Looking for ways to read more books? Have you tried sticking with a planned monthly reading list? It may sound complicated, but it’s not!
Reading looks different for everyone. Some people pick up one book a year, while others read 30 in a month. A lot of people are mood-readers, choosing what sounds good off of their own personal bookshelf when it suits them. This is how most of my friends read! Maybe you’re like me, and you plan out reading lists for each month in advance. I realize this is a bit of an overachiever method, but I love lists and I’ve found that having one for my books helps me accomplish far more than when I used to just pick up random books at the library based on a cover or blurb of a synopsis.
For some, planning a book list may seem daunting, but I say that everyone should try it at least once and see what they think. You never know, it might change the way you read forever! If you’re curious about how I plan my own monthly reading list, keep on scrolling.
How to Read More Books // Books to Read if You’re New to Fiction // 10 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Goodreads
How to Plan a Monthly Reading List Like an Expert
Firstly, you’ll want to consider if there are any books you own that you haven’t read. I realize I’m in the minority when it comes to this particular topic since I don’t purchase books until I’ve already read them. However, if you have a home library and it’s overflowing with books you haven’t touched, go through them and see which ones are the most appealing (and if there are any that you might need to sell or donate because you’re no longer interested). Refresh yourself on the synopses and determine if there are any prequels or related works by the author that you need to read before diving into a particular title.
Next, think about which series you haven’t finished yet. Determine whether you need to reread the earlier books or if you can just pick up where you left off. For example: say I start a series in January. I might read the first book that month and then the second in February, following up with the final book in March. I try not to let too much time sit between so I don’t forget the plot. Alternately, if I read a book a few years ago and the sequel was released shortly after but I wasn’t aware, I will pick up the first book again to refresh myself on the plot before diving into the second.
If you receive ARCs (advanced reader copies) of books from publishers, you may want to factor this in as well. Determine the book’s release date so that you know your reading deadline in order to have a review posted before the launch. NetGalley has an awesome checklist feature that allows you to stay on top of your unread titles and reviews. If I have a growing list of unread arcs, I try to include at least 2-3 in each of my monthly reading lists.
Are you part of any book clubs or buddy-reads? You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or get caught up in too many discussions at once, so it’s okay to turn down these opportunities when necessary. However, they can also motivate you to read more and get outside of your comfort zone! I usually buddy-read 1-2 books each month. It’s awesome to have someone to chat with while reading.
There are so many new releases every month! Check out which authors are dropping new titles and see if you want to add any of them to the list. At the beginning of each new month, I research all the titles that are releasing and decide whether to prioritize them immediately or wait until a different time (like I often do with seasonal or holiday-specific reads). Usually, I include at least one new (or relatively new) release on my monthly list.
Are there any particular holidays coming up or seasonal reads you’d like to enjoy? I read only festive books during the month of December each year and it gets me in such a holly jolly mood! During February, you could pick up some great contemporary romance books that are perfect for Love Month. Some people do book challenges, like the Rory Gilmore reading list or they follow prompts from bookstagram. If this helps get you excited about your monthly reading list, then go for it!
Try to be realistic with your list. If you know that you’re prone to reading slumps, maybe only pick 2 books each month that you want to read – or mix up the format for reading. I freaking love listening to audiobooks while I work, clean, and drive – and it helps me get through twice as many books in a month. If you’re going on vacation and you know you’ll have spare time, pack a few extras, just in case! Maybe you don’t enjoy a particular genre. Don’t add it to your list. Stop forcing yourself to read books you “think you should read” if they make you unhappy!
This is interesting to read! I’m not sure what type of reader I am but what I do is buy a selection of books and have it piled up and work my way through – when I’ve read them, then they go on my bookshelf xx
There you go! Sounds like you’ve got a method that you enjoy already 🙂
I am definitely a mood reader and I go through phases in terms of reading, one time I can read loads and loads of books all of the time, then other times I don’t bother. I do like the sound of a monthly reading list, it’s easier to set yourself targets of how many books to read! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Creating goals in general always feels so good! For me, it’s like, why not make goals for reading if I enjoy them for every other category in my life? So monthly reading lists are super beneficial in my world 🙂
I am a massive mood reader, but I keep challenging myself to read for a set TBR/Reading List. I recently set up a Star Jar with book titles in so I can pick at random and tackle my many unread books.
I think setting out a list as you suggest is a great way to prioritise, that way I won’t be scrambling days before a blog tour to find and read the book!
Cora | https://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/
I recently read about Star Jars and I think they’re so cool and creative. What a great way to dive into your reading list without making it feel like a chore!
This is such a good idea. I like having a schedule for my daily life, so why didn’t I think of this!?
Before I started my bookstagram and rebranded to bookish blogging, I didn’t even think twice about making a list for my reading goals. But now it feels like second nature! It helps so much.
I’m a complete mood reader! I try to plan my TBRs for the month but I never seem to follow through—and when I do, I’m disappointed because the books don’t match my current mood.
Now what I do is, I loosely plan 1-3 books and leave the rest upto my mood. That way I have more of a chance to pick those books up at least 😅
I think that’s a great way to do it for a mood-reader. A little bit of planning and a little bit of whatever you’d like!
I’m definitely a mood reader but now you’ve convinced me to make a monthly plan. Should be interesting.
I’d be curious to see how this kind of planning would go for a mood reader 🙂
I have a loose list of books I want to read, but rarely stick to it because I’m just so swayed by my mood! I have tried to stick to a monthly TBR by writing them down, but I feel like I’m more likely to lose interest or DNF if I wasn’t in the mood. I don’t usually pre-order new releases so they don’t affect my TBR too much, but ARCs definitely influence my list (even then sometimes it’s mood over all else, haha). Great tips for making a planned list!
Anika | chaptersofmay.com
I think a lot of my methods come from a place of not owning unread books. Since I don’t buy books until I’ve already read them, I don’t have a large catalog of choices when it comes time to grab something to read. I like lists a lot because it helps me plan what to request from the library, look up whether or not I might enjoy the audiobook, etc. But I can totally see how mood-reading works better for you!
I love the idea of having a reading list! I’m working my way through the Rory Gilmore reading challenge now, but I do mix it up and do some that aren’t on the list, too.
That’s really fun! I haven’t done it because a lot of the books aren’t my cup of tea, so I’m following my own rule and not reading things I don’t want to read haha! But it has always inspired me!
I LOVE LOVE this post! I am so much of a mood reader haha.. Reading has never really been my thing (it has mostly always been a when I feel like it thing) but lately I have been finding it even more difficult to pick a book and read and I feel like creating a reading list even if it’s a weekly reading list would really help. It’s funny how I never thought of this before haha. I would definitely be using this tip. Thank you so much x!
Making a list can make a huge difference! It certainly has for me 🙂 I never made lists before and I used to read far less. Now I’m motivated by my monthly lists and feel so accomplished when I get to check them all off – plus I get to read tons of awesome books simultaneously!
Love this! I am an obsessive reader Lol. I don’t read all the time but when I do find one I love, I will not sleep, eat or drink til I finished the book. So unhealthy haha I like your way better. Thanks for sharing xx
Haha! As a total bookworm, I can’t really say that’s unhealthy because I feel similarly when I find a book that I just adore. It’s not always how I read, but I do relate!
I love your creative method of including ‘shop the post’ links. Not right in your face but present!
Having a reading list is very handy and is also unique to each reader. Some people read more than others, some less. Often my list only has a few books on it. 🙂
Oh, thank you 🙂 I’ve never had anyone notice that specifically, but I appreciate the encouragement. These lists are definitely unique to the reader and I hope I conveyed that. I was just sharing what I like to do 🙂
I really need to try this! I’m kind of halfway there as I have lists of different categories (arc, owned but not reviewed, owned don’t plan to review etc) and I try and work with one from each list to help me keep on top. But it doesn’t work with things like series and ending up with far too much time between them. I should get more organised.
I know I say it over and over again, but it’s really clear how my method of not buying books until I’ve read them plays into even something like making a reading list. Since I usually get books from the library, I only have a certain amount of time to read them, so I challenge myself to always complete series as quickly as possible. I also don’t like forgetting information in between books, so it’s important to me hehe!
That’s something I share with people too – to be realistic with their reading goals and list especially to someone who wants to get back to reading. These are all great suggestions!
Yes exactly!!! I have a close friend who has never been a big reader, but now she’s getting into it slowly and she always asks how I read so many books. I keep telling her that she doesn’t need to try and be me – this is just the way I enjoy reading, but she has to create a list and style of reading that suits her!
These are all such great tips. My TBR pile really is starting to grow but I can never seem to get around to reading certain books. Maybe creating a plan each month will help me.
Maybe it will! If you try it, let me know if it helps 🙂
This is such a good idea. I have never planned out a monthly reading list before but maybe I should because then I could actually stick with reading something instead of nothing!
I find that specifically for people who enjoy making lists, reading lists like this can be super beneficial because ticking off titles at the end of the month feels GREAT!
I am DEFINITELY a mood reader, but I love the idea of being more intentional about working from a list. What a fab idea!!
It really does seem like I’m in the minority when it comes to planning vs mood-reading. Most of which comes from the fact that I don’t purchase books until I’ve already read them!
I’m a monthly reading list-planner for sure! I plan what books I’m going to read for the next months because sometimes I keep forgetting about a certain book I really want to read. Great tips! Thank you for sharing 😀
Oh, I love finding out that I’m not alone in this because that’s certainly seemed the case for quite some time haha. It’s nice to find another planner 🙂
These are such great tips! I’m definitely guilty of having a bunch of books at home that I haven’t read yet. I just get SO excited when I’m in a bookstore and tend to go nuts and then don’t have enough time to read. I’m definitely curious to see if I make them into a monthly reading list (adding maybe one new book per month) if that will help me stick with it!
It would be fun to see how creating a monthly list like this might help you put a dent in your unread books! 🙂 I definitely understand how you feel in a bookstore! I want it all as well – I just don’t buy them hahah. I put them on my Goodreads list and then slowly work them into my monthly reading 🙂
You have encouraged me to start planning out my monthly reading list. Right now I have no real strategy. One thing is for sure… I have an entire shelf filled with unread books and I have no plan of attack.
Well, hopefully, this will give you some inspiration for your plan of attack then 😉
This is a great idea! I’m one of those people that read about 1-2x a year. In fact, I was just cleaning off the coffee table and noticed I haven’t yet read one of the books I have sitting there. I’ve been meaning to get to that.
Oh wow! I am definitely not that person, but I know a lot of people who are. Not sure how helpful my tips will be for you haha but thanks for reading 🙂
Your comments were so helpful but at the same time I know I’d never be able to stick to a reading list. It’s too complicated and reading is unfortunately not my major priority. So I read according to my mood to make sure I spend the most enjoyable time as possible! By the way, the Addie candle seems to smell like actual Heaven! Great post as always! xx
I’m glad you’ve found a method that works for you 🙂 I know everyone reads differently. These are just the things that work for me! And yes, the Addie candle smells divine!
I think if the goal is to get through more books than a list would def help. I am always more productive when I write out my to-do lists! xoxo, Sarah
If someone loves making lists, then they could definitely benefit from something like a monthly reading list. It feels awesome to check off titles as they’re read 🙂
We’re a mix of planning and mood reading. We have a few books we plan in advance, but also leave room for a new ARC or something that catches our eye. It’s great how organized you are.
That’s a good way of going about it: a little planning and a little spontaneity 🙂
This is such a great idea and I totally see how its helpful! I do not do this but probably should.
I think I’m more of a mood reader but I can definitely see how this method would help! And I feel like doing it that way would open up more reading opportunities for books you wouldn’t normally choose.
I love this so much! (Also I’m sure I’ve told you this, but your entire blog scheme and colour palette is absolutely stunning.) I’m more of a mood reader, but I want to get out of that and push myself to read more non fiction xx
mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/
Great tips! I’m a big list maker myself and I just find having a plan of books I want to have read to be really helpful when looking for my next read!
I am very much a bit of both, but I keep buying books even if I have a whole load of them waiting on my shelves, so maybe I should start reading those! I will give this a try next month, as I feel I have been getting easily lost these first few months and read much less than my usual. Thank you for sharing xx
I’m going to have to try and make a list so at least I’ll read a bit more – thank you for this post!
I am definitely more of a list reader although since most of the books I get are from the library I can’t plan too much ahead of when I’ll actually get to read them. I will say that it keeps it interesting since books come in at different times!
PS- That candle sounds amazing! I need to keep an eye out to see when the shop restocks.
I haven’t done much reading lately. I really need to get into it again as I have new books to read. Thank you for sharing.
I never create reading plans, and I think that’s my main problem. When I was in college I had to read a book weekly, and now that I’m out, it’s been a while since I last read. I’ll have to create reading plans and stick to them! So thank you so much for this post <3
I’m definitely a mood reader. I’m so dependent on how I’m feeling and what’s going on in my life which determines what sort of books I read! A monthly reading list sounds like a good idea though! x
This sounds like a good idea! I really get a lot of joy out of reading but often put it aside when life is being a bit tough even though I’d benefit from making sure I kept up on it (definitely a mood reader). Thanks for the ideas, etc!
I really need to read more! I have a list of books I want to read, but I just can’t get through them. This is a very helpful post, thank you x
I love this idea and I’ve never thought of it before. I have 5 books in the queue but 2 are like 300 pages (you know how Stephen King rolls). I’ll definitely be making a list and carving out time everyday. I’ve got 2 books started right now.
What a great idea! I never thought of having a planned reading list. When I finish a book, if there are no more in that series, I tend to spend a day or two frantically trying to find a new book to read. It actually can be quite stressful. This would make my life so much easier. Thank you for sharing!
Being realistic is SO important! Often I set my goals way too high, then fail, get discouraged and just quit. Being realistic and starting small – and then building if that goes well – would work better for me. Great tip!
Great post! I have to admit the unread books on my shelves are slowly taking over; I’m nearing 100 now, and I’m barely getting through them! Having a monthly list seems like a great suggestion and I definitely think I’m going to try this. Thanks for sharing x
I’ve never tried this, and this is really interesting food for thought! Need to consider doing this!
Personally, I’m a huge mood reader. However, after reading this guide I think I might try to make myself a planned reading list! I love your method for choosing books and I think it could convert me from a mood reader into someone who is more organized!
Very interesting read. I completely see the merits of planning what you read! I wish I could do that – I started off doing that but found that sometimes I’d want to change my mind. I’d say I’m a hybrid of the two.
Oo, I love this post so much! I’ll definitely be building a reading list from now on. I’m very much a mood reader yet these tips will help to keep me accountable for reading ARCs and keeping on top of the latest releases. Thanks for sharing! x
I am a mood reader but I plan this 2022 to at least finish my e-books pending for long. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve never created a monthly reading list before because I read based on my mood. Sometimes I can read 3 books in a month, other times, I don’t even bother.
I still have E-books pending since last year, maybe I can finish it before this month ends
I know that’s what a lot of people do, but I think it’s still possible to create some reading lists even when you’re a mood reader. I’ve seen people who want to tackle their physical TBR so they add just 2-3 books a month to a list and read those even if everything else is for their mood. Whatever works for you that helps you read in a more efficient manner, that’s great!
I don’t have a planned monthly reading list, but maybe I should start one based on this! Thanks so much for sharing!
Ahh these photos are stunning! As always! I would be lucky if I could read one a month now! All my free time is ploughed into blogging!
Hi – I have a mix of planning out my tbr but leaving room for other books that may come my way! I am in the middle of a mood reader and a planned reader (not sure if there’s a term lol). When choosing books I consider all that you mentioned, seasonal, series, buddy reads, new releases etc. I like to make sure I’m keeping up with my goals and the books I want to read but also don’t like to be too strict. If I don’t read my whole list it’s okay, and if another book comes along that’s great! I guess I like to have a list to refer to for inspiration but let my mood direct me! Great post!
I kind of do this… I have a running list of books that I’m interested in. I read through that list as things become available at the library. Sometimes I browse the Libby app and pick stuff at random, but I always have some sort of running list in my head.
I like to consider myself a mood reader, however, I write my TBR based upon the books I want to read during the month, what I feel fits the atmosphere of the book!