As well as writing reviews and talking about books I have loved, I often find myself thinking about Book Blogging and the marvellous world I fell into three years ago.
For me, part of doing all this is sometimes to stop and take stock of where I am and where I want to be, and well, seeing that this is my blog, I guess it is also my space to talk about things that I think about when I am talking to you about all things bookish.
I have to tell you that something has been really bothering me for a while, and so I am just going to put it out there.
How do you deal with all the books you have on your teetering TBR? The books that have been on your bookshelves for so long that you stumble upon them by surprise? The ones you promised yourself you would definitely read and review for a publisher this month – but never do..
I want to ask specifically about the books you have asked for – when the fabulous publicists ask for Bloggers and Bookstagrammers to put their hands up for a copy.
That’s right, how do you feel when you have asked for a book – and you don’t manage to read it- even though at the time you told yourself you definitely would?
Do you try and post a picture and a tweet/post about the book on publication day, or do you do nothing? Or are you disciplined and you only ask for those books you know you will definitely read and review?
We’ve all done it, fallen down that rabbit hole where the delicious promise of the new book being offered is too hard to resist, and that ever present Fear Of Missing Out kicks in. It makes us believe that if we don’t manage to get a copy of the book everyone is talking about, that we are losing out on some shared bookish wonder, and that we are not part of the ‘gang’..
If you are lucky enough to get a copy of the book, it arrives, you post it on your social media channels, making sure you tag and thank all the people you know you should, put it on your bookshelf ready to read at the right moment – and sometimes, for whatever reason – you don’t.
My Bookshelves are right next to where I sit, and as I am typing this and glance to my right, there are all my latest books and proofs filed in publication date order, patiently waiting for their chance to fall in my hands so I can read and shout about them to you all.
I would love to hear how you deal with your ever increasing reading pile and especially the books that you have asked for. I’ve done it, and have got to the point where I have had so many sitting on my shelves that I feel completely embarrassed and honestly, truly guilty for asking for a book when I have no clue when I will actually have time to read and review it.
Recently, sometimes when I have emailed to request a proof, I have been asked where my review will appear with a request that I tag the appropriate people when I do it. I completely understand that. Proofs cost money to produce, and in recent times that is more pertinent than ever, so if a physical copy is being sent out, it seems only right to me that you should be asked where your review will be posted.
I like the fact that I am being held accountable for asking for a book, and I always keep in the back of my mind the fact that lots of other Book Bloggers would love the chance to read and review it. By reading and reviewing, I feel I am helping show the publishers how crucial and dedicated Book Bloggers are in spreading the word about their books.
How as Bloggers do we find the balance between wanting to shout about books we are excited about, but also in being honest to the people who follow us and trust our book recommendations? Can you request a book, post about it and then never read it? Do people ever ask you what you thought about a certain book and you haven’t actually read it, and if so, did you feel embarrassed about admitting it?
I just honestly wonder now whether increasingly sometimes the thrill of the chase and the collecting of the books takes precedence over actually reading and reviewing them. Perhaps it’s when you are confronted by the groaning bookshelves in front of you do you realise you are never going to be able to read them all – and that’s a difficult thing to admit to yourself, and even harder to say to everyone else too.
I don’t have an answer, and I am sure lots of you have your own opinions about how you deal with your TBR pile, and the right and wrongs of asking for books. I feel like I just needed to put my thoughts down in a post to get them straight!
2020 has been a pretty challenging year for lots of us for many reasons, and in my toughest months, it has been reading and sharing with you about books I have loved that quite honestly, have kept me going this year. Perhaps I need to remember that the very reason I started Years of Reading was not to be in some sort of bookish race – be it reading the most or having the latest releases, but quite simply to be totally authentic about books I have read and loved, so I can be honest in my recommendations to you and help you find the books that you love as much as I do.