Friday, January 30, 2015

Reading in the Here and Now...

On December 16, 2005, I posted my very first post on The Written World. I was all ready starting to see my reading being influenced by the online world, that's why I read The Red Tent in 2005, but I was just reading books that looked and sounded good. My reading back then was way different than it is 10 years later, though. For example, in 2005 I read at least 7 books by Anita Shreve. That was the year I read The Pilot's Wife, loved it, and then ran out and got a bunch of her other books at the second hand bookstore. And, actually read a bunch of them!

That's how I used to read. I would find a new author, go on a buying spree at the second hand bookstore, and then proceed to read their backlist. In 2005 I probably had a TBR pile, but it was nothing like it would become as the years went on. I had a lot of books all ready, but I remember having a little tiny bookcase in my bedroom that contained my unread books and then all the rest of the shelves were read books. I only really blogged for one month in 2005, so in many ways 2006 was the first year... And, it is when things started to change for me as a reader...

In 2006 I commented on a blog and the blogger turned out to work for Random House Canada. A few quick emails back and forth and I entered my foray into review copies. And, it was a blessing. I was in university and review copies kept me in books until I graduated without doing bad things to my tiny bank account. But, between the review copies and the blogging, my reading was changing. In the early months of 2006 there are all ready posts about books I am hoping to get to soon and books that I haven't had a chance to read yet. And, I believe, 2006 is one of the last years of reading multiple books by the same authors. (In most recent years only really graphic novel series and Susanna Kearsley spring to mind.)

Blogging and getting review copies was a very fun experience. I loved hearing about new books and the constant parcels in the mail. In the beginning it was nothing like it would become... I actually was able to keep up! And then blogging and reviewing books for publishers became a lot bigger and I started to put more and more pressure on myself. It lead to reading more in the 'now' and less with exploring older books and backlists. I am sure there are many years where I mostly only read books published that year. It was fun always knowing what was going on and having read the 'big' books before they were really big. But, it started to get too overwhelming and lead to many long hiatuses from the blog and really spurred out of control last year when I hardly read at all.

Now it is 2015 and there is always that feeling that with a new year comes a fresh start. And, I have been trying to make that apply to my reading and blogging. I will likely always be tempted by the new and shiny books, but this year is also about all that backlist that I never got around to reading... Over the years I have posted big lists of books that I have bought. I bet I have hardly read any of them... Favourite authors come out with new books and they just gather dust on my shelves because often I haven't read the book before it.

So, 2015 is quickly becoming the year of 'no pressure'. I wander over to my shelves and just pick something... And, if it doesn't work for me, I put it aside and grab something else. I have probably started 30 books in 2015 so far and only actually finished 16. I am sure many of the others will call to me later, but they were not at the time. And, I am finally getting to books I just HAD to have and backlists from authors I have loved and never read again. For example, finally reading another book by Patricia McKillip like 2 years after I read her for the first time. Or, yesterday, I finished Shine by Lauren Myracle because it was one of those books I bought because I had to have it. I am hoping this mixture will finish for the rest of the year...

When you look back, how has your reading and blogging changed over the years?

14 comments:

  1. I started blogging in 2006--I had not realized it was so long ago! I go back and forth on my reading choices. One year, I might decide to read more nonfiction (actually I make the "decision" frequently, but don't always do well on the follow-through). My main pressure is always to have something to read! I become extremely irritable when I don't have anything I want to read.

    Good for you on abandoning books that don't make the grade, even if you may want to revisit them later. Reading should always be something you look forward, not a chore that must be finished.

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  2. Blogging has definitely changed my reading habits too. I read so many newer books that I probably wouldn't have even heard about for a few years in my pre-blogging days. I've taken a pretty strong stance on reviewer copies. I probably accept half a dozen in a year, but I am VERY selective. I accepted more when I started and like you I found my reading start to feel more like work. I like reading what I'm in the mood for, but that can be hard when you have a stack of ARCs staring you down.

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  3. I always liked reading new books, but maybe that's because I'm in the industry. I don't know. But I also like discovering authors and reading their backlists, which -- like you -- I haven't do so much of since I started blogging. But still, if I hadn't blogged and hadn't met you, then I wouldn't have ever read FABLES -- and just think how sad that would be! I'm still catching up with it. I think I'm on number 16.

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  4. I haven't really bothered a lot with ARCs but blogging has hugely changed my reading habits too. Like you, I hardly had a tbr pile when I started, now it's probably about 300 books. This year I am trying to get them down a bit. Good luck with your random reading year.

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  5. I'm definitely swinging more into the no pressure camp. It's nice reading what I want, when I want. I really want to stick with it for now,

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  6. I used to binge read authors too. I kind of miss those days. But, strangely, I have also enjoy now keeping those unread books from an author around for a little while longer, to enjoy at a time when I need them most. This year I'm focusing on rereading some of the hundreds of books I have here at home because that's something I used to do a lot more before blogging. I figure, what's the point of keeping all these books if I'm not reading them? It means I have to also have to not be distracted by too many of the shinies. :)

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  7. My reading has changed since Book Blogging, but Bookmooching probably had just as much an effect on my TBR in the early days. Definitely read a lot more YA than I used to (a good thing obviously!). But the main thing is even when I have had quieter years like the last couple, it's still more than before, when I'd probably dropped to 20 or so books a year.

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  8. Love your blogging story. I remember my early years and I blog a lot differently than I used to.

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  9. Only finished 16 books in January? That's a shame. Of course, I haven't actually finished a single book! That's how my blogging and reading has changed.

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  10. While I never received ARCs, I did feel the pressure to review when I first started book blogging, but I now don't let it get to me...that or the pressure to read or blog either. It's not always easy, I admit, especially with the blogging part, but I've been doing a post a week for the past two months. And that seems to be working...for a while anyway.

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  11. I started my blog right as I graduated college, so I've never been an "adult" reader without also being a blogger -- I don't have a good pre-blogging baseline to start from. But I have seen my interest in review copies change over time. I'm in a slump where I don't care about them as much and don't feel pressure to read or review them, but that changes with time too :)

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  12. I'm in the same situation as Kim -- it's hard for me to know what non-blogging reading would look like for me. I know that in recent years, I've shifted slightly to more current books, which I think is just a function of the blogs I read skewing current as well. Aside from that, I don't know that my reading's changed too much over the years. It has become more diverse, but I've been doing that on purpose.

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  13. I read a lot fewer backlist books since I began blogging too--a lot less author and series binges to be sure. I do think my reading has become more diverse than it once was. And it's been interesting to see how little or how much my reading has changed during the time I have been blogging in relation to life events.

    I enjoyed reading your reflection on your reading and blogging, Kelly. I hope that you are able to find relief in your new no pressure approach!

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  14. What a LOVEŁY post! I enjoyed the history. Happy blogiversary!

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