My 4 year blogoversary actually came and went back in November 2014. But well, I was a bit busy at the time. When I made up my post last week featuring some graphs of my reading stats in 2014, it struck me just how much I've changed as a reader in these four years. I thought I would take some time to reflect on what has changed in the four years since I've been blogging:
1. I've found a way to maximize my reading time. With every year of blogging that passes, I read 25 more books than the year prior (in 2011, I read 50 books; in 2012, I read 75 books; in 2013, I read 100 books; in 2014, I read 125 books). When I first started blogging in 2010, I couldn't IMAGINE reading 125 books in a year. But since then, I've learned to utilize audiobooks, make the most of my spare time, and also not to pressure myself to read when I don't want to or else I get burnt out. I'm reading WAY more than when I started and I'm also enjoying myself more!
2. I've figured out my reading tastes and have become more selective. Used to be, I saw a book that had even the tiniest interest to me or a book with a pretty cover and I just HAD to have it. I'd request books willy-nilly and then become massively overwhelmed. But in these four years, I've really learned what works for me and what doesn't reading-wise and have subsequently become more selective in my reading picks, pretty covers be damned! This has also resulted in me enjoying my reading time more, with a consequent increase in my average book ratings.
3. It's good to diversify my reading genres or else I WILL get burnt out. When I started blogging, I was reading almost exclusively fantasy and dystopian fiction. Nowadays, if I read too many of the same genre one after another, the stories all start to blur together for me. Got to introduce some contemporary and historical fiction into the mix to keep things fresh!
4. Non-fiction does not mean boring reading. This is actually something that I only discovered this past year. Ditto for contemporary fiction and classical fiction. I used to avoid these genres like the plague. Now they are some of my all-time favourites!
5. ARCs and egalleys aren't the be-all and end-all. Don't get me wrong, I still get PUMPED when I get accepted by a publisher and when I'm holding an ARC in my hands. It's an unpublished manuscript and it's exciting! But it's so easy to get caught in the trap of impulse-requesting and only ever reading new releases when there so many excellent old releases to get to. I've learned to keep my requesting down, and thus the pressure of review books, and ended up happier for it as well.
6. I do not have to own every book. Sure, it's awfully tempting when you see people take in these MASSIVE hauls every week and you feel so envious because you want all the pretties too! But when I think of all the books I bought on impulse and then never read years and years later, it makes me sad. Plus, I only have so much space so you got to bet I prioritize owning only the most SPECIAL of books in my heart. I donate the rest when I'm done reading (or even before if it's been sitting on my shelf unread for years). And my wallet DEFINITELY thanks me for keeping my book buying to a minimum!
7. I do not feel compelled to finish series if I'm not enamoured with the first book. I'm hopeless when it comes to DNFing in the MIDDLE of a book, but once I'm done that first book in the series and I wasn't feeling it? Dump it. I didn't used to think that way four years ago; I still felt compelled to follow series through to the end. But now I have WAY too many series on-the-go already, so I've learned to prioritize finishing only my absolute faves.
To sum up, I am a more confident and HAPPY reader than I've ever been! I definitely still experience slumps from time to time (who doesn't?), but I like my policy of reading WHAT I want, WHEN I want and I plan to stick to it as much as I can!
I also want to take the time to say thank you to the people who have made an impact on my blogging life these past four years (in an approximate chronological order in which I met them). Thank you to Small and Gina, who were my first followers and whom I still love to have bookish chats with to this day; thank you to Alison who was my first and really only longstanding follower through Follow Friday and made me feel not so alone in the blogging world; thank you to Sara who I found soon after that and, even though our reading tastes differ so much, is definitely one of my blog bffs; thank you to Zahida who I found as a newbie blogger and to this day is my #1 author signing buddy; thank you to Alex who posts cute things that always cheer me up and who is also the sweetest; thank you to Logan who is so nice and I wish she blogged more; thank you to Jenny who was intimidating at first because she was a big blogger and I was a newbie, but turns out she is the nicest, writes the best reviews, and is a super talented designer; thank you to Missie The Unread Reader who quit blogging a long time ago, but who I still think about from time to time and miss her presence and kindness; thank you to Melissa who hasn't blogged in a long while, but who's presence I always appreciate; thank you to Julie who also hasn't blogged in a while, but who I think is swell; thank you to Juju who is always so lovely, always; thank you to Lea who writes the savviest reviews and is always trustworthy; thank you to Lauren who I want as a real life friend because she throws the best parties and is the nicest; thank you to Elena for being an inspiration with great taste in music and desserts; thank you to Lauren who writes 5 Star reviews that make you want to drop everything to get that book; thank you to Christa and Andrea who left a party to come get me and didn't make me feel bad when I was a fool and got lost in Toronto; thank you to Giselle and Jenni for being spunky and inspiring; thank you to the Edmonton Book Bloggers for being so welcoming to such a shy, awkward girl; thank you to Kristilyn, the mother of the EBBs and the cutest boy; thank you to Ambur for always being so positive that it makes me want to be a better person; thank you to Cassie and Megan for giving me rides and for great conversation; thank you to Leanne for being so great to talk to; thank you to Mel for being the sweetest Disney princess I know; thank you to Jessica for being the kindest and always liking my posts; thank you to Sarika who is one of my Potter Pals and my longest distance blog friend; thank you to Sana who blows me away with her artistic creativity; thank you to Sam who stopped reviewing unexpectedly, which is so sad because damn, she's a fantastic writer and always spot-on; thank you to Meg for all the amazing awesome comments and fangirling; thank you to Amanda and Courtney who I started following only within the past few years, but who know their stuff and are always trustworthy reviewers; thank you to Micheline, my fellow Potter Fan Extraordinaire who I found only two years or so ago but who will be my book twin for life; thank you to Elle who is the smartest person her age that I know and also more mature than a lot of adults I know; thank you to Katie, my non-fiction guru; thank you to Lauren who always makes my day with her comments; thank you to Jen who's blog changes so often, but who I will always follow because she's awesome; thank you to Shelly for being outgoing and making me feel less awkward; thank you to Romi, one of my newest blogging friends who is also one of the sweetest and most thoughtful; thank you to Avery, Katie, Christina, Kate, Karen, Hafsah, Amna, Rummanah, Carina, Kristin, Natalie, Sandy, Bonnie, Emily, Brandi, Renu, Amber, Judith, Amara, Lauren, Sarah, Cialina, Nori, Liz, Becky, Sugar, Maja, Lulu, Janhvi, Stephanie, Varsha, Chloe, Cassi, Kim, Caaleros, Preethi, and Lola for all the comment love over the years. I am going to punch myself if I've forgotten to name someone here - please forgive me!
And thank you to anyone and everyone who has ever taken the time to read and/or comment on my blog. BEARHUGS FOR EVERYONE!
And finally, a giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway