Today I have the wonderful Daniel taking over the blog! Here’s here to talk to you all about TBRs. It’s such a brilliant post that I hope you enjoy!
Hello to anyone that is reading this! It is I, Daniel from The Blogger’s Bookshop, and today I come to you on Faye’s wonderful blog to discuss my thoughts on whether we as readers should feel guilty over large TBR piles, and also in relation to this – whether we should feel guilty prioritising our own books over ones for review.
So I’m not one to deny that I buy a lot more books than I actually read. Anyone who knows me will know that this is an issue I struggle with. Am I bothered by it though? No, not at all. I am one of those readers who can walk into a bookstore knowing he has over 150 books to choose from on his bookshelf and can happily walk out with 5 more. Do I feel guilty? No, why should I? I often get told that due to the amount of books I have sitting there on my shelf that I should feel grateful that I have them at all, so why do I go out of my way to buy more books? Surely it’s just disrespectful if I’m not reading the ones I currently have, especially if some of those books were originally gifts. To this, I really only have one thing to say and that is that book priority shouldn’t necessarily be done based on when you buy the book, but in my mind should be focused on what you as a reader are in the mood for. I see too many people fretting over the issue that they’ve bought an x number of books but they’ve already got tens and hundreds sitting on their shelves at home and they feel guilty because in a way they are betraying their books.
For a minute lets examine this scenario by utilising our imaginations and picturing that books could actually form opinions. Would jealousy and rivalry occur between them? Quite possibly, but at the end of the day surely it’s better to have lots of friends than none at all? This is the way that I see my unread books on my bookshelves and I tweeted this out quite a lot in one of Lucy’s #ukyachat’s. I personally see each of my books as an adventure that can be explored. I know that sounds extremely childish but hey, I’m a teacher it’s my job to think of corny and childish comments. However, what I say is true, or to me it is at least. For me, books are an escape from reality – sometimes you just want to picture yourself in a world where life isn’t always that tough and even when it is, there is a definite ending. In life we’re on a constant journey and who knows where we’ll end up in the future – this uncertainty is what drives my passion for reading. Having a structure really reflects the lack of what we have in the real world. In our lives we have a beginning, middle and end but in the present there is an aura of uncertainty about that and in my opinion books can be there to reassure us of the fact that the future may be uncertain, but we need to make the most of today to make it happen.
Okay, enough of the philosophical ramblings and back to the topic in hand. Guilt over buying books. Should we have it? I’d like to argue no. As readers we treasure the stories we’re told – otherwise why would we be so fond of reading? To be exposed to such a large quantity of material it allows us the freedom to choose exactly what we want. We all love a good bookshop right? It’s the same principle. This is one of the reasons I’m slowly trying to build up my own personal library from the comforts of my bedroom. At the end of the day, we as readers are accomplishing an awful lot. Besides the reading community online, I don’t see that many people who can say that they openly have read 50-100 books in a year. Thanks to Goodreads I can keep on track of this. In my opinion that is something to be proud of! Books won’t ever go out of fashion as long as there are people there to admire them, and with a community this large there is definitely potential for it to stay in fashion indefinitely. Why should we feel guilty about keeping passions alive? Yes it might be nice to fly through your TBR shelves and to be able to say you don’t have a single unread book on your shelves, meaning you can go out and buy more.
Frankly this notion scares me! In life we’re not always given the opportunities (especially in my case) where you can go out and buy books all of the time. Money constraints, jobs ect. There are always reasons. So to limit yourself to only enjoying the one book you’re reading and not having the freedom to simply pluck another off of your shelves if you don’t like it – well why would we ever want to limit ourselves?
I know this guest post is getting a tad lengthy but another topic I want to explore is whether we should feel guilty for prioritising our own books over that of review copies. This is a tricky one to discuss and I’m sure there are people out there who would prefer to agree and disagree with one particular side. However, in this instance I’m going to argue for arguments sake that we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You see the theme here? No guilt! I understand that review copies of books are important in the publishing world as it allows bloggers (whom most publishers trust wholeheartedly) to spread the honest truth about a publication. I also understand that in the case of review copies there is also an unwritten time scale in which you should really have the book read and reviewed by. In a lot of cases this is usually by publication date but as most bloggers know, this isn’t always possible. With such lengthy TBR piles, I have found in the past, both from observation and own experiences, that bloggers’ tastes will vary a lot and you can’t always commit yourself to reading a particular book in a particular genre. You’ll find that quite often this can subtly reflect in your review and half of the time you probably won’t even notice it. You can be reading a Sci-Fi novel, having read a steady stream of Sci-Fi over a long period of time, but really be in the mood for a light and airy contemporary. Are you really going to enjoy the book as much if you’re not in the mood for it? Food for thought. In the past I’ve found publishers respect bloggers for their love of reading and are patient when it comes to constructing your thoughts on a particular title, and quite often if that means relaxing with one of your own books that you know you’re going to enjoy (especially if that book is a re-read or a favourite) then who are they to say we’re wrong?
So I’ll cap it off there because unfortunately you’ll have me talking forever about the topic of book guilt. I could also talk a lot about guilt in terms of writing reviews and whether writing an impartial and not always truthful review for good publicity is the right thing to do. This was a topic that came up in a #ukyachat and oh I could argue that point again and again. Hopefully Faye will allow me the opportunity to discuss that at another time. So until next time guys, stay awesome and be proud of your lengthy TBR’s! The adventures are out there for you to explore, never limit yourself to the endless possibilities.
What do you think? Should we feel guilty?
You can follow Daniel on twitter here.