Try a Chapter

I currently have over 120 books on my TBR. That's a lot of books. In fact, I bought a new bookshelf specifically to house my unread books and, erm, it turns out they don't all fit. It's a real problem. The downside of this- apart from the fact that I am at a very real risk of being buried alive under a pile of books- is that I never know which book to reach for next. Every now and then I'll set aside a group of books to read, such as my Summer TBR, and completely ignore any others until I've made it through that selection. It helps in terms of narrowing my focus and feeling less overwhelmed but I do start to get frustrated because I'm so desperate to read others. The Try a Chapter tag seems like the perfect solution- choose those books you've been meaning to read and have a go at the first chapter. Hopefully one will scream out at you and you can prioritise the rest accordingly. Or at least, that's the plan.
Try a chapter tag book bloggers
Bee tagged me in her own Try a Chapter post and although I have a staunch no-tag-posts policy, this was too good to resist. I've decided to try out five books and, fingers crossed, this will make it a lot easier to choose my next read.


Why I bought it: It was 80p in a charity shop and I'd heard a lot about it. That's it.

First chapter thoughts: Elizabeth is Missing opens with a prologue that is less than two pages long so I read this as well as the first chapter. It's not what I expected at all- I thought I was reading a light thriller aimed at teens but straight away it's a very poignant and emotional story. I can feel the confusion coming from our main character and I suspect this is only going to get more prominent as the tale unfolds. It was very easy to read and I'm already itching to try the next chapter.

Buy Elizabeth is Missing here


Why I bought it: About 11 years ago, I watched the film at my grandparents' house and really enjoyed it. My grandma had a copy of the book so she gave it to me and I started to read it but couldn't get into it. Earlier this year, the film was on TV and, again, I really enjoyed it and was inspired to read the book. Unfortunately I couldn't find my grandma's book but shortly afterwards I spotted this copy in a charity shop. I'm very aware that I found it difficult to get into last time so I've been putting off trying it again.

First chapter thoughts: To my immense relief, the first chapter is only nine pages long. I can certainly understand why I struggled the last time I tried to read it! As mature and literary-minded as I was, phrases such as "It was undoubtedly an obdurate and recalcitrant pea" aren't going to be easy for many 16 year olds! I've yet to work out if this excessive use of fairly pomous language is a literary device or just an annoying habit of the author but either way, I'm not desperate to read on at the moment.

Buy Captain Corelli's Mandolin here

Why I bought it: I've read both of Jonas Jonasson's previous novels and enjoyed them a huge amount. I saw a display of these books in Waterstones when they'd just been released and picked one up.

First chapter thoughts: Oh, I love Jonasson's voice. The fast pace and wry humour is so up my street and this book is everything I'd expect from the first two. Already I'm engaged with the characters and their back stories and I can't wait to find out what's going to happen. I'm pretty certain it's not going to be anything like I'd imagine!

Buy Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All here


Why I bought it: I bought a couple of books online and needed another few pounds to qualify for free delivery. The Goldfinch hadn't long been released (yes, this was a long time ago!) and I'd heard a lot of good things about it. I haven't got round to reading it because the size- 864 pages- is hugely intimidating.

First chapter thoughts: I got right into this one! To be honest, I forgot I was doing this challenge and got a little sucked in. Like Elizabeth is Missing, the first chapter was only a couple of pages long so I read two, which totalled 12 pages. Straight away, I'm intrigued. I know tragedy is about to hit but I've only been given a couple of clues so I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened.

Buy The Goldfinch here


Why I bought it: This was one of my grandma's favourite books and she gave it to me around the same time I tried Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Unlike that one though, I actually finished this one and it's stuck with me. I still remember the ambiguous ending well. When she handed it over to me, she said "You may not appreciate this fully as you haven't known grief". Now I feel that this is the perfect time to re-read it and possibly fully appreciate it, although it's going to be emotional so I've been putting it off.

First chapter thoughts: Somehow I manage to have picked three books with prologues. Unlike the other two, this one is a solid 11 pages long so I didn't read on for a second chapter, although I was tempted to. The opening pages are confusing, disorientating and suspenseful, even for somebody who already knows the key events in the plot. I think I need to finish this one soon so I'll put it at the top of my list.

Buy After You'd Gone here


This was a lot of fun and really gave me a feel for the books I've been meaning to pick up. I think I'll start with After You'd Gone then Elizabeth is Missing and Hitman Anders. As much as I enjoyed The Goldfinch, I'm still intimidated by the size so I'll save that for later and Captain Corelli's Mandolin is right at the bottom of my priorities. I'll definitely be trying this strategy again next time I'm stuck for books to read.

Affiliate links have been used in this post

Bloglovin' // Twitter // Instagram


  1. This is such a good idea. I agree that Captain Correlli's Mandolin is hard to get into, however, I ended up loving it and having part of it read out as my wedding reading xx

  2. Bleurgh! There are so many books I haven't read yet - and so many more on Amazon and in bookstores...I get really anxious about buying and reading the next one...
    What if I should have bought something else? What if I've picked a crap one? What if I pick a bestseller and I hate it and feel foolish for following a trend when my money could be put to better use? What if I like a bestseller - have I devolved to become just another sheep? Should I pick new fiction or classical?

  3. What a clever way to pick what to read next! I have a stack of books to be read and with a little one finding the time is hard so I need books that instantly grab me or I'll just never go back to them. Might have to give this technique a go too!

    Rachel // http://illustratedteacup.com

  4. This is such a brilliant idea to try and cut down your pile! Please tell me I'm not the only one who buys a book literally every time I even sniff a Waterstones?
    I hope you enjoy Elizabeth is Missing...I myself liked it at first but honestly it's one of only two books I've ever added to my HATED pile! :-(

  5. Very interesting post, and actually a pretty good way to filter through a massive TBR pile and not spend too long on ones that really aren't worthwhile. The last three/four books I've read have unfortunately been serious bummers so I might try this sort of idea. Thanks Becky :)

  6. Also, 120 TBR books?! That's amazing!

  7. I haven't read any of these! I love reading and watching try a chapter posts/videos :)

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

  8. This is a really great idea. I currently have 280 books TBR and 300+ ebooks TBR. I'm always struggling to pick my next read as a result of so much choice, so I'll have to give this technique a go next time! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  9. I've just finished The Goldfinch, it was amazing! I was looking forward to coming home and reading it! xx

  10. I do this a lot. If I like a book but not sure if it is for me, I try a chapter and even better on the Kindle, I can try a sample.

  11. im deffo going to charity shops for my next book haul!! Especially great for this idea

  12. This is a good idea! I may try it, though the thought of leaving books after one chapter feels kind of wrong haha!


I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright Becky Craggs 2017