Does Blogging Change The Way You Read?



I started thinking about this the other night as I was trying to write a review of London Belongs To Me.  I was struggling a bit and I wasn't sure why.  After all, it was a book I had enjoyed.  I should be able to express that in a brief review.  But still, I struggled.  All I could think to write was a bit vague, as if I was saying "I liked it, you might like it, read it."  Not really an earth shaking review.

Then I realized, over the last few months I have developed two different ways of reading.  I read to blog and I read to read.  That is not to say that I read things only because they will look good on the blog.  I read what I want because I want to read it.  However, sometimes when I read I do so with the idea of having to talk about it afterward and sometimes I just read for the sake of reading.  (Is anyone else feeling that the word "read" is losing all meaning after that paragraph?)

When I read with blogging in mind I do so with post it notes by my side.  When I like a paragraph or sentence or thought I stick a post it note on it.  That way when I want to write a review I can easily find the quotes I want to use.  The problem comes when I don't decide that I want to write about a book until I am all done with it. Then there are no post it notes and I am left with the feeling that I want to start a conversation but don't know what to say.  Sometimes a book is thought provoking and it is easy to know what to say because you can't get it out of your head.  Sometimes though, you just want to say "I like it, you might like it, read it" just with more detail.  Maybe I should read all books with post it notes by my side?

Also, a lot of books are read on my Kindle and you can't use post it notes with a Kindle.  I know you can highlight things but I have always used that to save quotes that mean something to me.  I am struggling a bit with adding quotes, not because they mean something to me but because they will be needed for a review.  Maybe I need a notebook?

I am probably overthinking this.  I overthink things quite frequently, but how do you balance the need to keep the analytical side of your brain awake with the need to just get lost in the book?  Do you learn to do both?  Reading has always been my escape and I don't want to lose that but I enjoy talking about books and that means I need to be specific sometimes. When I am talking in person about a book it doesn't matter if I have the quote exactly right but it sure matters when I am writing.

I will figure it out in time.  I will find a process that works for me.  In the meantime, I am sure I will spend a lot more time staring at a blank screen and thinking "I like it, they might like it too, they should read it."

14 comments

  1. I understand what you mean. I have a classic film blog, and while I went gangbusters with it in 2011, 2012, and part of 2013, I found that writing about films had sucked the joy out of watching them. (Always having to take notes while watching, sometimes even stopping and rewinding to catch a particular quote in its entirety.) So in late 2013, I took a huge step back from the blog, and I have to admit, I've loved just watching movies for pleasure rather than watching them for blogging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see how the stopping and rewinding and writing notes could take away some of the joy of just watching a film. It is a difficult balance, we blog because we love our subject but we don't want to lose that love in worrying about blogging.

      Delete
  2. I know what you are talking about. I think sticking post it notes is a good compromise for me, it does not take too long. If I want to write a very detailed review I will write notes. The way I look at it is that I have a review to look back upon in the years to come. This is lovely for me because I have a mind like a sieve.
    Let me know if you figure out a good solution ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I can relate to the mind like a sieve! On the plus side, it means I can reread books and not completely remember the story. I think the post it notes work for me. Now I just need to remember to use them. I do enjoy writing reviews, it is just so different from discussing a book.

      Delete
  3. This is a very interesting question, one I've asked myself as well. I don't think blogging has changed what I read, except that it has introduced me to many, many new authors, some of whom have become favorites. I still read what I want to - though sometimes I think, "well, no one else will be interested in THIS book."

    I take notes, usually on small pieces of paper that I tuck into the book. I take more notes for non-fiction, just to help me remember. But even with fiction, I note down things that strike me, or that I think I might want to mention. I don't do it with every novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blogging does introduce you to so many books. It is really fantastic and really bad for my bank account. I must admit, now I am curious about what books you read that you think won't interest many others! I think books can tell you so much about a person. Though maybe that is a little scary since we all blog about what we read.

      I do think I need to do a better job about taking notes, otherwise I can be left with vague thoughts about a book.

      Delete
  4. I take notes of every novel I read, even if I end up not blogging about it. I try to figure out the themes, the style, the works (That's why I've progressively become a slower and slower reader). I really, really hope doing this keeps my analytical skills intact otherwise I would lament the wasted time, effort, and paper.

    These notes are also helpful as blog post skeletons. Without my notes, I wouldn't know where to start when writing a blog post. Like you said, wanting to start a conversation without knowing how to start. Hahaha, seems like we have similar experiences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so impressed that you take notes on every novel you read. That takes real commitment. I definitely see how that would help you with your blog posts. For me, I think I need to find a balance between note taking and reading for pleasure. I have noticed that lately, even when I am reading for pleasure, I keep thinking about how things would work for a blog post. It is interesting how our approach to reading can change.

      Delete
  5. I read to blog as well. I'm constantly taking notes, and then I never use them! But it's changed the way I read and I like the change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think reading with blogging in mind can create a more analytical mindset. In many ways, I like that. I just need to do a better job at taking notes!

      Delete
  6. Blogging has definitely changed the way I read AND the way I watch movies. And I think it's done so in a good way. I'm much less likely to just let a story slide through my mind now -- I pay attention to it, looking for themes, for the overall point it's getting across, and to how it's crafted.

    I do blog about probably 9 out of 10 books I read, but whether I am intending blog about it or not, I do mark passages that strike me as good, whether by underlining or starring them if it's my own book, or with a bookmark or sticky note or tiny dog-ear on the bottom corner of the page if it's a library book. Some of those get included in my reviews, and some are just for my own edification or joy.

    For movies, lately I've been trying not to do a review unless I've seen it twice, or unless it's something I'm super excited about but know I might not get a chance to see again for a long time (like waiting for it to come to DVD). So my first viewing is generally just "soak it in!" and the second is "scrutinize it!" If that makes sense :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your description of letting a story slide through your mind. That is what I frequently did and probably why I don't always remember books after I read them. I do like the fact that I pay more attention to what I read now. Blogging about 9 out of 10 books is impressive. I still read way more than I blog about but I am hoping to change that.

      Delete
  7. This is an interesting discussion topic! You're right, I do think blogging about books can change the way a person reads. The way you put it -- "I liked it, you might like it, read it." -- perfectly sums up the problem of trying to write a review whn you can't think of something of substance to say. I allow myself several "just for me" books every year. One thing I've started doing over just the past 6 months or so is blogging *while* reading. I'm not very good about taking notes or highlighting quotes, but if I see an interesting statement or otherwise have a particular thought I'll go ahead and write a sentense or two in a post draft about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I like your idea of blogging while reading. I always think I will remember the points I want to make but frequently they have faded by the time I go to write a review.

      Sometimes I have so much to say about a book and sometimes the words aren't there. It doesn't always seem to have much to do with the value of the book as a piece of literature, some are just books I like but don't feel a great need to discuss.

      Blogging about books is an interesting thing.

      Delete