Confessions of an Addict [#35]: Unrelated Observations and Pointless Conclusions.

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Your bookshelf brings all the boys in the yard.

Have you ever heard of a blog called, No Book Unread Project? It’s the brainchild of an aspiring writer who, in an effort to improve his writing decided that the best way to do that so was to read more. In his post, he figured he has 175 unread books. And for someone who has read 188 books in 2014,  this is hardly an impossible task.

However, you need to consider the quality of the books in his shelves vs. what’s in mine. It’s not even close. He reads high fantasy books in the likes of R.A. Salvatore. More than likely door stoppers. The kind that has complicated, intricate world building. My TBR bookshelf houses a schizophrenic selection picked mostly on a whim, or because I gave in to the pressures of a particular book’s noisy buzz.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. One should never pit their reading choices against another’s. My point is, while my family and friends may think I have Robotic Reader Eyes, I tend to pick books that doesn’t strain my brain too much: contemporary, realistic, and sometimes, if I ate enough peanuts, literary fictions. So in reality, though it might look possible in paper, I don’t think it would be if we switch TBRs.

The TBR Dungeon.

In the beginning of the year, I must admit that I thought this is doable; that I can simply saunter down in the basement and pick a book to add to my reading rotation until all the dragons in the dungeon have  been slain. As soon as I cleared the cobwebs and fluffed some of the dust bunnies away, however, the problems soon start taking turns bitch-slapping me in the face. Like, 453 of them.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

These are books that have gone stale. They’re two to three years old. Unread. Old releases. Does anyone even care to read reviews of these old books? I think that’s the problem I’m having with at the moment. As a book reviewer, I want to post reviews that are relevant and new; not books that were published three years ago. But as a reader, I know that time is immaterial. Whether I read them tomorrow or a year from now, it doesn’t really matter. Because books are timeless. READING should not be constricted to an allotted time period, otherwise, it becomes a pesky homework and not…fun.

So now, I’m conflicted.  The hermit philanthropist in me is thinking: I can always donate them to my library, or the charity shop where I buy my books. The hoarder in me is thinking:  Are you crazy?! What if you’re missing something good? Something life-changing amongst the rubble of this neglected pile? The reader in me is thinking: shut up and start reading!

Such is the flow of my consciousness every time I’m confronted by my  gigantic TBR.

Do you think that your readership care about the publishing dates of the books you review on your blog?

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  • I, for one, don’t care if it’s a review of a new book, an ARC or an old book. I say, read whatever you want to read. If you feel like reading/rescuing some books from the basement – do it! If you HAVE to read that book you’ve just bought – do that! 🙂

  • Just to say this and get it out of the way – I doubt I will ever conquer my TBR. No matter how selective I am, I will always add books faster than I can read them, not to mention the backlog of books already on there. Ok moving on. I don’t feel like our readers care when a book is published. I think some of our reviews of older titles get more views because more people are likely to have read them and want to share their thoughts. But perhaps if the book was SO old that no one recognized it it might defeat the purpose? I don’t know but I definitely don’t care about the release date of a book. if it’s good, it’s good.

  • Sometimes I think it is good to read reviews of older books, might kickstart others to read them and catch up on the series.

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    • I think so, too. It’s sort of a reminder that a particular actually exist.

  • I post reviews of “old books” all the time! It helps to introduce readers to books that may not have been on their radar, and gives you different content as well. I for one hate when all the blogs I follow post about the same book, so I always love when there are different ones featured in other blogs 🙂

    • Variety! Absolutely. Thanks for that. 🙂

  • J., are you crazy?! 🙂 Read them all and review them all. Readers who are not bloggers and not into all this new releases hype DO NOT CARE how old the book you bought is. They just see a book they like and if it’s available in their library or in the bookshop – they will read it. The end. The only people who might pass your review without reading are other bloggers because a) they already reviewed it and read gazzilion of other review on it b) it’s not their preferable genre. *huggles*

    • That’s the plan. Now if I can just find that fountain of youth that’ll give me eternal life…

  • GIVE THEM ALL TO ME. Just kidding that would cost so much. But your bookshelves are so beautiful! I honestly don’t know what to tell you because I strive to have a billion books on billions of shelves sometime in the future. I guess if I were you I would donate some that I will NEVER read or just keep them just for show (like “Hey I have a library”) hahaha.

    • Lol! My cousin said the exact thing. 🙂

  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself but I don’t think we should get rid of (or ignore) books just because they’re not current. If I wasn’t blogging I would still pick them up in bookshops, I wouldn’t care that they’re not new releases. And the fact that I have a blog doesn’t change that.

    Most bloggers I talked to said they tend to read reviews of books they’ve already read, so older books could work better in this respect too.

    • Thanks, Vicky. I am feeling bad now about the question I raised. Because, real book lovers wouldn’t care about publication dates. Why should I?

  • I think since for a lot of blogs, our readerships tend to consist of other bloggers and I think for bloggers, we may find new releases more relevant but at the same time, we mostly see only new/upcoming releases being reviewed so it’s kind of what has come to be expected. I think the best way to go about doing this is to mix things up! I personally like the idea of bloggers reviewing both old and new books because reviewing old books means that you get to read those books you’ve been meaning to forever and can either flail about them in your reviews or rant about them! I mean after all, didn’t we all used to review older books when we first started reviewing?

    Fantastic post, Joy!!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Rashika. I never even thought about non-blogger readers. I’m keeping them in mind moving forward. 🙂

  • I honestly don´t know how many unread book are on my bookshelf and some of them were published before 2010 But I think you win. 🙂
    And I think that there are public for everything, so I don´t think you should worry about their release dates, because I´ve been reading regularly for the last five years and there are a lot of great books that I haven´t read and maybe I haven´t even heard of them, and that´s one of the reasons that I read some blogs, to discover new-for-me books.

    • Thanks, Adriana. This is what I’ve more or less decided upon. Just. READ. 🙂

  • I say, read what you want and don’t worry about publication dates. Or, at the very least, mix it up with some newer and some older releases. I think it’s great to spread the love of older books too, so go for it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • Thanks, Nicole. I’ve gotten a clearer perspective since reading all the comments to this post. Everyone seems to be in agreement. 🙂

  • I say keep those dusty books if they still interest you cause you might hit a time when you really really want to read them. Oops droopy eyes big time. Sleepy time.

    • Lol. Sleep, woman! You’re going to miss those days when you can sleep whenever you want. 🙂

  • Oh man I definitely don’t care how old a book is. I’m going to use Harry Potter as an example (why not). It’s over a decade old now, yet I still love reading about new readers discovering this beautiful, wonderful, spectacular series! I love the fact that books are timeless. There may be so many beautiful books in the past few years that I’ve missed, so if someone were to read it and bring it into the spotlight again, I would definitely pick them up!

    • That’s good to hear, Joy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  • I completely see where you are some from with this! This is one of the most relatable discussion posts I have read in a long time! I agree with everything you have said. I too wonder how reading and reviewing older books will affect blog traffic. If you find the answer do share.

    • Well, still searching, unfortunately. But. At least I’m resolved to the fact that i’m reading for myself and blogging for everyone. So if I want to share my thoughts about a book that I read, no matter, how old, I’ll share them. If they’re not worth sharing, then I’ll be moving on. 🙂

  • THIS. I worry about this so much too! Most of the unread books on my shelf were published around 3 years ago, if not 4. Are they still relevant? Don’t publishers like to see you are reviewing newer titles for publicity? I’m conflicted. I guess we shouldn’t really care since we blog because we love to read but it does. I’d definitely read some of your reviews of older books, though. They are still your thoughts and readers will value them.

    • Thanks, Alise! I’m glad I’m not the only one. 🙂

  • I say give them all a shot before you get rid of them – maybe try 30 pages or so. That is my fear, too – potentially passing up something that could my ALL TIME MOSTEST FAVORITEST EVER EVER EVER.

    As for reviewing, if you have the time, review ’em! I think there’s an audience for reviews of older books. I love reading reviews of books I’ve previously read.

    • Thanks for the input, Stephanie! Giving them a closer look is a step forward. 🙂

  • I think you should absolutely review older reads. I made it a goal to read all the books on my bookshelf last year…I even made a button for it and called it “Dust Off the Shelves.” Hahaha. I am laughing because I even aimed to read books that were 2010 or older, so they were reallllly dusty. Yeah, well, I read FOUR. FOUR books last year from my dusty shelves. That was seriously lame for me and I hope to step up my game this year. My goal is to try and read/review at least one older book a month?! Maybe?! So, I think you should go for it and review some older books! I can’t wait to see what you’ll read! And by the way, I love your bookshelves. Envious!

    • Thanks, Christina! You’ve just given me an idea! I think reading one book a month from the basement pile is perfect!

  • Oh God No! Don’t get rid of them just because they’re not new releases! I personally prefer reading reviews of older books, as the chances are if I’ve read it I can discuss it. I do check out reviews from all the bloggers I follow, but I like older ones most. I had this problem a while ago – but I find I get more interaction on older books too, and now that ARCs and new release reviews are so popular, you actually fill a bit more of a niche by reviewing older titles. I’m jealous of that picture first of all, but I don’t envy you your TBR, it’s made me feel marginally better about mine which has exploded in the past few months… ahem… moving on! Only get rid of ones you have no interest in reading any more, that should be your only consideration!!

    • Thanks, Rachel! I haven’t gotten to the point of getting rid of my older books just yet. I haven’t given them a closer look to see which books will be worth the try or not. So no worries there. I like reading a combination of both, myself.

  • Yeah, I do think my readership cares about the publication date. For example, I always get more comments and views for books that have been published (or to-be-published) in 2015 (same thing when we were in 2014) which is unfortunate because I think it’s important to not forget about the books that are *old* too 😛

    • I am struggling with this, because I don’t know what my readers like. With me, I visit blogs no matter what (except for book promos, blitzes and stuff). But they are nice to enough to come back and visit me regardless of how old the books are.

  • I think there are huge advantages to reviewing “older” books. Your readership is more likely to have read the book, so you may get more discussion in comments. And you get the chance to read the reviews and avoid the books that aren’t so much for you.

    As for the hoarding/cleaning thing, I’m pretty good about cleaning out YA books and ARCS I don’t get around to reading. The books on my shelves tend to be classics, and I should set a goal of reading some of them. For instance, I just read a YA retelling of Room With a View and wasn’t so much a fan. Then I looked at my shelf and there was the original. Now I’d like to try that one!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • That’s so true. The struggle I think, is the fact that I don’t know what my readers like. But they are all nice enough to come and discuss books with me – old or new. 🙂

  • Christy

    Well, I review or talk about the books that I want. Regardless of pub date. Besides, they may be new to your readers. You could be introducing something completely new to some readers, even thought the book was published 5, 10, 15 years ago. Sometimes I just want to share my love for it. I don’t always though. Sometimes I just mark them on GR. Is your TBR for you or your blog followers? Read what you feel like and write a review if you want.

    • Good points, Christy! I just need to remember why I started blogging in the first place.

  • I enjoy it when I see a review for an older book/series that I loved and can’t wait to share with them on it. I know that when it comes to the numbers game, newer books can mean higher traffic sometimes, but not nearly half the fun of talking about an old favorite. You might find some gems in those oldies!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kim. This is my thoughts, too. Also, that since I don’t really get too many ARCs, working on lessening my TBR pile is more important.

  • There may be people who do care about the date but the blogging community has grown and people who are interested can easily find that in other blogs. On TSC we just read and review whatever we pick up. If it was any other way, I don’t think we would last too long, chores aren’t fun, reading is. Good luck with your tbr, I’m also hoping to make a dent and or get rid of some books. Yikes..

    • Gosh. I don’t think there’s any reader who hasn’t run into this problem. But the more I read the comments for this post, the more I realize how unimportant the publishing dates are.

      Thanks for your input!

  • Aww, thanks for the mention Joy, that was sweet of you! I don’t necessarily consider the books I read to be particularly complex, I think I’m just more familiar with their style. And I sure hope that people don’t mind reading reviews for old books, because I don’t think I have many that AREN’T at least 3 years old. (Yikes…?)

    In my personal experience though, I’ve found that people like to read reviews of things they are familiar with, especially for older hits, because they like to see how their opinions differ. Certainly I am guilty of it for movies and games, and I suspect as I delve further into reading I will be increasingly guilty where books are concerned too.

    For your gigantic TBR pile, might I suggest reading the summary pages and sorting them into Yes(Keep)/No/Maybe piles?

    • Hey, no problem! I do like the project you’ve undertaken and I do hope you’re making headway with your tbr. As for you suggestion, reading supersedes any thoughts of organization at this point. I just need to suck it up and just grab one. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting!

  • I think the hoarder in me would have a tough time giving away books too Joy, whilst my tbr pile has been getting bigger and bigger I’ve decided to make a tbr jar this week and actually try to read 2/3 books from it a month. I know some books I’ve had for ages! And that’s the thing, I don’t think that I would mind reading your reviews of books a few years old, it would probably help me decide whether I need to keep them on my tbr pile or not. If you ever need a buddy read partner to help reduce your tbr pile give me a shout, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of books in common! Good luck! 🙂

    • That’s one way to give your old books some attention. I think bringing my books in the basement was not a good idea because now, they’re even more neglected. I just need to suck it up and grab a couple a week…at least.

      Thanks for the input, Jas. 🙂

  • I am so glad you mention the review aspect of old books. As I have been trying to finally get to some of those “old” books in my TBR pile this year, I had the same thought, “Does anyone really want to read a review of a book that was released three years ago?”

    While I don’t mind if I haven’t read the book, will all my readers that have read them years ago, be turned off by them?

    I wish I had an easy answer to this because I am still unsure of whether I should be writing reviews for them at all because like you said, most of us want to read those reviews for ARCs or new releases, not old news. But others like me, love all reviews so….Gah!

    • It sounds like we share the same thoughts regarding what books to review on our blogs. I wish there was an easy answer, too. Perhaps all we can do is read and review to our hearts’ contents, and if our followers read them, then say thanks. If not, we carry on. 🙂

  • I struggled with the concept of only reading new and upcoming books to review on the blog to stay relevant too. Especially last year. Truth me told though, as far as my stats go, my reviews for ARCs usually get a lot more views than reviews for old books. BUT, I still like reading reviews for them and this year, I’ve decided to do whatever I want with my blog. I’m not going to put pressure on myself and try me a certain way because at the end of the day, I’m doing this for fun.
    Great post!

    • You’ve touched on a good point, Nick. Since I don’t get too many ARCs for review anyway, I think it wouldn’t matter much to my readership. And if I let certain factors dictate how I blog, I think I would struggle as well.

      Thanks for the input, Nick. 🙂

  • I USED to take into consideration pub dates and it made blogging HELL!

    Here’s what I observed, people still check out reviews for “old” books esp when they’ve read it. Speaking for myself I still check posts for oldies so I can compare notes with the blogger.

    Right now I still review oldies on my blog but I try and put a spin on it. Remember my Cherry Popped feature? Or if I can, I do a series binge and post a series review. Also everyone loves quotes and I’ve done a post or two where I just share my favorites lifted from old books. Then there’s always the pleasure read where I dont bother reviewing it on the blog.

    • Oh yes! And I do my own version with Throwback Thursday, but I just have to get into a habit of posting non-classic lit as well.

  • I like reading reviews of books that are a few years old. Chances are that I haven’t read them, and I might have been thinking about reading it, and then it’s nice to read a proper review of it. Go fo it, Joy (:

    – Love, Felicia

    • Thanks, Felicia. I think they deserve the chance. My confessions posts has a way of putting things in a new perspective for me. And it’s all thanks to you guys who acts as my sounding board. 🙂

  • Huuugs. <3 Love this post. You are awesome, Joy 🙂 And I adore that bookshelf picture. <3 But aw. I hope you won't give your books away! You should read them 🙂 I would love to read reviews of old books. <3 I'm going to read some of my old books too, I just never have the time for it :p Hmph. BUT SOON. I hope 🙂 Happy reading sweetie. <3

  • As a reader, I don’t think I would mind reading a review of an older (1-5 years old or older) book. With the advent of e-publishing, there are so many new and/or wannabe authors in the marketplace that a lot of the older, well published authors are pushed to the background and readers new to a particular genre may never find them, and thereby miss out on a lot of really good, well-written, well-edited books. I’d say why not put an oldie but goodie review in maybe once or twice a month? Better yet, we have Throw-back Thursday all over the place…why not post an oldie review then?

    • I forgot to mention that so many of the authors with larger and older backlists are now bringing those old and sometimes out of print books to the e-pub marker. If the authors are doing that, why not review those older books?

      • So true! And also a lot of authors are putting out new covers of old publication, so I think I can tie those in on my posts as well. 🙂

    • I do that once in a while. But I usually reserve it to classic lit. I think giving everyone and every book a fair chance is next to impossible, but I’m going to try my best.

      Thanks for stopping by, Karen. 🙂

  • I don’t think my readers necessarily care about the publication date of the books. I have books published years ago that I really need to read, along with ARCs and some new releases. Of course I don’t necessarily review every single book I read anyway. 🙂

    • I wish I knew exactly what my readers want. But I think they are nice enough to read through whatever I post.

  • I had over 200 last year so that new year’s promise was to read more of my own books, down to 142, sigh

    • That’s totally doable. And you seem to read at a nice pace, anyway. I think the trick is, trying to muster enough discipline to stick to your goals.