Why I Love the Idea of TBR Jars

TBR jars. We have all seen them in one form or another at some point. It is a jar full of book titles that are on your To Be Read-list to help you choose what to read next. It can be helpful for people with too many unread books and besides, it is really fun to have one.
I just made my own TBR jar a few days ago. I haven’t used it yet as I was already reading a book and have some books with deadlines, but I’ll definitely update on Twitter whenever I pick a title from it soon!

For this post, I will be telling you a few reasons why I totally love the idea of TBR jars and having one. At the end, I’ll share details on how I made my own. I hope that with this post I can convince others to join me in this cute bookish thing!

So here are the reasons why I love it so much:

1. It makes your TBR less intimidating

Every bookdragon has this absolutely daunting TBR. Whether it be a special case or shelf full of unread books, a spreadsheet or you use an online shelf, it doesn’t matter as it makes many people nervous or anxious. Sometimes by just thinking about it.
I keep track of my TBR on Goodreads, but that easily gets out of hand. I currently have 474 books on my To Be Read shelf and I don’t remember most of them. I am going to clean it up soon, but it is still very intimidating to see that high number and long list.

All of the above is just why a TBR jar is perfect. You can take a cute little jar, some nicely coloured paper and pen down all the titles you want to include. The result is a cute little jar, filled with keys to another world and when you look at the jar, you don’t see 200 titles, you’ll just feel excited for what sort of surprises it might bring in soon instead of discouraged or anxious.

2. You can include different versions of your TBR

Even though it is called a TBR jar, it is not needed to include your entire TBR. There are many ways to do this, it is just what you prefer. You can include only the books you own, make separate jars per genre or a jar for your unending list of review copies, because you are completely lost. You can completely do it your way as it is your jar. There is no wrong way to do it. Aslong as it helps you and makes you feel good, you are on the right track.

Some more ideas of TBR types:

– A Summer TBR (or any other season), for books you want to read during Summer.
– Your TBR for a reading challenge or readalong, like Year of the Asian hosted by The Quiet Pond.
– Titles of books you want to buy, in case you can’t choose on payday.
– A monthly TBR
– Names of series in case you are a series-binger.

Share all your creative ideas with me in the comments!

3. It relieves you from the choosing pressure

We all know the feeling of not being able to choose what to read next. You can stare at your shelf for hours, but it doesn’t really get easier. So sometimes it needs to be chosen for you. There are many ways to do this, like random number generators or, you guessed it, a TBR jar!

I am a huge moodreader. I have to be feeling the book, otherwise I am gonna pass it and pick another. At first, I was hesistant to go with a TBR jar as I just knew I wouldn’t always be in the mood for the book I would grab out of the jar. But I realised: It is my jar and it has my rules. It isn’t cheating if I just put the paper back and pick another.

Even when you can’t choose, deep down you already sort of know what you want to read and what not. It really helps that something is choosing, so you just get more confirmation on what not to read. Just keep going until you think ”YES, this is it.” Sometimes in doing so, you can also come up with a book yourself. Either way, it makes choosing much easier.

My TBR jar

You can make your TBR completely to your taste and wants, so that is exactly what I did.
I wanted to focus my jar on books I own, but haven’t read yet. So I just went over my shelves and wrote down all the titles. For series I just included the first book or the next book if I already started the series, because it would be weird to get ‘Return of the King’ when I haven’t even read ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, right?

After inventarising all the titles, I made a google doc. I created a 3 by 8 table with 6.5cm width and 3cm height and wrote down all titles plus writers. I even created enough blank cells so I can add new books later.
I wanted to change the colour of the outlines to a light grey, so it would be visible enough to cut, but wouldn’t be as visible on the edges if I didn’t cut straight. I realised when they were already printed and I thought it a waste to reprint them just for that.

After printing and cutting, I started to fold the papers so the titles wouldn’t be visible from the outside. I did a fold in the width, then in the height as they don’t open up as easily this way.
As my jar wasn’t big enough to shake and shuffle the papers while they are in there, I spread them over the couch to shuffle them that way.

I put all the papers in my jar, closed the lid and now it is being cute on my shelf.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! It was a fun little thing I decided to do this week and sometimes the simple things in life are the best.

Are you planning to make your own TBR jar? Do you already have one? Don’t hesitate to show them to me on Twitter. Use #TBRjar or tag @EzziesBookshelf!



17 thoughts on “Why I Love the Idea of TBR Jars

Add yours

    1. I’ve gotten so used to doing everything by publishing date that when I get some time to choose for myself this summer… I don’t know what I am going to do with myself lol! But these are some grand ideas.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I already have one made! It mostly serves as for books on my kindle rather then physical books. I already used a few times with mixed results but it definitely helps with choosing a book. It makes it a lot easier.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this idea for so many reasons! And I want to do it for the reasons you’ve mentioned (less stress, less intimidating, plus I love the almost gamification of choosing your next read). But I’m a super duper mood reader, plus constantly have deadlines on ARCs or book club reads, and so I feel like that always stops me. I’d be much more likely to pull something out of the jar and go … eh … and choose something else anyway. xD I do like your rule that it’s not cheating if you do that. But I’d still feel like a cheater, because I have to be difficult.

    I hope you enjoy your TBR jar! Sounds super cute. May it choose all the best books for you. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This sounds like a much nicer looking way of doing this. I’m creating a spreadsheet to put into Access so I can practice my SQL skills while getting a randomly picked book. And that way (like you I’m a mood reader) I can specify what type of categories or author’s or something I’m feeling until I get something I like 😊 can’t wait to hear how the jar goes!

    Liked by 1 person

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