blogging · books · discussions · Shar

How blogging has changed the way I read

Hi Virtually Readers. The other day I realised something: since I started blogging, the way I read has changed. This might seem very obvious, but it surprised me, so I decided to write about it. *nods*

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#1–I am more critical

Before I stared blogging, I read for fun. I would think about whether I liked the book at the end to some extent (for example, I could definitely say which books I liked more than others) but I wouldn’t try to analyse or criticise or think deeply about what I liked or disliked in a book and why.

Now, with everything I’ve learned in English class as well as my own discretion, I think critically about a book. Did I like the plot? Why? What star rating would I give it? Did I like the writing style? Why did this character click with me? Although I don’t review every book I read, I review a lot of them because of book blogging. Even with the ones I don’t review, I’ll think critically about it more while reading it and after I finish.

#2–I don’t DNF

When I just read for fun, I would DNF (not finish) all the time if I wasn’t enjoying a book, didn’t have the time, had to return it to the library, or just wasn’t in the mood. Now I rarely DNF for two reasons:

  • Firstly, because even if I don’t enjoy a book, I can still write a review and think critically about why I didn’t like it. In fact, I (weirdly) really enjoy writing negative reviews because sometimes I get my inner rant going and it’s fun.
  • Secondly, because of numbers. Even though I don’t have a goodreads goal, I like reading books and the feeling of accomplishment from finishing them. I do count how many book I read in a year and not finishing is a waste of time because I’m already partway through the book and I might as well finish it so it can count.

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#3–I read different kinds of books

Book blogging has affected my reading choices for various reasons, which is probably the biggest way book blogging has affected my reading life. Although I mainly read YA before we started blogging, I choose books differently. Before, I’d choose what was available at my library, often from series or authors I enjoyed, and I’d often choose based on the blurb. I just liked browsing and picking up whatever looked interesting. Now I choose based on:

  • Genre–I mostly read YA because most other bloggers I know also mostly read YA
  • Recommendations– If a blogger I know and who might have my taste has shouted about a book, I’ll be more interested in reading it, because then we can talk about it together and there’s more fun for everyone.
  • Release date–I used to read any interesting book, no matter how old it was (and my library didn’t have a lot of new books). Now I read mostly releases from the last few years because more bloggers will have heard of it and be interested in my reviews.
  • Popularity/hype/unobscurity(is this even a word?)--I choose hyped or popular books that more people will have read (Which often are most recommended by other bloggers and are newer) because I think people will be interested in my reviews, plus I want to know what all the noise is about.

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Conclusion

Yes, blogging has affected how I read by making me think more critically about what I read, not DNF, and choose different books. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I would say thinking critically is a positive change to my reading life. Finishing books is usually good, but also can just mean I end up not enjoying reading because I force myself to finish what I don’t want to. And while I want to review books other people will be interested in, I also am growing up. I want to read more adult books, and not be limited by trying to read only for the sake of the blogging community. I want to read for myself.

Has blogging affected what you read? What about ARCs? Do you think blogging has improved your enjoyment of reading?

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27 thoughts on “How blogging has changed the way I read

  1. This, though. Book blogging totally changes the way one reads, and I had no idea it would do that when I got started. Not that I’d take it back, but it is interesting to look at.

    I definitely think more critically (about everything) and I’m also more capable of expressing why I liked or didn’t like something, which was really hard for me before I started reviewing. I also try harder to find the perfect word for what I felt (was it really just cool? Or just interesting? Nothing wrong with those words, but I now consider whether they actually embody exactly what I thought).

    As for DNFing, I have a rule of 100 pages: if I read 100 pages in and I’m not into it, I DNF. The only time I break the rule is if it’s an ARC. Then I generally go ahead and finish (or at least scan and get a general view of what happened), because I feel like I should since I got the book for free. *shrugs* I don’t know if I really have to, but that’s how I feel.

    Changing how I choose… I have a lot more ARCs now, which with limited time can make it difficult to read much else :p, but I actually want to shift back to just browsing my library and picking ones that sound interesting to me. Sometimes, I just accept the ARC because the HONOR OF BEING CHOSEN. But I want to make sure that I actually enjoy most of the books I read, because that’s how I started and that’s what I love about books and book blogging: the books that I actually enjoy.

    Great post! Very thought-provoking. 🙂

    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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  2. I feel as though blogging and the pressure we receive nowadays in University (especially if you are a literature major) contributes to our overall reading experience. Not only are we encouraged to choose whether or not we liked a book but also are given the opportunity to explore its very naked elements such as plot turns, special characters, and descriptive language. As a book reviewer/blogger both here and on goodreads my reading has been greatly influenced in a good way (at least I think so) because now, I, similar to yourself, push myself to finish more books even if I don’t like them because writing negative reviews is part of the whole book reviewing experience!

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    1. I’d be really interesting in seeing a post about how being a literature major has helped (or not helped) you to evaluate and review books you read for fun. I’m happy that other people have had the same experience I have with reading and blogging ❤

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  3. Yeah, I guess it does change, doesn’t it. I started taking notes now when I read. Like, just short ones here and there. I never did DNF before either, but now I won’t let myself almost at all. I also choose different books now (can’t resist a lot of those ARCs, lol.) But I don’t just choose YA, so you could say the group mentality hasn’t quite affected me here. I still keep my tastes. And so totally true about release dates 😀 it’s mostly because I now read more ARCs, and mind the date they’re coming out on. So it’s like school reading lists used to be, kind of 😀 I still do read obscure books. Most ARCs are obscure before they come out, I guess that’s part of it.

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    1. Hi and thank you for commenting! It’s great that the group mentality isn’t getting to you; I aspire to be like that some day. I don’t love school reading lists but I do like how they have made me branch out and discover old favourites as well. And maybe reading ARCs is similar, like you said. Although I read YA before blogging, I read it more now, and I discover a lot of books I wouldn’t have read otherwise thanks to blogging 🙂

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  4. I secretly love writing negative reviews, too. It’s like the fuel of my dislike makes me rise. But anyway. I can definitely see how these things would matter to you and to bloggers like you! Definitely deciding not to DNF and thinking more critically in order to be a reviewer, as well as reading the books that other people read, are common threads I’ve seen before. I’ve never really been a reviewer on my blog (on the one hand negative reviews are fun but on the other hand they are too much work) so I don’t necessarily operate like that. I still DNF. But I do try to read books that other people recommend, especially if they are diverse or ownvoices. Still, as I’m getting older I’m also trying to pursue more classic books and so forth… My preferences are changing.

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    1. Reviews are so much work and I should write more but I don’t ugh. (fun fact: when I’m being dumb I tell myself off so this is definitely a ‘bad Shar’ moment. Yeah… this helps me focus it’s weird). I also want to read more classics! I read Peter Pan in January and the Importance of Being Earnest a few weeks ago and they were both SO FUN

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  5. I relate to this SO MUCH! And I’m 100% with you on the reasons why not to DNF. I’m the saaaame. I feel better writing a rant-review of a book if I’ve finished it. 🙈 And I also like analysing what I didn’t like?! It can be interesting! I also read a LOT more than I ever did before blogging. I blame that darn goodreads challenge. 😂 So all the changes for me have been good ones! Except for the part where my TBR is out of CONTROL now.😂 It didn’t used to be pre-blogging!

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    1. I find what I don’t like really interesting! Reading books definitely helps me to know myself better and understand more. I also feel way more competitive with reading and like I have to read ALLL THE BOOKS and with all the recommendations there are so many I want to read will I ever succeed? *cries*

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    1. I get so lazy with reviews omg. But I also forget the character’s names so fast and all the details ,and reviewing is like a permanent record, you know?

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  6. Such a great post! I have to agree with everything you said here: I found myself and my reading changed a lot thanks to / or because of, depending on how you see it, blogging. I definitely am more critical of books now and some books that would easily have been a 5 stars for me before is just a 4 – stars because I am analyzing and seeing more in the books than I used to before – if that makes sense ahah. I pick up so much more books than before thanks to recommendations and I love being able to talk about it after with the blogger that I got the rec from 😀

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    1. I’m finding that the more I blog, the less 5 star ratings I give out. Maybe partly because I’m reading more and more books so it takes more to wow me, and partly because I’m being more critical. And yeah, I love chatting about books with other bloggers SO MUCH ❤

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  7. I never thought that I read books differently because of book blogging, but after reading this, I do see some places where I’ve changed because I’ve had to be more observant/more coherent/etc because I had to actually articulate what I felt about it. Great post!

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  8. I agree with the point about being more critical! I’ve started taking notes and I notice more little things while reading that I wouldn’t have seen before.
    Something I find interesting is that though you’ve stopped DNF-ing books after blogging, I’ve started DNF-ing books after blogging 😂 By blogging I’ve discovered so many new books that if I’m not enjoying something, I know there are a lot of other better books out there haha.

    Really great post! Loved it!

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    1. That’s a really great approach to DNF-ing! I’ll have to keep it in mind. I’m least likely to DNF if I’m reading a hyped book but not enjoying it because then I’ll write a fun and scathing review. Thanks for commenting!

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      1. As horrible as this may sound, I do love reading negative reviews because it’s so fun to read people just rant out their feelings xD

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  9. I totally agree with being more critical! I’ve been writing reviews more and more, and it’s really making me criticize what I’m reading WHILE I’m reading it! I think the biggest change though would be the amount of books I read. I didn’t keep up with how many books I read in a year, so I can’t know for sure if I read more or less. More because I make goals for myself each month and also want to have a pretty high number of books I read in a month (#selfish). But less because BLOGGING. TAKES. TIME. XD

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    1. I know! Like before, I might be like ‘oh, that was good’, or whatever once I finished a book, but now I’m critical all the way through. So *hi fives*. I also have started tracking how much I read (not with Goodreads though) and kind of being more competitive about it if that makes any sense 🙂

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  10. I completely agree with all of your points! Between blogging and studying English literature in college I have become a much more critical reader in the past year or two. I also tend to avoid DNFing books if I can help it, although lately I’ve been giving myself more leeway with this if I’m really not enjoying a book from the very beginning.

    Awesome post! 🙂

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    1. I want to get better at DNF-ing because I think it’s a good idea if I’m not enjoying a book. And I bet you’re like SUPER critical in a good way with all that english major knowledge! (side note: you should write a post about how being an english major has changed the way you read/review what you read because I’d be super interested). I really enjoy how your reviews are very thoughtful and insightful 🙂

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