Thoughts

Thoughts #63: I Am A Bad Blogger!

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I am officially a bad blogger.

Not only have I been really awful at keeping things updated and writing new posts, but I’ve also let my review copy pile get a little bit out of control. This has always been a problem – when I started blogging I went a bit crazy on Netgalley, and it was only at the end of last year (after four and a half years of blogging) that I reached the recommended 80% requested books reviewed.

Now it’s my physical review copy pile that’s the problem – I have about five books read and still waiting to be reviewed, and AT LEAST 20 other books waiting for me. I try to decline all review requests now because the guilt is really building up, but I still get a lot of unsolicited copies, and sometimes I just can’t pass up the chance when something amazing comes along, or I’m offered a book I’ve had my eye on for a while.

I think my main problem is that I am a mood reader. If I piled up the review copies and told myself that they were all I could read until I was done, I would either really start to resent those books and read veeeerrrry slowly, or do anything else but read. I need to pick and choose what I want to read in that moment. Maybe my best solution is to look at those books first, and if nothing takes my fancy at that point then choose from all the others.

How do you deal with a review copy backlog?

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Thoughts #60: Book Sources

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Recently I’ve been thinking about where all my books come from. According to my last count (last month, so it has most likely changed since then), I own 520 books (excluding e-books). And I normally get these in a variety of ways:

  • Gifted: of course my friends and family know I’m a bibliophile, so books are – or rather were – frequent birthday and Christmas presents. Now though, it’s a bit of a risk as chances are I might already have the book, so people are more likely to give me book tokens than actual books.
  • Brand new: I don’t tend to buy my books brand new unless I’m really treating myself, they’re part of a special offer that I just can’t resist (3 for £10 on paperbacks!), or I REALLY want the book and don’t think I’ll find it second-hand very easily.
  • Second hand: this is how I get most of my books. My local charity shops are excellent, my favourite selling books for as little as £0.50 each. I’m not bothered about buying second-hand – as long as the book isn’t falling apart. Why spend £8.99 on one book when I could buy 18 for that price second-hand??
  • ARCs and finished review copies: as a book blogger, I get sent books from publishers on a regular basis – some ARCs, some finished copies.

As I was so confident about how my book buying would break down, I wanted to look into my collection to see just how many books come under each of these categories – and here are the results:

What surprised me is that I own nearly the same amount of brand new books as second-hand ones – and I think this is entirely down to book blogging. I’m much more aware of new releases since starting this blog, and in a way I guess I feel more pressure to read them sooner rather than later, because of all the hype.

For such an avid book buyer, I’m also pretty good at getting rid of books, mostly due to available space. I happily send ARCs that I’ve read on to friends for them to enjoy, if I don’t think I will re-read the book, and donate back to the charity shop from which I get many of my books. I’m also more likely to donate second-hand books than new ones, which might be why my new book collection is larger than I thought it would be.

Where does your book collection come from? Do you tend to buy new books over second-hand, or vice versa?

Thoughts

Thoughts #56: What Do You Do With Your ARCs?

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This is something I was thinking about recently, and also probably something that has caused a little bit of a stir in the book blogging community, because not everyone agrees on what the current thing to do is. So, here is the big question:

When you have finished reading an Advanced Review Copy of a book, what do you do with it?

For me, it really depends on the situation, including what I thought of the book, what it means to me, if I think I will re-read it and (sometimes) how pretty the cover is. Mmm, pretty books, my favourite.

  • If I enjoyed the book a lot, then chances are I will keep the book, especially if it has a gorgeous cover.
  • If I liked the book, then I might keep it, depending on shelf space, or I might pass it on to a friend who I think would enjoy it.
  • If I disliked the book, then I’ll most likely get rid of it after reading – either donated to charity or sent to a friend who I think would enjoy it.
  • Occasionally, if there’s a book I’ve really enjoyed but don’t see myself re-reading, I’ll send it to one of several friends (including Claire from Bitches With Books).

I would never, ever sell an ARC. It seems wrong. I will happily trade them for other books, send them to friends or donate them to charity for others to read – but I’ll never sell them. Publishers have entrusted me with these books, and I don’t want to profit off that.

What do you think? What do you do with your finished ARCs?

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Thoughts

Thoughts #23: Looking Back On My Bookish Resolutions

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At the beginning of the year, I shared my Bookish Resolutions with you all. I wanted to take a look and review them, and perhaps look at them again at the end of the year or the beginning of the next!

I aimed to:

  • Read at least one book per week: definitely managed. I seem to be averaging between twelve and fourteen books a month at the moment, mostly thanks to all the Marvel comics.
  • Get my Netgalley ratio up to AT LEAST 50%: at time of writing, it’s 54.4% – and it has fluctuated a LOT between 50% and 60%. 60% has been my highest so far, but I always seem to end up requesting more after reviewing. However, apparently it was 21.3% at the beginning of the year, so I’m pretty happy with that progress. Maybe 70% for the end of December?
  • Finish my 2013 TBR Pile: ummm… nope. I’ve made some progress, but I definitely still haven’t conquered that pile – and won’t be able to for a while now.
  • Achieve my Re-read January goal: definitely not – I was a rubbish host and only managed to re-read one of the books I set out to read! I have re-read another since though.
  • Contribute points towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge: I think I’ve done pretty well with this one so far! There are a couple of villains I didn’t manage to beat, but several that I have – and still time to recruit more X-Men.
  • Schedule posts ahead of time and on time: yep, I’ve been pretty good at this. I’m getting even better at scheduling weeks ahead (I even had all of July planned out by the first week of the month which has NEVER happened before!)
  • Overall goal of 50 books for the year: I’ve almost doubled this goal so… yep, good!
  • Comment regularly on other blogs: I’ve gone through periods of commenting like crazy and not commenting for a bit. So I guess it kind of balances out…?
  • Don’t get distracted by video games: I did. I’ve completed more video games in the past year than ever in my life. I’m suddenly able to finish games! I don’t know why I set this goal to be honest, if I want to play games instead of read then I can.
  • And I’m still enjoying blogging!

Thanks Bernard.

Thanks Bernard.


Did you set yourself any bookish resolutions? How have you done so far?

Thoughts

Thoughts #10: Book Overload

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Hello, my name is Rinn and I think I have a problem.

I may or may not have requested too many review copies of books when I first started out and – okay that’s no excuse. I STILL request too many copies. Recently, I suddenly got approved for a load of books that I requested months ago and completely forgot about. And then I spotted some great new releases from Random House, who I’ve never had a rejection from. But now my policy is that I only request it if it looks AMAZING – BUT WAIT THEY ALL LOOK AMAZING AHHHHHH

HALP ME

I can’t be the only one, right? I know I’m not. But it’s getting rather silly now. That’s my Netgalley dashboard above, and my ratio currently sits at 21.1%. Um. Oops. This year’s goal was to get it above 50%, but I just keep making it harder for myself. Here are my current dilemmas:

  • I’m going off to university in September, and I’ll be going abroad so will only have my Kindle. Therefore it’ll be nice to save some of these to read (which also saves me some money as I’ll be on a tight budget). That means that right now I want to concentrate on reading the physical books I have that I’ve been meaning to read for a while.
  • But I’ll be doing a Masters degree. The blog won’t be my priority, and I’ll probably be posting more discussion posts than reviews. So maybe I won’t get around to reading a lot of these?! I know the large majority of my reading will be course based, not fiction.
  • I should have 98 books left to read and review, but I only have 58 on my ‘to review’ list – which is also what’s on my Kindle. I think quite a few got lost in the Great Kindle Changeover of ’13, even though I backed things up and copied them over… so my ratio will never hit 80% as it is.

I know that this is all my fault and the only thing I can do right now is keep reading and stop requesting! I could perhaps aim to read at least four review copies a month. I’m also unsure whether it’s worth starting from the earliest requests and working towards the present, or just starting back a few months. Perhaps the publishers won’t be interested if it’s been that long? Of course I plan to get around to them all eventually (HAHA SHE SAYS) but I feel like it would be more worth my while to write reviews for more recent releases at the moment. And believe it or not: my terrible ratio has only resulted in one book rejection so far. THEY NEED TO STOP BEING SO NICE.

Help! Do you have any advice for me? I’d especially like to know what people think about submitting reviews for my earliest requests.

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My Bookish New Year Resolutions 2014

New year

I don’t normally bother making New Year’s resolutions because I generally don’t keep them – but I think I can keep some bookish ones! This year I aim to:

  • Read at least one book a week – my standard is normally two or three, but it’s been slipping lately and I hope I’ll be able to keep this up when I’m back at uni too.
  • Stop requesting a crazy amount of books from Netgalley and get my review ratio up to AT LEAST 50%. It’s currently sat at 21.3%, and that’s a vast improvement from a few months ago when it was 8%…
  • Finish my 2013 TBR Pile. These books have been waiting to be read for a while, so it would be nice to actually finish off this challenge!
  • Achieve my Re-read January goal, a challenge that Kelley and I are hosting together.
  • Also contribute as many points as possible towards the X-Men team for the Avengers Vs. X-Men Challenge, and make some progress towards the Dragons & Jetpacks Ultimate Booklist Challenge.
  • Make sure I actually schedule posts ahead of time, and post my regular features on the right days!
  • My overall goal for the year is 50 books.
  • Comment regularly on my friends’ blogs.
  • Finish tidying up the blog after the migration! I think I’ve got about 75 posts or so left to sort out. I’m hoping this will be done before the end of January.
  • It would be nice to not get completely distracted from reading by video games, as I have for these past few weeks… damn you, Steam sales.
  • And finally: carry on blogging and enjoying it!
  • Plus one non-bookish resolution: carry on learning Dutch for September.

What are your bookish (or non-bookish!) resolutions for 2014?