One of my blogging goals for 2013 was to have more discussion posts. I've said this for a long time, but somehow never quite write them. Having Snapshot Musings will hopefully encourage me to post more than just book reviews and regular memes. Some posts may be long, some short, and some mainly asking for opinions of fellow bloggers. If there's any topic you'd like to see featured, feel free to email me with the idea!
I've always been one of those people who loves planning. In high school and even into college, I loved buying a new planner for the new year. I spent way too much time choosing one and then filling it out, going so far as to color-code things. And for all my efforts and all of my best intentions, using the planner only lasted for a month, if that.
Even though I've always liked systems, I never seem to have a good one in place to manage what to read next. I see other bloggers who plan out what they'll read every month, make their post and review schedules weeks or even months in advance, and publicize and stick to it. I can't seem to do that. Even when I have books that need to be read by certain dates, I can't plan specific times to read them.
I've thought of two reasons for this. The first is that I definitely fall into the category of being a mood-reader. There are times when I want something light and fun, a book that I know I can get through in an afternoon and not miss any of the story. Other times I want a book that will move me and make me cry, one that will make me think and possibly even influence or change the way I look at the world around me. And if I'm being perfectly honest, there are some times that I don't want to read. At those times, I want a book that I've been really excited about or one that I'm almost guaranteed to love to get me out of my reading slump.
The second reason is that I can't read similar books back to back (the exception being certain series like Black Dagger Brotherhood or Lords of the Underworld). I can't read all paranormal or all contemporary. Nothing will put me into a reading slump faster than reading too many similar stories that all just become "meh" after a while. I like to switch genres with every new book, or at least switch tones (light contemporary before darker contemporary, vampire story before witch story, etc).
Given how many books are in my to-read pile, it shouldn't be hard to choose one. But sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the books there. I want to get books read and reviewed by their release dates, but that would be impossible. Especially since I want to read older books too. Because I've been fortunate enough to attend conventions like ALA and acquire ARCs there, I've struggled a lot with letting these titles slide. But I still have older books that I want to read, many of which I've bought from signings or even to continue series. At times, however, I feel guilty when I start to reach for an "older" book. Sometimes it seems like everyone in the world but me has read that title, and in that case, what's the point of reviewing it? Even though I want to read the book, I feel like I have a responsibility to promote new books rather than post reviews of books in series that are already so well-read and well-loved. I waffle back and forth between thinking that I should be able to read whatever I want regardless of my blog and thinking that running a blog means I have a responsibility to read and review certain books.
After so much time spent thinking about this issue, I settled on a new system: read one new release, one semi-recent release (a titled released within the last year, likely with a sequel on the way), and one old release. I could switch genres with every new book. I'd get through some of the books that have been on my to-read shelf for way too long. It seemed like the perfect system.
And yet I still have my doubts. Can I keep up with that system? Am I going to miss out on being part of the hype and excitement for an awesome new release because I'm trying to play catch-up for books that became popular before I started blogging? Is there a better way to do things? I have a feeling that no matter how much I think about these questions, I'll always wonder if there's a different answer I should be looking for. As always, there are so many great books waiting to be read, and so little time.
I know one way of doing things won't be right for every person, but I'd love to hear your methods. How do you choose what to read next? Do you pass up old books in favor of new releases? Are there any secrets to balancing to-read piles?