Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in my reading life

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is changes in my reading life, and it’s finally a topic that I’m excited to write about! My reading life has changed a lot since I first started this blog, so, without further ado, here are ten of those changes.

I greatly limit the number of ARCs I request

It was way back in the dark ages of 2013 when I found out that you could ask publishers for free books and they’d just… give them to you, with basically no questions asked. I requested everything. Anything that sounded even remotely interesting was good enough for me.

“Oh, I’ve heard of that author!” REQUEST.
“I love that cover!” REQUEST.
“I sort of care about this topic!” REQUEST.
“10,000 other people have requested this, it must be good!” REQUEST.

It was a disaster.

One thing I’ve learned that I don’t think makes a ton of sense is that the more requests you make, the more books you’re going to get accepted for. Maybe it’s Murphy’s Law of Book Blogging? There were plenty of times when I’d be good and just request one or two books in a month. I’d inevitably be denied. But without fail, if I sat there and requested ten books in one sitting, I’d be approved for like eight of them, and they’d all be releasing right around the same time. That is very stressful for me.

So I stopped. I have a few ARCs that I need to get through, but very few are ARCs that I actually requested. Which brings me to my next point…

I also greatly limit the number of ARCs I accept

The first few times I got emails or Goodreads messages asking me to review a book, I was super excited. (And honestly, I still am. It makes me feel really fancy.) I said yes because oh my goodness, an author or publisher knows I exist. Saying yes to every request is a really good way to get really overwhelmed, really quickly. “It’s just a book or two!” I thought to myself. But “just a book or two” adds up really quickly, especially when you take into account ARCs that you’re requesting and other books that you want to read.

So, even though it makes me feel fancy, I decline most review requests now. Not only can I admit to myself that I just don’t have the time, but I also know that if I feel pressured to read a book, I probably won’t enjoy it as much, and that’s just not fair to the author.

I listen to a ton of audiobooks now

Audiobooks and I have a long and complicated relationship. I was really into them for about two minutes when I was in college, because I realized that I could listen to them while I was walking to class. I quickly realized that they were also very expensive, and I’m pretty sure that streaming audiobooks through Overdrive was not a thing in 2010. So I stopped.

I would sometimes listen to audiobooks if the print or ebook copy wasn’t available, or if there was a nonfiction book I really wanted to read but didn’t think I’d have the motivation to actually flip through, but I mostly avoided audiobooks until recently.

Now, I am obsessed. I listen to, on average, four to seven audiobooks a week. They help me focus on my job so much more, which I never would have believed, but it’s true. I’m also a lot happier with my TBR since I’m crossing books off right and left!

I borrow most of my books from the library

When I first started blogging, I was new to New Jersey and didn’t even have a library card yet. I got a lot of books from Goodreads giveaways and bought the rest. (I think I still have some books that I bought back then that I haven’t read yet.)

These days, it’s pretty rare for me to buy a book. I mean, sure, I’ll preorder books from my favorite authors or buy books from authors I really want to support, but most of the books I read are borrowed. I love libraries.

I tend to avoid dystopian novels and hardly read any erotica

If you look at what I read when I started this blog, it’s very different from what I read now.

Some reviews from that first year or so were Red Rising, Kallocain, Under My Skin, and Unwind. While I loved Red Rising at the time and more or less enjoyed the other three, they’re definitely not the type of book that I’m rushing out to find now.

After that dystopian stage, I moved on to erotica. I read a lot of erotica. 2016 and 2017 were The Erotica Years. Some were good, most were bad, and then I just kind of stopped. And I will read the odd erotic novel every now and then, but I really hardly ever pick them up.

I don’t really do blog tours these days

Or, at least, I don’t really do reviews on blog tours anymore. Only in really specific cases. One other thing that’s different is that on the rare occasion that I do participate in a blog tour, it’s with either a guest post or an author interview! The me from six years ago would never.

I’m a lot more honest in my reviews

I’ve done a couple posts (here and here) on books I’d rate differently now, and I think a lot of it comes down to me not being afraid to voice my opinion these days!

I’ve started doing buddy reads with my boyfriend

This is very recent, but it’s something I really love! We take turns reading to each other while we’re doing other things, and there’s a lot of commentary involved. It’s so much fun.

I read (or, I guess, listen to) a lot more nonfiction than I used to

I’ve had nonfiction waves in the past, where I’d read and listen to a ton of books on a specific subject. It was usually politics — I read Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, and Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury pretty much back-to-back — but I also had runs of books on feminism, celebrity memoirs, and books on linguistics. Generally, though, I’d read a couple nonfiction books a year and leave it at that.

Now, I get at least 40 hours a week to listen to audiobooks, so I’m much more willing to take a chance on something. Worst case scenario, I just use it to drown out the conversation happening next to me, the kids down the hall cheering, or the ten coworkers who are inevitably coughing and sneezing. In just a month or so, I’ve listened to a ton of memoirs, a book of scientific questions, a political book, a book on internet linguistics, and a true crime novel. (By the time this posts, I’ll probably have listened to more.)

I used to read mostly to escape from the stress in my life, and now I just read because I like it

I started this blog back in 2013, and you could say that my life was a little different then. I used to read so much because I’d go home and lock myself in my bedroom with a book (or three) and just try to calm down by losing myself in a fictional world.

I’m really happy to say that my life has almost zero stress now, and I read because I like it.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Has anything changed in your reading life? Do we have any of the same changes? Let’s talk in the comments!

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19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in my reading life

  1. silverbuttonbooks says:

    What an awesome metamorphosis! I have done buddy reads with my best friend but not aloud – we each read a chapter and then discuss. It kind of bonds you to the book, reading it in tandem that doesn’t it? Also, can I second the chance in audiobook habits? I used to kind of hate them but now I have one (or two) going constantly.

    This is such a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dinipandareads says:

    Wonderful post! I’ve definitely learned quickly about the whole ARCs thing 😂 And I’ve slowed down greatly in requesting and accepting! It’s so great that you do buddy reads with your bf! That’s pretty awesome 😊 This is a great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlotte says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and learning how your reading habits have changed (: I seriously need to try and get into audiobooks. And I agree that libraries are amazing (: I’m definitely using mine more atm

    Liked by 1 person

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