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How I Choose The Books I Read And Review: Blogging

A photograph of three books: The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and, as an ebook, The Eighth Wonder by Kimberley S Young

This was a question we were asked at the RNA conference and I’d like to expand and answer it here. I believe I pointed to blog tours, my mood, and expectations as to the tone of my review at the panel, but of course that’s the simple version and perhaps not particularly informative.

There are two stages when it comes to choosing what books I will read. (In this post I’m dealing with books I read purely with the intention to review – tours – and books I know I’m likely to review, rather than those I don’t plan to review. I do on occasion read knowing I won’t be reviewing, for example books that are special to the people who gave them to me.)

The two stages are what I want to read and review for me, and what I want to read and review specifically in terms of my blog. A choice is usually the result of both these stages. In the context of myself it’s about what I fancy reading at that moment or simply what I’m interested in. I won’t always follow what I fancy, books can surprise you and the concept of not knowing what you want until you’ve found it applies to literature, but it’s good to read what you fancy when you can. In the context of the blog it’s about promoting authors I like, picking books I think my readers will enjoy too, and it can also include choosing what others are reading so I can join in the discussion. As said, my choices are usually a combination of stages and for me those combined choices are the best. I love knowing a book is one I really want to read that will also do well in terms of my blog. In regards to The Worm Hole, good combination books span genres and eras. They are books I’m inclined to write a lot about and that fellow bloggers have written a lot about. And I absolutely love that classics are important in this way because they fill me with literary pleasure.

Those are the general stages: what about the questions I ask myself? I consider time: how much time will it take me to read the book – how long is it? If it’s long I may put it aside if I’ve not posted a review for a while. I don’t believe a book blog has to include reviews but I like to write a variety of posts when I can; review after review after review doesn’t work for me as a blogger and such a schedule in the past has been the result of either a mass reading session or a lack of ideas/planning time for other content. The question of time also includes how long a review might take to write – is this book full of themes I’m likely to want to cover in depth?

Does the genre and, more specifically, the story, appeal to me right now? This comes under the personal stage but I’ll also consider genre if I’ve been going through a phase of it on the blog and feel it’s time to change. I value the ‘literature in general’ vibe I’ve got here. I can’t imagine ever narrowing my blog down for the very fact that I like to read every genre.

Is a sample available? If I can tell from the outset that I’ll neither enjoy nor be able to speak well about the book at all I won’t choose it. Negative reviews here are the result of books that start well but later fall flat; I see no point in reading books I know I won’t enjoy unless it’s for a particular reason, for example I read Fifty Shades Of Grey so that I could discuss it. Similarly I’ll finish off a series I’d enjoyed in the past if I’m invested in it and want to know how it ends.

And that’s it, on a blogging and on a personal level, that’s my thought process. It’s slightly more involved when it comes to books I receive for review; I’ll be discussing that next week.

How do you choose the books you read? If you review, add this context as well.



July 24, 2015, 11:37 am

Ohh, I’m afraid I don’t think a lot about what I read and review, unless it’s for a book tour or it’s a book I’ve received from the publishers, of course. I just read what I want. What I like most latety is to go to the library and let myself indulge with all the books I want, even if later I don’t read them all :))


July 24, 2015, 6:01 pm

Like Isi I don’t really think a lot about what I read in the context of who will read the review. I treat my blog as a reading diary so I review whatever I read. However I am obviously influenced by what other bloggers are reading.


July 27, 2015, 4:34 am

I liked this one too. Simple straight forward writing.

Literary Feline

July 29, 2015, 6:32 pm

What a great topic, Charlie! Like Jessica, my blog is more of a reading journal–and I review everything I read. The only exception maybe being the occasional health related book I would rather not share about on my blog. I used to be better about keeping track of my DNF books, but I fell out of that habit and so those books don’t often get mentioned. I should record them again though.

Book blogging is a hobby for me and my blogging and reading time scarce. Therefore, I prefer to spend my time reading books I will enjoy and that interest me. I get a lot of my book recommendations from my fellow book bloggers, and some from friends and family.



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