The Counter-Productivity of Book Blogs

I began this blog in April of 2008, hoping to somehow organise my reading (that was before I discovered Goodreads). Little did I know that it would do much more than that. Keeping a book blog has allowed me to widen my horizons, as well as helping me to keep organised – and along the way, I’ve met some great people and been introduced to some great writers. Well, not that I actually met any writers; I was just introduced to their books.

Anyhoo, in the last few months, I pledged to read the complete works of Woolf, Dickens, Ondaatje, Tolstoy, Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot, Murakami, Austen and Shakespeare; I signed up for ten challenges, and created a few long-term projects of my own. How would I have been able to keep track of all this without my beloved blog? Oh, and most surprisingly, who would’ve known that people would voluntarily return to this site in order to keep up with my random, ill-informed and completely biased ramblings?

Nowadays, I enjoy blogging and reading other book blogs as much as I love reading books. Surely, none of this is bad. Yet can blogging be counter-productive to reading? I think it can be. From mid-October to early November, I was quite busy studying for exams, and yet in the precious moments of spare time I had, I chose to update my blog instead of using that time for reading. This has turned up in my mind countless times, and I’m sure it’s on other bloggers’ minds as well – Rebecca from Rebecca Reads also recently mentioned how in October, she spent more time compiling lists than doing actual reading (I’m sure we can all relate to that).

I suppose it’s hard to truly immerse yourself in a book when your mind is worn out from other exertions, but the same applies to the majority of people out there who come home exhausted after work everyday. I shouldn’t be using exams or my blog to excuse my lack of reading over the past few months. Because now that I’ve finished exams, I’m so over using my brain, and I like to do stupid things like listen to my neighbour mowing the lawn.

Well, what exactly is my point? I’m not sure, because I don’t really plan on reducing the time I spend on my blog. I think what I’m trying to say here is that I’m very much in love with blogging despite the fact that it cuts into reading time, and that I really do appreciate the people who take time to read (and comment on) what I have to say. Also, I just missed having a random, pointless post. I haven’t done many of them since I started the blog – most of my posts have been reviews of books, and memes, and what not. It’s nice to have a pointless ramble once in a while.

One last little thing. It makes me laugh:

That’s all from me today. Happy reading, everyone :)

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13 thoughts on “The Counter-Productivity of Book Blogs

  1. This blog post hits SO close to home. I’ve been struggling with finding a balance as I seemed to have spread myself a bit thin with blogging, reading, and writing. Especially now that I am participating in NaNoWriMo,

    But reading this offers me insight to options and the fact I am not alone in my feelings and concerns.

    Thank you so much for this!

  2. I think it’s okay if we spend a lot of time on our blogs because when we’re just reading it’s just going inward, but when we write about what we read, it’s going outward and being shared with others, and what really is the point of reading if it doesn’t connect us with others? Okay, so I wish I was a good writer and that didn’t sound retarded.
    I personally enjoy reading rambling.

  3. J C Montgomery – November seems to be a particularly hard month. I myself am [now not so secretly] participating in NaNoWrimo – secretly, because failure seems less ominous if nobody knows about it. But that’s probably against the whole spirit of NNWM. I’m glad my random ramblings could help in some way :)

    Chain Reader – that’s so very true! I love how keeping a blog helps me to think about what I’ve read instead of just tossing it straight back onto the shelf/the back of my mind. And it’s always great to hear other people’s opinions, of course. Thanks, as always, for dropping by~

  4. Hi there,

    I found my way to you via my good friend Juliadomma’s blog at Echoes of Narcissus and I think what you’re writing is very interesting! I’ve also been book-blogging at http://www.booksandbiscuits.wordpress.com, but from a slightly different angle from you, I think – I’m a bit more about publishing and book reviews. The idea of your reading challenges intruiges me – I think it’s a fantastic aim to have to read all the classics etc, but doesn’t the pressure of feeling you ‘have’ to read them take some of the fun out of it? Especially when studying and blogging start to take up precious reading time! I prefer to be able to read whenever I can without feeling I’m failing something or someone if I don’t get round to it as soon as I’d have liked. I do agree though, that writing about the books I’ve read helps me think about what I’ve read, and blogging somehow seems to be the way I’ve started doing that – I tried keeping a paper book diary for a while, but it just seemed silly to duplicate the reviews I was blogging about – although invariably, not every book I read gets a blog review!

    Ella

  5. Yes, I think it’s about finding a balance. I see blogging as a bit of fun and my only aim in blogging is to ‘meet’ other readers and discuss books with them. The deep peace and pleasure that comes from reading a good book is essential to me and that comes before blogging. I do enjoy your blog, by the way!

  6. It’s easy to get completely caught up in the world of blogging while the TBR pile grows ever higher! It’s quite addicting (in a good way, I think!)

  7. Elladk – hi, nice to meet you! Well, I don’t see my challenges/projects as pressuring, because they’re all books that I’m interested in reading – and that I would get around to reading anyway. I just like to have them organised into lists.. And most of the longer lists are ongoing projects, so I don’t mind whether it takes five months or fifty years to finish them, really.

    I think I’m also not the pressured type. Whilst I can be extremely keyed-up about school assessments, my personal aims don’t really pressure me. I see it this way – if I aim to read ten books, and I only read four, I’ll still have read four new books. So there’s absolutely no loss at all :)

    Nicola – Hahah, I think I used to be balanced before I became addicted to blogging, but now that I’m starting to really enjoy it, I find myself coming back to it again and again to update! I too enjoy meeting other book-lovers and discussing books because most of my friends don’t read at all. And yes, I agree that the biggest pleasure ultimately comes from reading a good book.

    Becca – It’s definitely a good addiction, but I think my TBR pile will actually shrink next year, because I’ve put down all my unread books for challenges. I’ve never done any before, though, so I’m kind of worried I won’t be able to finish everything I’ve pledged to read .. *crosses fingers*

  8. I loved the Thurberesque cartoon. Funny. I don’t spend any more time blogging that I did when I was merely online chatting about what I was reading, so the writing part is a wash…maybe if I edited more, but where’s the spontaneity in that?

    >Anyhoo, in the last few months, I pledged to read the complete works of Woolf, Dickens, Ondaatje, Tolstoy, Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot, Murakami, Austen and Shakespeare

    Wow–what was the time period in which you planned to do all this? I’m almost done reading Shakespeare front to back and it’s taken my almost two years. I’m currently reading Gaskell along with a bio of her, and I’m about 8 months into the project. I toying with Bronte next, but I really want to read all of Eliot. Dickens, I abandoned after the treacly Old Curiosity Shop about 10 years ago and haven’t resumed yet though I am threatening to.

  9. JaneGS – hahah, the time period? There is none! I wouldn’t dare impose a time limit!

    Ugh Dickens, I’ve given up on him so many times over the last few years; that’s why I’ve decided to read all of his works (it makes sense in an illogical kind of way).

    I’m fond of most other Victorian writers, though, so I’ll be following your blog :)

  10. I’ve been trying to maintain a balance between my book blogging and reading. While blogs has widened my horizons in reading, they can also deprive my reading time. I have made it a habit to read for at least two hours in the morning, before heading to work. I usually have a tad of an idea of what I’ll blog the next day by the time I get off work. It can be a book review or a reflection. Thanks to the weekly events (Musing Mondays, Booking Through Thursday, The Sunday Salon) that will at least give me some ideas for three days a week. As my blog roll has grown exponentially, it’s inevitably impossible that I’ll read every single blog on the list. Usually I visit blogs of which the blogger have left comments on my blog, then I’ll proceed in the ones that I most scrupulously follow.

  11. Matthew – yes, I totally agree with this: “While blogs has widened my horizons in reading, they can also deprive my reading time.” I’ve never heard of Musing Mondays before; I must check it out :)

    Chronic Bibliophile – glad you enjoyed reading the post. I’ll check out your blog too!

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