Reading Free: My New TBR “System”


So after years of committee work and post-committee reading slumps I’ve finally found myself free to read whatever I want.  So, when I got home from ALA Midwinter I diligently sat down and made a spreadsheet of my To Read list.

I added award winners I hadn’t read yet, I added the ARCs I’d picked up and the ones I’ve requested from Edelweiss, I added the things that have been sitting around my house waiting to be read since BEA or before. I added books that aren’t my style but are popular enough with teens that I should read them before returning to work.

The sheet was lovely, with release dates, format, and even if the book had a diversity factor of some sort.  After all I only picked two  reading goals for 2015. The first was to increase the number of diverse books I read. The second was to read more books just for fun and not fall into the trap of focusing on starred reviews, which isn’t much fun sometimes and is not especially helpful for RA either.

The sheet was lovely, and it was almost 100 titles long. In February. That is just about my reading for an entire year given my slow-ish reading speed and toddler parenting. Even after attempting to assign priority to titles there were still more than 60 that I was hoping to read before Annual.

So, I’m trying something completely different. I took those sixty or so titles and wrote them on post-its, folded them up, and tossed them in a leftover gift basket from Christmas. Now when I finish a book I can draw the next one out of the basket. No more over-thinking, just reading. Still, I’m not bound by the basket. If I read a adult romance in a restaurant setting, and it makes me want to pick up a non-fiction about the restaurant world so be it. If I see a bunch of interesting graphic novels at the library and want to go on a two-week graphic novel bender so be it. In other words, I’m going to read more like a patron.

Now, the downside of this is that some ARCs might not be read before they are published, and for this I’m sorry. But let’s be honest, most of have a ton of ARCs that we don’t get to anyhow. Plus, if the book is awesome I’m going to do all I can to help it get bought or read anyway. It doesn’t matter that much if it’s been out a month or two. Heck, I may even be able to call some attention to a book that didn’t get much notice at first.  I am, however, going to stop downloading ARCs unless I plan to start them immediately.

So that’s it. My “read free”/”avoid the post committee slump” bring back the fun plan.  How do you decide what to read?

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds: Flash Booktalk


When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Ali mostly stays away from trouble thanks to his mom and boxing training, but that does makes his Bed-Stuy neighborhood a little low on guys for him to hang around with. Then Noodles and his brother Needles move in. Noodles likes to pretend he’s a lot harder than he his.  Needles has Tourette’s Syndrome but has some success controlling his outbursts by knitting. When the three underage boys get into a very exclusive party things get heated pretty quickly and now some serious trouble is coming for Ali.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: Flash Booktalk



I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

It was about a boy, except it wasn’t. It was about who was a better artist, except it wasn’t. It was about their mother’s death, except it wasn’t. It was about all of those things, or maybe none of those things exactly. Now Jude just wants to be invisible and Noah just wants to blend in. It wasn’t always that way, before the summer they were thirteen, before the secrets, before the lies they were as close as you would expect twins to be. Can they open themselves up to the truth? Can they open themselves up to life?