Thursday, 15 September 2011

BBAW 2011 (Thursday) - Blogging and Reading

Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Tony who enjoyed reading very much.  He used to go to the library, situated just a hundred metres from his house, on a regular basis and occasionally went back the same day after devouring all of his books in just a few hours (not literally, of course - that would be most unfortunate...)When Tony grew up, he continued to read a lot, and he eventually moved into the world of book blogging...

So far, so good :)  Obviously, I started writing a book blog because I wanted to think about the books I was reading in more detail, and putting my thoughts down on paper (or pixels) forces me to consider the books I read in a lot greater depth.  However, as I started to hone my writing style (a process, as you will notice, which is far from complete), I began to experience something unusual and, to be perfectly honest, quite disturbing.  You see, the more I blogged, the more I realised that my blogging was eating me alive subtly influencing what I read (less interesting but slightly more factual than the crossed-out answer).

How (you may, or may not, ask)?  Well, back in 2009, the first year of Tony's Reading List, I actually reviewed each book I read individually, usually within twelve hours of completing it, and sometimes at great (some might say excruciating) length.  As a result, I found myself choosing hefty tomes such as Ulysses and A Suitable Boy, which would give me a little breathing space between reviews, over slim novellas and quickly-skimmed lad-lit fare.  Even if I wanted to read something shorter, I had to carefully consider the likelihood of finishing the book early and have something meatier in store for after the slighter repast.

In 2010, I decided that this was all a bit too difficult, so I opted to make my reviews a little shorter and try to write more multiple reviews, with most posts presenting two or three books.  Although this did initially give me a little more freedom, what seemed a good idea in theory turned out to have a few snags in practice.  What actually happened was that instead of writing three long posts, I usually ended up publishing one super-long post instead...

This year, after the return of my extremely unpleasant RSI issues, I finally came to the hard, heart-breaking, but inescapable conclusion that I simply wasn't able to review everything to the extent I wanted to.  Some books, especially those from my favourite areas, would be reviewed; others, lamentably, would not.  This worked alright until about the middle of the year - then I noticed that I had started reviewing everything again because I was only reading books from my favourite eras and genres :(

So much for my own internal problems.  When to these you add the wealth of information and advice I receive on a daily basis from those bloggers I interact with, either in the blogosphere or on Twitter (@tony_malone, nice to meet you), it's plain to see that I have absolutely no free will when it comes to reading - or blogging -, and that I am driven by random, constantly-changing rules of engagement.  Challenges, recommendations, the odd, rare advance copy, library acquisitions which can't be renewed... it's all getting a bit much for me in my old age.

My name's Tony, and I am a bookaholic.  Please pity me.