[Bookish Discussion] No Audiobooks in Three Months?

When I think about last year, I’m pretty sure that I listened to maybe around 75 or so audiobooks. IN ONE YEAR! I mean, I’m sure a lot of people can work that into their year, but for me, being a mom, I started to find, as the year went on, that I was getting less and less opportunities to listen to audiobooks.

Now, we’ve gone three months into 2018 and I haven’t listened to ANY audiobooks.

And it feels weird. 

It’s not that I don’t want to listen to any, but I really haven’t had a chance to listen to one. When we’re in the car, my kids ask me questions all the time, so I can’t just listen to an audiobook (plus we listen to music a lot), and when I clean the house my kids are always helping me. All of the chances that I had to listen last year just haven’t happened this year and I’ve realized:

I like the quiet when I get it. 

One nice thing about not listening to audiobooks, for me at least, is that I’ve been giving more focus to the books I’m reading. When I was listening to audiobooks last year, I was definitely multitasking while doing so and sometimes I would finish a book and not like it, then those negative thoughts would stick with me and I’d wonder: Did I really not like that book? Or was I just not paying enough attention to it? 

This would lead me to give the book a second chance and read the physical copy and I ended up loving the books that I gave another chance to. That made me wonder if I should give audiobooks a break.

And so I have. And it’s been great!

Honestly, after three months (and probably a bit more, since I’m sure I didn’t listen to much in December) I don’t feel like I’m missing audiobooks and the only time that I think about them is when I think about the handful that I had bought from Audible but still haven’t listened to. Yes, it seems weird when I stop to think about it, but I actually like having quiet when I get it and listening to music more.

Last year I had my head and ears in a book constantly for over half the year. I was on a mission to get through the books I had bought prior to 2017 and audiobooks were a great way to complete that goal, but I also found that I wasn’t giving myself silence, or time to think about the books I had recently finished. I wasn’t giving myself the time needed to digest the books I was reading or the time to relax between books. 

So this year I haven’t listened to any audiobooks! I’m taking my time reading physical books and immersing myself in stories more without multitasking.

Honestly, I think it’s very different listening to audiobooks when you have kids versus when you don’t have kids. If I was able to just be out in the garden with my book and the fresh air, I’d probably give it more attention, but when my kids came running up to me and I was listening to my book, I would listen to their questions as the book ran on, so I was missing a lot.

As much as I’m enjoying the quiet now (seriously, kids are quite loud – quiet is amazing), once my kids are both in school and I have the time to clean the house or garden or mow the lawn, or even just go for a walk, I think I’ll enjoy audiobooks a lot more. I’ll be able to listen to them with my full attention, less interruptions, and maybe find that balance between audiobooks and physical books, without letting them take over my life.

Tell me I’m not the only one! Have you ever given up a form of reading because it was just too much? How often do you listen to audiobooks? If you’re a mom to littles, when do you find the time to listen to an audiobook? Do you prefer audiobooks or physical books when you have kids? 

Advertisements

[Bookish Discussion] Reality Check: No One Cares! And Other Thoughts on Blogging.

Back when I started really getting into book blogging, way back in 2011, I starting making these arbitrary rules for myself:

POST EVERYDAY!
REVIEW EVERYTHING!
PARTICIPATE IN ALL MEMES AND DON’T MISS A WEEK!
POST A TBR!
POST A WRAP UP!
FINISH BOOKS BEFORE THE END OF THE MONTH!

There were many other “rules” that I felt I had to follow and I had it in my head that if I didn’t follow these rules, people would be disappointed in me.

Examples:

If I said I was going to read a certain 5 specific books in the month and didn’t get to any of them, people would be disappointed.

If I posted a TBR for the first two months of the year and then stopped, people would be disappointed.

If I didn’t finish a book by the end of the month, people would be disappointed.

If I said I was going to participate in x number of read-alongs or read-a-thons in a month and didn’t participate in them all in a timely manner, people would be disappointed.

If I took a week or a month or more off of blogging, people would be disappointed.

Needless to say, I had it in my head that I would be failing people if I didn’t follow through with certain things. I would be failing my readers.

This extended into the way I posted. Back when I was having my first child, I scheduled my blog like a lunatic, because if I didn’t post every other day, people would forget about me, people would be disappointed, I would be letting down my blog. I mean, heaven forbid things change when I had children! Even after having kids, I couldn’t let a week go by without posting.

Not post three times a week like clockwork? People would be disappointed!

But news flash: NO ONE CARES.

I know this sounds crass, but let me explain. I’ve seen people comment that they’re going on vacation and won’t be able to post for a week, or apologize that they weren’t able to post a video on their regularly scheduled day. I still find myself slipping back into this idea that I am SO IMPORTANT and that if, say, I had posted every Wednesday, that people would be upset — or that people would even notice — if I posted on the following Monday.

But do you know what I am slowly learning? That I am NOT so important. Even now, I feel like I’m letting myself down by saying this because aren’t we all important people? I mean, yes, it’s amazing that we are all alive and living and breathing and that we even exist in this world and that this world exists and can you believe I grew two human babies inside of me and HOW AMAZING IS ALL OF THIS!?

And while that is amazing and we might all be unique and important in our own way, unless you have maybe millions of followers or are a major celebrity, people aren’t going to notice or care if you don’t have a scheduled post for a certain day. Of course, they probably will notice if you decide to just take a month off of social media and blogging without telling anyone, but if you say you’re going to read these 10 books next month but decide to watch Netflix instead? NO ONE IS GOING TO CARE.

Does that sound crass to say that? What I’m trying to say is that for me, I had this over-inflated sense of importance that maybe people will notice in real life, like if I wasn’t answering the phone, or if my kid didn’t show up for school for a week. But when it comes to reading and blogging, the only person I’m really disappointing is myself.

And should I even be disappointed? NO!

Back before I started blogging, I didn’t read all the time. I would pick up a big book and read it, maybe taking a week or a month, not reading anything else, and that was okay. I wasn’t thinking about content and what I was going to post for the month if I only read one book, because back then all that mattered was that I was fitting reading into my life. The number of books didn’t matter, the type of books didn’t matter, I didn’t feel the need to track anything, tell anyone what I was reading, and I didn’t feel this obligation to wrap everything up in a bow to show everyone at the end of the month.

(Of course, if you do do that, that’s all up to you – what I’m saying is that you should do certain things because you want to do them and like to do them, but not be disappointed if you can’t.)

I mean, yes, it’s fun to blog, but it’s still a hobby. It’s something I started for myself and should continue to do for myself. Some days the only views my blog gets are from me, other days I might get 100+ views. Same thing with my BookTube channel – if no one watches a video, or if I get 2 views, I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

But you know what? I’m not. If I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t do it. I blog and make videos just because I love books. Because I realized that while it was fun to read a book prior to blogging, it was even more fun to bring my love of reading to the internet because other people loved reading, too. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a pile of readers in my life to talk to about books, so it was such an amazing thing to find people who were similar to me, who enjoyed reading and talking about books as much as I did. Blogging isn’t a job – no one is keeping track of how much I post in one week, how many book reviews I post in a row, how many books I read in a month, or how many books I don’t talk about. The only one who’s paying any attention to this is me. That’s all!

I guess what I want to say in this discussion is that there are no hard and fast rules to reading and blogging.

  • Read whatever you want! Do you want to read classics for the whole month? Fluffy romance the next month? Science fiction the next? Do it! No one cares if your reading is all over the place, if you’re not sticking to just one genre.
  • Read whenever you want! Do you want to watch Netflix for the whole month and graze over the same book for the month, maybe not even finishing it? Do it! NO ONE CARES!
  • Rate books or don’t rate books! I find myself finishing a book and hemming and hawing over what kind of rating I should give it. But who cares? It should just matter that I finished a book and enjoyed it without having to tack on a rating.
  • Use Goodreads or don’t use Goodreads! Do you know what I did before I discovered Goodreads? I still read! There are other ways to track books if you like to track, and if you don’t want to track your books, YOU DON’T HAVE TO! Because … say it with me … no one cares!

I think what I’m ultimately saying is that I think we all go through a time where we have an overinflated idea of how important we are in the reading world, when it almost feels like someone is forcing us to finish books, do certain posts, have a certain format or schedule, when in the grand scheme of it all, it’s really just us forcing these rules upon ourselves.

So, some new “rules” I’d like to follow:

  1. Read whatever I’m in the mood for. No one cares if I read different genres or books meant for different age groups.
  2. Quit following the hype because it rarely ends up being something I like.
  3. If I don’t know how to rate a book, maybe just don’t rate it! It’s okay to just talk about what I liked and disliked about a book without giving it any stars.
  4. Post when I want to, take a break when I want to – I may be important and needed in my real life, but if I don’t post for a week, no one is going to notice.
  5. Don’t review everything I read, or feel the need to review everything I read – sometimes a blurb is enough, and sometimes I shouldn’t even have to write anything on my blog. Sometimes just to say “it was a good book” or “I hated that book” should be enough.
  6. Have fun with reading! Join read-alongs and read-a-thons, make friends with people who are lax in their reading style and who read the same books I enjoy, but also don’t feel like I have to read the same as what they read. Our different reading styles is what makes us all unique.
  7. Don’t make reading a competition. Ultimately I’m just in competition with myself, but it’s okay to have a day where I don’t read, or a week where I don’t read, or to not finish a book by the end of a month or year.
  8. Don’t worry where books come from. Yeah, other book bloggers and BookTubers make book ownership look amazing but I already have lots of books. It’s okay if a book is a tattered used copy, a brand new copy, or a library copy. Shouldn’t the point just be reading?

Now, obviously I don’t mean that no one cares about anyone, but the message I want to pass on with this post is that it’s okay to cut yourself a break when it comes to blogging and reading. It’s okay to do something for you without feeling like you need to justify to your readers why you’re doing so. It’s okay to let go of any guilt you feel when it comes to blogging because, in the end, we all do this because we love books and that’s what matters.

Do you have any set of rules you follow for blogging, reading, or BookTubing? Have you gotten harder on yourself as you’ve blogged more, or used Goodreads more? Have you eased up on yourself for certain rules you might have had in the past?

[Bookish Discussion] Goodreads: Is Having an “Own Must Read” Shelf Good or Bad?

So this year I had had a goal of NOT buying any books. That promptly went to crap because of my discovery of not only used bookstores, but also thrift stores. I also had lots of points, gift cards, incentives from one of my favourite bookstores, and birthday books. And don’t even get me started with books from publishers.

This has led to me having piles of books on my desk that I just don’t know what to do with – I mean, of course I want to read them, but when I think of my Goodreads shelves, there’s one that is always a little overwhelming for me: the “own must read” shelf.

Now, a lot of readers have a shelf of books “to read” – there they might have books on their wishlist, books they own, books they want to get from the library, etc. but for me, I like having other main shelves like my “own must read” shelf that has, you guessed it, the books that I own and need to read.

Last year I obtained a lot of books – for Christmas, for example, I got the 80-book box set of Penguin Little Black Classics, so ALL of those were added to my shelf. I have culled over the years, but that number is still at about 360 – and that’s not even including the books I’ve gotten this year (which must hover around 50 or so).

But now I have a problem – I don’t really want to add these books to that shelf. Why? Because seeing that number go up and up is very overwhelming. But how else does a person keep track of their books they need to read?

Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Pro: You can see in one place all of the books you own and need to read.
Con: You can see in one place all of the books you own and need to read, which can make you feel a little daunted by your own TBR.

Pro: If you’re a person who shelves all of your books on the same bookshelves (i.e. mixed TBR and books you’ve read), it’s a handy place to see what you own and need to read.
Con: Not really a con, but if you don’t have mixed bookshelves and are like me, where I have a bookshelf dedicated to books that haven’t been read, is it really necessary to keep track online?

Pro: It’s a great way to track books coming in and going out so your number can always be up to date and true to what you actually have to read.
Con: If you’re like me, you’ll get rid of books you need to read because you don’t think you want to read them anymore … but forget to take them off of your Goodreads shelf. This just adds more work and can be something easily forgotten.

Pro: Your friends can see what books you own and might set up buddy reads or tell you how much they loved a book you’ve added.
Con: Your friends can see what books you own and might comment that they hated a certain book, which could definitely deflate your own enthusiasm to read a book. Also, this is kind of like posting book hauls, which I only do sporadically now – someone can see a book that you’ve hauled or added to your Goodreads shelf and rave about it, but then maybe you realize it’s something you don’t want to read and get rid of it. Then there’s the added guilt.

Am I overthinking this?

Obviously having Goodreads shelves is a great benefit. I love Goodreads because I can track my reading per year and easily see what review books I got in which year, or which books on my shelves are Canadian, or translated, or whatnot, but even this year I didn’t add a “bought in 2018” shelf because it just seemed like more work to keep track of. And I haven’t even added any books that I have received or bought this year to Goodreads because it feels so intimidating to look at my own TBR – which, I will say, is full of books that I do want to read, but having that added pressure of a shelf that says “THESE ARE THE BOOKS YOU OWN WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOTTEN TO THEM YET READ THEM READ THEM READ THEM” can be very detrimental.

The more I think about it, the more I’m not sure what I want to do: continue to keep track of books to be read on Goodreads, or just keep them separate from my read books shelves in my library? I would still keep track of review books, read books, wishlist books, etc. but maybe taking the pressure off by removing that number that either gets higher and higher or stays the same no matter how fast I read (which is faster compared to some) could be beneficial.

I’m curious: how do you keep track of books that you own and need to read? Do you have a dedicated Goodreads shelf? Do you not add these books to Goodreads and just keep a dedicated pile of books you need to read, only adding them when you’re reading or have read them?