Monday, January 02, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #1

Book Blogger Confessions is a new meme hosted by All-Consuming Books and For What It's Worth. You can find out all about it here

Every second week there is one topic that has something to do with book-blogging that you can discuss on your blog.

This week's question is:

How has the "job" of book blogging changed your reading habits?

The way I read has completely changed ever since I started book-blogging. First, the books that I read are different. I've found out about so many books through book-blogging that I never would have known about otherwise. Technically, that doesn't have anything to do with my book blog; but if I didn't have my own blog, I wouldn't be reading so many other book blogs and stalking so many authors and readers on Twitter and Goodreads. I've found so many great authors through the book-blogging community, and finding new books to read is one of the things I like best about blogging.

Then there's the change that I used to only read paper books but now also read ebooks. I still don't like reading on the computer, but who can resist those shiny NetGalley titles?

I also have a wider selection of books to choose from now because of review copies and my addiction to requesting books on NetGalley. And I now buy even more books because, like I said, I know about so many more books now.

Before, I could just take whichever book from my TBR-pile and read what I felt like reading, and now I need to pay attention to release dates and when a review is due and all of that, and that sometimes makes reading feel like something I have to do, not something I just do for fun. 

Now to the actual way I read the books I read. I pay attention to completely different things now that I'm a reviewer. Before, I had no idea why I liked a book or why I didn't; I just did. I didn't know what to pay attention to to see whether a book is good or not. Now I notice so much more about the book I'm reading - the writing, the character depth, all those subtleties that make books so amazing. I've learned so much about literature, and I now pay attention to things I didn't even know about before.

There's a down-side, too, though. I now have a hard time not thinking about those technicalities, and sometimes it's hard for me to just get lost in the story. I miss how I could simply read and enjoy without thinking about anything else. About three quarters into a book, I find myself thinking about what star rating I'm going to give that book, and when that happens, I really, really hate myself. I curse my blog for making me think about things like that when I should just be getting lost in the words. Even if I'm reading a book I'm not planning on reviewing, I can't help but think about what I'd write if I were to review it, instead of just reading.

My feelings for books are much stronger now, both good and bad.  If I love a book, I love it even more now, since I spend time writing a review for it and thinking about what makes me love it so much. But I also often find mistakes in books that I never would have noticed if I weren't reviewing it, making me dislike a book I didn't enjoy even more, but sometimes also taking from my enjoyment of a book I thought was good, at first glance.

Blogging has changed the whole way I look at reading. It used to be something I just did on the side - I'd read an hour before going to bed, but that was it. I wanted to read more, but I felt... guilty. Reading seemed like just another type of entertainment, like watching TV, like just another way to waste time, and I wouldn't let myself read more than an hour a day and made myself do something "pointful" instead. Now, I have no qualms about reading and blogging all day. (I don't often get to do that, sadly, because life gets in the way, but if I do have the entire day, I love to spend it only reading and blogging.) Now that I write a review after finishing each book, it feels more pointful, and I can justify to myself that I spend so much time reading. That, and I know now that I'm not the only one - there's a huge book-blogging community full of people  who read just as much as me.

Book blogging has definitely changed the way I read. And even though I now struggle with just getting lost in a story and not thinking critically, I appreciate what blogging has done for me. I've found out about so many books, I've learned so much about literature, and I've found a way to feel good about my reading, and that makes it worth it.

So that's how the way I read has changed since I started book-blogging - what about you?


  1. Hannah-
    Great answer, I completely agree!
    I have such a hard time reading for enjoyment, too. Over Christmas, I read a series that I bought for myself months ago, and I spent so much of the time feeling guilty I wasn't writing reviews. I did leave star-ratings lion GoodReads, but still.


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