Saturday, August 1, 2009

a post in which I enter a blogosphere discussion :)

I read a lot of book-blog-o-sphere discussions, but I rarely, if ever, participate. Partly because I have very limited readership and some things don't apply, and partly because I have chosen to limit the amount of time I spend on this blog. I read books, I try to write thoughtful reviews, and that's about it. I have started limiting the number of books I agree to review for authors/publicists because I found a couple months ago that I was rarely able to just choose what I wanted to read, I felt so overwhelmed with things I felt obligated to read. That being said, however, if something really appeals to me, I'll accept an offer from a publicist, but I am more picky than I used to be.

SO. Sweet Trish over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? is my go-to girl for book blogging discussion - I always love to read up on her view of what's happening and she keeps me in the loop (even if I never join in the loop :). This post in particular got me thinking and interested in my own mix of books that I've read recently. I've only got the energy to do the last 20 I've read. It'll look lopsided because recently I realized I had a lot of books I'd requested that I hadn't yet read and the publication date was past or coming up really soon :)

The Walking People by Mary Beth (requested from Shelf Awareness)

A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig (accepted a copy to review from a publicist)

Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (requested from Shelf Awareness)

The Actor and the Housewife: A Novel by Shannon Hale (library book)

Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer (library book)

The Tempest (Folger Shakespeare Library) by William Shakespeare (library book)

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (got from bookmooch)

Life As We Knew It (Moon, #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer (got as a gift)

The Chosen One Carol Lynch Williams (requested a copy from the book's publicist on twitter)

Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin (got from book mooch)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (library book)

The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi (requested from Shelf Awareness)

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (got as a gift)

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (got from bookmooch)

Fire by Kristin Cashore (requested from Shelf Awareness)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (library book)

An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage (requested from Shelf Awareness)

A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi (read at the request of the author)

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (accepted a copy to review from a publicist)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (library book)

Requested from publisher/publicist: 6/20 or 30%
Accepted a copy from publisher/publicist/author: 3/20 or 15%
traded via book mooch: 3/20 or 15%
got as a gift: 2/20 or 10% (also, a big thanks to the sweet girl who gave me both of these books :)
library book: 6/20 or 30%

WELL. I get as many books from the library as I request to read, based on these last 20. Again, I think this is skewed because of my playing-catch up, but there you go. I haven't actually purchased a single book, because I have placed massive budgetary constraints on myself. I am not allowed to buy another book until I read all the ones I've bought already (OH the pile). Yeah. Maybe that will never happen. At least for the rest of this year, that's my goal. I'm not requesting any books right now either, as I'm really just trying to finish up everything I've already got from that side of things.

I love reading. I love giving people my honest opinion about a book. I appreciate that publicists and authors solicit me, although I don't think it's because I'm a great writer, I think I'm just another voice talking about their book. I recognize that I am the pawn in this game, but if I'm going to read a book and review it anyway, and I'll only accept or request books that I'd want to read anyway, then I feel like I'm in a happy place. I love the people I have found in this online world, even if I only participate at a fraction of everyone else. I'll take what I can get :)


morninglight mama said...

It's great that you're finding a balance that works for you! I definitely understand about not really being able to pick what you want to read when you're always doing reviews, since that's about 99% of what I read these days! That being said, I'm thankful that with my set-up, I don't ever have to accept a book that doesn't look interesting to me, and if I don't like it, there's no obligation to keep on reading (or review it). So, I'm trying to look at it as I don't have to spend $ on books (it's been YEARS!), and it's like the library is delivering books to my doorstop with no due date to worry about. :) Works for me, at least for now.

Serena said...

I'm in the process of working out a balance that I can live with. I am really bad at organization, etc. So this has been a struggle for me.

Tricia said...

I think I'll throw my hat into this discussion too. I do find it interesting to see where people get their books from.

Veens said...

ahh ha! I am glad someone else is on budgetary constraints! After my recent book-shopping, I have been most nicely asked to finsh ALL my books in the TBR pile b4 I go and buy more!


I buy ALL my books :)

Trish said...

I deleted my subscription to Shelf Awareness back in December because I realized that my "wants" were getting pushed back for "have tos" Only in the past month have I started accepting books again from authors/publicists, but I don't solicit anymore and I'm back to the point where I'll stop saying yes for a while.

I looked at the 38 books I've read this year and 16% of them were from a publisher/author/publicist. The rest came from my shelves, and many of them have been on the shelf for years. I still buy books and I try not to feel bad about it since it is my ONE indulgence. As long as there continues to be a good mix of new and old books on the blogosphere, I don't really care where people get them. Although, since I do read mostly from my shelves, I tend to read blogs where people aren't *always* reading brand new books. I do make exceptions for a handful of bloggers that I adore, though.

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