Chat Between Chapters: Are Book Bloggers Picky Readers?

January 5, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 41

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Guess what! We’re starting up a discussions feature here at Chapter Break! We’re calling it Chat Between Chapters. We hope to make this a weekly feature. Join us as we discuss bookish topics 🙂  

How does book blogging affect your reading of books? Do you think it makes you pick better books?

 

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

I’ve been thinking about this a bit, especially when rating books I read. I used to read way fewer books a year, and I’d rate them pretty high if I enjoyed them. But in the past several years I have increased my reading and participation in book clubs. Now that I’ve been book blogging I’ve noticed I am way pickier with how I rate my books. I mean it has to be amazing to the max to get a 5 star rating. It has to be pretty damn good to be a 4 star rating. Looking at my ratings for 2013, I have more books in the 3 star category than any other. So this year I’ve decided to scale back the books I accept for review and focus on books I really really want to read. With time becoming limited, I don’t want to waste it reading books I don’t enjoy as much. So I think I’m turning into a picky reader. Does that make sense? I’m starting to want to read only books I know I will like, rather than picking up any random book just because the blurb sounds interesting. Does that make me picky? Has book blogging made me this way? 

Rose review avatar Rose:

Before I began book blogging last April, I think I actually picked better books to read than books I found myself reading after I began reviewing and blogging. Isn’t that crazy? You would think I would pick better books, or at least, I thought blogging would lead to better books and perhaps its has. It has certainly lead me to many great books I would never have heard of otherwise. However, it has also lead me to read books I would normally not read simply because I met the author, or was asked to review a debut novel or because it was trending on all the blogs and I wanted to get in on the hype. I have not worried about what books to review this past month and it has lead to sooo much more freedom. I think I love reading again! LOL. I mean, I never really lost my passion for reading, but sometimes reviewing books made me more nitpicky and quite frankly, harder to please. I also missed getting to read exactly what I wanted, which is sort of the point of book blogging, right? Reading lots and lots of what you like and recommending those books to other readers? I think when you read a book that isn’t really your thing or perhaps is poorly executed, it bogs you down. Reading a book that you find amazing is so uplifting. Reading book after book of something that you are reading simply because you need to review “every book in the series” can be draining and disenchanting. Also, sometimes I found myself reading a book with the idea in mind that I need to find something to say about the book. Not necessarily something bad or good per se, but SOMETHING to write about in my review. Focusing on that can be distracting from actually experiencing the book. So, to answer the question, yes I believe book blogging made me a pickier on what I found good, but I also found myself less picky over what books I actually read…if that even makes sense.

 


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41 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Are Book Bloggers Picky Readers?”

  1. Katie @ Words For Worms

    Hello Ladies, I’m new to your blog, but couldn’t resist chiming in here. I think book bloggers are pickier readers. I think when you increase the sheer volume of books you’re reading, you get a little crankier about the ones that are just “meh.” Don’t even get me started on ratings. I hate having to assign stars on Goodreads, I feel all subjective and stymied by those pesky stars. I want to put a disclaimer on my site saying that my star ratings are meaningless!
    Katie @ Words For Worms recently posted…It’s a Jolly Holiday with Mary: Mary Poppins by PL Travers

    • Rose

      Katie,

      I agree, the star ratings is definitely difficult to deal with at times. I mean, assigning a set number of stars to a book based on your overall experience is soooo limiting and almost arbitrary. I think that is wearing book blogging and reviewing comes in. It is a chance to say so much more than a few stars, ya know? Welcome to our blog Katie!!! Thanks for stopping by. Chime in anytime! (Sometimes I get behing in replying! But I do enjoy a good discussion.)

      • Rose

        hmmm that is wearing???? I so must not be awake…. it should read: I think that is where book blogging…… sorry it is super early and I have not had my morning coca cola yet…

  2. Jenni

    I think that I read a lot of books that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t a blogger so in that light I do end up reading some bad ones. The worst is that now I kind of feel like I HAVE to read them. Ugh.

    • Rose

      Jennni, one of my goals for this year is to add more books to my DNF 9did not finish) goodreads shelf. I am not doing this to be cruel or anything, but what I mean is, if a book does not hold my interest and I give it a fair amount of effort, I will shelf it on my DNF shelf and move on. There is no point in lingering over a book that is just not working out.

  3. Charlotte

    Yay! Great discussion post, Julie and Rose. To answer your question, I think book blogging made me more open minded and less discriminating about certain book genres. Well, erase those last two words… I actually eliminated my discriminating attitude.

    Before book blogging, I only pick up books that are on the top 5 bestseller list. If they’re on top 6-10, I wouldn’t pick them up. Aside from that crazy habit, I also don’t pick up books that aren’t overly hyped. Yes, I know…it’s really terrible but again, I really don’t like treading on territories that aren’t popular.

    However, things started to change when I got involved with book blogging. I got bolder with my book choices. I started reading books that belong to genres that I usually avoid when I was just a reader. Also, as a consequence of the blogging, I think my standards for books are gradually increasing. I found out that I am harder to impress these days as compared to those years when I was reading books.

    Take for example TMI. Gods, I really enjoyed that series but after all this blogging business, I realized that it was really meh. I will still read the last book though. I mean, I’ve already invested so much time in the series so why not finish it??

    Entertaining post, ladies!
    Charlotte recently posted…Stacking The Shelves {24}

    • Julie

      I can’t decide if I still want to read the last TMI book. I mean, the 4th and 5th books were so bleh. But I agree with you, I’m getting harder to impress as well.

    • Rose

      Charlotte, I get finishing a series because you have already invested so much time into reading the first books to begin with. However, I have a goal this year to go ehead and allow myself to utilize my DNF (did not finish) shelf on goodreads this year. If a book is just no doing it for me, I will shelf it on DNF and move on! There are way too many other amazing books out there just waiting to be read.

    • Julie

      Yes me too! I always read reviews now before deciding to read a book. There’s just not enough time to read ALL the books!

  4. Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    I think book bloggers are pickier! I’m a pickier reader and reviewer. I don’t want to read too much “crap” because I want to have a lot of “good” books for my readers. Also, since I’m reading more I think I am more critical about books. Cool discussion!

    Thanks for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party!!! I pinned this, too! 😀
    Rebecca @ Love at First Book recently posted…5 Favorite Autographed Books

    • Julie

      Rebecca I know what you mean about wanting to have good books to share with readers. I feel so icky after having to share a less than stellar review.

  5. Farhana

    I’m definitely much more picky about giving 5 stars to a book. If I don’t love a book it doesn’t get 5 stars from me!

    • Rose

      I think Julie is probably pickier than me, but yes, I find the longer I blog the pickier I get… or perhaps it is the more I read the pickier I have become…

  6. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    Blogging has definitely been a bit of a mixed bag – I’m exposed to more books, but haven’t had the rime to read the ones I really want to read. I’m definitely a more critical reader than I used to be and am way more aware of tropes that bother me (or that I like). But like y’all I’ve also just read books out of “obligation” that I normally wouldn’t have. Although I’ve picked up a few loves that way, I’ve found more duds :/ I’m focusing a lot more on what I want to read this year, so hopefully I’ll find more 5 star reads! Great post ladies !!
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…WIR | Dark Lover by J R Ward (part 1)

    • Rose

      I think this is what happened to me as well. I am definitely looking forward to just picking books that I want to read and being more selective. I think that I will see more 5 star ratings this year as well.

  7. Andrea J

    Yes, I think book blogging has made me pickier. Maybe not pickier, but it has narrowed the focus of what i read. I used to just grab anything off the “New” shelf at the library, and these days, it’s got to really catch my eye, or be one of the genres I typically review. I find that i hardly read any non-fiction anymore, and that’s sad. I want to read non-fiction again!

  8. betti

    I think that because I am blogging I read more of other people’s blogs and get prompted to read books I either wouldn’t have known about or picked up on my own. That is how I found The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I loved.

    I think a lot about my ratings and have discussed this on Goodreads groups. I simply cannot give something like a chick lit, romance or cozy mystery 5 stars. On goodreads 5 stars is supposed to be AMAZING and I just don’t see those kinds of books as falling into that category.

    I do give negative or “bad” reviews but I try to explain what my issue was and it is never anything personal or comments about the author. It is just about the book. I know from discussions that some people do not give bad reviews, in other words if they don’t like a book they don’t review it. I just wonder how effective that is as a reviewer. I get a better sense of a reviewer’s taste in books if I can see what they like AND what they don’t like.

    • Rose

      Betti,

      I have a hard time giving a negative review, especially now that I am working on my own novel. However, I try never to point out the bad without pointing out the good. I think reviewers do need to build credibility by reviewing both books they loved and books that didn’t work for them.

    • Julie

      I completely agree that some genre books are just not 5 star quality. They really have to blow me away, and a cozy mystery or a chick lit just can’t do that since they are usually quick easy reads that do not have a lot of depth in them.

  9. Stefani

    Blogging definitely made me pickier about the books I read. I often find myself thinking that some book is going to be similar to something I read the other day. Does this happen to you guys? I’ll also stop doing blog tours because I want to pick the books I read myself.

    Good discussion idea ladies. Made me think.
    S
    Stefani recently posted…2013 Favorites

    • Rose

      Stefani,
      Yes it seems that I end up reading books that are very similar. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I try not to compare two books that are similar and just judge the book based on it merits alone, but still, it is hard not to compare 2 books if they have the same story line.

    • Julie

      Sometimes if I expect a book to be similar to another I’ve read, then I expect to like it the same way. So I do get really disappointed if the ideas are there, but the follow through is lacking. Yes I’ve really backed off signing up for new books to review because I really want to pick what to read based on my interest at the moment. Thanks for commenting!

    • Rose

      Thank YOU, Elizabeth, for commenting. Its good to hear that you think blogging has led you to picking better books. So many other book bloggers view blogging as Berls@FantasyIsMoreFun put it: “a mixed bag”

    • Rose

      I try so hard NOT to notice what is “wrong” with a book, but yeah, after reading this much, the mistakes sorta just stick out there.

  10. Lori Garside

    I have ALWAYS been a picky reader. When I was 16 I sent a book back to Harper Collins because the pages were out of order, there were many misspellings, and I wanted my money back. At 53, I am no less stringent. If there is bad grammar in the dialogue of a book – so be it. People speak colloquially, not formally, and slang is a normal part of life. However, when an author or editor does not know the difference between your and you’re; wear and ware; they’re and there; or worse uses ‘theirself or hisself’ – I CAN’T STAND IT!

    As a former Language Arts teacher and a current copy editor, I simply cannot abide the ignorance of some people calling themselves a professional if they can’t follow grammar rules I learned in the second and third grade! And how people reviewing books with these types of errors can honestly give them a five star review makes me wonder whether or not their opinion can be trusted.

    Blogging has opened up a whole new world of independent authors and genres I had never explored, but that does not mean I intend to lower my standards. Thankfully, the ratio of good books far outweighs the poor.

    • Rose

      The book had pages out of order!? That’s crazy. I will admit, I was sort of scared to reply intimidated to reply to your post… I mean if you find that I am ungrammatical, please do not report me to my co-blogger, Julie. haha jk. Thanks for sharing. And I agree that the standard should not be lowered simply because one is “indie” published vs traditionally published.

    • Julie

      YES! So much yes on the editing issue. I have a really hard time believing and then trusting the 5 star reviews on a book that was obviously thrown together and published without a full editing process. I don’t intend to lower my standards either, and in my review policy/contact page I even have a note saying the book must read like a final copy, not a rough draft.

  11. J. Hooligan

    I read less than 10 books a year before I started blogging and reviewing for authors. Last year, I read over 80. In a lot of cases, I’ve read a lot more books that I didn’t enjoy. But, the amount of books that I do read that are amazing is so much higher than it used to be. It’s definitely worth it!
    J. Hooligan recently posted…New Blog Giveaway!

  12. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I think I’m a pretty optimistic reviewer and often err on the side of giving books a higher star rating if I’m torn between two. However, I currently have some books that I gave 5 stars that I just didn’t have any problems with and some that are five stars because they completely blew me away. This year, I’d like to start separating those out, either by adding a new rating to indicate that something was awesome beyond my usual scale or by being pickier about what I give five stars.
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…The Book to Movie Challenge Begins!

    • Rose

      I think I used to lean toward rating up if undecided between like a 3 ro4 or 4 or 5 star book… now I think I tend to rate down. A book really has to blow me away to get a 4 or 5 from me.

    • Rose

      Ironically, blogging does seem to cut into my reading time and therefore, hinders my ability to read as many books… yet I want to read more books so I can blog about more books… it is a never ending cycle.

  13. Braine Talk Supe

    I think I’ve become pickier and my standards are definitely higher but that’s mainly because we get to read some really amazing stuff that other books just pales in comparison.

    I have always been a picky reader because I want to read something I will actually enjoy. The perils of blogging though is sometimes we get “stuck” with books because we signed up for a book tour or we leave less room for spontaneity because of our review schedules.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Suped Up! Cursed by Destiny by Cecy Robson

    • Julie

      Agreed! I feel like the more books I read, the less I like books I might have loved before.
      I’m backing off book tours or maybe even stopping completely this year so I can enjoy the books I already have that are piling up and have been staring at me sadly.

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