me to get to all of these backlist titles I always want to read, but are always pushed on the side because of new releases haha 🙂
    Best of luck for this and happy reading! 😀

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Aww, thank you! You totally should, I would love to see it if you do! 🙂 That’s a fantastic idea to do the To-Get-Next Jar! 😀 Happy reading to you too, Marie! ♥

  • Reply PerfectlyTolerable July 18, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Your jar is so pretty and colorful!! 😍😍😍 I wouldn’t be able to do a TBR jar because I am too much of a mood reader and probably would hate whatever book I drew if it wasn’t exactly what I was wanting haha.
    I read a quote one time and I’m going to slaughter it but it went something like this: I flip a coin whenever I have trouble making decisions. Not because I actually want the coin to make the decision but because if I find myself hoping that it falls a certain way then I truly know which I want.
    You probably have too many books in your TBR for this philosophy to work, but if you find yourself hoping you draw a certain book, maybe you should listen to that feeling and read that one too!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Thank you so much! Haha oh noooo, yeah I can see how it wouldn’t work as well if you’re a major mood reader!
      I LOVE that quote! I don’t remember the exact phrasing either, but I use it all the time, and it’s honestly so true. You’re so right – if I’m wishing a book will come up, I think I will just let myself skip the jar and go grab that book off my shelf!

  • Reply CJR The Brit July 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    This is an amazing idea but 3 hours, ouch! Good luck and can’t wait to see your update posts. 😁

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Hahaha, right?! It was SO tedious and my fingers were cramping afterwards. I’m glad I did it, though. Thank you! 😀

      • Reply CJR The Brit July 19, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        I might try this for 2019. I’m on track for my backlist challenge this year, unforts I’ve still been buying books faster than I can read so still have a mountain!

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 3:42 pm

          I feel you! I need to be on a book ban for basically the rest of my life haha

          • CJR The Brit July 19, 2018 at 3:47 pm

            Me too! I feel so proud of myself for reading a few backlist titles then I look at my tbr and shed a few tears 😂

  • Reply Steph Burton July 18, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I had a TBR jar for a while but every book title I picked I would end up avoiding it. I have numbered all the books on my TBR in my Bullet journal and use a random number generator and pick 6 books and try and narrow it down to get one. I only use it when I don’t know which book to pick next. Happy Reading XX

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

      I like that you pick 6 and give yourself those as options – that’s a great idea! 🙂 Thank you, happy reading to you too!

  • Reply Ellyn July 18, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    I’ so excited to see how this works out for you! I have really high hopes because I really want this to work for you. I know the pains of having a really big tbr ( I buy books and then only read my library books lol what) and how hard it can be to get it down in size.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Thank you Ellyn! 😀 Lmao I know the feeling, I had to basically ban myself from the library. I only allow myself to get graphic novels from the library now, because I know I can read them really quickly. Otherwise, it’s gotta come from my owned TBR pile for now!

  • Reply Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice July 19, 2018 at 12:57 am

    I love your TBR jar! 😍 This is such a wonderful idea and your rules are great too. Good luck! 💗

  • Reply robyn-lee samuels July 19, 2018 at 4:00 am

    This is such a cool idea. I did one for blog posts because my excuse was, “I don’t know what to write”. So I filled a jar with post ideas. But I never use it. Me thinks me should. Get jar out and just write. Because blogs need content. And I should get rules too. I like making rules and lists. It’s sticking to them that’s tough. Also… How do you keep your ARCs on track? I have such a backlog that I can’t even look at an ARC anymore.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

      I LOVE THAT IDEA! OMG. That is so cool! I might have to steal that because sometimes I get random blog post ideas that I think I would love to write but I forget to write them or make time for them!
      I have a spreadsheet for my ARCs! It’s pretty basic, it just has them in order of release date, and it’s literally just the release date, title, and format/source (like NetGalley, Edelweiss, print, etc.) so I can remember if I need to submit the review to any websites besides the usual. As far as staying on top of them, I do occasionally miss the release date for one, but not very often anymore. Sadly, I didn’t reach a point of hitting the release date “deadline” for most of my ARCs until about 4-5 months ago, so from last year and the first 2 months of this year, I have quite a few backlist ARCs that I need to get around to!

      • Reply robyn-lee samuels July 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

        I’ve found some interesting reads through arcs and a few books by authors I follow but those are mostly non-fiction. Which leaves my with textbook type books on my kindle 😱. I need to make smarter choices. BUT those are still books I Want to read. But I don’t necessarily want to review them, if you know what I mean. 😂

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 1:25 pm

          Haha yes, definitely! Nonfiction reviews are tough to write for me, especially since I don’t read nonfiction very often.

  • Reply Lin July 19, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Oh ma gerd! It’s so colourful and pretty! 😮 I’ve been contemplating making a TBR jar if only so I too can focus on those books that I’ve left abandoned and alone on my shelf XD Also, those rules are pretty dang good. I hope this works out for you! 😀
    Happy Reading!!!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Hahaha thank you!! (I haven’t heard “oh ma gerd” in a while and I laughed out loud lol) You totally should! That was my biggest motivator – looking at my shelf and mourning all of the poor babies that I bought ages ago and never read, lmao. Happy reading, Lin! ♥

  • Reply Tiffany G. July 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I do something like this. I have an app on my phone called Randomizer and I add all of my new books as I go and I just let that choose what book I get to read next. Unless, there’s a new release I absolutely HAVE to read.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Oooooh that’s really cool! 😀 I like that idea. I was using a Random Number Generator through google, lined up with my TBR spreadsheet, for a little while. I’m just hoping the visual representation of the jar will help motivate me more, lol! Happy reading! 😀

  • Reply Lorraine Ambers July 19, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I love this idea. So pretty too. 😊
    I might create my own.

  • Reply Sharing Inspired Kreations July 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

    What a great idea! I would need somewhere secret to hide something like this, though, so that my toddler and cats couldn’t get into it – because they would destroy it!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Thank you so much! Haha I had to put mine on the very top of my bookshelf beside my desk for those exact reasons! 😀

  • Reply (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea July 19, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I love you TBR jar! I have one but it is based on genre only to give me more leeway haha. I am obviously not as committed as you. Loving your guidelines and may have to reference back to this and redo my jar when I am ready to seriously buckle down 💖

  • Reply booksandblends July 19, 2018 at 11:59 am

    This is a really great idea! Great post Destiny!

  • Reply journeyintobooks July 19, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    This is an awesome idea and great way to read those blacklisted books. Looking forward to seeing how this works out for you 💜😀

  • Reply Flavia July 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Ahhhh that’s such a cool idea! I’m such a mood reader when it comes to unscheduled TBR books though haha…I’d need a jar for each genre and sub-genre lmaooo

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 23, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Thank you! Bahaha I love it. You could get, like… maybe one of those divided makeup holders, if you know what I’m talking about? I mean, if it’s something you ever decided you did want to do 😀

      • Reply Flavia July 25, 2018 at 3:59 pm

        Oooo I totally know what you mean! That’s such a good idea! You’re a genius. Hahaha. 😀

  • Reply laurayamin1 July 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    This is a great idea! I have a ton of unread books from subscription boxes that I want to get on this fall and winter. I think I am going to create a TBR jar.

  • Reply Ilsen Leon July 26, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I have a TBR jar (or rather bag) but I do need to update it because I’ve gained books since I’ve had it. Maybe I’ll do exactly what you did and put all of my owned books in it.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      You totally should! 🙂 I like the idea of a TBR bag. The jar has been really fun. Someone inspired me today to make a “to buy” jar as well – a much smaller one where I would put in slips for books on my wishlist and whenever I want to treat myself, I could just pull out one slip and purchase that one book. I’m considering it now but not sure if I will since I’m going to be on a book ban for most of the rest of 2018.

  • Reply amystanton July 26, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    That’s a clever idea! I think my reading habits are too chaotic to submit to that kind of system, but I applaud you for it!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you! 🙂 haha I don’t blame you. I don’t think this would have worked for me even a year ago, but my reading habits have just changed so much this year.

  • Reply Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger July 28, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of these done before and I always wanted to try it! I think I’ll start one after ARC August or in January for the start of the new year!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 30, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Yay, that makes me so happy! 😀 I hope you enjoy making it! It was tedious but fun to me.

  • Reply Meeghan reads July 31, 2018 at 4:24 am

    I definitely want to do this! Perhaps towards the end of August after I’ve finished the read-a-thon!

  • Reply July Wrap-Up and August Goals – Abigail's Tales July 31, 2018 at 10:15 am

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  • Reply TeaPartyPrincess August 1, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Fab idea 🙂
    I sucked at mine when I tried it haha. I think I’ll give it another go to clear some backlist books.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries August 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      Thank you! 😀 Haha I hope your next try goes better! I haven’t gotten to utilize mine much yet because of the readathons I’ve been doing. They’ve had pretty strict TBRs!

  • Reply Jenna @ Falling Letters August 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    This sounds like a good idea, but I am too picky to try a TBR jar, haha. I like the rules you’ve set out – very practical. I do agree that it would make a cute shelf decoration, though! I almost want to make one just for that reason 😛

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries August 1, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Haha ohh, understandable!! I haven’t gotten the chance to use it much yet but I’m hoping I will get to after ARCAugust is over. 😀 Bahaha it is adorable, I have gotten so many compliments on how colorful it is!

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