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Reviews, Book Bits, and Blogging

Simon from SavidgeReads posts an interesting thought on his facebook. It concerns what goes on in a book blog. Should book blog be limited to book reviews and critique, or should it include all the bookish bits, personal habits, and addiction? Do you read a book blog just for the book reviews/book thoughts or do you want to know more about the blogger’s book addiction and their life?

I have been pondering the question since day one of blogging. Although I’m interested in reading both, the book reviews are usually what get me hooked to a blog at the first place. It’s like the first time meeting someone with whom you share some very common but intimate interests. Being the eclectic and esoteric reader that I am, a perfect match of book blogger is hard to come by—but I’m lucky to have found many of you whose insights and opinions I count on when it’s time to buy books. I don’t mind reading the book bits because they are not only fun to read but also justification of my own addiction and geekiness. As long as the blogger is on over-sharing and that the blog focuses on thoughts on books and reading, I’m game.

Recently my increasing workload and the inner call to return to quality reading time have reduced my blogging time. I still go through the blogs on my google reader but I rarely leave comments. The change of habit also factors into a post/update when necessary—meaning when I have substantial thoughts to share about books. The return to more reading means less time in blogging. I started this blog for myself as a history of my readings, sort of like a conversation to myself, and not for anyone else such as publishers, authors, book agents, blog popularity, although I do had been too caught up with hits and statistics. Blogging is like almost anything in life: you reap what you sow. The day when I stopped commenting on every blog I read is when the hits to my blog plummeted. But in reality, it is impossible just to keep up with everything in the world if I still want to achieve the same amount of quality reading. I would still want readers to stop by, and leave a few comments along the way, and I would do the same between my readings, but no pressure.

18 Responses

  1. Like you I am more interested in the book reviews than anything else, but I like reading the other bits too.

    I have recently started blogging again after a break and I agree that you can’t do everything. I have decided just to focus on book reviews for awhile and leave the additional bits alone.

    Afterall, its all about the books 🙂

    • I feel the same way. When I browse through the blog roll, I tend to focus on the book reviews first because those are the resources for my future readings.

  2. Oh Matt – we are in a similar place. I love reading, I love writing, I love reading others’ blogs and commenting. But alas, there are simply not enough hours in the day to pursue all with equal abandon.

    For now I am trying to post once a week – read a few blogs each day, but comment less frequently. This is at least allowing me to continue to be a part of this fabulous community – but with a schedule that I can live with.

    • I feel the number of blogs that I want to read have outgrown the time I have to do so. It’s my last wish to leave this fabulous community, so I have to adopt a more reasonable routine, and this is to read a number of blogs everyday and feel no pressure to post daily. It’s back to the daily mini goal with no pressure. I’m sure all the bloggers feel the same.

  3. I look for blogs, that post reviews on a regular basis, of the type of books I enjoy. However, I do prefer occasional posts about family life, vacation and pets, because it makes me feel more in sync with the blogger. As for commenting, I read over 300 blogs, but only comment on about 10% each day.

    Do what you enjoy!

    • Thanks Diane. I do enjoy writing reviews and that is why I started blogging at the first place. The weekly memes provide personal bits, and they are great channels to connect with the rest of the community. I did feel worried at one point that the blog might be forgotten if I don’t keep up with daily posting. Now I realize if I adhere to the reliable pattern of reviews, readers will always know what to expect when they come to visit the blog.

  4. So many familiar sentiments here! Life has gotten so busy and my blogging/reviewing have really slowed down. I still want to keep reading, so will have to adjust to a reduced internet presence.

    • I think reading and posting go hand in hand. You can only post this much about personal and bookish bits before they run dry. But quality reading time for sure will produce very thoughtful posts.

  5. I don’t mind other topics in between reviews, or how often a person blogs, as long as there aren’t too many memes done as “fillers” by the blogger.

    You are doing a good job as it is. I know I’ve also been leaving comments less often on blogs; just don’t have the time lately. We need more hours in the day!

    • I was concerned that too long of time has elapsed between full book reviews might turn readers away. But I’m equally concerned that too much filler posts would achieve the same effect. After all, I’ll do what I enjoy the most, writing reviews and saying a few words along the way of reading.

  6. I love to learn a bit about others so I do enjoy a mix of bookish bits with other personal stuff. There are some bloggers whose reading tastes don’t match mine but their reviews and just general writing is so interesting that I keep going back. I guess at that point I feel like I’ve formed more of a connection.

    And, yes, isn’t it funny how much more we can read when we don’t spend so much time blogging. I go through spurts of being able to leave comments and then having to take a step back. What can you do, life is busy.

    • I totally agree with you about the writing. After all, it boils down to staying attached to the blogs of which the writing and the content that intrigue me. Recently I realize how much more productive in reading when I stay off line on Saturday morning.

  7. I enjoy the reviews but I also enjoy the bookish bits or even a personal post once in awhile. Once I am hooked on a blog, it’s nice to get to know the blogger through more personal posts.

    Luckily, I know a lot of bloggers via Facebook too so even if they don’t post personal stuff on their blogs, I usually get to know them a bit better via FB. FB is good for that.

    I have been reading more too which = less blogging overall but I think it’s okay. I’d rather read posts with content than just a bunch of filler anyway.

    • I notice that relationship with bloggers is progressive. Recently I have connected with book bloggers through Facebook—like you, Sandy, and Nicole. FB fulfills that personal connection.

      I try to post substantial posts even when I’m not writing book reviews. It’s simply better to be reminded that quality is not the same as quantity.

  8. Since so many of us have a hard time keeping up with all the blogs we’d like to read, quality over quantity is not only a good but a very timely goal! I don’t like too much personal stuff unconnected with books, but it’s amazing how much more I like blogs where, in the course of talking about the books, the blogger reveals more about himself.

    • I totally concur. I have also thought about grouping some of the weekly memes into one post. The ultimate goal to write quality book reviews and if I don’t specifically post about a book in an in-depth manner, I would not over share the personal bits.

  9. I understand your thoughts in this, and I think every blogger goes through the same thing. I comment in spurts because otherwise, I could not keep up with everything, ie comments, response, reviews, and life in genreal. I think we do the best we can, and that’s all anyone can ask for.

    I puruse my blog roll, stopped the weekly memes, and cut back on review copies. Back to basics, if you will.

  10. I am always juggling the time I spend reading and commenting on other blogs with my own reading time and writing my blog posts. I wish there were more hours in the day that I could devote to reading but I guess we all do!

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