Discombobulated

Last week I visited London to meet many of the lovely people in publishing and blogging who I have dealt with over the two year lifespan of this blog [It’s almost two years, but let’s just round it up, hey?!]. I was invited to a tea party at Bloomsbury and utterly enjoyed my two days surrounded by books and wonderful people. However, upon my return I felt as if a switch had been thrown in my brain and suddenly I’m debating what kind of reader I am and why this blog is here. So, the easiest way to figure things out is to stumble blindly onto aforementioned blog and ramble.

goat-faceI suppose the switch was flicked when I sat down in the Bloomsbury offices and had to “introduce” myself to the group. Honestly, it was like an Alcoholics Anonymous for the Broke and the Bookish. I said my name, where I blogged and because I wasn’t reading anything on that particular day I was asked what genres I generally read. I actually don’t know. I mean, you only have to skim this blog to see that I read a bit of everything – from YA to “literary fiction”. But I’m missing out on so much. I also have people saying [with tongues firmly in cheeks] that I only read new releases and that’s true.

I suppose this revolves back around to the blog and my intentions when I read. So, let’s ask, why did I start my blog? Well, I’ll tell you the same story I told everybody last week. None of my friends read, none of my family read [well, occasionally] so I had nobody to talk to about the best fucking books that I have read. I started this blog so I could hold a massive neon arrow and point it at the best pieces of fiction and tell you that if you didn’t read it I would kick a bag of kittens into a river. That’s why you rarely see negative reviews on here; life is too short to read something that doesn’t entertain at its base value. If I don’t like it, it won’t get covered.

However, at times I have lost sight of that. I started to only read the books I truly wanted to experience and I discovered greats such as Gatsby, Bell Jar and Catcher. But, recently, I’ve wandered into a dead end in this maze of mediocrity. I’m too busy scanning the review pile or keeping an eye on Twitter because I feel I have to keep up with everyone else. I’ve forgotten why I read and that is to experience the written word and what comes with it.

At my last count I totalled up my TBR pile and was shocked to see the number hit 353 titles. [There are people out there who climb into the thousand’s and they are both terrific and terrifying]. I’m so busy keeping up with the Joneses that I’m blinded by the shiny and lose track of the dusty greats in said TBR. Book blogging has turned me into a Magpie and while I do enjoy reading on the cusp of publishing I want to explore more. So, why don’t I? Well, I don’t want to fall behind others. I feel pretty fucking ashamed of that but we live in a society where we have to keep up and run with the others. I have even reached a point where my “blogging voice” has deteriorated. THIS is how I talk and how I write in an informal position and this is how it will stay. [It’s hard to know whether the curse words will stay, I’m pretty raged up, right now]

But now the switch has flicked, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to explore more short goat1fiction. I want to explore more nonfiction. I want to explore people writing in essay form. I want to submerge myself in words until I’m dizzy. But, I still want to read new novels by debut authors. Or by established authors who knock out successive hits. I want to discover what I love and what I hate. I want to learn to establish the confidence to say what kind of reader I am.

I’ve decided that my blog will revert back to its true form. It will be a place for me to tell you about great books. So, I’ve made a list of rules, commandments, if you will. I will attempt to stick to these with a rigidity only found in the legs of fainting goats.

  1. I will not covet my neighbours books. As of now, I will try not to be led astray by the shiny covers of new books [as much].
  2.  I shalt read what I want to read, when I want to read it. Reading is about spare of the moment choice. I’m sick of lining up books in the order they need to be read. As of now I will pick up and put down books as I want and will not bend to pressure.
  3. I will review thy review copies in a sensible fashion. I’m pretty lucky to be sent lovely books by publishers. I know they want coverage of a book out there so that other people may discover it, but I cannot write to deadlines within my hobby. I will always aim to review a book within four weeks of its release… if I miss that I’ll get up out for the Paperback. And in the words of certain publishers, I will learn to relax.
  4. I shall not race myself to finish books in record times. I’m a slow reader and I need to accept that it’s fine.
  5. I will not be ashamed if I read a “literary” book and don’t understand it on many different levels. There is too much pressure to “get” these kinds of books and I’m done with that. If all I get out of it is enjoyment then that is fine. I’m sick of searching for hidden meanings in order to fit in. JOG. ON.
  6. I will lose myself within literary magazines and explore new avenues of the written word. And not worry that I’m not actually reading a book, instead.
  7. I will discover more obscure books and older novels that have slipped past me.
  8. I will always bring you, the reader, and me, my true blogging voice.
  9. I will no longer use star ratings as books cannot be summed up in small JPEGs, but in words from the heart.
  10. I will blog because I enjoy blogging [and reading], even if I forget to do it occasionally or have little time because my children are driving me crazy and/or there is something awesome on TV.

For serials, these things have been bothering me and I feel like these goats… [Yes, more goats!]

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6 thoughts on “Discombobulated

  1. wordsofmercury

    You know, this sums up a lot of what I have been feeling recently. I have lots on the shelves I want to get to, but somehow a new release jumps in front. I think blogs can only be better for a bit of freedom and renewed passion. Good luck.

    Reply
  2. Sharkell

    I am relatively new to your blog and I like what I see. I love reading a mix of old and new so I’ll be very happy to seeing the new mix of books you review (perhaps it will help me to read some books out of my own tbr pile which, at 247, is a little smaller than yours!). From my perspective as a reader of blogs, blogging should be centered on the blogger. People with like minds will find you, along with some not-so-like minds who like to be exposed to something new and different. I’m coming along for the ride – I’m looking forward to it.

    Reply
  3. mshannahw

    This was really interesting to read. I’ve been blogging for a little less time than you (17 months so far) but have been a lot less “successful” (in terms of hit counts, and I’ve never been sent a free book or invited to meet a publisher!). I just write about what I happen to have read though, whether I liked it or not, and don’t really do much to promote my blog (I have a toddler, so time is short) – and I wonder if this is why I’m not as well-known – maybe in order to get lots of hits as a blogger one has to read/review the very latest things, as you say here… but maybe that pressure also takes some of the fun away.

    So yes, interesting to see a different perspective on the whole book blogging thing 🙂

    Reply
  4. Heather

    When I started blogging about books. I had no idea that I would be able to get advanced review copies from publishers. I just wanted to blog about the books I read and be able to recommend them to other readers. I wanted to share my love (obsession) with books.

    After I’d been blogging for a few months–and reading other people’s blogs–I realized review copies were an option for me, and I jumped on it. It didn’t take me long to figure out that yes, I love that I can read books before they’re published (and make sure others know about them), but I can’t *just* read those books. There are so many older books I want to read, too, like I’d always been doing. I never felt like I had to keep up with other blogs and review all of the latest books, but now I just request books that sound really excellent.

    Reply
  5. winstonsdad

    I think main thing I ve learnt in blogging is it easiest to be yourself and follow your own passions its easy to get distract by shiny new books or the last trend some great points dan all the best stu

    Reply

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