Discussion Series: How I Balance Books, Blogging and Life (Part 3): Reading Speed, Arc Copies and my TBR

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMIt is time for another instalment of my balancing books, blogging and life series. Last time around, I posted about time management.   The week before, I posted about my blogging routine.  This week, I figured I would answer some of the questions regarding reading speed, ARC copies and my personal TBR pile.

Once again, to start, I would like to be clear. People keep asking me to write this post and to share my secrets.   Truly, there really is no secret.   I do what works for me, so, that being said, some of the things I do will not work for everyone! So my top piece of advice, before I start my ramble, is to take my advice as needed and adjust it to fit your own needs!

Like last time, I decided to take direct questions and answer them Q&A style, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

I’m curious to know if you are a dialogue reader or if there’s certain methods that enable you to read so quickly and if so, do you only do that with books that may not be your favorites? I’ve been known to skim dialogue if it’s a book I want to get through quickly but I only do that if it’s a review book that I’ve figured out isn’t all that compelling for me. For books I love, I read every word and then it takes me longer.

For the most part, I read books in their entirety. If I am sent a review book that I am not interested in after a few chapters, I usually do not even bother to finish it. I have too many books to read and not enough time in my day! However, if I am buddy reading a book that I am completely uninterested in, for example, I just recently read Do Not Be Alarmed with Janel from Keeper of Pages and was not a fan. In that case, I wanted to know how the book would end so I could discuss it with Janel. I skimmed the last few chapters so we could talk.

Do you read on your phone or kindle a lot??

I have never read a book on my phone before; I think that would drive me completely bonkers. I do read on my Kindle a lot. This is especially beneficial for me when I want to read in bed. I end up getting a significant amount of reading done before I go to sleep.

I believe that it’s possible to learn how to speed read by reading down the middle of each line on the page. Have you ever tried this? I suppose my questions go to all bloggers who manage to read a book every day or two. I just cannot fathom how to read that quickly.

I have never tried this reading method but it sounds like it would make me feel stressed out! I like to read to relax so I am not usually trying to intentionally rush through any of the books I am reading. If I am interested in a book, I end up reading quicker because I am legitimately interested in the plot and what is going on in the text! I am lucky that I have always been a quick reader; when I was younger and in school, I was always chosen to be the reader so I could explain to everyone else what the story was about or what they needed to do! I am usually the first person finished any reading at a staff meeting or in an office.  It just is something I naturally do quickly!

How do you decide what books are on your TBR every month? Do you only read Arcs? How do you decide what order to read them in?

This is a tricky question because I am the absolute worst at keeping a set TBR each month; I always start my month with a general idea and then end up going completely off my plan and end up with a completely different set of books in my pile.  I do

I do receive ARC copies so I try to prioritze those based on their release date.  This doesn’t always work out the way I want it to but I do my best to get those read and posted by their publication date.  I also am on several blog tours each month and do my buddy reads with #cjsreads.  Those dates are pre-scheduled so I make sure those are a priority too.  

Otherwise,  I read whatever else I want.  I usually try and read about 10 of my own books off my personal TBR each month (whether that be books I get from the library or my own books I have purchased)

I’d like to know how you read so stinking fast!? And what is the trick or balance to reading more than one book at a time. I’ve tried this and I seem to just get hooked on one book and never go back to the other. I take notes so I don’t get overly confused but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by it. I’d really like to read more books at a time but haven’t figured out the secret yet

I wish I could answer that question with a definite answer!  I just kind of do it.  I am reading all the time and I am lucky that I just am able to read quickly.  It is truly my only talent! 

As for balancing more than one book at a time, I usually have books that a delegated for certain areas of my life.  I have a gym book, a lunch book and a book to read before bed. Usually, my before bed book is on my Kindle and I keep that by my bed.  My gym book stays in my gym bag and then my lunch time book is what I kind of bring with me wherever.   That would solve any issue I would have going back and forth between them during the day since I actually do not have them with me!  Since that is the case, my lunch book is generally what I get through the fastest.  If you were to watch my Goodreads shelf, you would notice I always have one book rotating out faster!  I usually try to read books of different genres or at least different types of the same genre so I don’t get them too mixed up.  I would never try and read 3 psychological thrillers at the same time because I would 100% get them mixed up.  However, I don’t have an issue reading one psychological thriller, a police procedural novel and maybe a historical fiction.  Since they are so different, the lines never blur and I can keep all their plots straight! 

What allows you to receive ARCs. I see a lot of my favorite bloggers read ARCs and I think it’s way cool that you all get to do that!

Publishers send bloggers advanced reader copies (aka. ARCs) for review.  From what I can tell, building followers, blogging consistently and following through on reviews helps to garnish a relationship with publishers and keep those review copies coming. I, myself, still am not 100% sure what the true rhyme or reason is for receiving ARCs.  Sometimes I get a lot, sometimes I get none at all!   I know when I first started blogging, that was one of my biggest questions too and, for the most part, I still have not figured it out!  

How do you deal with ARCs that you are really not enjoying? I find that with full time work and a long commute, my reading time is so limited that I hate spending it reading books I don’t enjoy, but feel obliged to read because I have received an ARC. In the past I would DNF them, but it made my Netgalley ratio look bad. Still struggling with that one!

If I am hating a review copy, I give it a DNF on Netgalley.  It doesn’t make my ratio look poorly because I still send feedback explaining that I was not the right reader for the book. Publishers know that not everyone is going to love every book, so I think, for the most part, that they understand!  Don’t waste your precious reading time on something you don’t love!

Thanks for reading Part 3 of my long winded discussion series!  As always, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to comment!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

16 thoughts on “Discussion Series: How I Balance Books, Blogging and Life (Part 3): Reading Speed, Arc Copies and my TBR

  1. Yeah I also like the stuff about DNFs! I feel like I need to finish books if they’ve been sent on Netgalley or posted to me but you’re right, life’s too short for forcing yourself to read crap books! Do you do the same for blog tours if you’re supposed to post a review as part of the tour but aren’t enjoying the book – do you just let the publisher know or do you post a review anyway? This doesn’t happen often to me but has done and always leaves me in a bit of a conundrum!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I absolutely HATE the book for the blog tour I am supposed to be on, I let the publisher know and usually they have me post content or just a promo since my web address is already linked for the tour. Luckily this doesn’t happen often for me either but that is how I have handled it before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh that’s really helpful thanks! Good idea, I struggled a bit with a recent blog tour review but it was OK-ish so I went ahead but next time I’ll probably do that! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great idea for a series! I am not the fastest reader and I can’t even begin to understand how some bloggers get through 4 or 5 books a week but there are some great tips in here😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never considered that being the way to deal with multiple books, the prospect always overwhelms me but your way seems so logical!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I do the audiobook thing when I can’t read as long as I am busy. If I listen to one while relaxing I fall asleep 😁 def gonna give this a go and get back to you!


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