Being a blogger whose blog focuses on all things bookish, I get to recommend a lot of books to fellow readers.Even if I didn’t blog, recommending books it is an occupational hazard of reading over 200 books a year for the last 5 years straight.
These phrases get used a lot:
- “Read this book.”
- “Highly recommended.”
- “If you like ______ then I recommend this book.”
So what happens when you decide you no longer recommend a particular book?Since I changed my blog’s name to Paper Bindings, I’ve spent a lot of time combing through old posts to update links and name references. I tried not to touch the actual content of the post unless I spotted a grammar or spelling error. When you consider that I barely remember some of those early books I reviewed, how could it feel right to change what I initially wrote about them?
I’ve learned a lot about my blogging history by going through all 1000 posts.
- I saw what worked and what didn’t work.
- It gave me a better understanding of the types of reviews people want to see and the kind I want to write.
- It sparked a lot of my recent posts that forced me to look at my reading and blogging habits.
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But the scariest understanding I have come to is that I no longer would recommend a large number of the early books I have read.Is it me? Is it the books? What changed?
If you’ve read my ratings post, then you know how (compared to now) I was super generous with my stars back then. If I were to rerate them today, many books would lose a star or two in the process. You might also recall that I said that my average book rating has changed from 3 stars to 2.5-3 stars. (Remember, that does not mean that I did not like those books or that I wouldn’t buy them for my shelves.)
But I don’t think it is just me either. I think the quality of books I’ve been reading has improved over the years. I’m no longer reading every book someone throws at me, and I’ve allowed myself to set down the ones that aren’t working out for me.
My tastes have changed, I read different books now, and I am okay with that.
That’s wonderful, you say.
But that still leaves me with a massive dilemma: Do I update the reviews to reflect my current thoughts or do I leave them alone and say the past is the past? If I update them without rereading the books, am I just letting my possibly faulty memory cloud my judgement? If I don’t and someone picks up the book because of an old recommendation, would I feel guilty if I didn’t let them know I changed my mind?
What about those in-direct recommendations?All those times I’ve said:
- “I’ll read the next book.”
- “I’ll read more by this author.”
If I had a dollar for every time I said I would read more by an author or continue the series but ultimately decided I didn’t love the book I read enough I could buy a whole new bookshelf and start filling it up. Sometimes I thing that was my go to phrase for “move along, I have nothing else to say about it.”
The Gritty TruthI will never.......
- Read most of the indie authors I've read over the years again. There are only a handful who I think are still writing books I want to read. Plus I'm tired of freebie ebooks that have grammar or telling issues.
- Give an author I DNF a second try unless the writing was well done and it was just that story that I couldn't get into. I have too many books I want to read as it is.
- Pick up a book rated less than 3.5 stars on Goodreads unless I am 100% sure I want to read it. I've been burned too many times.
- Read a sequel to a book I didn't love. I have too much to read to waste my time on something I will probably not enjoy.
- Request Or Accept A Request For A Book I Wouldn't Randomly Buy At The Store. If I wouldn't spend money on it as a consumer to read for fun, then I don't want to read it enough to review if for my blog.
- Along the same lines, I Will Only Enter Giveaways For Books I'd Randomly Buy.
- Recommend a series that I haven't finished by now or still have on my Goodreads to-read shelves. I have books on my Goodreads TBR that have been up there for years. I don't remove them simply because they are old, I remove books because I no longer wish to read them. Despite my fear of series enders, I do try to finish all the series I start.
So, tell me, have you changed your mind about recommending books over the years? What do you do with your old reviews?