I don’t have a review today because I spent my week of vacation re-reading one of my favorite romance novel series. Yes, I actually returned from vacation last week and had a review then, but that review was written before I left, and unfortunately the book I started reading upon my return that I hoped would be ready for a review today turned out to be one I ended up not finishing–a rarity for me.
Anyway, my week of getting lost in this favorite series got me thinking about how I don’t do that very often these days. I have a whole wall of books downstairs of books that I’ve re-read multiple times. Here’s some perspective. Two years ago I wrote a post titled How Writing Changed My Reading Habits. It was all about how I grew up reading romance novels, thought I would write them, ended up finding my niche in middle grade and young adult, and switched to reading mainly MG and YA.
So here we are in 2014, and I’m faced with a dilemma of my own making, in large part because of this blog. When I wrote that post in 2012, I had just started this blog. I didn’t yet know what I wanted it to be. Soon after that, I started participating in the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday blog hop as a way to network with other MG writers. At the time, I was exclusively writing MG, so it made sense to start reviewing MG books. I’ve since reviewed 47 middle grade books.
I started mixing in YA reviews as I came across YA books I loved, and those have been more frequent in the past year since I’ve been writing YA. I’m up to 27 YA reviews on the blog. I like to set myself goals, and my blogging goal has been to write one review per week, which generally means I need to read one MG/YA book per week, and if one of the books I read doesn’t meet my criteria for a review, then I have to read another one … can you see where I’m going here?
I’ve been getting a little overwhelmed lately. Reading used to be my escape, but when I made writing my career, reading became part of my job, too. Someone asked me the other day how I decide what to read next. Ha! My to-be-read pile is never-ending! Here are a few of the ways I choose:
- Books I come across on other writer blogs
- Books by authors I’ve met online
- Books recommended by critique partners/beta readers
- Books getting a lot of industry buzz
- Books by authors I hear speak at a conference and/or signing
- Books I win in an online contest
- New books by authors I’ve read before
I read to know what’s out there in the market, to provide review content for my blog, to support authors I know, and to forward a variety of other business-related efforts that go beyond simply getting lost in a book. Now, I’m not saying that doesn’t happen anyway. There are definitely times I do pick up a book for one of these other purposes and fall completely in love, but many of the books I read for work purposes are books I enjoy and want to promote but wouldn’t re-read ten times like the books on the wall in my basement. I think it’s similar to the difference agents cite between liking and loving something.
I guess what it comes down to is that I have to find a balance between the work reading and the fun reading. It’s a challenge when my former favorite past-time is now part of my work, but I’ll figure it out. For blog purposes, it may mean fewer reviews. We’ll see. I’m a pretty hard task-master :).
Has anyone else had this issue? Do you find it hard to read just for fun?