Review Books vs. Non-Review Books: How do you deal?

Before I begin, let me just say that I love book blogging. It started out as something to keep my mind of my unemployment blue after I graduated and it turned into something much, much more than just a hobby. Leslie enjoys blogging too, of course, but I love it. This blog is my baby. I have been blogging for almost three years and I do not see myself stopping any time soon.

But since going back to grad school and having to juggle school, my friends and family, my job, church and all the other life things, it does not leave me a lot of time to read and blog. The fact that I am a slow reader to begin with (it takes me an about three days to finish a novel if I can read everyday), it's definitely a challenge.

Because of this, most definitely since I started grad school, I find myself picking up review books 75% of the time (rather than the books I buy myself). I have an obligation to read and review these books and feature them on the various social media I am part of so reading review books take precedence over the books I personally buy.

This is part of the reason why there are times when I get into a blogging slump, when book blogging feels more like another chore that I have to do rather than something I want to do.

I'm very happy that the review books I get are books I would read regardless and I feel very comfortable recommending most of them. Doing all that is not a hardship, it is just very time consuming, and for this reason (unlike when I first started blogging) almost all of the books I review here on the blog are "review books."

Because of this, I find myself putting books into two piles: my "review books" pile and my "fun-NO-obligation-to-review books" pile.

[I have a third pile called "grad school books" but that is irrelevant here.]

Sometimes I find myself looking at my "fun books" pile with longing. There's nothing better than reading a book and simply enjoying it--not having that obligation or pressure to have to review it, to have to talk about it.

And I miss that. Reading for fun.

Of course, some bloggers would argue that you don't have to review a book if you do not want to. True. But for me, especially if I requested a book (it is why I hardly request books anymore), it just doesn't feel right choosing not to review a book at all regardless whether I liked the book or not. There's a reason why publishers and authors send books to book bloggers: so we can read, review and share their opinions, spread the word or create buzz about the book.

I guess my question for busy book bloggers [who review books for publishers] are: how do you find time to read all your review and non-review books? Do you miss reading for fun without having to write a review? Do you also find yourself putting your books into two piles similar to mine? Do you get into blogging slumps?

Or unlike me, you have no trouble juggling every thing, is a fast reader and have time to read and review all of your books?


  1. Even before the baby was born and I ran out of time for paper books, I stopped accepting books for review. I honestly just felt limited and I didn't like that.

    I am willing to accept audiobooks for review.

    I totally feel ya. When one has limited time, it's sad when you can't choose what your heart wants.

    Best of luck doll ;)

  2. I started my blog during a period of unemployment too and it was a hard transition when I started working full time again. I feel overwhelmed with the amount of review books I have and I understand where you are coming from. I have books I want to read for fun that have had to wait till I could try to get caught up on review books. I am thinking about stopping the whole requesting books for review thing. I have too many at the moment and I like being able to pick my books according to my mood. The other pressure is with library books and due dates. I want to read what I want to read regardless of what books are due back first :)

  3. I don't even have a blog and I find that I keep my books in separate piles like you do. I always do reviews for the ones that I get from Amazon Vine, Library Thing and GoodReads. A lot of times those books turn out to be great but I still long for the fun books on my TRB shelves.

  4. I absolutely have two piles for my books, one of the ARCs and one for everything else. Nice and neat. I've let my ARC pile get seriously behind so lately all I've been reading are review books so I can whittle down that particular pile. I still send the review to the pubs with a much of sorries for taking so long but I've had good reception all around. Doesn't make me feel any less like a douche for getting so behind but oh well. I'm trying to rectify it and it is working. But it means putting the regular books aside for a while. The digital copies for me are much easier to manage because I've set it up to be able to read at work while at my desk. I have time to fill and since IT blocked nearly every website, I read. It's worked out and I have a nice rhythm going on NetGalley. It'll work itself out. Pubs know our piles are huge so I wouldn't worry too much about it. But I feel you. We read at about the same pace (which I really don't think is slow, I think a lot of people are just much faster readers and, in some cases, some are skimming, usually prevalent in the quality of the review) so I'd just say keep going with it. Quality over quantity and all of that. :)

  5. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. I knew I wasn't the only struggling with finding time to read ALL my books but it's nice hear just the same, that I'm not the only one.

    @Christina T: gosh, i didn't even think about library books... i haven't borrowed a library book (except for what I need school) for so long >.<

    @Donna: me too! i'm always behind and my emails are full of sorries too. i'm so happy the pubs are so understanding :)

    @juju: yes, definitely. it's hard when you can't choose what you want. i'm happy you and the baby are doing well and you're blogging again :)

    @carol: yes! review books are awesome and for some books, i'd buy them if i do not get them for review... but at the end of the day i still prefer my fun books too :)

  6. As the comments are showing you, you're definitely not alone in feeling this way. It's a bit easier since there are four of us, but we definitely get stressed about our TBR list too. Our solution is basically to narrow it down whenever we can (by giving away books we've lost interest in).

    The thing about blogging is, to keep it going, you have to be having fun. And frankly, what's the point in living a life that you're not enjoying? Books are about pleasure, not obligation. So set yourself free! And don't worry, there are plenty of other readers/bloggers reviewing whatever books you don't get around to.

  7. I think we all have this issue. It is so easy to sit back and say yes to the books that publishers are offering you. Then you start to get the ebook files or the physical books in the mail and they pile up and then you sit back and go wait, what on Earth was I thinking! I can't read this many books and have time for any 'fun' books.

    I personally have a pile of fun books that I want to read and review books that I feel I have to read. I'm trying to get to a point where I don't say yes so often and where I can get the review books to a minimum so I can read for fun. Lately, even if I have some piles of review books I've been throwing in some fun books as well. I'm tired of reviewing dictating what I read, plus sometimes reading a fun book helps you get out of slumps.

    I do hope you find a good balance soon, I do believe it is something every reviewer struggles with.


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