Discussion: Obligatory Reading vs Pleasure Reading


Lately, I've seen a lot of bloggers take a break here or there because blogging turned into a chore in their eyes. While I understood that they were doing what they wanted to do, I could never imagine such a thing happening to me. I love blogging and I never thought that something I started out of fun would turn into an obligation.

And then I went to Italy. And I took an actual two and a half weeks off of reading and reviewing because I wanted to focus on that rare traveling experience. See those pathetic six posts from April? Yeah, it's because I was not only out of the country, but upon my return and my inevitable week-long battle with jet-lag that went something like this...

 sword fight gif photo: Guybrush Monkey Island Animated gif Sword fight GuybrushMonkeyIslandAnimatedPirateSwordfight.gif 

...I simply could not find it in me to pick up a book. I had a pile of books that I kept trying to start because I knew that I had to review them within a week's time, but I struggled with them. Instead of wanting to pick up these books that I was originally so excited for, I reacted to their mere presence like this:

If you hate MY NAME IS EARL, than I hate you. (Not really, but I love this show.)

I lost my desire for reading because I just wasn't in the mood. And blogging temporarily became an obligation for me. I must have picked up at least six books in a span of 14 days and I couldn't finish any of them. I just lost my reading mojo. 

And, to be honest, that realization severely pissed me off. Reading's my escape, how could I be sick of reading? I wasn't sick of reading, I was just sick of reading out of obligation. And that's when I began just picking up all the books I wanted to read out of my personal library and my public library as opposed to the books I needed to read. Sure, I threw an obligatory read in there occasionally, but I've been reading books I've wanted to read for almost two months now. And you want to know how many negative reviews have gone up in two months? Two.


I have no problems with negative reviews, but do you know how awesome it is just to have a spree of positive reviews? It's uplifting for you as a blogger. There were periods where I would just have negative review after negative review after negative review because I was sick of everything, reading books that I had to read by a certain date. And the sad thing is that I'm sure I would have loved some of those books if I was in the mood for them, but sometimes your mood or the books you previously read greatly impact the books that you are about to read and your reviews aren't what you initially hoped they would be. But that's way off the point of this post.

The unfortunate point of this terribly long anecdote is that my pleasure reading for blogging inadvertently turned into obligatory reading without me even realizing it. I had to take a break from my bookish reality to realize it. And when the realization hit me, I wanted to hit myself. I had to fix everything before reading became a chore that I despised.

I will never say anything negative about this movie. EVER.
And so I did by reversing my obligatory reading to pleasure reading. I haven't joined blog tours unless they're books that I'm pining for. I've been very slow about accepting review requests unless the synopses truly appeals to me. Gone are the days of accepting books because "they sound interesting." And, on top of that, I've stopped sending in review requests to publishers aside from the occasional book that I am dying for that I know I'll read upon receiving it (if I somehow manage to nab it) because I wanted it badly enough to request it.

I put myself in check, and by doing so I'm reading books faster than I ever have before, churning out positive reviews by the bucket load, and simply enjoying reading and blogging for the first time in quite a while. Pleasure reading is ten times better than obligatory reading. Yeah, it's nice to get advanced copies from publishers and making contacts is beyond awesome, but it becomes such a heavy responsibility that it can actually cause stress in your life. Do you want your stress outlet to become your new stressor?

I'll have you know that Steve Carell is my spirit animal.
My advice to you is this: slow down, remind yourself why you began blogging to begin with and take it one step at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself and begin to ruin something that you love because you're greedy and you want more books. I'm greedy, I'm a hoarder, I'll never have enough books, but I'm not willing to take it so far that my love of reading will be gone. If you choose to do so, that's your loss.

The best way to sum up this post is this: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm just going to go watch the greatest movie of all time that the above GIF was taken from.
~*~*~*~*~*~

What do you think about pleasure reading vs. obligatory reading? 

Have you ever experienced something similar to what I described above?

Do you like my GIFs? ;)  


19 comments:

  1. First: I LOVE the gifs! Steve, Loki, oh yeah :D And I used to watch My name is Earl all the time.

    Second: Most of the books I read are actually my own books. I hardly get any ARC's and when I receive review copies, those are the ones I asked for. This way, I read mostly books I enjoy :) I'm a book hoarder and I love buying books, but now I'm trying to buy only the books I really, really want.

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    1. I got so sad when it went off the air! You have no idea. I loved that show.

      I think that's smart! I was the same way until I got big enough to get ARCs then I went a little crazy at first. Put the point of this post is that I learned to reign myself in,

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  2. The GIFs are just awesome. Especially Loki. Who doesn't love Loki?

    I agree with you. So much. There are times when I'm reading recommendations because I feel like I have to. Although luckily for me, I haven't really written a negative review yet - for that I am grateful. So grateful.

    I genuinely enjoyed reading this post! Thanks. Seriously.

    Your blog layout is so cool by the way.

    Basma @ My Bookish Thoughts

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    1. I think Loki's a really awesome supervillain. But I loved watching the Hulk beat him up haha

      Lucky you haven't written a negative review yet. I don't mind writing them--they're honest, but it's not FUN writing them

      Thank you! The layout's only about a week old!

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  3. OMG! OMGOMGOMG! Yes, this same thing happened to me. I went to Peru for about 2 weeks and had no internet whatsoever & packed TONS of books I WANTED to read. When I came back I realized that the "blog tour-review" books just didn't appeal to me much but I had to *i was commited :P*

    I also realized i needed to slow down *only 2 blog tours this summer YES* and that blogging because i HAD to review a certain book made me STRESSED to the nth! My biggest fear is that i LOSE the love of books i have, now that i have almost no commitments, I am back to LOVING blogging & reading in general :D LOL, we're both book hoarders & i agree I'll never have enough books! AND YES, I <3 the gifs: My Name is Earl, Steve Carell, and The Avengers x1000!

    -Great post Lili,
    Lisseth @ Read-A-holicZ

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    1. Yeah, blah you obviously get me! haha I'm only on three blog tours spanning the month of july and that's it. They're all books I wanted: DIRTY LITTLE SECRET, BELLADONNA, and the sequel to SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. I only accepted those, and I'm so excited that I did! <3 The rest of my books are pleasure reading and BEA books <3 which I'm holding off on so I don't seem like a reviewing snob haha

      Ugh The Avengers, Steve Carell, and My Name is Early. CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. Couple them with The Breakfast Club and I am in HEAVEN! <3

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  4. Great post! I also went through a reading slump recently, sadly I'm still kind of in a slump. Too many books to review, so little time. It can get frustrating but I still love blogging! I'll definitely try your suggestion.
    -Scott Reads It!

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    1. Well that's my point "too many books to review, so little time." The point of this post was to take it easy on the review books so that it STOPS being frustrating.

      Good luck.

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  5. This is kinda the place I'm at right now. The ebooks have just been pushed aside because I haven't been able to bring myself to read them. Yes i want to read them...eventually. My blog content has been uber small because it takes age for me to read a book lately. And I've stopped signing up for blog tours as well. I've only got like 4 in the next two months.

    It's annoying though. If been in this transition phase. All I want to read is contemporary. I've tried my favorite genre and a little supernatural, but I just can't focus. *sigh* I'm going on a big trip next week ad I'm planning to bring all the books on my shelf that I've been dyin to read but had to push aside. Hopefully I can get to my happy place!

    You brought up son great points an I agree with you completely!!I'm so glad you're outta the slums! Can't wait for more reviews!
    <33333

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    1. Bah. Sorry for typos! Tablets aren't the best for commenting. :)

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    2. I hope you get yourself out of the slums! Stop with the obligations and go with the pleasure, Inky! <3

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  6. Hahaha, I definitely feel like this sometimes. My schedule sometimes feels like a burden, and I'm trying to figure out a way to balance out more reading for me. Part of it, I think, will be learning to not feel so bad about unsolicited books that sounded vaguely interesting. Everything's not for me, and there's no need to force my way through everything that arrives when I could have been reading awesome backlist stuff.

    For now, I still don't feel like it's too much of a chore, but I will definitely cut back on review copies if I hit that point.

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    1. It sounds like it's becoming a chore for you :/

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  7. I think I have it a little easier since I have a co-blogger. We switch off in spurts who posts more and stuff, so sometimes we give each other breaks to read what we want, which is nice. I totally agree with everything you said. But I also like being obligated to read some books because normally I probably wouldn't read them, and I end up loving them -- which happened with A Trick of the Light. I probably wouldn't have picked that up on my own accord (in high school i would have though). Making time for non-ARCs is a must! There's always good ones that I miss.

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    1. Ugh, it is easier for you to have a co-blogger! But even then pleasure reading is still rather hard.

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  8. Fabulous post!! I agree with a lot of what you said. I've over-committed myself to review books and now I have way too many! It's gotten to the point where I've missed the release dates for most of them and I feel bad because I committed to read them and now I'm not...

    And, another big problem for me is that sometimes I request a book that sounds AMAZING, and I get a copy.. but then like 5 bloggers read it before I do and they HATE it, and then suddenly I no longer want to read the book, but I still feel like I'm obligated to. I hate that!

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    1. Ugh yeah, I know the feeling. :(

      Oh my gosh, that happens to me all the time! Most recently with TASTE TEST!

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  9. Anything to do with GIFs and I'm there. Highly enjoyed this post. And I definitely understand the pressure of reviewing books because you feel obligated to. I review for another blog and I always feel crappy not being able to read and review a book every few days or week (like I used to be able to do), so I try to just read the books I like and review as many as I can (that work for the review blog) and just do my best not to get too overwhelmed. I also have like, 2 bookshelves FULL of new books I've bought over the past few months that stare at me every day. : /

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    1. See, stop worrying about books for the blog and get to those bookshelves!

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