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 of 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.