How My TBR Works

So it’s not a secret that I am currently reading down my physical TBR pile, but what happens to all of those amazing new releases that pop up in my social feeds; especially those from marginalised groups that were being promoted during pride and the height of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Whenever I see a book that I want to read, or think that I might want to read, I screen shot it, download a photo or save it on instagram. Then, when I’m in the mood to do some cataloging, I lookup the books on Goodreads and add them to my ‘future TBR‘ shelf. Then I write a flashcard for the book.

These flashcards are going to be used for a very important purpose. I am aware of internal unrecognised bias in myself – as in all people- so I thought that I could use the flashcards to pick my books with as little other factors as possible. On the front, I list key information about the book: the title, the author(s), the genre and any representation from either the author or the characters that I can glean from people’s goodreads shelves. On the back, is the synopsis is written – or as much as can fit onto the back of the card, however I remove all of the names of the characters and just put their initials.

Example of a card front. Reads:
Title: Pet
Author: Akwaeke Emezi
Genre: Fantasy
Representation: LGBT - Trans POC Own Voices
Example of a card back. Reads:
There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named R, J has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets P, a creature made of horns and colours and claws who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of J's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. P has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim luks in R's house. J must fight not only to protect her best friend but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question - how do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

My plan is to look through the backs of the cards when looking for new books to read, so that I can select them based purely on the story, with as few marketing tricks or other things to persuade me as possible. However based on how I’ve curated my deck, I will be reading more diversely than before. I have only listed the first books in a series, and haven’t included books that are in a series that I am part way through – those I have listed separately.

The front of the cards can be used not only to identify the books once I’ve decided to read them, but to help fulfil challenges in any readathons that I wish to do.

I hope that in the future, I’ll be able to be a better advocated for marginalised people, and will also be able to be more in control of what I’m reading, as the weight of all of my unread books is unpleasant.

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