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When Really Simple Syndication Becomes Really Complicated

When I first began blogging, RSS was in its infancy, in fact for a while I contented myself with Firefox live bookmarks as I waited to see what would happen with this new feed phenomenon. By the time RSS had taken a hold of both the world and my affections, I had a lot of time in the day. I subscribed to many sites, and got excited each time I found a new blog to follow. Quality and kindred spirits didn’t matter much, as my goal was simply to know about most of the sites that were around.

That was during my time of personal blogging, and although when I started to blog about books I did look for kindred spirits, inevitably I ended up adding blogs that had nothing to do with any of my personal tastes in reading, writing, or the structuring of content. Two years down the line, with a lot of material to study for university each week, I began to feel bogged down. It was time for a change.

So I’ve gone through my RSS reader and deleted blogs that I added on a whim and don’t read, I’ve deleted blogs that feel like a chore to open and have instead left myself with those that I love. The ones that speak to me on a personal and/or academic level, the ones that I can comment on the most (because I feel rather bad for having in my reader blogs that I never comment on, unless of course they are written by a famous figure).

However although my reader is a lot more manageable, I’m far from adverse to discovering and adding new blogs, and have in fact added a number of blogs over the last few months. Though this time there is a dedicated trial run – if I’m not finding a reason to read and/or comment, they’ll be deleted. Otherwise I would just be back to square one. I know that there are likely to be tens if not hundreds of blogs out there that would be a perfect fit for me, and I’m never going to find them by myself. Right now, of course, my focus is on book blogs.

So I would like to know, which blogs do you recommend – you know the sorts of things I write about, my writing style, could you recommend me a blog I might love? What are your favourite book blogs?

I did think of posting a list of the blogs I currently follow but that would take up a lot of space and I know that many of you will already know some of the blogs I follow through my interactions with them. And heck, if someone mentions a blog I already know about then that will just help me to further realise whether it’s a good fit or not.



May 10, 2012, 10:27 am

I’m pretty sure you’ll know most of my favourites already: the two Amys (My Friend Amy and Amy Reads), Iris on Books, Jenny’s Books, Stella Matutina, Booklust, Book Gazing, The Book Smugglers, Rhapsody in Books… just to mention a few, or else we’d be here all day :P Good luck with your new strategy; I’ve been trying to make my Google Reader more manageable for years without much success.


May 10, 2012, 10:59 am

You’ve done well to tidy up your RSS list! Every time I try to, I end up removing some feeds, but they tend to be of people who haven’t posted for months anyway, so it doesn’t really reduce the number of posts to read!


May 10, 2012, 11:20 am

Tidying up my RSS reader has been something I keep procrastinating on. Like you, I have quite a few blogs in there that I thought looked interesting but that I’ve never gotten into the habit of reading, even a few that I feel I should like but never end up opening, and a few new to me blogs that I want to get to know better but just have not find the time for. I am wondering if I should just clean the whole thing out to no blogs at all and start over. But it’s so much work. Perhaps I will just wait a few more months and ignore the whole thing in the meantime ;)

Yay for you for cleaning it out though! You might just inspire me to start doing the same.


May 11, 2012, 3:52 am

Oh, what a good idea! But SO PAINFUL in practice, I find. I completely get bogged down and defeated by my Google Reader. Especially when some people just seem to read and review the same books as everyone else. But then I feel bad if some people come visit my blog and I don’t go visit theirs, and… well, I guess if I leave them in my reader there is a chance that I might find something to comment on! Not that they don’t post comment-worthy things very often- just that I so often “Mark All As Read” that I can’t get around to seeing them all that often.

But I DO read your blog regularly, even if I don’t comment- I hope you know that!


May 11, 2012, 11:06 am

Ana: Thank you! I follow half of those, but the rest I’ve never been to so I’m going to open up a lot of tabs in my browser and visit them all! I think once it starts to drive you really crazy managing it just happens.

Marg: Deleting bloggers who haven’t posted is something I find very difficult, especially if I loved their work. I’ll think “but they might come back later”. Before this new cull I would only delete old favourites once they started getting hacked. Now I just sigh and remove them.

Iris: Deleting the whole list is definitely an idea if you have the time, because you’d soon remember and add those that really mean something to you. In fact that’s probably the best way to do it if you want to be really strict with yourself. I saved my old list so that if I want to revisit one I’ve still got the link without having to search for it, but it’s nowhere near my reader itself.

Aarti: The whole reciprocation thing is difficult, when you have lots of time it’s good to visit back, but if you forget you feel bad. I’ve used the adding to reader idea too, though often unless I have time there and then I’ll make a note of all the new commentors and visit them all at once. I’m actually quite jealous of your ability to mark all as read, I’m always there worrying that I might have missed a brilliant post if I do that, and that just eats time.

I always consider that people who comment every now again or once in a while are viable possibilities for regular visitors :) And if people don’t have time to read every post that’s just as okay.

How many times have I said “time” now… but then that is exactly what it all comes down to.



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