(Meme from: Google)
I suppose this meme doesn’t really work for the topic I am about to discuss but it was as good as it was going to get 😛
So the question I have been asking myself recently is: does the fact that I write a book review blog influence my enjoyment of reading? I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years–which is really only a few months short of when I got my GoodReads account and actually started to officially rate the books I read. So it was hard for me to decide whether or not having a review blog has changed how I read because I hadn’t really been rating books for all that long before I started to blog.
Then I decided to ask myself some questions…
Does having a blog influence what books I read next?
To a certain degree it does. Because I have review “themes” dedicated to new series and standalones, I try to make sure I read one or two of each every month. And of course, because I review whole series I read tons of series now. So in that sense–reading challenges aside–my blogging does influence the books I select.
I also make a conscious decision to read some “bigger name” novels as well as “indie” reads. I pick “big-name” reads because they–honestly–draw more traffic to my blog. I don’t see a point to hide that fact since reviewing a book that everyone is talking about is universally known to get more readers; especially search engine traffic. However, I love reading indie reads! All these authors have to start somewhere–especially in today’s often over-saturated market–and there are so many talented independent publishers out there who don’t get the attention they deserve because no one is talking about their book! Social media is such a unique tool that brings something that was once obscure into the realm of attention and it’s one of the coolest things about blogging! Case and point some of the fan-fiction series that are now New York Times Bestsellers–word of blog really works!
Am I more critical about the books I do end up reading?
Sometimes. I find if I am loving a book I don’t really worry about what my review is going to contain. I actually find it harder to write about a book I’ve given 5 stars to because I get so caught up in the experience and I have a hard time expressing why I loved the book as much as I did. (Part of this problem is my philosophy not to write about spoilers so it really limits how much you can praise a book for its parts when you can’t reveal those parts).
On the other side of the coin, if I am not loving a book so much, I actually start formulating my review in my head as I read! And I worry that by doing this I don’t really give the book a fair chance to improve itself.
Case and point: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (it is actually the inspiration for this Musing because the idea came to me as I was reading it). I had a hard time getting into this book because the heroine annoyed me. And once I established that I disliked her, I also started to list all the other things I didn’t like about the novel, composing my review as I was reading. I had to force myself to stop, clear my head and refocus on the words of the book and not the words of my review. I found that once I did that, I started to enjoy the book and find parts I actually did like. (My review for that series will be published next month!)
Am I constantly comparing books I read to each other?
I did this naturally, before I even blogged so I really don’t think blogging is a factor. Perhaps I get a little more critical about how similar books can be but I think I always compare things in my everyday life so I really don’t see a change.
I also have a habit of blending two things together. For example, to me Richard Armitage is the love child of Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender (look at pictures, you’ll see what I mean). So I find that in reviews I often explain a book by combining other series together–I just think it’s a clearer way of getting my point across (unless people haven’t read those series than its a mute point). I actually decided to make this hybrid blending habit of mine a seasonal feature so you can see that next month as well!
Do I constantly comparing my thoughts/reviews to other bloggers/reviewers?
Call me weird and/or a hypocrite, but I don’t actually read reviews for books that I already have an interest in reading. That is very hypocritical of me I know! The main reason why is actually spoilers (especially on GoodReads, some people have no filter!) but at the same time, I don’t like having preconceived notions about what to expect before I read the book. You know when someone points out something that wasn’t obvious to you before but now it is all you can see? I don’t want that when I read a book: I want to go in with my own expectations, especially if I’ve been looking forward to this particular book forever!
I mostly add books to my TBR list because I have read the synopsis and find it interesting and think I will like it. Since I read close to 200 books a year, I think I have a good handle on what I like and what I don’t like. However, if I read the synopsis and I’m not sure if I want to read the book or I like the synopsis but notice the ratings for it are low, that’s when I will read other people’s reviews. If they are mostly positive or say something that appeals to me, I add the book but give it an “unsure expectations” tag so that I know I was hesitant to pick up book and I can go into the book with an open mind. So the long and short of it is, I turn to reviews when I’m not sure if I will like a book or not.
I do read reviews about books/series that I have already read to see what other people think. Everyone has their own opinions and what I might have loved another might hate. I just love reading the different perspectives that are out there.
So what about you? Do you think becoming a blogger has influenced how you read? Do you think you are more or less critical? Do you take into consideration your blog when you pick your next book to read? Are you constantly comparing things or other blog reviews together?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!