I think it’s appropriate that for my first official post here, I talk about me as a ~reader~.
I have been a life-long reader. I’ve been reading for such a long time that I don’t even know what it would be like to not read. When people say they don’t like to read, I just look at them and go WHAAAAT?? How is that even possible?
I started reading when I was around 6 years old. I didn’t speak English fluently, so I had all sorts of books pushed at me to help improve my language skills. Of course, I seemed to have caught on very quickly and my second grade teacher even wrote that I had a true love for reading in my report card! I still have that report card, thinking about getting it framed, ya know? MEMORABILIA.
Most of the books I read in elementary school were easy reads and during all those reading challenges in middle school, I preferred to read quantity over quality (not that the books I read in middle school sucked because I loved almost every single one of them.) When the librarian would recommend me a book over 300 pages long, I’d be like NOPE. TOO LONG. But as the years passed, I started to back down a little and tackle those 500-700 page monsters.
I may have been a reader for most of my life, and read faster than most kids but I didn’t start reading at the pace I do now until the second half of 10th grade, around the time I discovered Goodreads. Back in those days, I’d spend HOURS and HOURS scrolling through Goodreads looking for books to read. I’d come across a bazillion and add them to my tbr and then proceed to hunt them down and gobble them all up. I also interacted with SO many people on Goodreads. I’d spend hours looking at threads for some of my favorite books and responding and commenting and just generally fangirling over books.
Blogging has definitely changed those aspects of reading for me. I hardly ever spend time on Goodreads anymore. All the books I seem to add lately are books that are going to be published. I barely pay attention to all those amazing backlist gems unless someone I follow mentions something about them or I want to catch up on a new fav author’s previous books.
I’ve spent more time browsing through publisher catalogues/Netgalley/Edelweiss than I have on Goodreads in general. I barely interact with all the awesome people I used to on Goodreads and I only go there to add books to shelves and cross-post reviews. I am never on it ‘for fun’, which is kind of sad, isn’t it?
What made me realize all of this was a collection development project I was doing recently. The project required me to actually spend time looking through backlist books and I realized I kind of missed finding books that had already come out. It is so exciting to find something that you can immediately read instead of waiting for the book to come out or hoping to get an advanced copy of it. In some ways, I think I was a lot more enthusiastic about reading before blogging than I am now.
I know more about books now than I ever did before but at the same time, I keep feeling this pressure to read everything instead of just enjoying the books. 2013 was the year when I read 400 books (my challenge on GR says a different number because there were some books I didn’t add to my shelves for reasons… SHHHH) and that was the year when I first started blogging. When I didn’t feel under pressure to read a whole lot of books and was still in the inbetween of reviewing backlist books and arcs.
I seem to have rambled a whole lot and the entire point of all of this is not for me to say that I hate blogging and that arcs suck. I love blogging and arcs can be so exciting but at the same time, I have definitely changed a lot as a reader post blogging. Not just in my reading tastes (those are always evolving), but in the way I approach reading.
What do you think? Has blogging changed the way you read? How have ARCs affected your to-be-read lists? Do you read as many backlist books? Tell me all the things!