There has been a list of 25 or so book related questions making its way around the blogosphere - and I find all of the questions interesting and the answers fascinating. The wonderful thing about these question/answer surveys is that it causes the reader to take time for reflection. I have a couple of questions of my own that I would LOVE to hear your opinions.
Do you re-read favorite books - or do you feel that time is too short and books too many to re-read? I must admit that I never thought to re-read a book until I started teaching. I simply do not feel comfortable teaching a book without at least reviewing it before-hand. This has MADE me re-read some books as many as 4 or 5 times: Pride and Prejudice; Tale of Two Cities; The Hobbit; Macbeth; and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In doing so I have made two rather amazing discoveries: first, in re-reading a book, it is like visiting an old friend. There is a certain comfort of renewing acquaintances with literary characters and discovering that although a year has passed, some things remain the same. At the same time, I always discover new insights into characters and themes - and greater appreciation for the author's writing style. I feel as though I learn to dig deeper with each subsequent reading.
The problem is this: there are just so many hours in a day - and for me, only so many more years left. I already feel so far behind. I allowed my reading habit to go dormant while raising my family, and I now I feel as though I will never read all the books that I want. Is it better to try to increase the breadth of my knowledge by reading only new books (to me) --- or should I also allow time for depth of reading by re-reading a time honored classic again...and again. What do you do? Do you ever re-read books? If so, how often do you re-read the classics? What is your selection process for reading new books vs re-reading old favorites?
For those of you who are fortunate enough to be recipients of ARCs (and I would ask how one networks to be a part of these lists, but I don't want to appear to be a blogger with ulterior motives -- I truly never knew they were available until I started blogging).....how do you temper your personal reading lists with the books that you feel you must review?
How do you segment your time between reading books and reading blogs? Gosh, 6 months ago this question was not a blip on my radar -- but now, it is really a pressing thought for me. I absolutely LOVE reading blogs about reading books (my kids used to tease me when I would buy books about books: "Mom...you've got to be kidding me!"). I have been introduced to so many great authors and books that I never would have found on my own if I had not read your blogs. I have already alluded to the fact that I feel so very far behind (did I waste those years???? I don't think so --- but boy, I would sure like to figure out how to catch up with the years I have left). So a part of me thinks that I should spend more time reading books and less time in front of the computer screen. On the other hand, because I have read these blogs I have been able to recommend books and speak knowledgeably about authors to so many friends -- and turn them on to reading -- that I know the time is not wasted.
My question is: how do you segment your time? Have you been able to find a balance between blog time --- personal reading time --- family time --- career time? If so, please share your secrets!
Library Thing vs Good Reads vs Shelfari: I have a couple of questions regarding these amazing sites. I love that I can keep track of books I have read, as well as books that I want to read, online in a very user-friendly visual format. I found Shelfari first and spent some time uploading information there before later finding Good Reads. I have spent the most time at Good Reads and have my most updated list located there. In a very unscientific poll at the beginning of the year, I discovered that most of you prefer Library Thing. Is there a particular reason, or did you just start with that system first? I am a bit hesitant about transferring over to Library Thing because I am near the 200 book maximum before I need to pay for membership - but perhaps membership is worth it. What do you think?
For those who review books on your blog -- do you also post reviews for those same books on these websites? If so, do you post the same review in all locations or do you modify? I have just recently started posting reviews on my blog - and have yet to "publish" a review elsewhere. I guess I am afraid of the time commitment, but also, I am not sure that my review talents are worthy of anything more public than a personal blog. However, I wonder if posting reviews at Library Thing might (perhaps) increase chances of receiving "early review copies"???
To Keep or To Give Away: so this will be last question for this particular post. Believe me, I have many other bookish thoughts -- but I don't want to appear too overbearing. I noticed that many of you give away your "gently read" books as blog incentives and/or you use online book trading sites such as Bookmooch, Paperback Swap, or Frugal Reader. I tried Frugal Reader for a year. I managed to have 9 books accepted from others, and I think I found 4-5 books to request myself. I found the system frustrating because it seemed that the books I wanted were never available. It was therefore easier for me to visit nearby used bookstores and purchase the book myself. Perhaps my expectations were too high? Perhaps there is a "system" that makes these sites worthwhile and I have just not discovered it yet? Perhaps my list of books needs to increase in order to better my chances?
For those who use these sites on a regular basis (or who do give aways your blog).....what criteria do you use to keep a book vs give it away? Do you find that certain book give aways on your blog generate more traffic than others? Do you enjoy one book trading site more than another? Why?