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.
I 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 fiction. 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.
- 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].
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I will discover more obscure books and older novels that have slipped past me.
- I will always bring you, the reader, and me, my true blogging voice.
- I will no longer use star ratings as books cannot be summed up in small JPEGs, but in words from the heart.
- 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!]