Book Fetish

8 Clever Ways to Tackle Your TBR

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I do not keep a TBR nor do I have any method of determining which book to read next. I mostly keep my “to read” on Goodreads to remember titles I’m interested in, and I also make ample use of book website wish list features for the same reason. They end up being really handy when I’m trying to figure out what audiobook I should pick up next. But at the end of the day, I’m a chaotic mood reader through and through. Despite this, I love seeing the clever ways that people tackle their TBR and have found some pretty neat ideas for folks looking to up their TBR reading game via Etsy, of all places.

If you don’t have a TBR plan but are looking for one, these ideas are creative and for folks who aren’t especially crafty — either because it’s not in your wheelhouse or because it’s extra time and energy away from things like reading — to take the work out of how to read down that pile. Maybe you have a method and want to mix it up a bit? These are some ways to add some more fun to the process.

Frankly, even as a chaotic mood reader, I’m intrigued by a number of these methods because they might push me to read something I may have been putting off or forgetting about. I mean, I am very tempted to get a mini book cart to at least keep my library books on, since being in the online book world is convincing me it would be cute AND purposeful.

Ready? Let’s dive into the world of creative TBR tackling from Etsy.

Image of a pack of playing cards spread out. They each feature a reading related prompt and are colorful.

This is a deck of playing cards, each with a prompt for what to read next. The art is fun and the TBR cards focus on diversity and inclusion. $30 for the set of 54.

Image of a set of cards all designed like a movie ticket. They are cream and blue, with space for an author and title. The corners of the tickets have cute little ghosts.

The idea of a movie ticket style TBR you pop into a glass and pull from is so clever! These are a fun way to not only choose your next book, but you could use them as bookmarks as well. The lil ghosts and skulls are speaking to me. $7 for a set of 12.

Image of a game board mirrored after Monopoly but with book themes for each space.

This Bookopoly digital download is one you have a lot of flexibility with. The creator suggests choosing how many books you want to read in a month — let’s say four — and you roll a set of die four times to get four different prompts. This’ll run you a touch over $3 and you’ll have it immediately.

Image of a tin with several colorful tiny paper envelopes inside.

The number of customizations on this TBR tin is a big bonus. It looks like a tin of little pieces of paper, but those are actually tiny envelopes and inside each envelope is the name of a book. You can choose your envelope colors, as well as how many envelopes you want, and then you customize the books you want inside each envelope. Think of it as an advent style calendar but for books and useful all year long. $12 and up.

Image of a glass jar with colorful paper stars inside. The jar is on an open book and has a tag that says "read me."

I had a teen who used to come to my library all the time and make these paper stars for me, so this TBR star jar speaks to my heart in several ways. How fun to choose a star and know it contains your next read! Plus, it looks good on a book shelf. There are 75 stars and you can submit some of your books for the titles to be included, while the seller will research and add some books to “push” you in your reading, too. $19.

Image of a reading progress tracker, which features star stickers on one sheet and a sheet with a jar on which to put the stars.

While this one is dated for 2022, it might be a nice way to motivate your reading through the remainder of the year…or message the seller for an undated option. Though the star stickers do not have titles on them, you can make this a TBR by putting titles on those stars and when you read down the books, pop those stars in the jar. Fun! $9 for this TBR reading tracker.

Image of a set of colorful cards with a guide to how to use them. This is a dice game, and the roll determines which card you use and what prompt on the card to follow.

Choose your next read with the help of a roll of the dice. This is a fun mix of card game, dice game, and, of course, what to read next. $5 and up, as you can choose to get just the cards, just the cards and dice, or the whole set which includes tracking stickers.

Three sets of dice sets. They are black, blue, and gray, each with sparkles and a romance trope on them.

Last but not least, for romance readers — or those who want to expand their romance reading — grab these trope dice. Choose from two different sets to use to help you pick your next read. You’ll be able to both read down your TBR and use the resulting roll to help add more books to your life. $4.

Of course, once you’ve read through your TBR, you’ll want to keep a log of your progress with these fun reading tracker bookmarks, too.