Blogging what you read vs. reading what you blog

December 19, 2014 Musings 39

If you’re a book blogger, has blogging affected your reading? Specifically, has it changed what books you read?

I ask this because I’ve realized that in the last few years, since I began to blog more consistently, my reading is often for the blog rather than the other way around.

For instance (and I know most of us have done this at some point), I’ll see a book on NetGalley, think “That looks interesting,” and impulsively request it. Okay, that’s not so different from impulsively picking up a book at the library or clicking on a Kindle freebie – except that I feel a lot more obligated to read an ARC than a library book or a freebie. And since I’ve sometimes (*ahem* make that often) gone overboard, I usually end up with a bunch of ARCs demanding my attention and no time to read the books I’m actually in the mood for.


So yes, blogging has changed me from a spontaneous reader to someone who more often than not reads on a schedule – and I find myself reading what looked interesting weeks ago instead of what I’m in the mood for right now. Even if what I’m reading is really good, it can sometimes feels like a chore instead of an escape.

But the changes in my reading habits go further. I get approved for certain genres and publishers more than others – and disproportionally to my “normal” (pre-blogging) reading habits. For instance, there are more romances and teen fantasy available on NetGalley than adult fantasy or mystery. There’s more contemporary romance than historical. Cozy mysteries are rarer than any of the genres I just mentioned. Many of my favorite authors never show up on NetGalley at all. For some reason, I end up getting approved for more romances than anything else, and more contemporary romances than historical.

All this has led to reading more romance and less fantasy and mystery than I did before I began blogging. Please don’t misunderstand – I enjoy romance, and I’m delighted and honored to get approval for any book I request, whether from NetGalley, Edelweiss, or a publisher! And obviously, any fault is my own, for requesting so many books. (But they all look so good!) But – I feel out of balance.

I was a little embarrassed to admit any of this publicly.  (“My name is Lark, and a I’m an ARC-aholic.”) Still, I’ve come to a conclusion over the last several months. If I want to recapture the spontaneity and reading joy of my pre-blogging days, if I want to have time to read the books I really want to read,  I need to make some changes and stick to them. So here are my goals for the first 6 months of 2015:

  1. Request fewer ARCs. Resist the temptation to impulse-click, and only request books that I will definitely seek out and read even if I don’t get approved for an ARC.
  2. Be willing to review fewer “forthcoming” books and brand-new releases. I can’t afford to buy a lot of books when they’re just published, so some of the new releases will have to come from the library, and that means waiting lists. Fine. I don’t have to be the first on the blogging block with a review; keeping up with the Bloggses was never the point.
  3. Make sure there’s time every week to read something just because I’m in the mood. It might be turn out to be an ARC, especially after I’ve been adhering to #1 for a while. But equally, it might be something from the library, my Kindle, or my extensive TBR shelves, or an old favorite I want to re-read.

I’ve already implemented #1, and I’m working on #2, but #3 may be a little tricky until I clear some of get through the ARCs left over from my twitchy-mouse-finger days. That’s one reason I signed up for the COYER challenge – it will help me get through some of those ARCs that are sitting on my Kindle!





39 Responses to “Blogging what you read vs. reading what you blog”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    My reading habits have changed a LOT. As well as requesting ARCs, I also have joined blog events and challenges for which I have to read certain books. I think in many ways this is good, because it helps me to get out of some reading habits and be more conscious about what I read. But a certain amount of spontaneity is lost. My main goal next year is to ONLY request ARCs that I really want to read!
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…The Immortality of Love: Little WomenMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Blogging definitely changed my reading habits as well. On the plus side – more new-to-me books and authors, which was one of my goals over the last few years. On the negative – yes, definitely a loss of spontaneity. Good luck with your goal! As you can see, I’ve set a similar one.

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I’ll be in the support group right along with you! I have found that I read a wider range since I started blogging regularly and I’m not reading as many mysteries as I used too but my romance and nonfiction has gone up. I’m trying to limit my number of requests as well because I was reading almost exclusively on a schedule and was starting to not enjoy it. Good luck with your goals! I’m trying to figure out mine as well for 2015
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Friday Linkups: Christmas with AnneMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Good luck with yours, too, Katherine! I’ve expanded my reading horizons through blogging and that’s definitely a plus, but I want to find some sort of balance in the coming year.

  3. Bea @Bea's Book Nook

    “But they all look so good!” – Oh dearie, yes. A thousand times yes.

    “My name is Lark, and a I’m an ARC-aholic” & “keeping up with the Bloggses” – these made me snicker. A support group for ARC-oholics might be a good thing. Or it could just lead to bigger ARC and TBR piles. 😀

    My reading habits have undergone a similar change as yours. However, periodically, when the mood hits me, I throw off my self-imposed chains and read something I want to, just because I want to. And yes, sometimes that does end up being a blog ARC, one read out of schedule. My library usage has decreased in the last two years but it doesn’t bother me. I’m still getting books to read and at least review books don’t have to be returned in 2 or 3 weeks.

    Good luck with your goals. Reading shouldn’t be chore and if this makes reading less stressful and more fun, then the changes will be worth it. 🙂
    Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Karen Harper Discusses Where Authors Get Their Ideas & A GiveawayMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Sounds like some of your experience is indeed similar to mine – fewer library books, more reading to a schedule. Like you, I will read an ARC out of order on occasion, because I’m in the mood for it!

  4. Lark

    Even though I don’t request any ARCs, I sometimes choose a book to read because I think it’ll make a good blog post, not necessarily because I’m in the mood to read that book right then. I try not to let my blog influence what I read and when, but it does. And I find myself scheduling books to read so that I can blog about them, instead of just reading whatever I want whenever I want. What’s a blogger to do?
    Lark recently posted…Twelfth Classic of 2014 … On HoldMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I find it interesting that even without requesting ARCs, your reading choices are influenced by your blogging. I wonder, if I’m able to cut back on ARCs a bit, whether I’ll find that my non-ARC reading is still somewhat determined by the blog? I wish I knew the solution!

  5. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    I started to implement your changes for myself when I “downsized” my blog fairly recently.

    I went back to blogger and allow myself the cost of my former hosted WP to buy a new book each month– but I also buy another couple from other budgeting sources. I use the library more often and also buy a lot of used books from thrift shops and the library friends’ store. I gave up NetGalley, etc. when I stopped requesting ARCs. This means I won’t have the newest and shiniest books on the block, but that’s okay because my blog is now feeling more like my fun hobby than an unpaid obligation. I do still enter contests from other blogs, from authors’ websites, & from Goodreads, but that’s about it. I’m happier and that’s what counts 🙂
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…A Look Back At My Year’s AuthorsMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      If the changes you’ve made have made you happier with your life and your blog, then they were absolutely the right ones for you! I’m glad you feel you’ve found a better balance and are enjoying it more. That’s what I’m looking for, too!

  6. Kaja

    I have the same problem. I now have so many ARCs to read in December I can’t even stash all the reviews in my usual posting schedule… I think my blogging resolutions for 2015 will be quite similar to yours!
    Kaja recently posted…Storm Front by Jim ButcherMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Wow, that’s a lot of ARCs! It must feel a little overwhelming.

      I’m also finding my December reading and blogging challenged by being away from home and with extended family. It’s more important to spend time with them – and with my husband, who has been working too hard and too many hours recently, and with our daughter, who is on winter break from college. I may not be able to really pull things together again until January, but I’ve already implemented my “be careful what you request” policy.

      • Kaja

        It’s not so much the number of ARCs than their release dates – all in Dec/Jan.

        And I absolutely agree that it’s much more important to take time to spend with your family – blogging should never be an obligation. It’s a hobby, after all!

        Happy holidays! 🙂
        Kaja recently posted…ChallengesMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      NetGalley is a site where bloggers, reviewers, and librarians can request e-book review copies of books, usually books that are not yet published. Most of the books are being published in the American market, or the UK and/or Australian market, so it might not work for you, but there are a few that might be available worldwide. It’s very easy to request too many books because they look interesting, and find yourself with more ARCS (advanced reader copies) than you can handle.

      But yes, even without NetGalley or similar services, it’s easy to build a TBR list that’s longer than you could read in 10 years. Mine is about that long right now. (Eeep.) So in addition to cutting back on requesting ARCs, I need to heavily prune my TBR list!

  7. Charlotte @ Books and Baby etc.

    I started noticing that I was reading more for the blog than for myself so I stopped requesting ARcs and accepting review requests. Now I usually choose whatever I feel like reading and I am much happier. So I don’t have the latest books to review? It doesn’t matter. I still review what I read and people still visit my blog. I use my library a lot more now and request the things there I really like the look of so that I can read them in my own time. I do still use NetGalley but I am a lot more restrained and it definitely makes a difference. We blog because we read, we don’t read because we blog!
    Charlotte @ Books and Baby etc. recently posted…The 12 Whys of ChristmasMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      “We blog because we read, we don’t read because we blog!” That’s how I started, and that’s exactly what I want to get back to. It’s really good to hear that people are still visiting your blog even though you’re not necessarily reviewing the newest and shiniest books on the block. I worry about that a little. But I’ve gotten good responses to some of my “Treasures from the Hoard” reviews of older books I’ve loved for a long time, so hopefully I will still have readers if I’m reading fewer new books.

  8. Lola

    Great goals! I have the same problem as you sometimes and because I am a mood reader, having a lot of deadlines doesn’t work well with being a mood reader. I would love to read some more mysteries and historical romances, but for some reason I never get review requests for those genres so I don’t read them as much.

    I plan to accept less deadline books in 2015, I don’t mind having a lot of review books, but I don’t do well with too many deadline books. And I am happy to hear you joiend Coyer, this is my second time participating and I had a lot of fun last time! make sure to join the fb group, it’s a nice group of bloggers.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #105My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Hi, Lola! I’m in the COYER FB group, but I had to join as my real self and not my blogging self, so most of you probably don’t know who I am! 😉

      I’m like you; I don’t always enjoy reading to a deadline. It’s one reason I’ll be cutting back some on ARCs in the coming year.

  9. Jackie

    I don’t use netgalley (or any other ARC site), so I really do get the freedom to read spontaneously and blog about what I read. Part of me wishes I could read all of the new books before they hit the shelves, but I’m TERRIBLE with deadlines, so I think it would just stress me out more than anything.
    Jackie recently posted…Weekend Review: Books[tube] & TeaMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      If you think it would stress you out, you’re probably right. Too many of them is definitely stressing me out! Which is why it’s time to cut back, and read more of the books I want to read. If what you’re doing now is making you happy, by all means stick to it!

  10. Julie S.

    I tried the whole blog about the books that everyone’s talking about thing, but it wasn’t working for me. Now I just review whatever I read, and I read what I want, not what someone wants me to read. It is so freeing. I hope you stick with the goals you made 🙂
    Julie S. recently posted…Chat Between Chapters: Does Size Matter?My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Thanks, Julie! I’m going to see how it goes, but I’m definitely excited about reading more books of my own choosing. I’m not giving up ARCs entirely because there are some books and authors that show up on NetGalley that I would absolutely read no matter what, and it’s fun to read them ahead of publication. But I will request a lot fewer books that just look somewhat interesting, and read more of the books I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

  11. Lily

    We’re way too alike. I used to be so cautious about what I read and what reviews I posted on the blog but now I’ve begun to let that go. Nowadays I like to read whatever I want (i’m a mood reader) and than see if I should put the reviews on my blog. If I feel like my blog readers won’t care too much about my stance on a certain book I don’t post it. Hopefully you stick to your goals. Good luck!
    Lily recently posted…My Favourite 2014 Debut ReleasesMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Sometimes I don’t write a review if I can’t think of anything interesting or insightful to say about the book, but I hadn’t really thought about deciding whether to review from the readers’ perspective. Interesting!

  12. Hadas @ Common Room

    Hey Lark. This is so relatable.

    I find that the library forces me to chill, I also try to pair one “just for fun” book with books I want to read for a podcast episode, the site in general, or for learning purposes. I come across some really random books that are not on bestseller lists this way. It’s fun!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Hi, Hadas! I’m glad you stopped by!

      I can go just as overboard at our library, because they’re really good about renewals as long as no one else puts a hold on the book. I took back about 10 unread books before I went on vacation. They’re still on my TBR list so I’ll re-borrow them eventually! But I love your idea of pairing or alternating books you want to read with books you need to read. That sounds like a great way to achieve some balance!

  13. Angie @Angela's Anxious Life

    It is hard to balance blogging and reading. I mean… I am reading a chunker of a book and just haven’t really been blogging. So tonight I am dedicating myself to visiting blogs and writing up some blog posts, even though I should be getting a little bit more ready for Christmas. I am reading though what I want rather then what my book club is reading. I used to always just read books I was supposed to read till recently!
    Angie @Angela’s Anxious Life recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday- Leave Me a Book Santa!My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I think it’s healthy to sometimes read books of your own choosing or on the whim of the moment. And it’s Christmas – read what makes you happy! 🙂

  14. Laura @ trips down imagination road

    I have noticed that I read differently actually. I read more for a start, and sometimes I’ll see a book cover and think ‘that’ll look good on the blog’. But ultimately I’m still a mood reader, I’ll read what genre I want to read, but I just have more scope to do it (because of the free books). I think it’s given me more of a chance to experiment and try different genres!
    Laura @ trips down imagination road recently posted…Book: Taking Karre by Michelle M PillowMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I definitely agree with you that ARCs have expanded my reading choices and introduced me to new books and authors I might not have read otherwise. I just need to find a balance that lets me be a mood reader again, because I really overscheduled myself in the last two years.

  15. Jan

    An interesting conversation, Lark! My reading has changed since I started blogging, but really only because I go through phases in my reading. For years I read mostly mysteries. Then I started reading fantasy more, then mostly romances, then back to fantasy and sci-fi. Now I’ve added mysteries into my sci-fi and fantasy and just a few romances.

    I’ve only gotten a few e-ARCs from NetGalley. That’s been fun, but I don’t think I’ll get many more. I’m getting books from my library these days and I get most of the books I want quickly (sometimes the week they come out). I don’t want reading to become a chore or to feel guilty if I don’t read a book I said I’d read.
    Jan recently posted…Review: Now May You Weep by Deborah CrombieMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      “I don’t want reading to become a chore or to feel guilty if I don’t read a book I said I’d read.” Yes, exactly – that’s how I’ve been feeling at times, and it’s why I want a better balance. I can’t get all the books I’d like from my library, even though it’s an excellent system, and I do enjoy the thrill of reading a book before publication… but if I request fewer ARCs, and only the ones I really, really want to read, I think things will feel more comfortable.

  16. kimbacaffeinate

    I experienced this the first year, but quickly reined in and select books that pique my interest or are ones I would probably have bought. I find it makes me a much happier blogger and reader. I also learned the skillful art of DNF making it easier to accept new books or try new genres.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Die Again by Tess GerritsenMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Ah, the DNF! I’m still working on that. 😉 I’ve gotten better at requesting books that I want to read, but I’ve also over-requested and haven’t had as much time as I want for books I own or can borrow from the library. I think if I cut back on requests somewhat but not entirely (i.e., still request what I really, really want to read), I’ll find a better balance. I will still occasionally request books by new-to-me authors – if the description would make me immediately put the book on hold at the library, for instance.

  17. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    Yup, this is me completely too! One other thing I’m finding now is reading physical ARCs in order to give them away even if I’m not feeling them, sigh. I seriously need to write myself a post-it that just says “Would you buy it and read it immediately??” or a pop-up whenever I go to NetGalley, haha!
    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings recently posted…Updates from the Lair 01/04/15My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yes, I need to get in the habit of asking myself “Would you buy it and read it for SURE?” before I click on NetGalley, Edelweiss, or even on the Kindle freebies and bargain books.