This Year I Will Read What I Love

Posted January 17, 2014 by Jana in About Me, Discussion / 41 Comments

You know… I’ve been thinking lately about what I read and WHY I read what I read. Maybe this comes with being a “seasoned” book blogger, or something, I don’t know. I think all of this thinking started when I was doing my year end survey a couple weeks ago. I realized that I read a lot of “meh” books in 2013. There were very few that made me scream from the rooftops, “THIS IS WHY I READ!!!” As I was trying to come up with answers to the various questions, I found myself wanting to answer with the same handful of books because those were the only ones I LOVED. I don’t want that for myself in 2014. I want to read books I love. I don’t want to force myself to finish a book if I’m just not feeling it. I don’t want to force myself to read a book if I’m not in the mood right then, and would rather read something else instead.

I read to fall in love. I read to travel. I read to visit friends. I read to escape. I don’t read to review. I don’t read to please other people. I don’t read for the publishers or the authors or the publicists or the blog tour hosts or even for my blog readers. I read for me! I review because I want to share my love of books. I don’t review because I have something to prove, or because I feel like I have to. I review for myself, and if my blog readers are interested in what I have to say, that’s awesome! I will love you! I love talking books with people! I love being exposed to books I never would have read otherwise. I blog because I love the friendship. See? I do what I do for selfish reasons. And that’s ok! I’m allowed to be selfish.

My goal for 2014 is to come away with a huge list of books I LOVE. I want a big long list of books I could not live without. I will not be afraid to decline a review request. I will not be afraid to DNF a book if I’m just not feeling it. I will not feel obligated to do this or that, and I will not feel obligated to NOT do this or that. I’m making 2014 about me. Yes, I am SO going to tackle my review books. I am going to improve my Netgalley review ratio like you would not believe, and I am going to blow up Edelweiss with my awesome reviews. I am going to read those ARCs like it’s nobody’s business. But I am going about it with a completely different mindset. I am going to do it for me. I will find my new favorite book this year, and I will sing and dream and talk and dance about it. And if I come across a book that I just don’t feel, I will move on. It’s like dating. I will say yes if a book asks me out. I will curl up with it and give it a chance. But if it hurts me or disappoints me or says things I don’t like or makes me cry for bad reasons, then I will dump it. I will not suffer through a terrible book date because that’s not good for the book, and it’s not good for me.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders! I feel like 2014 is going to be awesome! You should really try this. The moment being a book reviewer makes you feel like you’re going on a ton of mediocre dates and will never find your true love, dump those books and tell yourself you’re worth more than that. It’s what your mom would tell you to do.

Am I really late to this happy world of realizations? Does anyone else feel like I do?

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41 responses to “This Year I Will Read What I Love

  1. Yeah, see this is why I don’t get people who set their reading goals to 400 books or something crazy like that. Because then, like, are they even reading books they like? Or just reading a bunch of stuff so they can say they did?

    For me, reading is something I LOVE to do and I don’t want it to feel like a chore. I think a lot of the time, with bloggers especially, it can turn in to that because a lot of people force themselves to read things that aren’t their cup of tea.

    One of my goals this year is not to have any DNFs. But that’s me saying I’m going to keep reading a book, even if I hate it. That’s me saying that this year I want to love everything I read!

    I hope we both have an amazing reading year :D
    Allie @ Little Birdie Books recently posted…Review: Cinder {Marissa Meyer}

    • Jana

      You bring up a great point! Those people who read 300-400 a books a year, do they really love them all? Or do they read the no-good books as well? I had never thought of it that way.

      I hope you have a wonderful year of reading, and that you don’t pick up a book you’ll be tempted to DNF. :)

    • Jana

      Thank you! I love your thoughts on our relationship with the book being the most important things. :) I hope you find new favorites this year as well!

  2. Ann

    My 2013 book list was like a bell curve – lots of 3s and as many 1s as 5s. I’m not sure why, but I don’t like giving up on a book unless it is utterly dreadful. But, I do find myself skimming a lot. I agree with you, reading should be enjoyable and it should leave you feeling extremely happy, ridiculously so! Those books that are 1s and 2s take SOOOO long to finish and it prevents me from reading some potentially amazing books because I am essentially CRAWLING to the end. And I hate it. I hate it! But I keep thinking, “What if it gets better?” It never really does. I may just add a dnf shelf to my goodreads account and chunk those unworthy books that make me feel like I’m torturing myself in there.

    • Jana

      Oh, I know. The 1’s and 2’s can be so hard to finish. I once took a month to finish one book. ONE. And it never did get better. I admire your ability to hang in there. Do not fear the DNF, though. :) It’s kind of freeing!

  3. I am just coming to this realization myself. There are so many books I want to read, both novels and books that will help my professional life. It’s a process, but I’m trying to be better about turning down reviews. If I can’t get to something just yet, I can’t get to it. The book police are not going to come get me and make me read a book.
    Brianna recently posted…have a nice weekend!

  4. Great post, and no, you’re not late-just reevaluating along the way as needed.

    I just started blogging this year and I’m already feeling that pressure you talked about. I want to read more books, for which blog deadlines help, and I love the excitement of reading an ARC before it’s in stores … but at the same time, I don’t want to get so wrapped up in stats on NetGalley and Edelweiss, or finishing their ARC’s that I may or may not love, that I get distracted from the fun of reading and finding new books I love. I love what you said about not feeling bad because you’re not in the right mood for a particular book. I’ve felt guilty for that before, but we shouldn’t. It happens.

    I want this to be a year of consistent, “professional” blogging, but it’s supposed to be fun, not another desk-bound day job (already have one of those). I hope if we reach that point where it ceases to be fun, we can say, “Screw the blogging schedule. Screw the stats. I want to read a fun book.”

    So, way overly long comment. ^^;; But seriously, thanks for writing this post. I’ve been semi-freaking out about getting swept up in the rush of deadlines and ARC review stats, and this was a much needed reminder to slow down, take it easy and keep it fun. No pressure. :D
    Kel @ No Cucumber Sandwiches recently posted…Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (2 stars)

    • Jana

      It is super hard to be a relatively new blogger. Everything is so new and exciting. I got in way over my head when I started, and 4 years later I’m STILL trying to pull myself out of this hole I’ve dug. I wish I did not have to feel so concerned about Netgalley and Edelweiss stats. It is pretty freeing to read a finished copy you bought, and can read on your own terms. I do love the relationships I have with publishers, though, and I love that they send me so many amazing titles. They just bring with them an added pressure, which totally comes from my perfectionism.

      I took some time last year and threw my blogging schedule out the window. I read whatever I wanted. It was amazing! I definitely recommend trying it, especially if you start to get overwhelmed or bogged down.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I’m glad I could remind you to slow down and have fun, and I’m happy you topped by to let me know that it’s ok to do that. :)

  5. I love this post so much Jana!! Sometimes it’s easy to forget why we do this, but you’re absolutely right, sometimes you need to remember you’re doing it for yourself and it needs to be fun because it can feel like you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to prince charming ;)
    Also, go you for resolving to kick ass on NetGalley and Edelweiss! It’s one of the things I’ll be aiming for as well :)
    Daisy recently posted…Review of The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

    • Jana

      Thanks for your thoughts, Daisy! It’s nice to receive some positive reinforcement. :) Luckily I have blogging friends who can help remind me why I do this. :) Good luck as you tackle those Netgalley/Edelweiss stats as well!

  6. This has been my first year blogging and I got swept away with the pre-hype for many many books. It didn’t matter the genre if I saw a ton of people requesting a book I would too. I didn’t want to miss that most amazing book. Turned out…the hype wasn’t worth it. The books didn’t tend to be anything I was actually interested in and became very stressful trying to read my way through a very large pile of books.

    I vowed to stop doing this and to read the books I’m excited about. I love seeing that others are feeling the same way and I think we can be selfish in this regard. It’s our valuable time spent…every minute I’m reading is a minute I’m not with my family or doing something important. I am so honored to be included in tours and receive arcs so I want to have the time to read the random book sometimes but I’ve def changed my strategy in requesting books. I hope you fall in love a million times this year!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…A Look at My To Read List

    • Jana

      Kristen, I think that happens to all of us. I was requesting and accepting books I didn’t even care about at the beginning, just because I was so flattered that people cared about my opinion. And, like you, I did not want to miss out on some amazing book and feel like the unpopular kid with nothing to say.

      I’m so proud of you for resolving to read books YOU want to read so early! It took me way too long, and I feel like I’m in a pretty deep hole now. I want to please everyone! I hope you find a ton of books you love, too! And have fun during your second year of blogging! Honestly, it only gets better. :)

  7. I also noticed that I was putting or tempted to put the same books on my end of the year survey. I’m doing better about putting down the books that I’m not feeling. Heck, I’ve already had a DNF this year and we’re only 17 days in :)

    • Jana

      Yay! Embrace the DNF! I think I’ve had one or two already as well. I hope you continue to feel like you’re allowed to do that. There is no point in reading a book you don’t like. :)

  8. Preach!
    I have to say I totally agree with you. I had the same realization doing my end of the year survey. I just felt like, why do I keep putting the same handful of books in every answer? Oh yeah, bc I read so many meh books, (yes, most were review books).
    I am super frustrated too bc even though I try to change it, I still can never seem to get caught up and start reading books I wanna read that I bought :| I definitely need to change that for 2014!!
    Diamond Nazaneen recently posted…Discussion: Make haste to preorder or waste to preorder?

    • Jana

      Hehe. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’ve been struggling with the inability to read the books I buy as well. And I keep falling behind. And it’s so hard! I think we both need to take a step back every once in a while and read something we bought. They deserve the love, too. :)

  9. Congratulations!!!! And I genuinely mean that. You have achieved a happy balance.

    Unless you receive a professional payment to review, you have a right to pick what you want to read. To quote the portrayal of Lionel Logue in “The King’s Speech”, “My house, my rules.”

    If you read out of a sense of obligation rather than enjoyment, you run the risk of resenting the thing you love and giving it up.

    I spotted this quote by Douglas Jerrold that seems appropriate:

    “A blessed companion is a book, – a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,… a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.”
    Theta Sigma @ The Wandering Bookworm recently posted…The Great British Sherlock Read Off – 1. A Study In Scarlet

  10. Last year I read some great books and even a couple amazing books. I have never been afraid to just DNF a book BUT I am going to put extra effort into that idea this year. Already I have DNF’ed a handful of e-ARC’s 4 from NG (though I did submit feedback to the pubs) and 1 from EW (and I submitted feedback on that one as well)

    Last year I had a clear favorite and this year I am hoping for more of the same declarations. I don’t want to read a bunch of “meh” books. I don’t want to crumble under the pressure of reading books that I am just not enjoying just because they are review books.

    It’s time to remember WHY I started this journey and how much I love reading.
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…ARC’s, e-ARC’s and Me

    • Jana

      Good job on the DNFing! It’s hard! I mean yeah, I don’t mind it in theory, but I always feel guilty when I do. Which book was your favorite last year? I’m so curious now!

      Here’s to remembering why we read, and not letting review books dull that love!

  11. I came to the same conclusions about reading too, when I realized I was reading a lot of “trend” books not because they particularly interested me, but because everyone around me was reading them. I was following the crowd, not digging the books, and it was sucking all the joy out of blogging. I hope reading what you want, when you want liberates you this year. It certainly did for me :)
    Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss. recently posted…Valentine’s Day Design

    • Jana

      I’m also guilty of reading trendy books that don’t even interest me, just so I could be “in the know”. Thanks for the well wishes! I’m excited to see how this change makes me feel. :) I’m so happy to hear that you’re happier as a result of making the same change.

  12. Lea

    Love this post! Sometimes you take the words right out of my head. I set a lofty goal on GoodReads for 2014 and then started thinking about all the books I feel like I should read (because they’re important literary works but also because I want to read them) and how that will limit my numbers because they will take me longer to get through.
    I stopped caring a few years ago about what I was SUPPOSE to read. I read primarily romance and chick-lit, which for some reason people frown on. I had to stop being embarrassed and be proud instead. While I still feel myself slipping into feeling like I should read this “it” book because everyone else is, I have mostly overcome that bookish problem.
    I struggle with when to ditch a book. I recently read this non-fiction book for my book club and the beginning was awful, but at page 100 it picked up and I enjoyed the 250 pages that followed. I just don’t know when to give it up and move on.
    Thanks for a great post.
    Lea recently posted…Goals

    • Jana

      I’m so happy to hear you agree with me! And OH, I totally know the fear you have of the chunky or heavy books that will take longer and hinder your reading goals. That is SO hard!

      I’ve also struggled with the pull between reading what I want and reading what others think I should. I have not read several of the books people frown at me for not reading. Sometimes I feel ashamed for saying I love YA. I need to be proud of my books!

      Knowing when to give up and move on is also hard. I used to say I have to read at least 15% or 50 pages, but sometimes even that is too hard. Other times, I’ll hang in there and end up loving it for the last quarter of the book. It’s so tricky!

  13. This is actually how I’ve been feeling about 2014 as well! Well, it actually started with me wanting to simplify my reading life. I started the blog because I liked reading and just wanted to keep a record of my thoughts on the books I read; I loved reading what I wanted to read whenever I wanted. I want that to be my life again, so I’m going to do my very best to incorporate that attitude into my reading choices this year!
    Alexa S. recently posted…2014 Bingo Bucket Board

    • Jana

      Yay, Alexa! Your comment makes me so happy! Simplifying the reading life is a great way to put it. I also started my blog to share my thoughts, and I need to continually remind myself that I’m doing enough even if it’s not as much as I had wanted to do. I hope you succeed in simplifying this year. :) (And becoming a morning person, too. :))