1. I read more books than I used to. This must be something that pretty much every book blogger can identify with. Even though blogging itself takes up a lot of time, it’s pretty hard not to start reading more when following other blogs leads to so many new sources of book recommendations. However, I also know my limits and reading during my commute to work and sticking consistently to one or two blog posts a week feels achievable and has helped me avoid both reading and blogging burnout.
2. I read more new books than I used to. This is partly a consequence of receiving review copies from publishers but following other bloggers with similar reading tastes and literary award longlists means I often seek out copies of newly published books from other sources too.
3. My reading tastes have diversified a lot in terms of genre. As well as newer books, I have been reading more non-fiction and translated fiction and I don’t think I would have made so many new discoveries if I didn’t run a blog.
4. My general reading preferences have changed. There are many books I reviewed three or four years ago which I would feel quite differently about if I read them for the first time today. For example, I think I would be more sceptical about 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and more generous towards White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Equally, I’m sure there are books I have reviewed this year which I will look at from a new perspective by the end of the decade.
5. Blogging has made me a more “critical” reader. That’s not to say I find fault with books more easily – my reviews are generally very positive – it’s more that as I have been reviewing the vast majority of what I read for a long time, I now find it hard to not plan a review in my head when reading a book. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have very strong opinions about everything either. Reviewing helps me organise my thoughts more clearly and explain why I like or didn’t like a book and sometimes I don’t feel like I have fully absorbed a book until I have taken the time to review it.
6. I tend to make up my mind about my overall impressions of books more quickly. More often than not, I have a fair idea of how I feel about a book within the first few pages or chapters and my initial thoughts often end up in my reviews. However, it doesn’t mean that I won’t persevere with a book which has a slow start or that a good or bad ending won’t change my mind later on.
On the other hand, some things stay more or less the same…
7. Choosing which book I read next depends on my mood more than anything else. I try not to succumb to guilt about my ever-growing TBR list although I can’t deny that blogging can sometimes make it harder to ignore. I have learned to accept that I am actually more likely to start reading a book which has been lingering on my TBR list for a few years if I haven’t scheduled it to read by a particular deadline. Hence my next point:
8. I don’t plan my reading and blogging very far in advance although I do plan ahead a bit more than I used to especially when I have review copies to read. I have a rough idea of what I plan to read and blog about each month but I sometimes change my mind at the last minute – library books or literary award longlists are often to blame for this.
9. Finding time to reread books is hard. After nearly four-and-a-half years (!), I still haven’t revisited anything I read either before or after I started blogging. However, I would like to reread the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman when the BBC TV adaptation is broadcast and perhaps some other books I read when I was a teenager, so this might change in the future.
10. I still read and blog about whatever I want. Hopefully that will never change.
Has blogging changed your reading habits? How influenced are you by other book bloggers?