Let’s Talk: Do Reading Plans and Rules Work For You?

SPARKLING LETTERS BOOK BLOG- Do Reading Plans and Rules Work For You-.jpg

Hello everyone, welcome to another discussion post! ♥

At the beginning of the year like this, you must have found a lot of reading challenges and read-a-thon all across the blogosphere. You might also see a lot of posts regarding the bloggers’ TBR for those challenges. I have to say, they’re all super interesting! I want to take part in those challenges & read-a-thon but based on previous experiences, chances are I’m gonna fail. This made think about other reading plans and rules such as making monthly TBR or doing a book buying ban, and their effectiveness.

So today I’m throwing one question for us to answer : do reading plans and rules work for you? Because for me, they generally don’t. Let’s see some of these examples! ♣

Read-a-thon & Reading Challenge 

I learned it the hard way that these two don’t work for me for several reasons : (1) I’m too lazy to find the books that match the theme/prompt, (2) Getting the books is even more difficult because they’re not always available in my country & by the time I get them the read-a-thon is probably over 😂 and (3) I’m suuuch a moody reader. To be fair, I’m actually a moody person in general 😛

The ONLY read-a-thon I ever completed was the #DiverseAThon last year. Here’s my recap for that. That’s why this year I won’t be joining any read-a-thon or reading challenge. My goals are only to read more diversely and to read more about issues I care & want to learn more about (e.g. mental health, feminism, rape culture, etc) and I’ll try to find books like that as I go.

That being said, I’m not at all dissuading you from joining reading events! And instead I will provide you links to this list of reading challenge created by Nicole in case you want to join but don’t have enough information about it. There are also so many other challenges and you host or know some interesting ones, feel free to leave the link in the comment 😀

Monthly TBR

Every month I read so many posts in which bloggers share their TBRs for the following month and I… never do that. Ever. Just like the case above, monthly TBR and I don’t get along well. For me, putting a book on my TBR is a sure way to not read it immediately. I have this tendency to abandon all the books on my TBR and pick something else instead. I don’t know why those other books, the ones not on my TBR, always look way more appealing! So I thought, why bother making TBR at all? 😂

Since I’m a moody reader, I usually just go with, well, my mood. On November I was really in the mood for contemporary books, especially the ones dealing with mental illness so I set out to read books like that until I get bored and crave for something else. This month I’m currently in the mood for diverse contemporaries (especially the one with racial & sexual diversity) and something historical, and I’ve been reading those books ever since. And if I don’t feel like reading anything, I won’t. I’m simple like that 😛


TBR in General

I could say this confidently that most of us just love adding more and more books to our TBR instead of actually READING what we already have on the list, don’t we? 😛 I’ve said this repeatedly before but I can’t plan what I read. I mean, I can make a list and all that, but I’m going to end up going off tangent anyway. I have books from many years ago sitting on my TBR that I don’t even want to read anymore, but don’t we all? 😉

Book Buying Ban

Oh man, just ANOTHER thing that never works on me 😂 no matter how broke I am, book buying ban is never gonna work, especially the ones limiting you not to buy books for some periods of time. I’ve seen a lot of people said on their instagram stories or twitter that they’re not gonna buy any books until March or April or even longer. Now mind you, I don’t have anything against it. It’s just not my thing. My principle is that I buy books when I have the cash to spare OR when my parents don’t mind paying.

However, I’m actually a really reasonable spender! I don’t go around spending all my money on books or other things. I never even walk out of a bookstore with more than 5 books, except when there’s a big sale 😛 but still, restricting my book buying habit is not my way to go 😂


As you can see for yourself, no reading plans or rules ever work for me, which is weird because I’m actually a super organized person who loves to plan my life down to its minutes 😂 but with reading, I can’t do that. I guess that’s mostly because I see reading is only as my hobby. I mean, it’s my life and I love it so much, but still, it’s not something I want to take too seriously. And planning everything is a sign of seriousness. I also don’t ever want to feel pressured to read this book or that book and end up being stressed out by the thing I love the most. So, yeah, I want to just go with the flow 😛

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Alright everyone, I’ve disclosed the fact that reading plans and rules NEVER work for me. Now it’s your turn!

Tell me, (1) do you join read-a-thon and reading challenge? If yes, which one are you currently doing and why? (2) if you set a TBR (monthly or in general), how often do you go off tangent? For me it’s all the time 😛 (3) do you do book buying ban? Does it work for you? and (4) is there any reading plan or rule that work/doesn’t for you? Share it with me because I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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67 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Do Reading Plans and Rules Work For You?

  1. I do love participating in read-a-thons, but I rarely put pressure on myself to read an unrealistic number of books in such a short amount of time. But TBRs of any kind definitely don’t work for me. I’m too much of a mood reader! I’ve never put myself on a book buying ban, mostly because I’m pretty good about keeping the book buying to a minimum. It helps that I prefer to buy books in bookstores, but I’m so busy that I don’t have much time to go to them.
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh that’s awesome! I think my problem with TBR is not the time but the books itself hahah most read-a-thon has theme and by the time it starts, I’m almost always in the mood to read OTHER books hahaha </3 ohhh that's great, I on the other hand have trouble with buying books hahaha thank you Holly! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel you on the TBR thing!! You know what they say about the best laid plans… they fall apart! I’ve really tried to plan what I read but the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know what I’ll want to read next and I don’t want to confine myself to one list!! Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I could do read-a-thons but 1. I have to work a lot so it just wouldn’t happen, 2. I never have the books for them. I don’t make a tbr but basically my tbr is the library books I have out and what order they were taken out in hahaha. But when I’m not reading library books I’m a mood reader so a monthly tbr does not ever work for me. I’m currently on a book buying ban but I use that loosely, what I’m trying to do is not buy any physical books or full price ebooks, so I’ll get the kindle daily deals if they interest me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never normally do read-a-thons because I feel like I’m putting too much pressure on myself but I’m actually starting one on the 13th called the bookentine read-a-thon. You have to read 3 books in a week so I’m hoping it’s not going to be too overwhelming. I do create TBR’s a lot of the time but I never completely stick to them. I usually read 2/3 books from my TBR list and then just mood read any other books.

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  5. I definitely don’t do read-a-thons ha. XD Too much pressure, most definitely, I just don’t like having to read so many books in a short amount of time, especially ones that are set for me. Not to mention monthly TBRs. I stopped doing monthly TBRs last spring, and it was so much better. I’m also a huge mood reader, so there’s no reason to set a TBR, especially when new releases come out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me neither hahaha I understand what you mean! Having rules make me feel lazy hahaha I stopped with monthly TBRs a long time ago too, it seemed redundant considering that I never stick to it 😂😂 ohhh yeah since I started blogging, I’ve been catching up with new releases 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The only reading challenge I joined this year was the goodreads one. And I love it. I don’t feel pressured to fulfill it, if I see that I’m behind, then I’m behind. I am not going to force myself to read more, just to fulfill my goal for the year. Reading is supposed to be FUN. And like you, I also want to read more diversely this year, but I am not joining anything for that either: I feel like I follow a good variety of people on different platforms who bring all kinds of diverse books to my attention and if something sparks my interest, I’ll add it to my TBR (and hopefully read it soon).

    I have never set myself a TBR before. I like looking at what books I have listed as TBR and then just go by whatever looks interesting in the moment. I feel like setting a TBR would take some of the joy away from reading for me.

    Don’t do book buying bans either. If I have money for books, I’ll buy some (tho I do try to not spend like 50€ a month on books, bills and food have to take priority – the joys of living on your own) and it’s usually a mix of books I’ve wanted for a while and that have gone down in their original price or a new release that I HAVE to have (currently hoping amazon comes through and delivers The Hate U Give early, like it did with Caraval).

    My one and only rule is to do what I feel like doing and I always stick to that one! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooohhh same hahaha I just set the number of books I want to read this year and call it a day 😂😂😂 sameeee! I love that people are hyping up diverse books more and more often lately, bringing the otherwise unheard of books to our attention 😀 and yes, creating specific TBR is too much work for me and seems redundant, as I almost always abandon them anyway haha ooohh I’m going to preorder The Hate U Give after my credit card bill for this month arrives, so it goes to next month bill and I could worry about it later! Hahaha 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m like you– reading plans generally don’t work well for me. It’s why I’m hesitant to do yearly reading challenges. I rarely make monthly TBRs, just because I am also SUCH a mood reader! The only TBRs I ever stick to are for shorter readathons (like, a week or shorter). I’ve never tried a book buying ban, but I would definitely be willing to try it if I felt like my book buying habits had gotten out of hand! Great post, Puput 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. While I don’t participate in a lot of reading challenges, I like to occasionally because they are good fun and you have the opportunity to make new friends and try a different variety of books! I’m currently participating in the #diversitybingo2017 challenge and the #bookentine readathon!

    I don’t usually make monthly TBRs because it is so hard for me to stick to them but I will have an idea of what I want to read!

    And lastly, book buying bans do work for me because I have access to books in the library as well so I get my books from there if I’ve banned myself from buying!

    Great post and very interesting discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yesss they’re fun and push me out of my comfort zone, most of the time haha I didn’t plan to join the diversity bingo but after a month, it turned out that most of the books I read fit the squares and I already crossed of 7 boxes so I might as well join 😂😂 same! Ahh I envy people who could get their books from library haha and thank you Anisha! 😀


  9. Haha, I loved reading this because I think we are similar in many ways. I am also a moody reader and very indecisive at times. I do not do challenges or commit to TBRs and such anymore.

    When I mention my TBR, I am actually speaking about all the books I plan to read one day (very generalized). The only challenge I participate in is my yearly GoodReads. I like keeping track of how many titles I read, but not so much setting goals outside of that.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m probably one of the most organized readers on the planet hahaha
    I have themed monthly TBRs and all my TBRs for the year are already picked out. I have a very elaborate system where I read 3 books at a time (sometimes more). I used to do read-a-thons all the time, not as much anymore but I still want to participate in some. And I have a giant list of self-made reading challenges that I consciously work toward every month hahaha I have issues

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  11. Great post, I completely agree. I do take part in a couple of reading challenges each year, I try to keep it to more numbers based things or short things rather than long challenges. I actually prefer readathons because they are for a limited amount of time rather than a year long. I get bored easily to short things are definitely my thing.

    I also never have a TBR list for the month, I find myself wanting to rebel as soon as I write out a TBR list. Instead, I have the new releases I’m looking forward to and a vague idea of what I need to read before it’s due back at the library or an ARC I need to finish but no definite list to make me feel the need to read something different.

    I did attempt a book buying limit last year and failed epically. This year I am trying the budgeting method, it seems to work a bit better as I have to think before I buy something. My only issue is gift cards aren’t included so I am slowly adding to my Kindle collection with gift card purchases. It’s a system which works better because as soon as I know I’m not meant to do something I want to… a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Becky! 😀 oh yeeees I like shorter challenges to because they’re doable haha I know right!! I got to the point where I no longer make monthly TBR because it’s a waste of time anyway 😂😂 and same, ever since I started blogging I try to focus more on new releases, while still keeping up with my back list books haha and it’s great that you found the method that works! My own method is to buy books after my credit card bills came so it will go to next month bill and I cpuld worry about it later hahaha


  12. Great post, Puput!
    To be honest, I try to be organized with my reading. I think if I don’t set up goals for myself, I just won’t read. Life and school can easily get in the way, so I try to set a schedule for everything, including my hobbies. However, I hardly ever stick to them, hahah. I always tell myself “If I read 50 pages every day, I’ll be able to finish this book in a week!”, but halfway through, I end up giving up and I have to rush during weekends to finish on time. Basically – I’m terrible at schedules.
    But I actually think reading goals and challenges can be very helpful! I don’t take part in many, because I don’t have a lot of time during weekdays, but if one is happening during school break, I’ll be glad to join! I think it’s a great opportunity to read and also feel motivated, since other people will also be reading with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh I see what you mean, school could be so overwhelming! Hahaha I get it, I try during the same during my busy weeks. Like I try to read at least 3 chapters before bed but after a long day at work I’m usually to tired to read and end up sleeping instead 😂😂 oooh right hahaha it is fun and could bring you out of my comfort zone though hahaha


  13. I love this post, Puput! I’m such a mood reader as well so reading challenges and all of that never work out for me. I think that’s why I’ve yet to join one because I know I’ll abandon it within a day. You’re completely right about how we love adding books to our TBR more than we do actually reading them. I love reading but I have 900+ books on mine at the moment and I’m pretty sure I’ll never get around to most of them. Especially the ones that have been on there for a 3+ years 😂. I think the only time I set myself to a monthly TBR is when I have review deadlines coming up, like this month is all about The Bone Season. But usually I don’t have one either. I did start doing this yearly TBR thing where I create a list of books from a variety of genres on Goodreads that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. It gives me around 100 or so books to choose from and so far it’s working out with my mood readerness lol. Also, I so fail at book buying bans as well. I’ve started this thing where I only buy books when I’m going to read them so that I’m technically not on a ban but also not actively adding books to my shelves I might not get around to anytime soon. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sameeee hahaha ooh you never joined once? I did twice and that’s how I learned that they don’t work for me hahaha for me the preparation is too much work 😂 I knoooow I spend hours on goodreads adding books to my to-read shelves, even the books that I don’t actually plan on reading hahaha don’t worry, none of us will EVER read all books on our TBR so you’re not alone 😛 Ahh yes my yearly TBR consists of mostly my most anticipated releases so chances are I’m gonna read them after all hahaha and book buying ban honestly makes me angry at myself hahaha what I do instead is to order books after my credit card bills for the month arrive so my orders will go to next month bills and I could worry about them later hahaha 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nope but I’ve been tempted. They seem like fun but I just know I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. 😂
        I do the same! Or if I read a review and find a book even remotely interesting I’ll add it then find myself forgetting I already added it after I’ve read another review. 🙈
        My yearly TBR has a lot of the same and then a few books I wanted to read but never got around to last year.
        I used to do that exact thing! Even though I still ended up paying for it it always felt like I wasn’t at first. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Ooooh I love this! I feel SO similar to you about challenges/read-a-thons. The prep work just to START one of those is too much for me, I am out. Plus, I can’t really devote that kind of time to reading in general, so I simply can’t do read-a-thons. I can read a decent amount of books a year, but my window of time in any given day is pretty much set in stone. AND I have noticed that with challenges, I get resentful. Like “But I don’t WANT to read a book set in Florida today!” even if I had wanted to read the book for years or something.

    Same goes with full blown book buying bans- I get reallly resentful. I have gotten better about buying, and have a list of books that are basically the ONLY books I can buy because I need to have them. Even so, they will probably sit unread because….

    Review books. This is the only “plan” I have, and oddly, it works. At the end of 2016, I was super ahead on review books, so I was able to read a few books of choice and… wow, I was indecisive! But the flip side of that is, right now I have TOO many review books, and super anticipated books are getting pushed aside. So I think I am a mess 😉 But in seriousness, I think I definitely lean toward the “no rules” end of things for sure!


    • I know right! And I don’t like the read-a-thons or challenges that require me to create a blog post because if I fail miserably it will be a waste of space </3 OMG YES! I feel the same, I don't want to be pressured to read anything haha I read when I want to and that's my rule 😛 Ohhh me too, I only plan to buy nw releases in paperback and the rest I'll buy from kindle WHEN they're half priced or there's a good deal hahaha also I try to order books atfter my credit card bills arrive so it will go to next month bill 😛 nahh with reviews I always do them right after I finish reading so I rarely ever get behind hahaha yayy to no rules! 😀


  15. You know, plans don’t work for me either. Although, I always set them? I don’t do monthly TBRs anymore but I try to participate in challenges and goals & literally fail within the first month >.< I'm so bad. It's also why I don't request arcs. I don't like feeling like I HAVE to read a book by a certain time. Nope. haha Fun post!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t really do reading plans (or challenges, or readathons) for the same reason – I just don’t want to feel pressured! But I do have a very loose TBR, like a list of books that I hope to eventually get to. It’s not really monthly, but every time I do my wrap-ups I just feature three that I think I will get to at some point in the next month. 😛

    That being said, though, like you I’m a total mood reader! So whatever my mood dictates, that’s what I usually end up reading. I’ve always loved the idea of readathons and challenges but I really don’t think I’ll enjoy them in practice.

    Great post, Puput!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have that too! Though my TBRs mostly consist of books I already buy but haven’t read haha so I know I have to read them eventually 😛 oh yeahhh I noticed and I think 3 books a month in your TBR is very doable haha same! Every time I want to start a new book I spend minutes staring at my shelves to decide what my mood wants to read hahaha thank you Reg! ❤


  17. Haha, I think NONE of the above actually work on me *oops* I like entering readathons and setting TBRs, or going on book-buying bans until I’ve read any book still on my TBR shelf… but the truth is that I’m a HUUUGE moodreader. So I’ve kind of learned to just go with it. I’ll still enter readathons sometimes because I think they’re fun but I also add a huge disclaimer saying that any TBR could still change 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. haha I am TERRIBLE at the book reading ban. I always fail at that one. I have way too many books that I need to catch up on but I can’t not buy new books. I have no self control when it comes to books. lol. I also try not to request so many ARCs but then fail at that too. lol! I did join a couple reading challenges tho. I do the Goodreads challenge every year, but this year I also added the Backlist Challenge and a New Release Challenge. I was hoping it will motivate me to read more from my backlist….so far so good…kind of. lol! I’ve read 6 out of the 50 I want to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sameeee hahaha I’m so weak when it comes to buying books </3 well I very often go request happy on Netgalley and then regret my decision when they approve hahaha oohh I hadn't heard about the New Release Challenge, could you show me the link? It sounds interesting and I've been reading lots of new releases lately 😀


  19. First off, thanks for sharing my list of challenges—I’m kind of fascinated by ALL of the different challenges, and I’m always really tempted to join them all. But for the most part, I’ll admit that I usually choose challenges that I’m pretty sure I’d complete anyway, so that I don’t have to change my reading habits TOO much to fit them. I do like having a little bit of extra motivation for things like finishing series and reading books off my shelves, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m terrible about reading challenges; I’ve never finished one. I do use a TBR though. I have my super-big one on Goodreads, but also a smaller one that is just the next books I plan to read (or have to read for tours and such). I do well sticking to the smaller one. If I put too many books on it, I get overwhelmed and don’t do much of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Highlights from the Book Blogging Community | February – Adventures of a Bibliophile

  22. This is a super interesting post! I tend to follow my reading plans because it keeps me focused and actually makes me want to read. I tend to organize every part of my life, so monthly TBRs just keep my focused and make me read and review the review copies that I have instead of pushing them back and end up never reading them at all. Great discussion!

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