Tag: ARCs

Rant about my TBR

Posted July 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 24 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about my TBR piles lately. I have this weird love-hate relationship and at the moment I’m feeling very stressed over it. You know that feeling you get when you see the piles of books you have on your shelves to read and you get that feeling that you have books coming in faster than being read? How do you deal with that?

I recently watched a vlog about killing their TBR and taking a minimalist approach to their bookshelf. I love that idea but I can’t help but feel like that would never work (for me anyway). I buy or receive books and I have every intention of reading them but then more books come in and those are new, exciting and shiny and they distract you from the books you already have.

I’m not the kind of person that can just organise my reading and have a pile of books to read and not waver. When I finish one book I tend to pick up whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. I love this reading on a whim approach to reading and it takes me through some interesting journeys but it isn’t very efficient. What about all those ARCs that I should be reading or those new books on my bookshelf? I have to force myself to read my book club books at times and that isn’t really ideal but it needs to be done.

This is a bit like a rant at the moment but I don’t know the answer, what should I do with my TBR? I’ve thought about culling my bookshelf and even getting rid of books I’ve not read just so I can have room for new books but that sounds scary. I know I can buy the book again if I decide I need to read it but giving up books is hard, too hard in fact. I probably can look at my shelves and wonder about some of the books. I know I’ve brought books in the past, excited to read them but then I lose interest and they just sit there waiting. I know it is the hype that is problem but I tend to think that my reading tastes have evolved so much that I’ve outgrown those books as well.

I need to take a year off work and dedicate my entire time to reading the books on my bookshelf; I think that is the only way I’m going to get a handle on my TBR. I’ve tried giving up buying books for a year but that didn’t work, it just forced me to use the library more, and I still use it frequently. I know, as far as problems go, this is a pretty decent problem to have but I just felt like ranting and wanted to know if people had advice for dealing with a TBR that won’t stop growing.

Book Buzz or Manipulation?

Posted November 16, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 8 Comments

Recently I found myself reading, and discussing on twitter, a particular piece found on the NetGalley tumblr page. This article is a typical puff piece about how great NetGalley is and what they can do to create book buzz and make a book popular. It was transcript of a speech Lindsey Rudnickas (NetGalley’s Digital Marketing Manager) gave on ‘“Book Buzz & Discoverability in the Future of Storytelling’. Basically she was saying, give NetGalley your business and we can make your upcoming book a hit.

Sure, this was a typical marketing pitch but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt more like a tool (the literal meaning of tool) rather than a book blogger. I use NetGalley and have enjoyed the benefits of getting to read a book before it’s released from publishers as well. I just wondered are we just tools used to manipulate people into buying the books they want to promote.

This is a little cynical but it was worth taking the time to think about. I have the opportunity to be in direct contact with some people who work marketing for a publisher. Most of them are friendly and supportive of book bloggers. We just have to remember this whole thing is a win-win situation for both the blogger and the publisher.

I know most people know this but this article made me feel more manipulated that I wanted. Should I feel manipulated? Out of the 272 reviews post so far (as of the 4th of November) 64% of the books are book I own, 19% are provided by a publisher, NetGalley or a similar service and 17% are library books. This is nothing to be ashamed of; I think if I read what I want to read then I shouldn’t feel this way.

It was just something to think about; I’ve often said these publicists could save money by being selective with what books they send to the bloggers. I know some of them will be more selective or communicate with the blogger before sending out books. This whole strategy of sending every blogger the same book may seem weird but reading this article I can see what they want to achieve. If there are a heap of reviews on the one book (positive or negative) the book will be recognised, talked about and there we have buzz.

So how do you feel about ARCs or Galleys? Do they over take your life? As a blogger do you think you have a healthy balance between what you want to read and what has been sent to you? Do you feel manipulated? Let me know in the comments; maybe I’m one of the few but at least it was something to think about.

ArmchairBEA 2013: Ethics & Non-Fiction

Posted May 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 26 Comments

armchairBEANow this is a hard topic, firstly I’m not sure if I know enough about the book blogger code of ethics (there should be one set in stone or in hardback at least) and I often struggle with reading and reviewing non-fiction. First of all, ethics; I don’t think I’ve experienced much to do with plagiarism but I think it is important to always give credit where credit is due. I like to tag my posts make it clear if I’m reviewing an ARC, just so people know that the book has been given to me for free. I think it is important to be transparent with our blogging so we can be viewed as an honest and trustworthy blog. I have had some positive and negative experiences with authors and my reviews; I think it is important to have bad reviews so people know what we like and what we hate. Now I try to be critical and constructive in my reviews but authors still take offence. There is nothing against the author, you don’t have to unfollow me on twitter and most of the time I’m willing to try another of your books. But if it doesn’t work for me, I want to write why, I never want it to feel like a personal attack; authors just have to accept that not everyone is going to like their books. I hope I didn’t get too sidetracked but I think we have an obligation to write negative reviews as well as positive.  I want to start being more vicious with my reading and abandoning books so I don’t waste to much time on the books I’m not enjoying but I also want to document my reading journey here as well so I’m looking for ways to implement abandoned books into this blog so people get a full picture of what is happening in my reading.

Ok, when it comes to Non-Fiction, I struggle to get into most books and I’m really trying. I want to learn more and I’ve been reading some books about the Romantics lately, but how do you review them? With fiction it’s easy to breakdown a book and say what you like and dislike but when it comes to non-fiction how do you give an overview of the book without sounding like Wikipedia? I’m sure you can talk about what works and doesn’t work in that non-fiction book but only to a limited extent, these are real events you can’t really say “here is why the holocaust didn’t work for me”. I want to open up this post to both ethics but more importantly to Non-Fiction.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Banner by Nina of Nina Reads and button by Sarah of Puss Reboots