Saturday, July 2, 2011

On the Books I Don't Want

This past week I got a surprise book in the mail for review. It fell perfectly within my review guidelines, yet I immediately knew (based on what I'd heard about the book as well as its back-cover pitch), that I wasn't going to be reading it. There was just too much that was going to bother me. I packaged up the book to send on to another book blogger who's been wanting to read it, but while all of this was happening I had a thought, one that's been slowly brewing for a while.

Lately I've read quite a few books that I either didn't finish or finished but wasn't that jazzed up about. I don't get a ton of review books sent to me out of the blue, but I get enough to realize that the books I get out of the blue aren't always ones I'd otherwise read. A lot of times this is great because there's a good chance I wouldn't have read the incredible books The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June or The Unwritten Rule. It's just that sometimes it takes a lot to get through a review book; not because the books are badly-written, but just because the particular stories/characters/writing doesn't appeal that much to me personally. There have been quite a few books that everyone absolutely adored while I didn't quite "get it." There have been others I haven't finished or have finished out of a sense of obligation more than anything else.

This isn't right with me. I love reading and I want to keep it fun. The second my blog becomes obligatory work is the second a huge part of my love and joy for reading dies, and I don't want that to ever happen.

I love getting books for review; it's awesome. But I do have to set a few ground rules for myself--

  • I'm no longer going to finish a book out of that sense of obligation, that feeling that I "have" to write a review for it. If the only reason I'm reading a book is to write about it, I'm wasting my time.
  • If there's a book that I know I'm not going to be reading (or sometimes if I don't finish a certain book), I'll do my best to get it to someone who does want to read it -- blogger, author, librarian... someone who might also write a review or talk about it if they like it.
So, if you're a fellow blogger -- what do you do about "review" books you find it hard to get through?


  1. Good for you, Jordyn! That also seems to ensure that the majority of the books you end up reviewing on your blog are the ones that you liked & enjoyed reading. If I can't get into a book, I just stop and I may put, on Goodreads or something, DNF and just what didn't work for me (re: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I am like unable to finish that book!)
    I get ARCs occasionally, but the ironic thing is they're almost always unsolicited/rarely the ones I request. I usually send those on to someone else who will want them. Why let a book sit on your shelf untouched, amiright?
    Glad you found a system that works!

  2. As a friend of yours on Goodreads, I have noticed quite a few DNF books for you lately, and you know what GOOD FOR YOU. To be honest, I feel like life is too short to spend on books you don't enjoy! That said, I'm a complete hypocrite because I can't leave a book unfinished. It's kinda an obsession/compulsion and I need to finish books I've started. I tend to be the same way about series too... hence me reading all five sisterhood books in one week for example, or finishing Twilight books even though I didn't like them. That said, I do get quite a few review books and I don't necessarily review them in a specific order- I pick one up based on what I'm in the mood for, rather than feeling obligated to read one at a particular time (except for book tours, which I am doing increasingly few of). I do like to review all the books I read, but I try to pick up books in the first place that I think I'll enjoy. That said, there are surprises both with good books and bad. I try to send on books I don't want to read or have already read, I don't actually keep ARCs except in very few cases where I loved the book and plan to buy a finished copy later (Between Shades of Gray, for example) but want to hold onto it because I may want to share it with people in my life, or at least until I may the final purchase.

    Woah long comment, sorry for the novella! This is a topic that got me thinking.

  3. Amelia
    Yeah. It doesn't mean there won't still be negative reviews, but at least the books I review will be ones I liked or was interested in enough to finish. Most of the ARCs (since I don't request many) are ones I wasn't expecting, so it's always like a lovely little surprise (which I love!), but sometimes the surprises aren't books I'm into.

    LOL, yeah... in the past month or so there've been five (FIVE!) DNFs. And those books aren't even BAD... I just got to the point where they so weren't my cup of tea. I do try to read my review books in order of when they come out (at least somewhat... like reading the June books before July, etc.) and sometimes if I know I'm not going to read or finish a book I read the last few pages to see how it ends. Haha, it's not cheating if I'm not going to read the rest anyways, RIGHT? (Because of this I totally know how Forbidden ends. haha. But unlike you I actually keep most of my ARCs... at least the ones I like, which is kind of a lot of them.