3.10.2011

When Reading Wasn't Homework...

I can remember when reading was fun.

Don't get angry. I love reading! But I remember when it was joyful thing.

It wasn't that long ago when I'd walk into work (because that's a bookstore), pick up a book with a pretty cover, be elated because the back sounded good and dive in. There's something about discovering a new world that's so filling. You're following this blog then you're a reader so you know. You pine for characters, yell and sigh at all the right moments. Then, when you're finished, you go back and find a new book.

I miss those days. I miss walking into a store and finding a new discovery.

Until I started blogging and jumped into the YA community, I went purely on instinct and read what sounded good. Now, when I find the new book, my first thought is: "I can't. I have too many to read." So I put it back--and unfortunately for me I have to stare at it every day when I'm at work and wonder what it's about. Sometimes, I never get to find out.

Don't misunderstand me.

This is not a complaining post. I'm completely floored everyday that I get to be involved in the YA community. This is where my friends are, my make-shift family. I wouldn't trade any of this or you for all the cupcakes in the entire world. Seriously. And I'm not going to quit blogging. I don't want anyone to think that. I just need you to listen, because this has been on my mind.

I have to read A LOT. I have to read as a blogger and write reviews that may not get a single comment. I have to read as a writer. I have to read as an indie bookseller. I need to be on my toes, to know what's coming out, to know the content, the story, who will like it and if we'll sell it the store.  I have to know what's coming out, so I have to read. I GET to read for work. How awesome is that? It's totally awesome. But sometimes, I get so overwhelmed by the reading. Sometimes, reading is more of a chore than fun.

Since I've been blogging, I've learned a ton about how all this works. I understand the importance of reading a book or an ARC and spreading the word about it. It's so important. And I don't--and won't-- write negative reviews. I am a writer. When this blog or my job disappear, I'll still be a writer. I want to be a person of integrity and for me, that means not writing negative reviews. I'm okay with that. I look at this way.  If I'm at work and I'm recommending a book, I'm going to recommend one I like. The ones I don't--unless someone asks me--I'm going to ignore. Why even bring up a "bad" book? This is the approach I'm taking. I'm talking about books I love for whatever reason. (That doesn't mean if you don't see a book here I hate it--just maybe I haven't gotten to it yet. Don't assume things people.)


Anyway, talking about books is a responsibility that I love having. But one thing I never, ever, ever want to do is be that "look at me" blogger. You know, the ones who have to have every title first and read it first and post it before everyone else does. Honestly, it's so exhausting. I have a stack of books I still need to read for this month--and I probably won't get through it. But I'll try. And I'll write comment-less reviews and share my opinion. I love doing that. If I didn't, then I wouldn't do it.

But.

I miss the freedom of reading. I miss getting to read what I want to read whenever I want to read it. I miss the time before how many hits I got on this or how many books I can read this year or how many comments I got on that post. (Guilty of all those things.) Those aren't the reasons I started this blog. In fact, any advanced copies I get are from work. I'm not a blog that many publishers recognize--and I'm totally okay with that. None of these reasons are why I'm here.

I started this blog because I wanted to share a) my writing life, which I don't do as much as I'd planned b) I have all these books in my head and all these thoughts with no one to tell and I needed an outlet (my head is crowded enough!) c) maybe someone would read about a book I loved or something I'm dealing with in my writing and learn or connect or discover something new. That was I started a blog. It was never to get books---I didn't even know how people did that. This was never going to be a book blog.

But it is. Of course it is! I'm a writer, a bookseller, a reader--it's my life. And that's okay. I have to read incredible amounts of books and  live a life surrounded by words, so I don't mind. In fact, I love it.


So what's the point of this post then?

To say that I want to love reading again. I want it to be fun and enjoyable--and less of a checklist or a chore or a rush to read books a, b & c before this date.

From now on, I'm reading the books I want to read. If I have something from a publisher that I need to read and review before release date--or if I've read something early--I'll post it to help promo. I want to help promote books. It's why I'm a bookseller--and a book blogger. But I don't want to race anymore. I don't want to pass on a book that sounds incredible because Mt. TBR is overflowing and six books come out this month. I'm going to read what I want to read. I hope that's okay with you. I hope you stick around--but if you don't want to, then you can leave.

I have this blog to share my struggles and my words and the words that pierce me with. That's what I do. Giveaways are fun, but my wallet is decreasing so those will be too. I don't want followers at the cost of reviews. I'd rather have six people who read, comment and share their thoughts with me than 256 who don't. Seriously.

Reading IS FUN. Blogging is fun. Writing is fun. The moment any of them become homework is the moment it should be re-evaluated.  That's what I'm doing. Re-evaluating. Telling you why I'm here and hoping it's why you're here. I'm going to be making some changes around here--so those are coming this month. I'm excited about them!

I feel better. I'm off to read a book THAT I WANT TO READ. And it doesn't come out until May. I'm excited. I hope you're still here when I get back, but if you're not, that's fine too.

7 comments:

  1. *Hugs*

    There are times when I feel like blogging is work and since it's not my job, I tend to slack. I hate having all these books that I desperately want to read, but then having books that I feel like I need to read. It becomes too much and I like your plan. Reading is supposed to be fun and it can be, it definitely is most times, but sometimes it's a chore. And it shouldn't be.

    You re-evaluate away and I'll still be here when you come back.

    Are you reading Hourglass now? Because I wants it badly!

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  2. :) Thanks Nikki!

    It IS fun--I love reading--and I'm glad you get what I'm saying. I love other worlds and characters! :)

    And I haven't yet. I'm starting it Monday, after edits.

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  3. I love this post!! It is so true. I've had to MAKE myself stop saying yes to everyone. I'm much pickier now. I still have books I have to read on a deadline, but I'm really making an attempt to read what I want, too. (Plus, I read books that parents/teens request, so that makes it hard too.)

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  4. That's one of the main reasons I haven't started a blog. I HATE reading to order. Hated it in school, refuse to do it now that I don't have to. I love to read and share books and promote them. I hope you get back to loving to read and having it be fun. I also have a huge TBR pile, but after each book I get to look at it and say "What do I feel like reading next?" I love it. Good luck with your new mindset.

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  5. Excellent post. I've also felt sometimes that I should be reading what just came out because everyone wants a review on that. I usually don't - I pick what I want to read and when I want to read it. That's the only way to enjoy both reading and book blogging.

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