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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!