If you’ve been following along on my YouTube channel, you know that I choose monthly to-be-read lists that help me to focus my reading priorities each month.

I thought I would share how I come up with these lists in case it might be helpful for folks who want to curate their own TBR piles.

Monthly themes: One of the first things I like to think about is whether I want to include books that are aligned with a monthly theme. For example, February might be romance novels, October might be spooky books, etc. In past months, I’ve also made up a theme like reading trilogies and used that to shape my reading choices.

Books on hold: When I put digital books (ebooks and audiobooks) on hold with my Libby library app, the app tells me when those books are going to be available. I will often check the app before I build my TBR list so I know to include anything that will become available in the next couple of weeks.

Books due back to the library: In addition to checking out digital books from my library, I also regularly check out physical copies as well. While these can often be renewed, there is an ultimate date when they are due back. I check all my library deadlines when I’m building my TBR list to ensure I can squeeze in anything I want to read before I need to return it.

Annual reading goals: Each year, I also set annual reading goals. Sometimes this includes reading a particular series, or reading books from a predetermined list (like the Book of the Month Club list). When I build my monthly reading lists, I also look at what books I might want to add from any challenges that I’m trying to complete.

My alphabet challenge: For a couple of years now, I have been choosing a random letter from the alphabet each month and then using that letter to pick 5 books from my Kindle to add to my TBR pile. In addition to helping me read books I already own, it also adds a wonderful spontaneity to my reading list each month as well.

Random recommendations: I love coming across random recommendations for reading on social media. Sometimes, when I check my library, I can get access to that book immediately. I often choose some of these random recommendations to add to my to-read pile each month to get some variety from different genres and new authors I’ve never tried before.

Do you have a to-be-read pile? How do you decide what goes on it?