Author's Note

TBR Check In: April 2021

It’s already April, unbelievably, so it’s time to check in on not only the last month, but also the quarterly goals I set myself at the beginning of the year! This will be quite a chatty check in, so I’ve bolded my new goals for easier reading.

Goodreads Challenge

This month has been a phenomenal reading month for me – my best since I started keeping track on the blog! I read 56 books in March, bringing me up to a total of 122 so far this year.

This was definitely helped by the introduction of #SweepUpYourSmols, which is my new readathon – you may be aware I’ve run #ConquerAChonker for a good while now, which is where you spend a weekend making time to read a long book, but I’ve just added this sister readathon, where you spend the weekend after reading the shortest books on your TBR. When I take the time to read a longer book over several days, I always feel like I need to swing back the other way to avoid getting slumpy, and it definitely did what I wanted it to! I read 11 books under 300 pages over the #SweepUpYourSmols weekend alone.

It also helped that I started to get very frustrated with my TBR, as I’ll discuss in the next section, so I really made a huge push to weed out some older things I knew I wouldn’t want to keep or review! I DNFed a bunch of things too, but I don’t tend to count those anywhere.

As a reminder, I’m aiming for 300 books read in 2021, so I’m pretty sure I’m doing okay… I really need to work on actually logging these in Goodreads, though!

My Owned TBR

My goal for April 1st was to go from 505 books to 480 books on my TBR. I ended up at 473, which I’m really pleased with! During March, I realised I had totally failed on getting the TBR below 500 – it went up during January, and I started March at 509 books. So really, all the reading down happened in the last month!

However, I’m even more frustrated with my TBR as a whole than I was on January 1st. It’s got to the point where even books I was incredibly excited to read when I got them have started to feel more like obligations, and I genuinely hate having to choose my next read because I have to prioritise one book over all the other hundreds waiting.

I feel like having such a large TBR keeps me on the back foot when it comes to reading. I’ve not been able to do any rereads for a long time, which means some of my very favourite books I haven’t touched in a couple of years. I also feel like it means I don’t get the chance to show you the books that really represent my reading taste, but are less current – I never talk about my love of Robin Hobb, for example! At my current reading rate, I have just about a year and a half’s worth of books planned out for me in advance, and that’s really not as much fun as being able to read more freely – plus, I have a baby, a job, and a ton of other hobbies, so I can’t spend all my time as focused as I was in March! Great books are only going to keep getting released, so something has to give. Clearing out my TBR to be somewhere under 100 would give me so much breathing space – I don’t know when I’ll get there, but I’m determined to make it at some point.

This time, I’m going to be setting a monthly goal (to avoid that last minute crunch again), so by May 1st, I’d like to have no more than 460 books on the TBR. It’s only a reduction of 13 books overall, but my birthday is at the end of April so I’m leaving lots of room for any book-shaped presents!

Physical Review Copies

I’m back down from 62 to 57 physical review copies, with 11 read and awaiting review, 7 of which are for two Kitten Corner posts. This is definitely not going well! I started the year with 47, and although there has been a lot of turnover, I have been hugely lucky with ARCs being sent to me both requested and unsolicited, and I spent a lot of time in March focusing on clearing out books other than review copies, as I mentioned. I was supposed to be getting down to 30 by April 1st, so I’m clearly going to need to rethink this one. It’s not just about reading them, it’s about making time to review them too! I think a smaller monthly goal will help, so let’s say I’ll try to get this down to 50 by May 1st. I don’t have too many requests in with publishers for April/May, so hopefully I’ll surpass this.

Wrap Up

I actually had a great month, despite having to re-evaluate some of my goals. Most of the 54 books I read I really enjoyed, even the ones I decided not to keep!

Least favourite: A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick; The Book of Swords Part 2 ed. Gardner Dozois

Favourites: To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers; Voidbreaker by David Dalglish; The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

Shortest: Sometimes by Stephanie Stansbie and Elisa Paganelli

Longest: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

How was your reading month? If you have a wrap-up post, I’d love to see it!

9 thoughts on “TBR Check In: April 2021

  1. I read 56 books in March, bringing me up to a total of 122 so far this year.

    You’re magic and no one can convince me otherwise. Also Sweep Up Your Smols sounds like a fab thing, I need to read shorter books more often to avoid slumpage

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have also had a bit of a frustrated month with my TBR. It resulted in me not buying books I wanted because of the reading pressure so last week I dusted the shelves and pulled off a pile of 20 books to 50 page test, so far, thanks to being on holiday, I’ve read 3 of those in full and DNF 5 so the pressure is lifting a bit. Hope yours goes well next month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like such a relief! The 50 page test is such a great idea, sometimes you can just tell a book isn’t going to be for you right away – I need to make time to do another round of them! Sorry you’re feeling the pressure too – it really does end up being too much of a good thing, doesn’t it!


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