It’s been long overdue since I last wrote a discussion post. I feel like these are the most challenging posts for me to write, along with reviews. They just eat up my last brain cells and I still never find they’re good enough. But, anyway!
I wanted to discuss the idea of doing “themed reads” aka reading only books under a certan theme for a month. I’ve tried these before and I wanted to argue some of the pros and cons.
I really love watching YouTube and one of my favorite Booktubers, Adriana from Perpetual Pages, does this quite often. For Black History Month, for example, they only read titles by black authors; or during Women’s History Month, they only read by female authors.
I’ve always thought this idea was really interesting and it would be a great motivation to read more diversely. It’s also fun, because it allows me to read from different genres, such as fantasy, romance or YA contemporary, as long as it fits under the theme.
I know a lot of read-a-thons do that, but I think there’s some type of pressure in read-a-thons to read more than you typically would and themed reads is just reading at your normal pace, but trying to prioritize specific books.
In the year of our Lord, 2019, I did themed reads for the months of February (Black History Month), when I read exclusively from black authors; May (Mental Health Awareness Month), when I only read books that had mental health rep of some sort; and June (Pride Month), when I only read books with queer characters.
Even though I didn’t excell in all of these, I think it was a great chance to take some books off of my long-time TBR and also read new titles. During Pride Month, for example, I both read books I had wanted to read since forever – aka A Song of Achilles – and books that had just been released – aka Red, White and Royal Blue.
So, after having tried themed reads for a whole month before, I think I can now discuss some of the pros and cons of it.
Starting with the positives:
- Motivation to read more diversely! In the future, I want to do an entire month where I dedicate myself to read only about disability, because I know I’ve been lacking to read more with this rep. Even though you’ll be focusing specifically on a certain theme, you can still read from any genre or age range you’d like.
- Getting to know new authors/titles. When doing my research for my themed months, I ended up finding out a lot of new authors I could check out. I find that this can put you truly out of your comfort zone and reach for people you had never heard of before and can be pleasant surprises!
- Building a “repertoire“. I don’t know how else to call this, so I’ll be using the word “repertoire”, even though it is in the incorrect one. But, basically, you’ll have more books to recommend in the future under this specific theme, because you dedicated and prioritized these titles, so you’ll definitely learn more about it.
- You can be behind in new releases. I think this would mostly be a con for people that get a lot of ARCs and need to stay on top of those, due to their release dates and other deadlines. If you dedicate yourself to read only a certain theme in a month and the ARC you have doesn’t really fit under that theme, you’ll definitely end up behind.
- Not the best for mood-reading. I considered myself a mood reader for a long time, but I’ve been slowly getting more on track with the reading schedule I set for myself at the beginning of the month. However, if you really are a mood reader, it can be hard to just pick whatever you want, since you still have to stay under the theme/topic.
- It can get tiring. I feel like it obviously depends on the theme and how you decide to do it, because this can totally be as diverse and different as you want, without ever getting tiresome. But for Mental Health Awareness Month, for example, I only read YA contemporary. If you’re not a fan of the genre, or you need to mix it up often, it probably will be a burden at the end of the month.
Now, I want to hear from you: have you ever tried “themed reads” for a month? If so, how did you do it? Do you think it would work for you? Let’s chat in the comments!