Beyond the Blurb | Why Reading Slumps Start and How to Fix Them

Morning, everyone!

This week, I needed a prompt hiatus from blogging. Lately, I have been doing great with my blog, but I haven’t been all that upfront about struggling with my mind. You see, my mental illnesses have gotten progressively worse. Why? Being a full-time caregiver and a part-time employee with zero help from family has caused me to burn out. I hate admitting that because I know that’s some kind of failure on my part. Or perhaps I’m wrong, and it’s no failure at all. I don’t know.

Then the dreaded reading slump hit. And I knew I was in trouble. I know many book bloggers have talked about this topic, but I wanted not only to give you advice but also to offer up reasons why you fall into a slump and how to avoid it.

So let’s talk about why reading slumps hit us readers and how we can kick them to the curb.

 

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Beyond the Blurb | Reading Diverse Books Is More Intimidating than I Thought They’d Be

Morning, everyone!

Years ago, I’d pick whatever book without the slight inclination of thinking about diversity. Now though, I question if it exists in books, if it’s appropriate, or if it’s harmful, which can occur. But I never thought that own voices and diverse books can be so intimidating for a reader like myself. But here I am questioning this topic.

So I thought I’d bring it up in my next discussion post. Over several years, diverse books have been gaining more acceptance. In 2015, an African-American girl launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, which gained widespread awareness. And We Need Diverse Books is always advocating for more books for minorities, like POC, characters with disabilities, and more. With my mental illnesses, I want to advocate for them.

And yes, I do have mental disabilities, so why am I intimidated by books that can spread more awareness for not only my minority or others’ as well? Frankly, I’m still learning about them, understanding them, and championing them. I’m a reader who needs to learn a lot more than what I see in life. And a part of me is afraid. So let me explain the reasons why I am:

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Beyond the Blurb | Bloggers, Embrace Hiatuses, Don’t Run from Them

Morning, sweets!

Last month, you may not have noticed that I took almost a week off of blogging. Even though August was the best month of my entire blogging career (hobby?), I needed to take some time for me. I needed to disconnect from my blog, my Internet life, and everything else that’s connected to them. And I felt liberated and guilt-free. And that reaction had gotten me thinking about hiatuses and their good effects for all bloggers.

But why are they good though? Why are they needed? And why do bloggers fear them? That’s why I want to dedicate an entire post on this topic.

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Are Book Reviews Difficult to Write?

Morning, bloggers!

I typically talk about Twitter-related controversies in my discussion series. But I’ve wanted to discuss why reviews are so bloody hard to write. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging. Reviews are intimidating. And sometimes, you just don’t feel like writing them. And given that I’m behind on my reviews, I’m okay with that. It takes a lot of effort to write just one. Just imagine writing two or more a week.

We bloggers are up against a lot: competition, other platforms that demand more of our time, life, work, and reading and blogging slumps. When life gets in the way of blogging, reviews don’t truly matter. They don’t. But guilt eats at you and me. So why are they so damn difficult?

Here are some reasons that stick out to me:

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Beyond the Blurb | Why I Don’t Enjoy Exclusive Edition Books or Boxes Anymore

Morning, bloggers!

When I first started blogging, I loved exclusive edition boxes and books. But lately, more book subscription companies are lumping in too many boxes and book sets. And I am losing the appeal of them. I can’t be the only reader who hates them now, right? Right? Ahem.

So let me give you some history so you know what I’m talking about. In a matter of a month or so, book subscription companies have been fairly busy, have you noticed? Fairyloot currently offers exclusive editions of Girls of Storm and Shadow, Into the Crooked Place, and a Caraval book set. Additionally, it worked with Holly Black for its Queen of Nothing collector’s edition box with a new set of the Folk of Air books. And the company had to push back the release of the Caraval set because numerous followers complained about the number of exclusive editions and the timing of their release dates.

Illumicrate presents its own Folk of Air collector’s edition. Yes, new editions of the previous books with new covers. Shelflove Crate is also selling The Land of Faerie, a getaway box that will feature Holly’s work across multiple series. So not necessarily Folk of Air, but you get what I mean. And Owlcrate will also do another Folk of Air box to complete the series. And now, Barnes & Noble is re-releasing previous copies of the same series because breaking the bank, and showing how entitled Western readers are, is the newest book trend.

I don’t mind variety and choice. But I also know how difficult it is for some buyers who have no self-control whatsoever, who don’t know what to pick, or who can’t afford any collector’s box and feel horrible about it. What I want to discuss is how all of these boxes are in fact causing a negative effect on our community. As a reader, I wish collector’s editions were handled better. Here’s why:

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Beyond the Blurb | What to Do When You Fall Out of Love with Blogging

Morning, bloggers!

Blogging is mostly a hobby for people. Some find their niche and brand, then work off of them to make business. Others don’t. And that’s okay. More will fall out of love with blogging. And that’s also okay.

When I found my Mom’s diagnosis, my life got turned upside down. And blogging helped me cope with what was happening. But once everything settled, I almost fell out of love with my blog and questioned if I should keep it. A part of me never wanted to admit that fact. I didn’t. However, being honest is kind of my thing on here. I open up more than I have in my personal life. But it took me a while to accept that I wanted to stop. But that time is when I appreciated it and the book community.

Over the last three years, I have grown as a blogger and reader. And I’ve found close friends who I love and cannot imagine not having them there for me. So what happens when you’re in the same situation? Well, that depends on you as a blogger. But I’ve figured out which pieces of advice you may want to follow if you’re struggling with your blog. Here they are:

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Beyond the Blurb | Publishers, Not Just Readers, Should Advocate for Triggers Warnings

Morning, dearies!

I’ve talked about trigger warnings in my discussion series, Beyond the Blurb, before. And while numerous bloggers, readers, and reviewers champion them, sometimes they aren’t always clear in the publishing industry.

Book Twitter has been talking nonstop about Leigh Bardugo’s adult novel, Ninth House. From the sale of ARCs to copies being hoarded by bloggers, this book is in high demand. Anything Leigh creates, everyone wants. One concern that has popped up is the content in the book. Justine from I Should Read That brought up the lack of trigger warnings listed in the ARC (I warn you now that the Tweet below is graphic, so if you want to read the full thread, click on the photo below).

For months, Leigh has marketed Ninth House as an adult book with graphic content. You can also call it grimdark, which is a violent or realistic subgenre. A good example is Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns or even George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. However, I haven’t seen any warning of it being a grimdark title though. Yes, she informed her readers it’s not like her YA series. I’m fine with that. And my issue isn’t with her. My issue is with the publisher itself. I’ve discussed why bloggers should use trigger warnings, but publishers need to understand the delicate reasons why they need to start advocating for them. Here’s my take:

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Age Shouldn’t Matter When Reading YA Books

Morning, everyone!

I’ve come to terms that people will question why I, a 30-year-old reader, love YA books. They won’t understand how I started reading those titles, why I continue to do so even when I’m not the target audience, or why I champion these books and authors. And I’m okay with that realization. I truly am. I don’t need to explain why I read them.

What I’ve had enough with is the shaming or the expectation of adult readers must be excluded from the YA community. Now, I don’t want the adult voice to silence the teen voice. No, that’s not my intention or opinion here. What I want to discuss is how age shouldn’t be a factor when reading YA titles.

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Beyond the Blurb | How Blogging Has Helped Me as a Reader

Morning, darlings!

I am not ready for Monday. I wish I had a few more days to rest for the upcoming week, which is surreal for me and my family. Mom is taking her last chemo treatment, and I felt as if we’d never make it to this day. So I treasure everything in my life more.

Typically, my discussion posts highlight a negative topic. So for this new post, I want to talk about something positive. Blogging is stressful. Blogging full-time is even harder. When I first started it, I was naive. But with three years under my belt (yay blogging anniversary!), I realized it gives me a support system I needed, a place to know I’m with my own people, and a way to grow. Here are the five ways blogging has helped me as a reader:

 

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Mental Illness Rep in Books Is Needed

Morning, readers!

For the last seven months, I have struggled with my mental illnesses. And even though next week, my Mom will complete her final chemo treatment, I feel the utter power my illnesses have over me. And it doesn’t matter if I have coping mechanisms, which aren’t working anymore, if I’ve fought them before and beat them, or if I talk with friends. They’re still here.

But the only solace I’ve found is in literature. It always has been even if a reading slump finds me. Mental illness and health are prominent on my blog, and I want readers to find a safe place here. Although I’ve talked a lot about each topic, I haven’t shown why the proper mental illness rep in books is not only needed but desperately wanted from readers. Kal from Reader Voracious inspired my next discussion post, which I’ll examine why this rep is important. Let’s get to it.

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