Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On beginning to read as a blogger

It’s now been about 7 months since I began my blogging adventure and things have certainly changed. For one, I’ve found that it’s harder to write interesting posts than I thought it would be. It’s also difficult to keep up a steady stream of ideas and plans and blogging schedules. The biggest change I’ve found, however, is in the way I read. For me, reading used to be how I’d spend my leisure time. In recent months (even before I started blogging), I found that I was getting more serious about reading, that I wanted to devour every book in existence, that reading a couple books in a month wasn’t really enough.
Blogging changed things more. I started to feel an obligation to read, to broaden my reading horizons, to start reading deeper in some genres so I could have more interesting and more diverse and varied books to write about and to include in my blog posts.
My reading choices weren’t the only thing that changed - the way I read had been altered tremendously. Reading with a purpose is much different from reading for fun for a lot of reasons.
  • I read more analytically - Instead of finishing a book and saying, “Well, that was fun. On to the next one!” I like to think about what made the book good, whether I’m glad I read it, what sort of audience I would recommend it to, how it could have been made better, what parts were clunky and needed changing, etc. It’s been enlightening to read like this and I’ve discovered more of my personal tastes and what I want out of a book. I’ve also found a lot of things that I don’t like in books (i.e. love triangles - bleh).
  • I choose different sorts of books - Like I stated above, reading with a purpose makes me want to read more broadly. I want to have an overall idea of what’s going on in each genre, what’s currently popular, who the big authors currently are. It’s been fascinating to learn this about many genres that I’m not well-acquainted with and fun to try finding new books within each genre.
  • I read more deeply - While I’m trying to read broadly, I’m also trying to focus in on a few specific genres. Right now, for instance, I’m working on reading more science fiction so that I can have a better idea of what works in that genre and how talented sci-fi authors write. I’ve learned that I really enjoy gritty science fiction and that there are some really cliched sub-genres within science fiction, so it’s been a fantastic learning experience. This has also given me a TON of new and unique books to mention on my blog and more chances to write about sci-fi. It’s also helping me as I work (slowly) on writing a sci-fi book of my own.
  • I think about my review as I’m reading - While I’m not strictly a reviewer, I’m constantly thinking about my future reviews as I write. Sometimes, a quote will stand out and I’ll make a mental note to mention it in my review. Or I’ll notice a subplot that’s more confusing than helpful and I’ll remind myself to reflect more on that when I write my review. I’ll often have the review half written while I still have the last several chapters to go.
  • Books I read will inspire blog posts - I’ll often read a book that gets me thinking and inspires a blog post about sections of the book or about similar stories. For example, reading Women at Church by Neylan McBaine got me thinking about lots of other books for Mormons - leading to posts on the topic (here and here)

Has blogging or writing reviews changed the way you read? How do you find inspiration from books you love? How does writing about reading change the sorts of books you choose to read?

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