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Readers Talk #1 – Books, Blogging, Looking Back Over 2019

A few weeks ago I was asked by my wonderful friend Kriti from Armedwithabook if I’d be interested in doing a collab. Oh yes!! How could I say no? Kriti is super dedicated and always comes up with great new content ideas for her blog. Hence, our wish to collaborate resulted in an insightful conversation about books and blogging. I thought this kind of chat would be fun to have with other bloggers, readers, or authors more often, so I intend to start a new series on my blog called Readers Talk! Welcome to episode 1!

N: I have always loved books – ever since I can imagine, they have been an important part of my life. Even though life – work, friends, family, health, and more – sometimes get in the way of reading, I can’t imagine a life without books. To me, that would be horrible. Books make life so much nicer, in the actual and the metaphorical sense. A house with books looks beautiful to me, and the stories can have a big impact on your life, which I find amazing. So yeah, books mean the world to me.  

What about you, Kriti? Have they always been important to you, too, or did you find your love for books later in life?

K: Books have always had a unique place in my heart for as long as I can remember. I have started reading more as I have gotten older, especially this year with book blogging and finding a niche for my blog. I use Goodreads extensively to keep track of all the reading.

Do you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or set reading goals for yourself? If yes, how do you usually chose this goal and what was your goal for this year?

N: No, to be honest, I don’t. I only recently joined Goodreads and am still trying to get used to the platform, and I don’t really want to set myself goals for reading. I want it to stay something that is making me feel good, and I think setting a goal would just stress me out – even if I put the bar very low. I enjoy my little readathon that I’m running together with a friend. It is pushing me to try out more and I try to set myself some minor goals this way, but it’s not that bad if I can’t stick to it. It’s fun, and I want reading to stay fun, too. Since you use Goodreads, do you set yourself a goal then? Have you always done that, or did you only recently start it?

K: That’s a good way to look at it. I am so much in the habit of setting a yearly goal – have been since 2012 – that it is hard for me to not do that! I will admit, I have been toying with the idea of carefree reading. I think as long as that number does not become a driving force to read shorter books and reach it, it can stay. This has come up with many conversations recently, like with Helen (another #2019InBooks posts) and later with Ariel, as I mentioned in Who are you as a reader? I did the exercise of learning more about myself as a reader and was a little surprised that the reading target for the year was never mentioned even once. 🙂

N: Do you always have a book with you wherever you go? Do you prefer ebooks, physical books or audiobooks?

K: I extensively use my library app during commute to listen to audio books and then switch to the Kindle app when I have time to read. Since my phone has most of my books right now, I am never without a book truly. I don’t really have a preference between the three. I do think though that I don’t gain as much from audiobooks since I am unable to take notes or bookmark sections. I have noticed lately that when I finish a physical book, I walk away and sigh, thinking I have been reading too many ebooks, I should pick up a physical book now! Which is hilarious because I just put one down! I guess I am still getting used to reading ebooks. What about you? I loved your tabulation of ebooks vs physical books. Do you extensively read one kind?

N: Yes, actually, I read way more physical books. I know about the convenience of ebooks, and I find it great to be able to carry around so many at once. Also, ebooks often come with great deals and are also usually way cheaper than physical books, but I cannot help it. I just love the feeling of holding a “real” book in my hands way too much.

Are you taking notes for your reviews while reading or after finishing the book, or do you write your review immediately after turning the final page?

K: Yes I do. Its easiest with the ebooks because I can find my highlights and notes in one place. With physical books, I’ve started writing on sticky notes and making sure that I put the sticky note on the page so that part of it is always visible off the page. With audio books it’s impossible but if I feel too much of a need to write or have many areas I want to revisit, I just buy the book. Do you take notes or annotate in any way?

N: I often do. Since I have my phone with me at all times, I often take notes on my phone. Even though I have to say I’d much rather use one of my pretty notebooks. I own so many, and never really use them – this could be a great opportunity to do so, right? During my English Literature studies at university I annotated my books – took actual notes IN them. I know some people hate the thought of that, but it was important for me to have my notes right there at the specific text passages. In my leisure reads I usually don’t do that. I do, however, use sticky notes to highlight quotes I like. I love collecting meaningful quotes.

K: How do you choose your books to read?

N: Oh, in many ways actually. Lately, Twitter friends recommend me many, and often I see a review about a book or a spotlight online and I think wow – I need this book! I used to browse online bookstores way more often, but lately I’m being flooded with so many great recommendations that I don’t need to do that anymore. So thank you to everyone for your great recs!

K: I know it is hard to give recommendations, especially when we read so many books in a year! If you had to choose, tell me about four books that I should check out and why.

N: Ohh, this is hard indeed! Ok, let me think. Can I go with two instead? Lol. One – I think you should read Alan Gratz’ Ban This Book. It’s about censoring books and how important it is for children to be able to pick out their reads themselves. I absolutely loved this middle grade novel! Another would be the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas. It’s one that still stays with me, even though it’s been a while since I’ve read it. Every time you think it can’t get any better than this – it does!

I think this is one of the hardest questions for me to answer, but maybe you have an answer for me? Can you tell me what your all-time favourite book is?

K: Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer. I have read that book many times. It used to be a yearly ritual to read it but I haven’t in a few years.  It’s a historic fiction comedy. My aunt gave me the book to read in 2006 I think and I kept her copy, I loved it so much!

Would you change anything, whether it is your reading habits, review routine or reading goal, for 2020?

N: Yes, I would, if I could! My dream would be to read way more and review the book immediately afterwards. I hope I can get a little better at this, but again, I don’t want to pressure myself too much, which is why I don’t have a specific blogging schedule that I’m sticking to.

What about you? Do you have plans for your blog for 2020, or want to change anything about your reading or blogging habits?

K: I loved working on my blog this year – I finally had something to write about regularly and connect with people as well. I just want to continue writing there every month of the day whenever possible. With regards to the reading habit, I focused a lot of reviewing unintentionally and next year, I want to make time for my own TBR. I already selected quite a few and am excited to get started on those. Buddy reading with book lovers like you will help as well. I haven’t tried readathons or book challenges before so I’m going to be signing up for a couple!

N: Looking back over 2019 – is there something in particular in regard to blogging that you learned or found out that you would like to share with your audience? Also, do you have tips or strategies for your fellow bloggers?

K: Great question, Noly! 🙂 What I learned is exactly what I want to share with fellow bloggers – don’t make blogging a task on your to-do list. Post when you are passionate about something. Trust me, when you find what you are passionate about, you will come up with a comfortable routine to post regularly about it. It does not have to be every day. It has to be meaningful to you at all times.

N: Thank you so much for this conversation, Kriti. I had a blast, and I’m so happy to call you my friend!

I hope you had as much fun as Kriti and I had! Would you like to be my guest for a similar conversation? Please get in touch with me – through the contact page on my blog here or on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!


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