the Little Red Reviewer

How this Book Blogger chooses her next book

Posted on: April 29, 2018

Us book reviewers love to joke about our out of control ToBeRead piles. We post photos of our TBRs online, we have the “priority” stack, the “read later” stack, the “these are the books I want to read when I have time” stack, which we never get to, because ARCs  keep the first two stacks a few feet high.  We enjoy discussing how many books we want to read, need to read, hope to find time to read. In the blogosphere, this is a thing.


I think we joke about it so much, because deciding what book to read next can be paralyzing. And what better way to deal with that stress than to laugh about it?  There are so many choices, so many obligations, it’s easy to get analysis paralysis.  Will you pick up the book you promised the publicist you’d review? Will you pick up the book from your favorite author? Will you pick up the book that your best friend said “hey, I think you’d like this, read it so we can talk about it”. Will you pick up a comfort read that you’ve read a million times but it’s the only thing you feel like reading right now?


Fellow Book Bloggers, how do you decide what book to read next?  How do you get past the analysis paralysis? Do you choose your next book based on what you want to read, what you should be reading, what you think other people want you to read?


To tell the truth, I’m jealous of organized book bloggers. They are organized. they have a system. they have spreadsheets, and a review publishing schedule. They read books in a particular order, and if they deviate from that order, they don’t tell anyone.


Organization is like broccoli, or getting up at the same time every day. I know it’s good for me, I know i should make it part of my life, and sometimes I do for a few weeks at a time. And then I realize that shit is not for me.


Don’t get me wrong, i love the excitement of all the TBR photos online, the Mailbox Monday posts, i’m just not organized enough, or committed enough to actually follow through on it.  All those posts I’ve done where I say “Look at all these books I’m going to review soon!” Yep, I’m lucky if I review a third of them in the next few months.


I am not organized when it comes to deciding what book to read next.  Nope.  But I am organic.


My To Be Read pile is the living room coffee table, and the stacks of book that are underneath it. The corner of the kitchen table, too.

Next to the bed, is what I call the “book graveyard”. Books I picked up, started reading before bed, put down, and didn’t care enough about to ever pick up again.


But how do I decide what to read next?

I read next whatever strikes my fancy. Maybe it’s something that caught my eye at a used bookstore.  Maybe it’s something a friend lent or gave me, maybe I got talking to the author at a book event, maybe a bookseller friend or librarian friend recommended the book to me, maybe the cover art got my attention. Maybe it’s the newest book from my favorite author, maybe it’s an ARC that just arrived, maybe it’s an ARC that’s been sitting under the table for 6 months and hit bookstore shelves 3 months ago, maybe it’s a random older title I’m finally getting around to, maybe it’s something a friend recommended. Maybe it’s  a comfort read I’m re-reading for the 2nd or 10th time.  There is no logic to any of this.


My decisions about what to read next are completely random, organic, and unorganized.  If I really liked the book I just finished, I will often look for something similar to read next. If I DNF’d a book, I will often look for something completely different as a palette cleanser. Except for the ARCs that are floating around, I choose what to read next with not a care in the world that I have a book review blog.


Your turn. How do you decide what to read next?


14 Responses to "How this Book Blogger chooses her next book"

I think I’m part organic and part organized. I do keep a list of review books under the month they are releasing, and do my best to stick to it. But sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I just throw up my hands in surrender and read what I want.


I spreadsheet what’s being published this year, see its availability (do I already have it, is it public domain, is it digitally available), and then I assign a month of review. If there are too many books for me to cover, I offer them to my associate writers.

It’s 1963, so many books still come out in the magazines first, and we cover almost all of the magazines.

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I try to vary per decade, so my blog upholds a diversity in time, but that’s about the only rule I follow, so aside that it’s just what I fancy at that moment. I don’t read a lot of new new books, but if an author I really like publishes something new, that gets priority.


(1) I don’t do any requested reviews, so there are no ARCs or expectations. (2) I read a mix of SFF mystery fiction and non-fiction, so I have both mixed in my TBR, which is a small bookcase I restock as I finish books. Yesterday I added 2 from a box downstairs, just two that looked interesting at the time. Since I own them, they must ALL have looked interesting at some time or other. (3) I have a small stack of 6-8 books on top of the TBR case that are “read next”. I grab whichever of those that moves me at the moment I’ve finished a book and am ready for another, usually same day. (4) Library books come first, because they have deadlines, so when something I’ve put on hold at the library shows up, I finish what I’m reading and that is next, period. (5) I give a book 50 pages or so and if I’m not liking it away it goes, into the donate to the library box. Obviously, I can do that because I’m not required to review it.

So I don’t know if that’s organized or not. Occasionally nothing on the TBR looks good, in which case I start cruising my bookshelves (they are in three rooms) for a “hit”, whether it be one I have or haven’t read. That’s often when I have a “Oh, I’d forgotten about that one” moment.

Oh, and I try to read just one books at a time, though sometimes I’m reading one or more short story anthologies and a novel at the same time.


That’s a great question, I personally like to vary between ARCs and backlist and I try to organize my reading around that. I am not very organized so when I am very lost, I pick a random selections of books on my Kindle and I read the one that sounds the best for my mood. It usually works!


I tried being organized and found it was just not for me. Looking at a long list of books and posting dates just feels suffocating, and then book blogging starts to feel like an obligation. Since I blog for fun in my limited free time, I really can’t emotionally handle it turning into an obligation.

I only commit to reading ARCs very rarely, and I generally pick books based on a combination of whim, whatever somebody else was talking about on their blog that sounded cool, and whatever’s nominated for awards in this or previous years.


I do read books from time to time because I feel like I have to but I usually just read whatever strikes my fancy. It can be hard to decide, though, and I have thought of using a randomizer to pick a book from my spreadsheet.


I am new to blogging and so I am new to this question….so far it is what is at the book depot…on sale…and cool cover art. Space ships on cover… +1. A really shiny cover like Altered Carbon…definitely +1. Review by a dank author +3. If I’ve drank a coffee just before who knows?!?!


OH MY GOD I FEEL YOU SO HARD. It’s so difficult to work out which book you should be reading next.

I prioritise my reading pile like this:

– Books I’m being paid to read / review get sent to the top of the pile
– Books I’m not being paid for but which have been sent to me for review after I’ve requested them are next
– Then books I need to read for work
– …which are often replaced by books I actually want to read / crap I’ve picked up at the supermarket in a BOGOF because I need something brainless right now
– Books I don’t strictly need to read for work but which will be useful to one or more of my academic pursuits
– Books I’ve bought because I want to read them
– Books I’ve acquired somehow which are on my shelves and I feel bad for not having read them yet
– Embarrassing holes in my reading (Don Quixote, The Road, etc.)
– Books people send me for review when I haven’t asked for them
– Books people send me for review when I’ve specifically asked them not to


I carefully consider my Classics Club list and my TBR (which is a Goodreads list rather than a stack of physical books (mostly)), then I go to the library and pick something that’s on neither. I usually make some TBR progress during the winter holidays when my spouse checks out five books from my TBR for me from the library.


i do that too! I’ll look at one list of books I want to read, and a list of books I really need to read, get intimidated by both lists, and then pick something completely different.


I’m pretty random when it comes to choosing the next read. I have piles of books everywhere… bedroom, office, and recently for some unexplained reason, a stack on the stairs!


100% organized. But it took some real effort to get there and to fine tune the cycle so it worked well and didn’t clunk along.


[…] while ago The Little Red Reviewer talked about how she prioritises her reading list. This might not sound like a huge deal, but if […]

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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