Tag «seriesous discussion»

SERIESous Discussions: Book Formats by Month [3]

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


For the last two years, I’ve been curious about my various reading stats. Like how many books I read in a month throughout the year? Do I start more series than I finish? And the topics for this discussion: What book formats do I read the most? Where do they come from?

You are probably wondering how I gathered all this data. Throughout the year, I keep an Excel file running where I keep track of:

  • What books I read
  • What format it was (ex. audiobook, eBook, physical, ARC, etc)
  • Where I got the book from (ex. library, ARC, owned)
  • What number it is in the series or is it a standalone
    • Is it a new series or a previously started series

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

  • I need to limit the number of ARCs I request
    • I unsubscribed to a majority of Blog Tour mailing lists
    • I focused on street teams for authors I love
    • I limited the request availability on my site
  • Continue to read audiobooks but don’t rely on them for numbers
  • I need to read more books that I own

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2019 to 2018:

The first time I did this investigation I compared each month by a line graph; last year I did a table for each month. This time around I’m going to a bar graph of the year as a whole so it is easier on the eyes!

The Highlights:

One thing that is glaringly obvious is that I definitely read fewer books in 2019 than in 2018. Last year was the first year where I didn’t finish my Goodreads goal (I was 28 books short) so I’m not surprised to see the large contrast on some formats.

When I did this last year, I really anticipated that my audiobook numbers would take a major nosedive. But audiobooks honestly saved my reading last year. Even though I no longer commute to work, I’ve integrated audiobook listening into doing my chores, walking my dog and long travel times.

The last thing that really shocked me was the number of eBooks I checked out from the library. I had to triple check my numbers were right when I was making the graph. But if you look at my Kindle and Kobo numbers (which are books I own), it makes sense and balances out. My 5 Year 5 Book Challenge for 2019 used books I already owned so I didn’t need to go to the library on a regular basis.

Moving Forward:

I set my Reading Challenges for the year back in January but I like to use these posts as a check-up or mid-year review of sorts to see if I am on track with my goals or what I need to change going forward.

I truly adore audiobooks and they’ve become such a staple to my everyday reading. Because chances are, if I didn’t pick up my eReader I probably listened to an audiobook at some point. The whole idea is crazy to me because 5 years ago I really struggled with the concept of audiobooks.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell In Love With Audiobooks

For the most part, this year I’ve been going with the flow and following my moods more. During the Covid pandemic in the Spring, I was checking out a lot of books from the library’s eBook selection but I didn’t necessarily read them if I wasn’t in the mood. And I tried not to get myself upset if returned the book unread (which is a hard habit to break!)


When I first did this breakdown, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. But in the past few years, I’ve worked really hard on reading more of the books I already own and not just buying books willy-nilly and never reading them. Last year in particularly, my main focus was reading books I owned prior to 2019.

Source:20192018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Grand Total:181 (100%)229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)
Purchased69 (38%)46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library74 (41%)97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs38 (21%)86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. To break it down a little further, 81% of the library books I took out were audiobooks. I’m happy that some sources went down (like ARCs and even the library) as planned since I read more books that I already own.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How Many Series Did I Really Read in 2019?

Moving Forward:

Like last year, my main goals for 2020 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. And to accomplish these goals, I’m slowly changing my reading habits. Instead of reaching for that library book, I’ll check my Kindle or Kobo first for a book that will suit my mood. I resist ARC temptation but not checking Netgalley regularly and unsubscribed from review mailing lists. I’m making a lot of progress and positive changes since I first started blogging 7 years ago!

What book formats do you read in a month? Where do they come from?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: How Many Series Did I *Really* Read in 2019?


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


In the past, I’ve done some investigative discussion posts on Where my Books Come From and What My Monthly Reading Habits are year to year. And while I still plan on doing those specific posts later this year, I thought it would be fun to find out what I actually read last year when it comes to book series and standalones.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

Thanks to the super handy formulas of an Excel spreadsheet–which is how I keep track of all the books I read in a year in addition to Goodreads–I was able to answer some burning questions I had about my reading habits when it comes to book series for the year 2019.

How Many Books Were Part of a Series?

Obviously, my blog is about Book Series and in order to generate content, I really have to keep my focus on reading books that are a part of a series. But I also love a good standalone novel from time to time. So, what’s the ratio of series novels read to standalones?

Novels/Novellas in a Series = 86% | Standalones = 14%

That’s right around what I expected. Usually, once I fill up all my Single Sunday posting slots for a year, I stop reading standalones and focus again on series novels.

Here is a specific breakdown of what parts of series I read last year:

Type: 201920182017
Grand Total172 [100%]224 [100%]221 [100%]
Standalone24 [14%]35 [16%]74 [33%]
Series148 [86%]187 [84%]147 [66%]
Book 145 [26%](71) [32%](53) [36%]
Book 241 [24%](59) [26%](44) [30%]
Book 3+45 [26%](46) [20%](37) [25%]
Novellas:17 [10%](13) [6%](11) [5%]

 

Do I Start More Book Series than I Finish?

Before I updated my Excel spreadsheet last year with a few other calculable parameters, I used to just keep track of how many book series I had on the go (and approximately how many books that was in total).

  • At the start start of 2019:
    • I had 124 series on the go, totalling 174 books.
  • At the end of 2019:
    • I had 120 series on the go, totalling 160 books.

In theory, it looks like I finished more series than I started new ones but is that really the case?

According to my data:

  • Brand New-To-Me Series:
    • Started 37 brand new to me series
    • Finished 13 of them
    • Opted not to finish 9 of them
  • Continuing Series:
    • Read 37 sequel novels
    • Finished 29 series
    • Opted not to finish 1

So really, the drop in my numbers came from the fact that there were brand new to me series that I opted not to continue with and not solely because I was more proactive about reading “newer” book sequels.

Slight Disclaimer:

Now, my system isn’t perfect. Some of the numbers might be slightly skewed because I only use one code for each book. For example, Dread Nation was a new to me series that I read completely but have opted not to read the sequel for. It got classified as a “DNF series” and doesn’t get counted in the “brand new series” category.

Also, I didn’t account for book series that are ongoing publications. If there is still a sequel to be published, I don’t count the series as “complete” even if I have read all available books.

Summary:

Much like when I started my blog nearly 7 years ago, the vast majority of what I read in a year is book series! I’m not particularly shocked by that fact; though I felt like I read a lot more standalones than 14% last year. So I am pretty happy with the number breakdown as it stands.

How many book series do you read in a year?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [3]


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


For the last 2 years I’ve been doing this comparison post to check in with my reading. I always to month-to-month comparison for my Monthly Inventories but it’s interesting to reflect back on the entire year as a whole.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

I break things down like this:

  • What I learned from last year (2018) and any changes I made for 2019
  • My thoughts before I look at 2019’s numbers
  • The actual numbers & their breakdown
  • What I learned and moving forward

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • February was my most productive reading month
  • I averaged 1 book less per month in 2018 than 2017
    • 2018: 19 books/month; 2017: 20 books/month 
  • My DNF #s have increased exponentially since 2016
  • I read less on my Kobo

In combination with my Discussion Post about Book Formats I Read in a Month, I started to do the following:

  • Focused on reading more books I already own by
    • Reducing holds at the library for non-audiobooks
    • Creating specific reading challenges for owned books
    • Requesting less ARCs
  • Dedicated 4 months of the year to only read sequels

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Without a doubt, 2019 was a terrible reading year for me. I didn’t complete my Goodreads Challenge for the first time ever because life simply got in the way. Moving closer to work and reducing my commute time did nothing to improve my reading numbers like I thought.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

I’d go days without picking up a book which would have shocked me 4 years ago. Gone were the days of getting up early just to fit a few chapters in. As a shift worker, I milk every minute of sleep I can get now. And if I’m lucky, I can fit in a chapter or two before sleep takes over for the night. So I know my numbers are not going to be stellar.

The Actual Results:

 

The Breakdown:

What does that all mean? I’ve summed it up here:

 2016201720182019
Total # Read260240229173
Monthly Avg22201915
Total # DNF'd717298
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479144

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Moving into a new home meant that most of my free time was spent getting the house (and yard) sorted. So I’m not shocked by these numbers. It was also my first year of being completely full time and one where I didn’t have the nicest rotation to follow. And I’d like to think my social life was more active than previously so that leads to less time reading.

Fun fact: I actually went 6 months into 2019 before I DNF’d my first book! I’ve been going through my TBR monthly and completing the Down The TBR Hole meme and removing books that I’m just not interested in throughout the whole year so maybe that has helped keep me satisfied with the books I do pick up.

The months I completed my Sequel Only months were February, June, September and November. And for the most part, I did see an increase in the number of titles I read for those months but it didn’t cause massive spikes.

Moving Forward:

I was much more realistic with my Goodreads Goal this year based on last year’s numbers. I’m realizing as I get older that there are other things that take precedence over reading. 

I’m really curious to see how my formats read are impacted though. I seem to be reading a lot of audiobooks (which was a foreign concept to me merely a few years ago) and if I wasn’t, my numbers would be near what they are in a year.

>> Be on the lookout for an updated post next month where I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: Reading Formats for Series

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

Are you a Format Loyalist? If you start the series in one format, do you stick with it until the very last novel?

I was inspired to write this post when I was looking at sequel novels in June 2019. One of my goals for 2019 is to complete some of the many series that I’ve started over the years and to do that, I decided to dedicate 4 months within the year exclusively to sequels.

Audiobooks are a relatively new thing to me. In the last two years, I’ve started listening to them on a (nearly) daily basis. So I always have one print book and one audiobook on the go.

Finding printed sequels to read for the month was easy. Between my physical public library; their eBook selections and my own eBook collection, I was never without a novel to read. But trying to find an audiobook to read during the month: that was the hard part. Why? I don’t have a lot of “unfinished” audiobook series because I binge-listen to all the sequels or they are newer series with sequels still to be published.

>>SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

If I was in this predicament last year, I probably would have looked at half of the books I read this past June and said “nope” to the audio version. I was adamant that if I started a series as an eBook one or as a hardcover, that’s how I was going to finish it.

But then this thought occurred to me: who cares?

Obviously, I do to some degree. I have some “golden rules” when it comes to my reading. I refuse to read any of Cassandra Clare’s novels as anything but the beautiful hardcovers. I have a few series that I’ve started as audiobooks (like The Diabolic and Dividing Eden) that I want to continue as audiobooks. So clearly I have a few holdouts because I feel like the format of the novel contributes to my overall reading experience.

But what about those sequel novels to series I haven’t touched in years? You know the ones where you barely remember anything but the main plotline and the characters mentioned in the synopsis? Why wouldn’t you pick up the audio version instead (or maybe the eBook)? Why not rejuvenate your experience with the series by trying it in a new way?

My thoughts exactly.

This year, I’ve been listening to the audio versions of sequels for quite a few series I originally read in print years ago–and I’m having tremendous success with it!

Obviously, I’m finishing series that have been on the back-burner for years, making room and time for new TBR items. And who doesn’t love cleaning up their TBR?

I also think that I’m enjoying these sequels more because they are audiobooks. If you’ve never read an audiobook before, they bring stories to life in a way that you just don’t get through a print version.

It’s not just audiobooks though that you can change to. Sometimes it just comes down to convenience and what format(s) is(are) available. When eReading was starting to become a thing, I made the switch from printed novels to eBooks because it was easier to get my hands on the copies. I know that for me, reading the novels back to back instead of waiting keeps my momentum and enjoyment going. So if I have to read Book #1 as a paperback, Book #2 as an eBook, so be it!

And sometimes, depending on the format, there are bonus features (like maps or glossaries or deleted scenes) available that can enhance your reading and you might not get those in a different format.

So I guess you can say that I learned that sometimes change is good.

What about you? Do you stick to one type of book format when you read a book series? Or do you jump around depending on the availability of your titles?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: Author Fatigue

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

Have you ever found yourself getting tired of your favourite author?

In April 2019, I was starting to reflect on my reading and blogging habits and trying to figure out what I wanted to change to get back to where I wanted to be. One of the things that I quickly decided to do was stop doing Blog Tours. The main reason is that I just don’t want as many deadlines as I did in the past because my reading is becoming more and more sporadic as the year progresses.

>>SERIESous Discussion: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours

But one thing I really noticed when I was thinking back on the blog tours I’ve done in the last 2 years is that I always seem to choose tours for the same set of authors. Now, that isn’t a bad thing! Obviously as bloggers we have the opportunities to help spread the word about our favourite authors and I believe we should embrace that whenever we can.

>>SERIESous Tips: A List of Review Opportunity Groups

However, I noticed when I was reading and reviewing a book for one of my “must read authors”, I wasn’t overly impressed with it. That sounds a little rude and I’m struggling to articulate what I mean so bear with me. See, it was a great book but compared to the last title I read by the same author, it just didn’t measure up to my standards. And when I thought about it, I had read a lot of books by that author in the year and started to notice a downward trend.

Sure, the author’s style might have changed or maybe those last few novels weren’t at the same calibre. But then I started to wonder if I was getting author fatigue.

What the hell is author fatigue?

For me, it’s when I start to get bored with an author that I once loved. I start to notice it when I’m reading and not totally loving their work or I rate a book a little lower than I probably would have had someone else written it.

How does that happen?

I think there are a few ways that author fatigue can happen.

1. You read too many of that author’s books within a short time

Inevitably, you just start comparing the books to each other and because you remember the last one so well you can’t help but nit pick. Sometimes, that might work in your favour (for a more positive experience) but other times…

2. You start to discover the author’s formula

I wrote a discussion post nearly 3 years ago about what your expectations are when an author you love changes genres. And in that post, I touched a little bit on the idea that most authors have a formula or basic foundation that is present in all their books and you know what to expect because of it. For me, there are certain authors that seem to follow the same type of twists in their works and it causes it to loose some of the suspense.

3. Perhaps you’ve outgrown their primary genre

Meg Cabot wrote some of my all time favourite YA novels when I was a teen, but I find her novels have a younger feel to them that doesn’t necessarily relate to my 20-something self and I’m not a huge fan of her adult works either. So, I tend to not reach for her titles anymore.

I suppose you could say author fatigue is just a fancier way of saying you’re in a reading slump with a particular author. And I find the easiest way for me to get over a reading slump is to mix it up and try something new.

That’s the plan for the rest of this year. I hope that by decreasing the amount of ARC requests I do in a month, I’ll be able to relieve the pressure on me and give some of my favourite authors a break before I dive back into their works with a fresh mind.

Have you ever experienced author fatigue? Are there any authors you’ve had to take a break from reading?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month [2]

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I wanted to take an in-depth look at some of my reading stats. I looked at how many books I read in a month (and did a year to year comparison); I investigated where I get my books from (library, own, ARCs, etc); and I wrapped everything up with a look at what type (audio, eBook, etc) of books I read the most in a month. Lots of things change in a year, so I thought it would be interesting compare 2018 to my previous years to see what type of reading year 2018 actually was.

I already wrote my post on the number of books I read in a month — you can find it here.

For this post, I’ve decided to combine my Book Sources and Book Formats posts together since they pretty much go hand-in-hand.

 

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

  • I requested more ARCs than I should have
    • now have stricter limits on the # I can request a month
  • Audibooks have a huge impact on my monthly reading
  • I need to read more books that I own
    • more readathon participation & reading challenges

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2017 to 2018:

Instead of my crazy line graphs that I used last year, I simply tabulated my results:

 eARCsKindleKoboPhysicalAudioeLibrary
SUM:7686221539265543665231
201720182017201820172018201720182017201820172018
Jan4102193010645
Feb395244100658
Mar11120013204408
Apr8100131014541
May771020004682
Jun467162204730
Jul3511550157100
Aug685321015541
Sep340102013541
Oct680012004451
Nov1060210004630
Dec1111353006524

The Highlights:

The one thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that I read less of the books I already owned in 2018 vs 2017. I truly thought I read more than that. Even if I add in the 9 titles I DNF’d from my personal collection, I still fell really short of my 2017 numbers.

The decrease in library books initially shocked me but then I thought about what happened last year. At the start of 2018, I had three library cards from 3 cities. My “big city” library card (my post-post-secondary school location) expired in March. I did a mad binge-read of a lot titles that were available from there in February and March (which explains the increases there). I also lost my second library card (where I did my placement for school) in September. My hometown library is great, but it shares its eBook collection with the entire province so it can make getting the more popular titles tricky. Having that second card from a town with a smaller pool of eBook users helped a lot. I have since renewed that card (since I moved) for 2019 so I’m excited to utilize it once again.

Things that didn’t shock me? I’m not at all surprised by my Audiobook numbers. Even though I was part-time for most of 2018, I worked a lot of hours so I was constantly driving to work (which is when I did most of my audio listening) in 2018. Nor was I surprised about my ARC numbers. I definitely read a lot of ARCs in 2018; so much so that I was getting a little bit of burn-out from it all near the end of the year.

Moving Forward:

I had set my reading goals and challenges for 2019 wayyy before I ever tabulated this all up but I had a general idea of what those numbers would be when I created them. My goal for 2019 is to read more of the books I already own and I’ve made that the focus of my reading challenges for the year. And although I say it every year, I’m really sticking to my ARC limits for the month. Learning to say “no” to great opportunities is hard but I’m starting to feel a lot lighter when it comes to “reading pressures” like deadlines etc. I’m really enjoying just going with the flow when it comes to my reading.

One thing that I know will change is my audiobook listening. I’ve moved closer to my job and have since reduced my commute time by 91%. I plan on listening to audiobooks on a regular basis, but I won’t be able to power through as many as I have in the past. What I’m hoping will happen is that I will see in increase in the other reading formats because I have more time now to read eBooks and physical novels.


 

When I did this breakdown last year, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. I also learned that I read more standalone titles in a year than I thought I did; though series still made up the vast majority (obviously).

Source:2018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Grand Total:229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)
Purchased46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. I would have liked to have seen my Purchased percentage to be higher but I knew coming into 2019 that I needed to improve that value.

Another thing I looked at in last year’s post was the number of series, sequels and standalones I read in 2017.

Type: 20182017
Grand Total224 [100%]221 [100%]
Standalone35 [16%]74 [33%]
Series187 [84%]147 [66%]
Book 1(71) [32%](53) [36%]
Book 2(59) [26%](44) [30%]
Book 3+(46) [20%](37) [25%]
Novellas:(13) [6%](11) [5%]

Overall, I was pretty consistent with what I read. I did decrease the number of standalones I read last year and that was something I was actively conscious of doing. Once I had enough Single Sunday Posts for the year, I made sure to rarely read standalones and instead focus on series. While I completed a lot of series, I wasn’t the best at reading sequels.

Moving Forward:

My main goals for 2019 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. My reading challenges focus on reading owned titles unlike previous years where they were the minority of the challenges. To reduce sequels, I’ve dedicated 4 months of the year to read only sequels. Of course, I will read sequels in all months, but I find that having it a set focus really helps motivate me to grab that sequel I’ve been putting off for months.

What book formats do you read in a month? Where do they come from?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [2]


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I was inspired to put this post together by the fabulous Cristina @ Girl in the Pages. She created this amazing post looking at her reading habits by month and I got curious about my own. So, I compared my 2016 and 2017 reading years to each other and I thought it would be fun to add my 2018 reading stats to the mix.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • August is my most productive reading month
  • I averaged less books per month in 2017 than 2016
    • 2017: 20 books/month ; 2016: 22 books/month

In combination with my Discussion Post about Book Formats I Read in a Month, I started to do the following:

  • Started an Excel sheet to track what books I read in a month (in addition to Goodreads)
    • Break down: Books, ARCs, Audiobooks, DNFs & Novellas
  • Started editing “edition type” on Goodreads
    • Break down: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Audio, etc

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Last year was the first year in 8 years that I haven’t been in school for any of it. I’ve just been working at my job and trying to have a social life. So I’m really curious to see how my reading habits have changed…because I certainly think that they have!

>> SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

While I only read 11 books less in 2018 than 2017, it felt like I read a whole lot less. I’ve said in many times in my recap posts for the last few months but there were times in 2018 I didn’t pick up a book at all. It’s all thanks to audiobooks that my numbers were as strong as they were — something I will investigate in my follow-up post to “Book Formats per Month”.

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

What does that all mean? I’ve summed it up here:

 201620172018
Total # Read260240229
Monthly Avg222019
Total # DNF'd71729
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479

 

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Nothing really shocked me here when I look at the breakdown; with the exception of my Kobo reading hours. But when I think about it, it makes sense. I read a lot of ARCs last year and I read those on my Kindle. I’ve also significantly reduced the number of books I get from my library (which are read on my Kobo) in an effort to read books I already own. And I also DNF’d a lot of titles from my Kobo last year.

Which brings me to the DNF numbers. Again, I’m not shocked by this increase. My reading preferences and tolerances as a reader have changed a lot over the last three years. What I liked (and bought) years ago isn’t necessarily what I enjoy now and I think my DNF numbers for 2018 reflect that.

Moving Forward:

Again, it will be interesting to see how the results for 2019 compare to 2018. I now have a more consistent schedule for work so I do have more free time. But with that comes more social calls and trips as well which doesn’t always equal more reading time. I recently moved closer to work so my commute (and audiobook time) has decreased significantly; however, in theory, I have more time to read physical books. We will see if that all pans out…

>> Be on the lookout for an updated post next month where I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: How I DNF Books


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


The Art of DNFing a Book

DNFing a book is not something I take very lightly. Sure, I’ve made a concerted since July 2016 to “DNF more books” but that is more of a method to stop myself from getting into reading slumps. See I found that by forcing myself to finish a book I would end up in a slump soon after because I was reading books I wasn’t truly enjoying. But the simple fact of the matter is that I do DNF books from time to time. So how do I decide whether or not to continue on with a book? That’s what I’m going to share today.

The Cut-off Point: The 50 Page Rule (aka the 20% Rule)

I’ve had this rule for a very long time because I need to have a line where I can say “that is enough of this” or else I will just push through and (often painfully) finish the book. The idea is that I give the book 50 pages (or 20% if I’m reading an eBook or audiobook) to see if I’m interested in the story. In my experience, if I’m not invested in a book by the end of the first quarter, I likely won’t be going forward. I don’t mind books that take their time to build up, but if I don’t see where the plot is going (or if I do and I don’t like it) by the first quarter, it’s time to call it quits.

But what if I’m on the fence?

The rule isn’t flawless and I’ve definitely DNF’d books before and after those points. Sometimes, I know by the end of the first chapter that a book isn’t going to work for me, but I do give it a few more chapters (usually) to confirm these suspicions. However, I’ve also reached that first quarter mark and am just not sure what I want to do. So I have a few tactics I employ to see whether or not to continue with the book.

Tactic #1: Start a Second Novel

For the most part, I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to reading (I don’t really count the audiobook I listen to in the car while I read a physical book) though that has definitely changed over the years. So most of the time, I really only have one book on the go. But when it comes to DNFing a novel, sometimes I start another book as a way to gauge my interest for the book in question. As I explain in my Discussion Post About Becoming a Two-Timing Reader:

One strategy I employed for books I was on the fence about DNFing was starting another novel I wanted to read. I found that by stepping away from the book in question, I was able to determine if I was truly invested in finding out how it all ends and if I wanted to keep reading. If I wasn’t, I stopped and marked it as DNF’d. And because I had already started another book that I was enjoying, I didn’t go into that slump of “what do I read now?” and dwelling too long in the disappointment that can surface when DNFing a book you were excited to read.

I would say that I employ this tactic for about 80% of the books I start to read and don’t know if I want to continue with. It helps a lot and I find that by breaking up that slower book (the one I’m thinking about DNFing) I can often finish it. Now whether or not I pick up the sequels is another story…

>>SERIESous Discussion: Becoming a Two-Timing Reader

Tactic #2: Read Reviews

Maybe this is a weird thing to admit as a book blogger but I don’t read book reviews all that much despite that fact that I write them. Most of the time, I like to keep myself in blissful ignorance, so if it’s a book I know I’m already interested in, I don’t read the review because I don’t want to have any preconceived notions but my own before starting. The exception to this rule is if I’m deciding whether or not to keep/buy a book on/for my TBR, because I usually don’t get to the book right away so anything I read in a review, I’ll likely forget when I actually read the book.

But I find reviews are most helpful when deciding whether or not to finish a book. First, I gauge what all my friends on Goodreads have said about the novel. Then, I usually read 1 negative and 1 positive review to figure out the pros and the cons of the story and to get a feel for if the book is for me or not. Most of the time though, my worries about the book are confirmed and I end up DNFing but that isn’t always the case.

>>SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

Tactic #3: Putting the Book Down for Now and Returning to it Later

As a mood reader, sometimes I just know when I’m reading the right book for me but at the wrong time. I can tell I’d be super invested in the story if it wasn’t for X, Y and Z external factors going on. So I usually put the book down, and will either start over fresh in a couple of weeks or pick up where I left off.

Sometimes I don’t return to the book because I realize I just don’t care after the time has passed but most of the time, I get back into it and enjoy it much more than the first time.

>>SERIESous Discussion: Reading Book Purchases ASAP

Does the Genre of the Book Make a Difference?

Upon reflection, I noticed that I use this Tactics #1 and #3 the most when it comes to non-contemporary reads. I think I do this because non-contemporary genres (like fantasy, science fiction, etc) usually have more complex plots and characters than, say, a contemporary romance. So in that regard, I think I am a little more patient and will let the plot (hopefully) develop a bit before I make my final decision.

Now that isn’t to say that contemporaries can’t have these more complex stories/characters. I should be upfront and say that most of the contemporaries I read are romances. I read a lot of them and that experience has allowed me to know what works and doesn’t work for me pretty early on in the novel to make a decision I can be completely comfortable with.


So those are some of the thought processes I go through when deciding whether or not to keep reading a book. I’d say for the most part, Tactic #2 (reading reviews) is my go-to method for all genres because I trust what my fellow readers have to say about their experience and it gives me a great idea for what my own experience would be.

What do you do when deciding to DNF a book? Do you find your tactics differ by genres?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: A 3 Year Reflection on Self-Hosting my Blog

I was recently updating the various guides I have on the blog and one of them is my Self-Hosting Guide. And as I was going through it, I realized I’ve been self-hosting my blog since February 2016…

That’s more than 3 years!

It was a big decision for me to go self-hosted back then. It took a lot of time and research; I talked to a lot of fellow bloggers as well. My experience prompted me to compile a guide to help others make the decision (or not to).

For the last 2 years in February, I contemplate whether or not I want to remain self-hosted as my renewal notice comes. I think when money is involved, you always get a little hesitant and take a little extra time to think your decision over. And of course, life changes from year to year so there are many factors at play.

So where do I stand as I enter Year 4?

I seriously considered not renewing my hosting this year for a variety of reasons.

 (1) The Cost to the Usage Ratio

When I started blogging, I was working on my blog everyday but that certainly isn’t the case anymore. I was a student back in university and I had a lot of downtime (and it served as a good stress reliever). Skip ahead a few years to 2018 and there were times where I didn’t touch my blog for days (let alone a book!). It’s a stat that seems unbelievable to me because in theory, I should have more free time since all I do now is work (no school). But it’s my reality so I started to ponder if I was getting enough value from my self-hosted blog ($$) when I have the option to return my free site.

I pay for my domain name annually in November and hosting is paid annually in February. I don’t mind paying for my domain every year because I like the shorter, easy to remember domain. It costs me $13 USD a year but I use my earnings from Branded Surveys (referral link) to pay for it. My hosting costs work out to $10 USD a month which I think isn’t very expensive for a hobby you enjoy and (usually) do multiple times a week. And considering I don’t buy a lot of books (I use my library for the most part or participate in promotional opportunities), I don’t have a lot of other associated costs with my blogging/reading. Even better, I use my earnings from Swagbucks (referral link) for PayPal giftcards and use that to pay for part of my self-hosting invoice so it really doesn’t cost me that much in hindsight.

While I do work more now (and shift work to boot), I no longer have to commute (2 hrs) to work everyday so I have more free time on my hands to spend blogging and reading–and I hope that will be the case shortly.

 (2) Customization

One of the biggest draws to going self-hosted in the first place was the ability to do more with the design of my blog. While the free themes on WordPress.com are great, I wanted more flexibility with colours, feeds and plug-ins and only a self-hosted site could do that for me.

I love my theme and I don’t feel the itching need to change it like I did before on my WordPress.com site. Though I had found a theme for my wordpress.com blog just before I made the switch so I know I could find something that works if need be.

The plugins have been a great addition as well; though I’ll be the first to admit that I probably don’t use them as much as I should. They can be tricky too since they often have limited features until you purchase the premium version; they might not work with your theme; or, I can’t find exactly what I am looking for. While some save me lots of time, others require some troubleshooting that I don’t always have the time to execute.

>> SERIESous Tips: My Favourite WordPress Plugins

(3) Do I Still Enjoy Blogging?

I wrote about this sentiment in my Monthly Inventory: December 2018 edition where adulting seems to have transformed my blogging and reading experience in that last year. But my so-so feelings about the last year and the fact that I have to renew my hosting for another full year made me start to question my blogging experience and if it is something I want to continue going forward.

Perhaps it’s just part of the reflective nature of the new year and new resolutions, but it’s something I often ponder around this time of year. Of course I would still read and I’d probably continue reviewing on Goodreads; but the appeal to have no commitments to regular posting and promotional deadlines is enticing.

My Final Decision?

In April, I’ll be celebrating 6 years of blogging! I can’t believe it myself…but if there is anything I’ve learned about blogging in that time: you can make this experience whatever you want it to be.

I’m having no problem churning out content on a regular basis even if my reading doesn’t always reflect that. Yes, sometimes writing those posts feel like a chore because I get behind, but I still love sharing my thoughts on what I read. I have enough posts scheduled that I have some buffer time before I need to panic about not having enough content; and even then, I can reduce how many times I post in a week. Flexibility is key and I definitely have the ability to execute that.

Another big resolution: I also plan on reducing the number of promotional opportunities I undertake this year. I love promoting all the books I request but I’m at the stage in my blogging career where less is more. And I hope that by reducing those deadlines, I can take a lighter approach to blogging and reading.

So in the end? I’ve decided to renew my self-hosting for another year. While January has been a dicey month, I’m hoping the rest of the year will be smoother in all things.


Check out my mini-guide to self-hosting complete with help links!

Check it out here:

selfhost


What are your thoughts on Self-Hosting?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: How I Became a Two-Timing Book Reader


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Five years ago, if you asked me how many books I was currently reading, I would have said one.
If you asked me today, I’d say at least two, if not three.

Over time, many of our habits evolve and my reading habits are no exception.

I was a pretty serial monogamist when it came to reading a few years ago. Meaning: I’d only read one book at a time. Why? Well, I liked the idea of getting through books quickly and efficiently. It seemed more productive for me to keep my attention on one book at a time so that’s what I did.

There were really only 2 reasons why I would start a second book while reading another.

One: I needed to read it for school.

Two: my current read was very long (or not completely holding my attention) and I needed to split up my reading time. I found that by reading only bits at a time, as I read something else, helped to keep me interested and subsequently finish the long/not-fully-invested-in book. DNFing a book was something I rarely did then; I toughed out nearly all the books I read (with some disastrous consequences).

Fast forward to now and you will see my reading habits have changed quite a bit.

Now, I have at least 2 books on the go at all times. Sometimes, I even have a third! Gah! The old me wouldn’t recognize the reader I’ve now become! It’s amazing how something you do everyday can change over the years without you really noticing the shift immediately.

Why the change?

I think there are a number of reasons why I’ve become a bit of a two-timer when it comes to reading.

ONE: I listen to audiobooks on a regular basis.

Now that I commute to work multiple times a week by driving, I need something to keep me entertained in my car. I went with audiobooks instead of the radio or my iPod and I am so glad that I did! Listening to audiobooks as I drive allows me to feel productive while simultaneously making the trip feel faster.

>> Learn how audiobooks have changed my monthly reading habits!

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get into Audiobooks

So now, I always have a physical book on the go as well as an audiobook that I usually reserve for car rides (or dog walks) only.

TWO: I’m a Mood Reader

I’ve always had a bit of a pattern when it comes to reading. Say I just finished a YA fantasy novel, I usually pick up a New Adult romance right after. And after that, I pick up another non-contemporary novel and alternate back and forth. Other times, I read multiple books in that genre because I’m just in a genre-binge phase.

But sometimes, it depends on the type of novel I’ve just finished. For example, if I just finished a dark romance, I usually read 2 “lighter” romances right after to bring me back to a more happier place. Sometimes I’ll even start that lighter book while I read the darker one just to balance out my mood and give me something else to think about. That’s how I often find myself with multiple physical books on the go.

THREE: ARC / Request Responsibilities

For the most part, I usually only stick to one physical book at a time plus my audiobook. I find now that I take on more ARCs and participate in more blog tours, I’ve integrated my various deadlines into the order of books to read.

When I read an ARC, I usually try to only read the ARC and not pick up something else. I want to give the ARC my full attention because I’m being asked to write a fair review of it. But sometimes, I get last minute requests or the street teams I’m on have a sudden, surprise release and I try my best to get my review done in a timely manner to help the author out. So that might mean I start that ARC while finishing another novel in order to meet my deadlines.

FOUR: I Have More Time to Read in a Day

Because I my job involves shift work, I often have couple days off in a row after completing a stretch. While I love nothing more than to stay in bed all day and read, I sometimes find I don’t have the attention span to read only one book in a day. I liken it to watching TV. I love a good binge-watch as much as the next person, but sometimes, you’ve got to mix it up a bit and watch something else or do something else in between episodes.

>> SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month

This idea goes hand in hand with the mood reader in me. I enjoy reading a couple chapters of one book and then switching to another within the hour and repeating the process throughout the day. Sure, it’s probably more productive to only read one book at a time but I find the changes keep my mind and attention fresh for each book.

FIVE: It’s Part of my “To DNF or Not to DNF” Strategy

I mentioned before that in the past, I used to break up “Book A” into smaller chunks at a time while reading “Book B” so that I could eventually finish “Book A”. Three years ago I rarely DNF’d books and pushed myself to finish them regardless of my enjoyment. As a result, I went through a lot of reading slumps and that wasn’t cool with me.

I worked really hard on becoming comfortable with DNFing books in 2017; on putting down books that just weren’t capturing my attention or weren’t enjoyable to me. And in turn, I had a great reading year in 2017 with only a few minor slumps every couple of months that I quickly got over.

>> SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

One strategy I employed for books I was on the fence about DNFing was starting another novel I wanted to read. I found that by stepping away from the book in question, I was able to determine if I was truly invested in finding out how it all ends and if I wanted to keep reading. If I wasn’t, I stopped and marked it as DNF’d. And because I had already started another book that I was enjoying, I didn’t go into that slump of “what do I read now?” and dwelling too long in the disappointment that can surface when DNFing a book you were excited to read.


I know that reading multiple books at a time isn’t a ground-breaking thing. Lots of people have been doing it for years. But for me, it’s a method I’ve really only embraced in the last year or so as a regular habit of my everyday reading and I wanted to investigate why. I can’t wait to see what my habits are in 5 years from now!

How many books do you read at one time and what is your reasoning?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact