blogging · books · discussions · Shar

Discussion: Why blogging makes me read things I dislike, and not read what I do like

All the time in the book blogosphere I see people saying ‘I want to read this but I don’t have the time’, or ‘all these new releases are stressing me out’, ‘I want to read X backlist title but I’m trying to keep up with new releases’. This is a post in response to that. It’s not about how all new releases are terrible (because there are so! many! good! new! books!), but rather that not letting how popular a book is determine if you read it.

Why blogging makes me read things I don't want

To an extent, it makes sense. Book blogs revolve around reviewing ARCs and new releases. Everyone thinks that they have to talk about new releases or their posts won’t be interesting because that’s what everybody else does. New books become more hyped, perhaps without good cause. It becomes a cycle that feeds itself. Most popular book blogs, it seems to me, focus on new YA releases. That’s okay, because blogs are about promoting books, and ones that have already been published need less promoting.

However, I often get drawn into the hype and end up reading books I don’t really enjoy. I choose books to read based on what I think people will want to see me talk about, rather than what I want to talk about. My tastes are changing. I want to explore new genres. And this new-release thing stresses me out. I feel this pressure—which, admittedly, is partly in my head—to read what’s popular. But part of it’s not in my head; I know reviews about less hyped books get fewer comments on my blog.

This year (I mean, last year), I’ve read some fabulous non-YA/non-new/non-fiction books. And I want to read more of them. I’m convinced there’s a whole lot of great books that I’m not hearing about because they’re not talked about in the blogs I read. So I don’t want to be limited by this pressure to read only certain things just because it will be more popular with our blog readers.

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What I’m saying is, I want to see more different types of books in the blogosphere. I want to hear about adult books and things that were published in 1850 (or maybe just before 2010) and non-fiction about interesting things and children’s books. I want good books, not books that were recently written, not just YA (even though I love it). I want everything under the sun that’s in a language I can read, ideally English because Hindi reading is painful.

This post is question: does anyone else feel the same? It’s also a plea. I know almost all of us read books we don’t post about; because they’re backlist, because they’re not what we think our readers are interested, because they’re the wrong genre. I want to hear about those books, get new recommendations. I know I want to start posting about these books, and I hope you guys, my audience, will be interested. If you’re not, that’s okay no it isn’t you have to love all my posts OR ELSE ; this blog is for me and Shanti to decide on.

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For further reading about book related blogging, controversy, see the following posts:

 

 Maraia and Sebastian talk about how it’s okay not to have ARCs

Hannah talks about feeling lost in the blogging community 

Holly breaks the cycle by reading and reviewing a lot of classics and nonfiction

Lu talks about how feeling reading pressure doesn’t actually help our TBRs

Do you feel the same pressure? Do you want to see a wider range of books being posted about? Do you have any non-YA, non-last 3 years releases to tell me about?

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12 thoughts on “Discussion: Why blogging makes me read things I dislike, and not read what I do like

  1. LOVE this post! Often times I find myself picking up a book that was popular a while back and it will be AMAZING and I’ll write a review and it won’t get much hype because the book isn’t a new release and I agree we SO need more book diversity out there! A good mix of both new YA and old!!

    Great post 🙂

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  2. Thank you so much for including my post!
    I definitely understand your feelings with this post, blogging does make you read things you don’t want to all the time but this year I have been determined to read whatever books I fancy. Reading is meant to be fun and we shouldn’t stop ourselves from reading whatever we want or blogging on whatever we want. I’ve been so much happier not forcing myself to always go for a new release and instead picking up books on my TBR for so long.

    No matter what you read, what you blog about your post will always reach someone you could inspire to pick up a new book. Not everyone readings the same things so even if the book is years old others may not have heard of it 🙂 Thats the message i’m telling myself

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  3. I totally agree there’s pressure to read new books AND the more famous/hyped books. Like any time I do a review of a more obscure title, barely anyone reads my post. 😭 Which sucks because aren’t we all here to discover hidden gem reads too?! I totally don’t review many backlist titles (although funnily enough, I am reading a ton of library books right now and thinking of doing a mini review post and some of them are a bit older wooo!) because I do want the interaction from my followers instead. But I definitely wish it was more, like…common to review and talk about older books too?!

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  4. I love this post! I am not technically a “book-blogger,” and maybe that is why I don’t feel the pressure to read all the latest releases, but I follow a lot of book-bloggers and I have noticed this trend. I agree that there are a lot of great books out there that weren’t necessarily published this year, and I would love to see more variety! I don’t want to scroll through my feed and see ten reviews about the same book, (which I probably haven’t read anyway). I read a lot of relatively obscure books, and it is true that most bloggers haven’t read them, but it is exciting when I mention one of my more obscure favorites and someone actually recognizes it. By all means read the new releases if they appeal to you, but I think it’s true that a lot of people feel pressured into reading what’s popular instead of what interests them. I would rather read about a book that you genuinely found engrossing than one that you think other people want you to review. Let’s spread our wings and not let ourselves get caught up in the hype of YA new releases! Our tastes are broader than that. We should let them grow!
    Some of my favorite and slightly ancient (published before 2010) books include: The Sherwood Ring, Till We Have Faces, Momo, Ender’s Game, The Giver, Great Expectations, and The Gammage Cup.
    Again, this is a fantastic post! I really appreciate your perspective.

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  5. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH because this is so relatable. Honestly, i think it’s ARCs thack suck the life out of the most since there’s so much pressure to read them quickly etc even though I love to support authors in the ways that i can.

    BUT. Reading recent releases and staying up to date with the releases means that i can’t go back and read the ones that i want to read and review, otherwise i’ll just get more and more behind! Plus, if i read books from agessss ago, I’ll feel even more stressed out!

    I also wish that i could read more classics, since I LOVE CLASSICS, but they take so much time to read, and therefore mean that I have less time to read current books that are getting really hyped, and cause me to get even more behind.

    I’ve given uppppp with trying to keep up with recent releases only and just read what I want to read now because what i find really funny is that everyone goes on about how we can all read what we want and how we shouldn’t pressure ourselves to read the current books, BUT if we all did that, then our posts wouldn’t get much recognition since it’s pretty much a fact that the more up-to-date / popular the books you’re reviewing is, the higher stats you’ll get for it. And i get that stats shouldn’t matter, but it’s really disheartening to see low stats for a book review that you LOVED, and then it makes you want to just go read the recent releases so that your blog can appeal to more people!

    This was such a great post, and thank you for linking to my post!

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  6. Since I don’t review books, I can theoretically read what I want. But since I like to buddy read with Sebastian, I still somehow end up reading a ton of books that weren’t on my TBR. Some are great, but some I really should have skipped. 😂
    I definitely agree with you, though. I try to post whatever I feel like on my bookstagram account, and I think I talk about books on there are aren’t as popular. I at least try to!

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  7. YES SHAR YES. I love this post because it’s SO TRUE. I think it’s awful that there is so much pressure to read certain kinds of books for absolutely no reason. Why should I feel the need to spend so much time on books that I know probably won’t end up being new favorites of mine? It makes absolutely no sense at all, yet we continue to feel this way.

    Thanks so much for mentioning me! I definitely try to break the cycle by reviewing nearly every single book I read (with exceptions of some incredibly dry literary criticism that I have to read for classes). I’m always amazed when I mention a classic and suddenly so many people say that they’ve read it in the past… yet no one generally talks about them on their blogs. Thank you for reminding us how strange and topsy turvy the blogosphere can be at times 🙂

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  8. I love this post so much and completely see myself in it. I know I tend to review and even read tons of books that aren’t quite that “old”, mainly because everything I see around here are these kind of new and recent releases and… I get tempted to read them all. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I still managed to find some books I loved and didn’t really read too many books I hated, but in a way… I also really wish I could hear more about older books and wish that these older books would get some more love around the book blogging community. Whenever I post a review for a book that isn’t really well-knowing, it is crazy how the blog posts’ performances are so much lower. It is an endless, vicious circle for sure. ANYWAY I am really looking forward to seeing all the amazing books you will be mentioning on your blog, whether they’re new or old 🙂

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  9. Ooh, I grok this! I feel like I’m always playing catch-up with books that are new and never get around to books I want to read just because. I do review, and post about every book I read (unless it’s a reread thats already reviewed. Cause that happens… Not).

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  10. I see what you mean, Shar! Though I don’t read a lot of new releases, sometimes I wish I read more simply so that I can vote in the Goodreads award. (I’ve never voted in it before.)

    I often see you and Shanti with all these new and shiny books from your library and think to myself, “I ought to tell my library to order those books more often.”

    It can be such an endless cycle but since publishers don’t really send me ARCs (I think I might get some soon, though but thankfully not a wild amount), I just read what I want and hope to release books out of my TBR.

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