Let's Talk Bookish – How has reading shaped your life?

It’s Friday and time for another Let’s Talk Bookish. This is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books where participants are invited to discuss a topic. This week’s topic is “How has reading shaped/changed your life?”

I have always been a reader. My parents read to me from an early age, and I grew up with a great love of books and reading. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library and checking out stacks of books to take home and devour. I participated in the library summer reading program and tore through books, wanting to read the most (I never did, though). Reading has always been a huge part of my life.

When I was in fourth grade, I transferred schools. It was an incredibly difficult transition and the girls at the new school could be incredibly cruel to me. They teased and bullied me, sometimes physically. I took solace in books. I’d always had an active imagination, and having that escape really helped. It didn’t matter that I didn’t live near any of the few friends I had; I had friends in my mind. Stories and books became a solace and a refuge. If the girls were being too mean, I could take a book out to recess and escape or even just walk away and imagine myself into another world.

In high school, I met another girl who loved to read as much as me. We initially bonded over Star Trek, but quickly found we had so much more in common. We would spend hours at the bookstores, pouring over books. We lent and recommended books to each other all the time. We never ran out of things to say to one another.

Reading has also shaped my writing life. Although I was always adamant about not wanting to be a writer (a stance I’ve since reversed), I’ve always been writing because I was influenced by reading. My earliest scribblings were poems. In fourth grade, I wrote a sequel to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM as a gift for my teacher who read it to us. I wrote Star Wars fanfiction in high school, then graduated to pirate romances after I started reading romances. I started writing vampires after Interview with the Vampire and the Anita Blake books by Laurel K. Hamilton. I realized I could connect all my writing into a shared universe from Cassandra Clare, which led to me writing two books this year. Reading has guided and directed my writing from the beginning.

My identity as a reader has always been important to me. I’ve always been proud of it and excited to share my love. Without reading, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I honestly can’t imagine who I’d be without it.

How has reading shaped or changed your life? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Let’s Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky at Eternity Books. Each week, participants are given a topic and invited to respond. This week’s question is, ” ┬áDo bloggers/reviewers have to review every book they read?”

My answer? Goodness, I hope not! I definitely do not review every book I read, nor do I want to. There are several reasons I might not review a book, and I’ll get into them below. First, though, I think I should clarify my status as a blogger/reviewer. I’m doing this as a fun hobby. I started this blog to share my love of books, and I don’t intend for this to be a source of income. I mean, I’d love to monetize my blog and be able to live off it, but it’s not going to happen. So this is something I do for fun and, as such, I have no obligations to review everything I read. I get to pick and choose what makes me happy to talk about and, the moment it stops being fun, I can step away.

That being said, there are a few instances where I might force myself to review a book. If I’m granted an ARC on NetGalley, or if an author were to send me their book and ask me to read it, I would do my utter best to review it. That’s a source of pride for me, but if something were to happen (like I got hurt or sick, work was insane, family disaster, etc.) I wouldn’t force myself to review a book. It would take backseat.

Some books I read, I don’t want to review. Sometimes, I’m too close to them and love them too much to want to open myself up about them. For example, I am probably never going to review Beauty by Robin McKinley. I love that book too much to want to examine it through a critical eye. Some books, I have nothing to say on. They’re not good or bad, but they don’t excite commentary. I’m also hesitant to review personal growth books because they are so personal. They either speak to the reader or they don’t, and I’m not quite sure how to review them. However, now that I’m not doing stars in my blog reviews, it’s a little easier.

So, no, I don’t think bloggers and reviewers have to review every book they read. Sometimes, they should just get to read for the sheer joy of reading and not have to share their thoughts. We deserve a break, too!

What do you think? Should bloggers and reviewers review every book they read? Drop a comment below or a link to your blog!