Book Guilt; I’m So Behind With Books (And Blogging)

I think I am going through a phase of rather large readers guilt. Yes, feeling guilty about my relationship with books as it seems to have changed in the last year or so.

I am sure I am not the only one though it is quite an isolating and frustrating place to be when you are going through it. Nice one Simon, start the post in a really miserable way and have everyone closing your post down as fast as you can! Ha! I am not miserable at the moment though I have to admit I am slightly cranky and this is partly because when I don’t get regular (and preferably prolonged) reading stints I turn into some sort of bookish banshee. At the moment I am in that phase. I am simply not finding the time to read and its making me resentful. This seems to be caused by three main things; my job – where I am possibly working too many hours; my house – because whenever I am in it I seem to be knackered (possibly from getting up and hour early every morning to try and create extra reading time but less sleeping time) or have chores to do, damn those chores and friends and family – who really selfishly want to spend time with me taking me away from books, ha! Then there is the Green Carnation Prize to sort for 2014 (very exciting news coming next week) and my bookish trip to America in August to finalise, and podcasts – which I have had to put on hold this week as just cannot keep up with myself. I am thinking the life of a hermit for a few years reading might be quite nice.

This lack of time (and I am normally good at being something of a magician and making time, pulling it out of hats and all sorts) of course leads to the age old issue of then being really behind with my reviews and feeling like the blog is a bit of a fraud. The other day I posted the below image on instagram (look up Savidge Reads) showing that my pile of books to review was as big as my cat! (Yes, that is Oscar, yes he has grown!) The thing is since then even more books have been read (yet I feel like I haven’t read anything, interesting) and now I feel really, really behind…

To Review

What makes me all the more cross is that some of the books (not all of them believe me) I have been reading have been utterly AMAZING, seriously BRILLIANT and so a) I want to tell you all about them all the more and b) I want to write reviews – and  that do them justice – which of course takes more time. Damn that thing called time. You see I don’t really think a book blog can be called that if it isn’t really featuring book reviews, and I am in danger of falling into that category. Reading guilt and blogging guilt, oh crumbs. At least I have a three day weekend this weekend coming to sort myself out.

Please tell me I am not the only one who feels a bit behind with books and blogs (I haven’t read another blog in months, also guilt inducing) on occasion leading to minimal moments of despair, some of you must get it too surely? Also does anyone else turn into an epic grump (who their partner and friends don’t seem to understand) and gets really, really cranky when they don’t get enough reading time? Or is that just me, and should I be ashamed? Do let me know, you made me all feel so much better when I had my small ‘there are too many brilliant books in the world’ meltdown the other week, ha! Oh and any recommendations how to make more time or be more organised/systematic most welcomed too, you are all good to me.

Note: I wrote this after having a small book breakdown last night – it is now the Tuesday following said breakdown and a visit to the library and Waterstones has sorted me out😉

18 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “Book Guilt; I’m So Behind With Books (And Blogging)

  1. Kateg

    Become a total epic grump if I would rather read than socialize which my husband of almost 20 years doesn’t always get. I am sorry you are in a bad spot with reading time and I totally get it. I have been lucky that I work shifts and generally have time off during the day. Occasionally, I will indulge and do nothing but read, and then spend the late afternoon doing chores and errands and trying to come up with a dinner pleasing to both sons and said husband. My reading time has changed as my family has grown; when he boys were small I sat and read while they did their homework. Now I read in the morning and before bed with the occasional day spree. As far as your blog, NO GUILT ALLOWED!! We have too much too feel guilty about. Do your best, because we love your reviews and the behind the scenes look at the Savidge-Burton household, but don’t burn yourself out. Review as you wish and consider briefer reviews to help you catch up.

  2. Jane

    Simon,
    I’m breaking my silence (as a keen reader of yours) to tell you that I think there must be something in the air – and it’s an international affliction, as I’m far far away from you in the UK but I’m suffering from exactly your dilemma. I seem to have suddenly woken up with an endlessly distractible mind, an ever higher and ever more teetering TBR pile, and a ridiculous recent habit of giving up on books that are in fact really really good simply because something else is whispering in my ear. It makes me feel very anxious and that spoils all the pleasure of reading. So you’re not alone there. Not alone at all. It’s painful, isn’t it, when a great lifelong bookish passion falters – but I do find it sorts itself out. Sometimes, I have to be harsh with myself, load all those lovely library books back in a bag and frogmarch them back to the library to be borrowed again another day. I had to do this with Tsiolkas’s Barracuda last week. I am itching to read it but it won’t run away if I let it go back to the library for a month or two (!).

    Regarding your feeling a fraud for not sticking to the rules of a book blog, I’d say there are no rules and that your musings, whether strictly ‘reviewish’ or more general, are always a pleasure and a privilege to read. It’s all of you that all of us like to read about. You’ve given me so many excellent pointers and choices for reading over the years that I owe you a hearty congratulatory pat on the back. Love your blog – just take the pressure off yourself if need be. And breathe…..

  3. Patty

    You are not alone! Lol! I am steadily reading but still not catching up!

  4. Oh, I am definitely behind. I planned on participating in three book challenges this month. I only read two childrens’ classics! I am bogged down by papers and exams. But I really should have read more. I feel guilty when I don’t read and guilty when I do (because those books are not assigned for class).

  5. q

    Yow Simon…u do anything u need to…i’ld rather read your comments on not reading, than read many others reviews…one of my excuses for not getting to my tbr pile..is that i’m so busy checking all the wonderful areas on your blogsite…! love all your work and am grateful u share so much..but u do or not whatever u need…just let us all know u’re well and happy…or not! big hugs

  6. sharkell

    From my perspective, there is a distinct relationship between the number of books you review and my wish list/tbr pile. If you review fewer books, my wish list/tbr pile doesn’t grow as rapidly and I get a small window of opportunity to reduce the size of both piles! Having said that, I notice that I get grumpy when I don’t read much in a week and I have to set aside a couple of hours (or more) on the weekend to read. Once I’ve had a little catch up I’m a lot easier to be around (I think).

  7. Simon you are not alone. (I read your posts avidly. I follow a lot of fellow bloggers and you are one of my favourites) I can understand exactly where you are coming from. I would be embarrassed to take a photo of my TBR pile I would be afraid that publishers would start asking for their books back. I find the best thing to do is either be highly organised; decide what you can realistically read and review in a month and try to stick to a reading plan or just don’t plan at all and dip in and out without putting any pressure on yourself. It’s important to take breaks from blogging I think, as the pressure we put on ourselves can be very stressful especially when our lives are hitting busy times as you are now. Your followers won’t forget you or think any less of you if you are busy and post less or write shorter posts. If you can find quiet reading time then do it because it’s good for the soul but you don’t have to pressure yourself to review everything. I read much more than I review and sometimes I don’t review books that I have loved simply because I’m too busy to do them justice. Hang in there it will get better.

  8. You’re not the only one! (Am I the only one who thinks that this sounds like a song?)

  9. Oh dear, yes a definite yes, I am completely behind. As you say, writing a review takes time, especially when you liked the book. But maybe you can group some of them like the ones you didn’t really enjoy and group them in one article, writing less about them and therefore take more time for the ones who worth it. Finding time is difficult. My problem is that I always raise the bar too high, wanting to do everything at once and then find that it is impossible to catch up with everything…Predictable you silly!(I am talking to myself there, not you you). So all that to say that you are not alone, again. And I really admire the ones who have many reviews/article in advance but those are not you and me. It is a matter of acceptance. Your readers don’t resent you for that especially when you write that sort of article coming from the heart where you get many cheers and reply😉
    Another thing, funny to see on your photo, my cat is very similar to yours! Or did you borrow my cat for the occasion without me knowing???

  10. heather

    Simon, i am not a blogger or reviewer but I enjoy your site immensely. I love how modest and charming you are. I usually read about a book a week but this month read only two books. But sometimes it is quality over quantity. I read Evie Wyld’s shattering and beautiful novel and WardJust’s newest novel American Romantic. So that is good enough for me. Maybe i will read 6 novels in May but I am starting to realise I simply can’t read everything. * sob *

  11. You are not the only one this happens to. It happens to all of us.

  12. A lot of bloggers I know the same way as you. I think this January to April period in publishing has been unfulfilling. I haven’t read many books that i truly liked, let alone loved. But if i can get myself through May, during which time i have many reviews I have to do, I think the summer is going to be brilliant. Fewer books being published means I can take the time to read what I want and review what I want. Good Luck.

  13. louise trolle

    Hmm on my windowsill there’s a pile of 7 library books, all due next week, and i’ve read 3. However this morning I just got two emails from the library saying that the two books I reserved last week are now ready for me. I have two books I’ve promised to review, five reading challenges and I REALLY want to read the 4 books I got for my birthday last week (Amelie Notohmb’s Blue Beard,, The Light and the Dark by Mikhail Shishkin, Sjon’s new book (Danish title translates to Moon Stone) and Roberto Bolano’s Amulet. So I wind up reading a few pages here and there,

    With two kids. tons of laundry, dogs, work etc I also need more reading time. Sometimes – even when we have visitors, I might sneak off and read a few pages, or listen to an audiobook while I cook dinner. When we go on trips, my husband always drives – because then I can read🙂

    Don’t feel guilty Simon – I enjoy your general posts just as much the reviews🙂

  14. Totally relating with you on this one! I too am buried in a stack of books just begging to be read and reviewed. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I haven’t even visited my blog more than twice in the last two weeks other than to approve comments – which leaves me feeling irresponsible and cranky. But I’m cutting myself some slack – I’m 83% done with reading my latest ebook and should be able to review it in the next couple of days. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Good to know it’s not just me, thanks for posting😉

  15. I feel very sorry for you, but cannot advise as this never happens to me. I suspect that being a generation older (if not wiser) I am able to be much more relaxed about such things. Quite honestly if I stop reading (other than work related) for a month or more it really doesn’t bother me these days. So I am the exception (as someone who DOES love reading and discussing literature honest) to Heather’s assertion.

    Glad to read your positive footnote!

  16. I have review copies from December that I can’t actually find at the moment as they’re in unreachable piles and I feel bad about it. Especially as I decided to accept more books (though the start of the year wasn’t great I’ve slowly gained more time – and of course I know where these new books are!) I think it happens to all of us at some point and for one reason or another, and I think it’s almost expected that things won’t always go to plan.

  17. I concur- I have 80 books to review at the moment. I fear I will never catch-up!

  18. I was almost tempted to say ‘sorry to see you are so busy simon’, but considering you are working on such great things that seems like a silly thing to say. I am however, sorry that you’re struggling to find time to read. Not to mention you have so many books it’s difficult to even know where to begin.

    The Rosie Project won’t take you long to read, it’s a fairly smooth journey (although, you didn’t like Silver Linings Playbook, so I am not sure you’ll enjoy it).

    Don’t feel bad about being behind with reviews, you’re not a slave to your blog and I like whatever you post whenever you have time to post it. I too think book blogging needs reviews as an element, but that doesn’t mean you need to overwork yourself to get a lot up. I don’t want to give you tips on organising your blogging and reading, only because I wonder if that would create deadline stress and really suck the fun out of the whole thing.

    I get incredibly grumpy when I don’t have time to read, I’ve only one evening free this week and I think I might cry if someone tries to see me – I have to finish my book.

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