Jo Talks Books: How Blogging Has Changed My Reading Habits (5 year Blogaversary Post!!)

Hi everyone! As you can see from the title of this post, today is my 5 year blogaversary, I’ve always found it kind of ironic that the anniversary of me starting this blog falls around Valentine’s Day given what a romance cynic I am, but ah well! Anyway, before I get started on today’s post, I just want to thank all of you, however long you’ve been following or reading my blog for sticking with me over the past 5 years, there’s no way that I’d still be doing this without your support, so thank you so much. It’s hard to believe that when I started this blog, I hadn’t even done my A-Levels yet and now, 5 years later, I’m set to graduate University, I’ve had my work published in an actual newspaper and this blog has over a thousand followers, which is amazing.

Anyway, today being my blogaversary actually fitted quite well with something I was wanting to talk about anyway, how blogging has changed the way I read. My reading habits have changed a lot in the last five years and I could put that down to a lot of things, Uni has had a massive impact on how I read, general changes in my interests but I have to admit, I think blogging has probably had the biggest impact in how my reading has changed in the past five years.

For one thing, rereading. I used to love to go back and reread my old favourite from time to time, just to remind myself of why I loved them so much in the first place. Since I’ve started blogging though, I just don’t have time to reread as much as I’d like to, I buy a lot more books, so I have far more new stuff to read than I ever did before and when you’re only reading two or three books a month, you don’t really have time to reread.

I’m also far more aware of, and read far more new releases than I used to. Before I started blogging, I would only really be aware of when my favourite authors were releasing new books and other than that, I would mostly just go into Waterstones and see what I’d liked the sound of. Now I know what books are coming up, and what I’m excited for well in advance of their release dates, and I can either request an ARC or I can go into a bookshop and see if they have it. On the one hand this is good, because it takes away some of the uncertainty, but I do miss being able to just browse and come across something that really surprises me, it’s very rare that I don’t know about a new release especially a YA release coming out, so I can’t just go into Waterstones and be surprised by a random book anymore, which is a shame. It does however mean that I read a lot more debut authors than I used to, which has been great, I’ve discovered a lot more amazing authors through blogging because I’m more willing to try authors that I haven’t necessarily heard of before now.

Before I started blogging, I never read e-books at all, I’m ashamed to admit I was a little bit of a snob about them, I had a bit of physical book superiority syndrome. I will still say that I do prefer physical books to e-books, and I only really read e-books when I’m reading e-ARCs from Netgalley as I’m not a massive fan of reading on my computer, but since I’ve started blogging, I have come to appreciate e-books more than I did before and they do allow me to read more, as I read them faster than physical books, so that is definitely a benefit that I’ve enjoyed since I started blogging.

I was also very much a one book at a time kind of girl before I started blogging, and although I still don’t love having more than one physical book on the go at once, I have learned how to balance physical books and e-books so that I’m able to maximise my reading time and get a lot more done, which has definitely helped me in order to read more and therefore be able to blog more, something that I never would have thought about doing when I didn’t have a blog, because I didn’t feel the need to get through multiple books at once (nor did I have e-ARC deadlines to meet).

I’m a lot less willing to go into books blind now, before I would quite often go into a shop and pick up a book and if I liked the sound of it then I would try it, whereas now, I have to have heard something from other bloggers about the book before I’m even wiling to try it, which is good because I feel like I pick up less duds now than I did before, I’m more certain that I’ll like something before I pick it up. I get a lot more recommendations now than I used to, and am more likely to pick things up if they’ve been recommended to me by another blogger than if I’ve never heard of it.

I also keep track of my reading a lot more. I started my Goodreads account in my first year of blogging and since then I have religiously tracked my reading, which has been a really positive thing to come out of blogging, because I can keep track of the books I like and don’t like, the books I’m excited for, the arcs that I’m reading, Goodreads has been super helpful for me in keeping organised in my reading life and I never would have found it if it hadn’t been for blogging. I didn’t even have a TBR before I started blogging, at least not anything official and now because of blogging and Goodreads, my TBR has just exploded.

I’m far more aware of what works for me and what doesn’t because of blogging, and I think that has made me a more discerning book buyer. I can be pretty confident before even turning a single page now whether I am going to like or dislike a book, I don’t think this necessarily all comes from blogging, being a reader your entire life does this as well, but blogging has made more self aware about what works and what doesn’t for me in a book (and why) and this means that I no longer need to waste my time with books I know I won’t like, every book I pick up now, I am reasonably sure before I go into it that I’m going to like it. Blogging has also really helped me as a writer, because in writing reviews, I learn what works and what doesn’t work for me in books and take that into my own writing. I keep notes on every book I read now, and that allows me to sort out my feelings about a book a lot more cohesively than I was able to before I started blogging.

I’m a lot less patient with books now, I still have difficulties DNFing, because I like to have closure, but for the most part, if a book isn’t gripping me, or I’m struggling to get into it, I won’t push on through till the end, I’ll put it down because at the end of the day, I have a lot of books to get through and I don’t have the time to be wasting it on books that I’m not enjoying. I do worry if that means I might miss out books that I will enjoy because I’m not giving them enough of a chance.

I’m also a lot more aware of diversity in books which was something I wasn’t particularly aware of before I started blogging and I will be far more discerning of books that have little to no diversity in them than I would have been five years ago, because now I know how important representation is for marginalised groups and want to help support titles by diverse authors.

Before I started blogging, I had one friend who I spoke to about books all the time and if she hadn’t read them, then I just had to bottle up all my feelings about them until she had. Now, not only can I share my thoughts about books on the Internet, I have an entire community of people that I can talk to about books whenever I want, which is just incredible.

Blogging has definitely changed the way I read, in both good and bad ways, but after five years of doing this, I can’t imagine my life without it, I’ve gained a whole community of book loving friends, I’ve been to so many wonderful book events, I’ve read so many amazing books, it’s been a wonderful five years and I look forward to many more to come!

Has blogging changed the way you read? How? Let me know in the comments!

I have a giveaway going on over on Twitter for my blogaversary, you have the possibility ofΒ  winning one of my favourite books if you enter, so go and check it out.

I don’t know when my next Jo Talks post will be going up, it depends on how busy I am for the rest of the month, but I’ll be talking about Read-a-thons and why they don’t work for me, so look out for that. In the meantime, I’m almost done with my current read Alex and Eliza, so I should have a review of that up for you guys over the weekend.





21 thoughts on “Jo Talks Books: How Blogging Has Changed My Reading Habits (5 year Blogaversary Post!!)

  1. strugglingbookaholic 13/02/2019 / 7:47 pm

    This is a beautiful reflection! I agree with a lot of what you said, especially about how you’re more aware of new releases. Like you, I used to just walk into a book store and browse for something that sounded interesting to me. Now, however, I do my best to keep track of what’s coming out each month and I usually recognize the books I see in stores, which I think is pretty cool. Also, I was wondering what your process is like for taking notes? I occasionally take notes but I want to be more consistent about it so that it’s easier for me to write reviews.

    I really enjoyed reading this! Happy blogaversary πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx 14/02/2019 / 2:38 pm

      Thank you! Yes, it is pretty cool going into shops and being able to say, oh look, there’s that new release that everyone’s been chatting about, but like I said, I do miss the element of surprise sometimes. I aim to take notes after each chapter, though that doesn’t always work, sometimes I end up just going back through the whole book before writing my review and getting my notes down then.

      • strugglingbookaholic 15/02/2019 / 5:48 pm

        Yes, you’re right about the element of surprise. Awesome! I may try taking notes after each chapter πŸ™‚

  2. L.M. Durand 13/02/2019 / 7:52 pm

    I love this post. Blogging has changed the way I read even tough I’m fairly new to it.
    Congrats on reaching this new milestone! This is amazing πŸ˜‰

  3. Rereading was never worth it anyway 😜 I just read what I’ve read about on other blogs too and know way more upcoming releases! Great post and happy five years to your blog πŸ˜‚

    • iloveheartlandx 14/02/2019 / 2:30 pm

      Ha ha I know we’re always going to disagree with on that one! It’s a gift and a curse-my TBR has multiplied by hundreds since I started blogging. Thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Ffion 14/02/2019 / 8:23 pm

    I definitely feel the same with regards to buying books – whenever I go book shopping, I pretty much exclusively buy books which are on my TBR, and never really stray towards random books I’ve never heard of. I do sometimes miss that spontaneity, but like you, I find that I have a much better idea of what I like now so I’m happy to pick up books I know I’m more likely to enjoy.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/02/2019 / 9:39 pm

      Yes, it does have more perks than drawbacks, I don’t waste time with books there’s no chance I’ll like, I cut down on my book buying because I go in for specific things rather than for a wander and I knock books off my TBR faster because I’m not buying random books that aren’t on there.

      • Ffion 19/02/2019 / 6:34 pm

        Yeah that’s very true actually – I dread to think how big my TBR would be if I kept buying random books that weren’t already on it!

  5. kozbisa 16/02/2019 / 11:49 pm

    I think the biggest change to my reading is that it’s more planned out now that I blog. I try to read by release date, and therefore, I really try to stick to my weekly TBR. I have some wiggle room and do adjust a little for mood reading, but I can’t be as random as I used to be.

    • iloveheartlandx 17/02/2019 / 12:24 pm

      Ooh I forgot to include that but yes, I am definitely more of a planner now than I used to be, I never used to have monthly TBRs or anything like that, but I now I have to, in order to get my ARC reviews done as close to release date as possible.

  6. SERIESous Book Reviews 18/02/2019 / 2:00 am

    Congrats on 5 AMAZING years!

    We have a lot of similar changes thanks to blogging. I was always a monogamous reader but I’ve noticed in the last 2 years that I tend to have at least 2 books on the go at once. And I rarely buy books anymore without checking reviews first; I’ve saved a lot of money that way πŸ˜›

    • iloveheartlandx 18/02/2019 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you! Yes, it’s just a lot easier to get through all the books I need to, working on more than one at once. Ha ha it does help, at least now I know what not to waste my time on.

  7. Cerys @ Browsing For Books 20/02/2019 / 2:00 pm

    This is such an interesting post to read. I’ve only been blogging properly for less than a year but even I can see big changes in the way that I engage with reading. I especially agree with being more aware of new releases – its basically how I measure what month we’re in haha

    • iloveheartlandx 25/02/2019 / 8:27 pm

      Thanks! Yes it’s weird how quickly blogging changes your reading habits. Ha ha same!

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