Before I started blogging, I read so much less. It was just when I felt like it, and I picked up any book that looked good. I wasn’t very aware of new releases, and my shelves had a lot of vanity books (books I got just because they were old and pretty and made me feel smart for owning them, even though I would probably never read them ever). I had too many books that caught my fancy, and almost none of them were new. I rarely had to wait for a new book in a series because I didn’t hear about them until they were finished, popular, and being made into movies.
Now? My TBR is overflowing with new releases and pre-orders. While I still rarely buy them without a gift card ($14 is a lot to a college student that gets paid in used books, y’all), I add to my wishlist constantly. I have screen shots of books talked about on instagram, a ‘Books to Look At’ board on Pinterest that is 321 pins and growing, as well as saved blog posts that have books I need to add. It’s a problem. Meanwhile, I never make progress on my TBR because I reread SO MUCH. But to be fair, I did that way before blogging.
Since starting a blog, when I want to read a certain book, I have a few questions I ask myself: 1. How quickly could I read this? 2. Would this be a worthwhile review? 3. Would anyone even want to read a review of this book? 4. Are there already enough reviews of this book out there, and I’m not setting myself apart at all from all the other book blogs?! 5. Do I really want to read this book, or am I just letting the hype and excitement over this book brainwash me?
Unfortunately, Number Five is often a yes to the latter. Books like The Winner’s Curse and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer are symptoms of that. I love the covers and they were suggested by trusted friends and fellow bloggers, but the plot just isn’t really something I look for. As a result, they sit on my shelf and taunt me. Curse you, gorgeous books! Because of these questions, I’ve edited down my shelves quite a bit and I don’t impulse buy books very much.
But a real problem I have with looking towards new reads is the hype. I get tired of hearing about something and not having read it, so I just never want to read it and never want to hear about it. This happens to me in all media (I’m looking at you, Monty Python and Orange is the New Black). No matter how good I’m sure something is, I’m just sick of hearing about. Maybe I’ll get past it one day, but for now I’m angry just looking at those words.
A positive side of how blogging has changed me is that I can really see how I feel about a book after reading. Before, it was either a like or dislike, love or hate. No specifics, no real reasons why either side. It wasn’t until I joined a book club that I saw how talking about a book and getting other opinions on it could really help me fix that. Now when I finish a book, I read a ton of Goodreads reviews to help me figure out how I feel and why I feel that way, and then I write out a rough outline of a review for this blog.
I’ve also become much more well-read since blogging, and I’m much more comfortable recommending books to people now. Before, it was more of a “Well, I know you like fantasy and sci-fi, but I really loved this historical fiction series, so maybe try that?” and it wasn’t helpful or fun for anyone involved. But now, I can pull up a blog with similar tastes and see what they liked before I make recommendations for genres I’m not well-versed in.
Becoming a blogger has made me a better reader in that I can dissect my feelings towards a newly finished read and help others find their new favorite book. But I also feel like I’m responsible for what I read, and sometimes that gets overwhelming.
How has blogging/reading blogs changed you? Do we suffer from any of the same symptoms, or do we have the same improvements? Sound off in the comments!