4 Ways Book Blogging Has Changed My Reading Life (For The Worse)
2016 marks my fifth year of book blogging. What started as a second-semester-college-senior whim has grown into an exciting and rewarding, but occasionally frustrating hobby. Here are the things that frustrate me the most about book blogging—don’t forget to share your own in the comments!
1. I don’t reread my favorites nearly as often. When all I can think about is reading the next book so I can write my next review and stay on top of posting so that I don’t lose my entire audience, the simple pleasure of rereading becomes a luxury I can’t afford. And this from the girl who spent her entire life up until college graduation reading the same books over and over again. (Of course, a lot of this was due to a combination of a general lack of financial resources and a stubborn refusal to expand my horizons beyond Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but…)
I always found comfort in revisiting my favorite stories, and to this day, one of the most important questions that comes into play for me when I’m rating a book is, “Will I want to reread this?” Despite the answer being “yes” at least 40% of the time, I can’t think of more than 5 or 10 books—out of the several hundred new ones I’ve read since I started blogging in 2011—that I’ve been able to revisit. This makes me a SAD PANDA.
2. My eyes are bigger than my…brain? That is to say, I buy more books than I could ever read, or would even want to read, because now I can justify it by reminding myself that I’m a grown-ass adult and a book blogger and I need to read lots of books and write lots of reviews. Which is all well and good until the books sit unread for years on the shelves while I stare at them guiltily and then read the newest Stephen King instead.
My “do I really need this book?” filter is not very good; in fact, it often functions much like that stupid flowchart, simply because I like feeling books in my hands, and I like that I can swipe a piece of plastic in a machine or hand over a few pieces of paper and then that book is mine.
There’s also the problem of all these new books coming out all the time and wanting to read all of them and knowing you can’t but, since you’re in denial, you preorder them on Amazon anyway.
This utter gluttony then in turn adversely affects my reading because when I look at my shelves I am often paralyzed by indecision when I need to pick my next book to read. There are just too many unread books to choose from, and then I see my favorites, sprinkled in like shiny confetti, just begging to be reread. BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE [see above]. I can only read one book at a time, but as soon as science figures out a way to make that not be the case, sign me right the fuck up.
3. Blogger’s Guilt is a thing, and it sucks. As of this writing, I (just a few days ago) finished Josh Malerman’s Bird Box (highly recommend, by the way). It was so good, so addictive, and so utterly terrifying that it took me a day or so to be able to pick up a new book, because book hangovers are also a thing. BUT it was so good, so addictive, and so utterly terrifying that I haven’t been able to string more than two words together for a review because there’s only so many times you can say “utterly terrifying” before it starts to sound like nonsense.
None of these things are problems on their own, really, except that now I have started a new book, and it’s always difficult both for me to 1) write a review of one book while reading another and 2) fully enjoy a new book while an old one is still waiting to be reviewed. Hence: blogger’s guilt, a term I (to the best of my knowledge) just made up because I can.
Before I started reviewing books, I rarely had a problem jumping into a new book. But now, starting a new book before a review is written feels illicit, even though I know that it’s not always reasonable to expect myself to write a review of every single thing I read. As much as I wish that were actually possible, and as much as I wish I were more on top of my shit than I am, it’s just…not the case.
4. When writing about reading is your “job,” they both become less fun. As with anything, I suppose. And guys, I’ve never made a cent from book blogging, so I can hardly call this a job anyway, but it sure feels like one when it’s 10pm and you’re like, SHIT, I need to write a blog post for tomorrow!
Somehow, even after five years of doing this, I’ve just never gotten into the habit of writing consistently. You’d think I could commit myself to, say, at least one hour of writing per day—it seems so easy—but you’d be wrong. Every time I’ve managed to get in a groove, I’ve gone on long enough to think maybe I’ll just give myself a break for tonight and then that break became two, three, four months without writing a single word. So basically, once I start writing, I’m never allowed to stop, like, ever.
Case in point: I came up with the topic for this post MONTHS ago, and only now did I finally sit down and write the damn thing. And sometimes months will just slip by with no inspiration, no hugely impactful books that I feel like I have to review RIGHT NOW, and then I wonder if I should quit blogging because how can I be a blogger if I don’t blog? And then I realize that even if I never wrote another word about books I would still probably feel guilty for the rest of my life about all those books I’ve read and haven’t reviewed. My brain wants to quit and also won’t let me quit.
Of course, the effects of blogging certainly haven’t been all negative; there are so many things that I love about writing about books, but that’s another topic for another post. Do you find you’ve experienced any of these downsides to book blogging? Are there any that I’ve missed? Let’s discuss (and maybe vent a bit) in the comments!