Tag «reading habits»

SERIESous Discussion: Do I Follow A Reading Pattern?


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!


I consider myself to be a mood reader. But does my reading follow a pattern as a result? Or do I simply answer the whims of my current mood when it comes to my next read?

Approximately 3 years ago, I wrote a discussion post about how I went from reading one book at a time to reading two to three at a time. I’d say that’s still very true to this day: I always have one eBook/physical book on the go AND an audiobook I listen to. And when I was analyzing the sudden switch, one of the reasons I mentioned was my mood reading tendencies:

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.

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

Now that I keep track of the books I read in an Excel Document, I wanted to see if my hypothesis was correct:

Do I follow a pattern when it comes to the genres that I read?

To gather the facts, I looked at the first 50 books that I read in 2020 and classified them by “Age” (Young Adult, New Adult, Adult) and by “Genre” (Non-contemporary, Contemporary, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction). For me, non-contemporary is a broad term to encompass Science Fiction, Supernatural, Paranormal and Fantasy; Contemporary means Romances or Coming of Age stories; Historical Fiction is usually only Regency Romances for me.

I then assigned these classifications a numbered value in order to create graphs to visually see what my reading patterns are. So I created one graph based on the “Age” of the books and another based on the specific “genre” of the book. Here are my results:

Reading Pattern Based on Target Audience Age

Age Breakdown: 38% YA | 18% NA | 44% Adult

I have to say, this graph really surprised me! I honestly thought I would see more back and forth oscillation between the YA and NA/Adult ranges. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but that’s usually all I read from the Adult and New Adult genres. I assumed that I alternated between contemporary and non-contemporary reads, and this graph shows that isn’t really the case. I tend to read 2-3 books of an age range before changing it up.

I was also shocked to see that I read more Adult reads than anything else. When I look back at the titles, I think that is from my audiobook listening and the fact that my library has more contemporary audiobooks than non-contemporary. I find I can read romance audiobooks much faster than scifi or fantasy — not only because they tend to be shorter books, but also because I can put them on while I do chores and not have to devote 100% of my brain to keep track of the story.

Reading Pattern Based on Genre Type

Genre Breakdown: 6% DNF’d | 32% Non-Contemporary | 54% Contemporary | 4% NonFiction | 6% Historical Fiction

There’s a lot going on in this graph and I apologize for that. I struggled with a way to format the chart to encompass what I needed it to show.

Again, I was surprised by these results. I really don’t alternate genres after every single book I read. This graph suggests in most cases, I read two books of the same genre before switching to another and then repeat. It’s a really interesting pattern and it helped cement something to me about my reading habits which I will discuss below…

What About DNF’d Titles?

I did include the some of the titles I DNF’d in my first 50 reads of 2020. I wanted to see if I could tell anything from the genres I read before and after I DNF’d a title.

One title was an Adult Contemporary romance. I read a NA Contemporary romance before it but switched to an Adult Historical Romance after I DNF’d it. Another title I DNF’d was a YA Non-Contemporary. I read a YA non-contemporary before it and read a NA contemporary after it.

There really isn’t a specific pattern here, but it’s obvious that when I DNF a title, to avoid a reading slump, I switch genres completely to try something else.

Conclusion:

As is often the case when I do these investigative posts about my reading habits, my assumptions are proven wrong.

I assumed that I alternated back and forth between contemporary and non-contemporary titles when I read but that isn’t correct. I often read multiples of each genre before switching back and repeating the pattern. So yes, I alternate between the genres but it isn’t a book-by-book case.

I also learned that I read more Adult novels than I expected. I’m getting older now and I think that is being reflected in my reading. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to be a teenager to read and enjoy “YA” novels but I do think there are certain stories that appeal to readers based on their ages. I’ve also struggled with reading in the last year and I find that adult contemporary romances are quicker reads that allow me to focus for a shorter amount of time and so I gravitate towards them, especially for audiobooks.

But my biggest conclusion: I am definitely a mood reader. I listen to my reading whims and pick books that I’m interested in reading right now. So if that means I read 3 contemporary romances in a row, that’s what I do. There really isn’t a pattern to my reading — it’s all just dependent on my mood.

Do you have a pattern to your reading? Are you a mood reader?

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SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love With Reading Again

How I Fell in Love With Reading Again

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!


Since I graduated from my post-graduate studies 4 years ago, my annual reading numbers have been on a gradual decline. Seems a little odd right? Most people I know were so excited to finish our post-secondary educations so that they could read for the joy of it and here I am doing the complete opposite.

Reading in my post-secondary education was always a release for me. It was part of my daily routine and my first method of stress relief when things got hard. (Case in point: A Week for the Wicked by Tessa Dare was devoured in one sitting when I should have been studying for an exam).

But once I entered the real world of working–and shift work at that–reading got pushed by the wayside. Shift work is the biggest factor there. I work 8 hour shifts and we rotate through a day, evening and night cycle. Gone were the days when I would willing get up earlier than I needed to so I could read a book. Once I started working, getting as much sleep as possible to make up for those night shifts and earlier mornings (because I was commuting 2 hours every day for the first year and a half) became priority.

I had found a rhythm though; a balance between having a social life and continuing to read.

I had accepted that my years of 200+ books read were behind me but I was reading more quality books and experiencing less reading slumps than I had in the past.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.

Like many, I never thought things would get as bad as they did. I’m an avid traveller and the loss of that freedom crushed me. I had several big, waited-years-for, trips planned that all got delayed and that was incredibly depressing. But I also work in healthcare: a hospital laboratory to be precise. A field that had its own problems and shortages before a global pandemic struck with a critical blow that has forever changed my profession.

We had an outbreak very early in the pandemic at my work and it was hellish. There were a lot of unknowns at that time so it was extremely scary and stressful. I’d go to work, come home and just watch the news to see when it would all be over (a very bad cycle and one I quickly stopped doing by the end of the summer 2020 for the sake of my mental health).

Being forced to stay home when we entered our first province wide lockdown should have been a bookworm’s dream (if you omit the reason why you need to stay home). But I couldn’t concentrate. My mind would wander just a few pages in as I read my books. I’d be exhausted when I came home from work because we were so short staffed, so I’d fall asleep a few pages into my book when I would try to read before bed.

I had a hard time getting into novels in general; though I’d go through little spurts where I could get through a few as if they were an obsession. ARCs started piling up (I’m on the street teams for a few authors), COVID kept hitting in waves and I started to pick up other hobbies (like Netflix and crochet) because they were better at keeping my mind active. (I found that I had to do something with my hands to keep myself pre-occupied)

Fast forward to May 2021 and I discovered I really missed reading.

I had been reading an ARC of Beautiful Enemy by Piper Lawson. I love Piper‘s books and I had been EXTREMELY excited to start this new trilogy. As soon as I started reading, I got sucked into the story and couldn’t put it down. This book reminded me why reading was so rewarding as I went through every emotion as I read it. I laughed, I cried, I swooned and I just adored every page of that book.

And that’s when the little spark reignited my love of reading.

While I credit Beautiful Enemy to be the book that pulled me out of my reading slump, there were other factors that helped. Little things that I had been actively trying to do since the start of the year to get me back into reading on a regular basis. My ah-hah moment during Beautiful Enemy was the moment I knew my efforts had paid off and my reading slump of the last year was officially finished.

1. Starting a Bullet Journal

I talked about starting a bullet journal in my Reading Plan for 2021. Lots of people use bullet journals for a variety of things in their lives but the main goal of mine was to get more of a routine going in my everyday life. The beauty of a bullet journal is that it is completely customizable to you and that you can change it as you go. Nothing is static about it unless you want it to be. And since this is my first foray into the concept, I’ve changed mine a few times until I’ve found a system that works and I love that flexibility.

One aspect that has remained consistent is the habit tracker I keep. I always have a spot to track my daily reading in my journal. As long as I pick up a book at some point in the day, I give myself a mark. I’ve come to accept that given my work schedule I might not read every single day…but when I do find the time, the sense of accomplishment that I get by ticking off that box has had a positive impact on my reading habits as a whole in the last few months. It serves as a great reminder that I do read more than I think, even if it was just a few pages for that day.

2. Audiobooks

I was never a fan of audiobooks until I was a fan. I’ve talked about how much I love audiobooks and how important they have become in my reading habits. Last year, audiobooks were a big reason why I met my Goodreads goal for the year. Because even if I wasn’t picking up a physical book, chances were I was listening to an audiobook while I did something around the house or was out walking my dog. In fact, audiobooks made up 50% of the books I read last year!

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

The best thing I did was to start investing in audiobook series. I found that when I started a series, I didn’t have to think too much about what I was going to read next; the obvious answer was the next book in the series! My library has access to Hoopla which has an amazing audiobook selection and you don’t have to wait for a title to be available to check it out, it’s always available! So I could always get the next installment as soon as I finished the previous. It’s a great way to get backlogged series off my TBR.

3. Reading Authors I Love

As I mentioned above, reading Beautiful Enemy by Piper Lawson sparked something in me. It was my first 5 star read in a long time and it reminded me why I LOVED to read and get lost in a story.

The authors that I am on ARC teams for are authors I love. Authors that I read no matter what and always read the newest releases for. Picking up their books to read gave me the comfort of knowing that I was probably going to enjoy–if not love–the book. It was much safer than picking some random book on my TBR that I may not enjoy. I mean, they’re my favourite authors for a reason so clearly I enjoy their stories!

And it some ways, it helped that there was a deadline for completing the book since it was an ARC. I’ve talked about reducing my ARC commitments before on the blog and how the many deadlines can add a stressful pressure to my reading. But here, that pressure was a positive one because I: (A) wanted to help out these authors with their new releases and (B) remain a member of the team for future releases. It kicked my butt into gear and made me pick up a book and start reading.

Moving Forward

We seem to be on the up when it comes to COVID where I live in Canada and that means things are gradually reopening as we adjust to our new normal. Work is getting better as well and I find myself going back to my everyday routines once again. I’ve always been one to succeed when I have a plan and a routine, but knowing how to pivot when obstacles appear has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this pandemic.

And as my reading habits improve, so has my blogging. I’m writing a post about how I got my blogging mojo back after a long, unintended, hiatus so look for that in the next few weeks. But the gist is, now that I have material (ie books to review) for my blog, the posts are flowing freely and it feels good to return to the blogosphere.

How has the last year affected your reading habits? Do you read more or less? Found new genres?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Still Here!

It has been a long time since I posted anything. In fact, it has been even longer since I logged into my blog to check up on it! I don’t think I’ve spent this much time away from it except in my first year when I took a brief hiatus for university.

But, I’m still here!

The truth is, this last year has been really rough in a lot of ways for me (and many others I’m sure). I work in the laboratory of a hospital and while I don’t live in a “hotspot” COVID-19 area, we had our fair share of outbreaks and waves in the last 15 months. Medical Laboratory Professionals are in short supply–and have been for a long time, even before the pandemic. So the stresses of work bleed into my reading and blogging habits.

Add to that some professional courses I am taking for work, my laptop crashing and some other life stresses, time has gotten away from me. I also had some issues with my blog hosting in April so the only thing that really got posted this year was reviews I had scheduled months in advance.

Taking a step back from both reading and blogging has allowed me to reflect on what I get out of both.

Even before the pandemic started, blogging was starting to feel like a bit of a chore. I had contemplated moving my blog away from its self-hosted status for the last 2 years but the hassle never seemed to be worth the very little I spend a month to keep it self-hosted. I just find with my shift-work, I’m forever playing catch-up with things around the house or life in general so blogging is that last thing on my mind.

Also, I just don’t seem to be reading as much as I usually do. It seems crazy to me in a world where people are encouraged to stay home that I struggle to read but I find my attention span just wanders when I pick up a book (or I just fall asleep too fast) so it takes me twice as long to finish a book than it used to. Which, in turn, generates less content for my blog — which can make creating content feel like a chore.

But I still love to read. The last two months have been a cycle of reading and reviewing titles for the various ARC teams I am on and I love contributing to that release and getting the titles I love out there.

And now that the weather is nicer in Canada; my backyard is in its prime; and my pool is ready to go, I’m hoping to spend some of my upcoming staycation in my yard, reading copious amounts of books. Mostly to catch-up on titles I’m a little behind on but also because I really miss getting lost in a book for hours.

I started a bullet journal this year–mostly to keep track of my distance ed courses–and while I’m not always the best about checking-in every day, I really do love the daily habit tracker page I created. Every month I set a knew goal and my hope for July is to get back into blogging on a semi-regular basis. Even if it is just for an hour once a week—I think it would go a long way.

So, I just wanted to write this (semi-)short message to say: I’m still here! I’m just super behind but I will be resuming my efforts to get this blog back up to its normal (ok, maybe a little slower) speed this summer.

Thanks for sticking around and let me know what you have been up to the last few months by dropping a comment below!

Cheers!

~Lauren

SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2021

2021 Is the All About Getting My Groove Back!

Like many people, I went into 2020 with an optimistic frame of mind. I had reduced my Goodread’s Goal for the year to be lower to anticipate a few things like travel and other events, plus my general decline in my reading numbers over the last few years.

But as Canada went into lockdown near the end of March, I couldn’t bring myself to read a book. I mean, if you ignored the global issues, the idea of not leaving your house except for essentials seems like a bookworm’s perfect world. But I really struggled.

I work in healthcare, particularly in the laboratory of the hospital. I’m the person who receives the swabs for the testing of COVID-19 and could run the testing if my hospital provided in-house testing (we are too small to do so). Work was extremely stressful at this time and as a result, I found my mind wandering when I would pick up a book. So reading wasn’t for me and I found myself turning to yarn hobbies like crochet and knitting because it kept my hands occupied and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I did go through a few spurts where reading was how I passed the time instead of watching TV. I even managed to finish my Goodreads Goal–something I didn’t complete last year–fairly early on given how March-May worked for my reading. But once things got colder here in Canada, my reading became non-existent once again. It got to the point that if it wasn’t an audiobook for when I walked my dog, I probably wasn’t reading it.

As I write this post, I’m unsure about my reading and blogging future. I’ve been contemplating moving away from a self-hosted site to the regular WordPress site because I don’t want my blog to disappear entirely. But the cost to keep it self-hosted isn’t crazy so I’ll probably stick it out one more year and give 2021 a good chance. I feel like 2020 isn’t a good year to gauge my reading/blogging usage on since it was so radical.

In last year’s plan for 2020, I focused on finishing up series and reading more books I owned. But I only had mild success there. I was actually on a great trajectory to finish it when September hit and so did a major reading slump. A slump so long that it was still continuing into December.

That’s why I want to get my Groove back in 2021. Instead of specific reading goals (like finish X number of series), I want to improve my reading habits and reintegrate reading into my everyday life.

And so I want to keep that momentum going forward into 2020! Here’s how:

#1 – Read Before Bed

I used to always read before I would go to bed. Back in University, my roommates thought I was asleep by 10:15pm every night because I would say goodnight around 10pm. But I usually spent the next 45 minutes reading my book before finally sleeping. I even used to wake up early to read a chapter or two before I started my day.

Because I work in healthcare, that means shift work is my every day norm. I find I’m always trying to catch up on sleep from night shifts and so I’m lucky if I even get a single chapter in before my eyes close.

I’ve decided I’m going to start bullet journaling in 2021 as a way to keep me accountable and I’ve added a habit tracker to see my progress with this particular idea. I really want to get back into a regular sleep routine that works with my shift work and that includes reading before bed instead of scrolling through my phone.

#2 – Reduce ARC Commitments

For the last 2 years I’ve really declined my ARC commitments and I want to keep that going forward.

There’s nothing wrong with ARCs, I just find they add a pressure to my reading that dampens my interest in reading. I’ve been in such a rotten mood for 2020 that I felt like it was translating into overly critical reviews of ARCs and I didn’t think that was super fair.

I’m a member of a few street teams for authors and I plan on sticking with those as they aren’t overwhelming. But I will be reducing what I sign up for and what requests I take on.

#3 – No Reading Challenges

Usually I have 2-3 reading challenges for the year. This year, I want to step away from those and really go back to my mood reading whims where I simply pick up a book because I want to.

That means no elaborate Excel spreadsheet to share this year!

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to the reading challenges of the last few years and reading those titles I had marked but never got to. But I really want the first 3 months of 2021 to be focused on getting back to reading and making it a part of my everyday routine.

Going Forward:

Better things seem to be on the horizon for 2021 and I’m optimistic that I can get things back to where they want to be by forming new habits and returning to my routines that have helped me in the past.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2021 reading goals?

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

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?

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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!

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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?

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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?

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SERIESous Tips: How I Read 200+ Books a Year!


Since 2014, I’ve read more than 200 books in a year…

I really struggled with a way to start this post without sounding like I was bragging because I know that the number of books people read in a year varies–whether you’re a book blogger or not. Everyone reads at a different pace; not everyone has the time; and that’s what makes it such a personal number.

I read a lot of books in a year–it even shocks me–and that’s why I want to share some tips with you on how to increase the number of titles you read in a year! You might not reach 200 but wouldn’t it be great to fit in 4 more books in a year?

Years ago, I wrote a Guide for my blog: How to Read MORE! I wrote that guide back when I was a full time student. But since then, I’ve left school behind and have a full time career (complete with shift work, a dog and a house) on my hands.

You should still check out that post though because I have recently updated it! But I also wanted to highlight the 3 main reasons why I surpass the 200 books mark every year.

#1 – Get Into Audiobooks

I’ve shared my audiobook experiences many times over the years on my blog. I didn’t have the greatest start with them but they’ve become such a staple to my reading life that I can’t help but share my joy now.

> > SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love with Audiobooks

Why are audiobooks so great? The fact that you can multitask while you listen!!! You can’t do much while you read a physical novel besides eat and ignore the world around you. But with audiobooks? You can drive your car to work; walk your dog; do laundry and chores; etc.

How It Helps Me: I choose to listen to an audiobook instead of music while I’m doing my chores or driving for more than 10 minutes. (I listen to the radio when I’m at work so I get my fill of music in a day.) I always have one audiobook on the go in addition to the physical book I am reading. There’s a reason why 33% of the books I read in 2018 were audiobooks and that’s because I could complete some of my daily responsibilities while listening to them. (Plus, I had a 2 hour commute to work 5 times a week!)

> > SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

#2 – Set Deadlines

This can be interpreted to be many different things and I mean it in many different ways. Deadlines could be anything from blog tour dates, to ARC publication dates, to simply the date the book is due back at the library. But by setting a “deadline” to finish a book, you have a goal in mind and you can start to plan for it.

> > SERIESous Discussion: Why I Love Participating in Blog Tours

How It Helps Me: Approximately 40% of the books I read in a year come from the library and another 40% come from review copies. Having those due dates allows me to focus on what I need to read and when. I get more motivated to find the time to read that particular title because I have to finish it by a certain date. Even just telling myself that I want to finish a book I own by the end of the weekend reminds me to pick it up when I have the time.

#3 – Embrace Novellas

For simplicity’s sake, I classify anything under 140 ebook pages to be a novella. And did you know that they count as a book read for your Goodreads total even if it is only 20 pages long? Novellas made up approximately 8% of my total reads for 2018.

How It Helps Me: I think novellas (or short stories) are super underrated as a book form. I love novellas for a lot of reasons besides inflating my reading stats for the year. For one, they help me overcome reading slumps. For another, they don’t require as much time as a full novel; so when I’m short on reading time, the shorter book helps me feel accomplished by finishing it.

I’m not entirely sure if I will reach 200 books read this year. I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do by this point in the year. But I do know that these 3 habits have helped to keep me on track and keep my numbers consistent from month to month. So we will see what the summer brings. That’s usually when I can kick things into gear since I spend every free moment outside reading when I’m not at work.

What habits do you think contribute to your reading numbers?

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

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

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
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%]
Grand Total224 [100%]221 [100%]

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?

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