The So-Called Rules of Book Blogging: Limit Your Bookshelf

Book Blogging Rules

Click to see the previous post in the series on having to do everything.

I’m really not sure how this came to being one of the most unspoken rules that I’ve seen. Even if it were spoken, I highly doubt that it would be called limiting your bookshelf.

But that’s what it is.

I follow a lot of book bloggers on Bloglovin’. Way more than I could ever keep up with on my own. When I scroll through the posts, I see something really odd: Everyone is reviewing the same books.

Bill Murray Confusion GIF

There are plenty of reasons for this, but it’s half disappointing. I like to be surprised with some book that I’ve never heard of before. I love watching someone get so excited over a story that I don’t know from start to finish. I like to see someone’s joy in sharing something with their readers that hasn’t really been shared before.

Reading popular books isn’t a bad thing–not in itself. Some people honestly love popular books (a lot of people, really. There is a reason they’re popular). Some people are gifted them. Some people are forced to read them by their friends.

Let's be weird together

Where is starts getting weird is when the only reason that you’re reading and reviewing them is to keep up with the Jones’s.

I know I fell into this trap of thinking. I still do sometimes. If only I could review what people actually wanted to read. Then I could get people to read them!

This is going to get depressing really fast if you hate the popular books you’re reading. The answer to this?

Read what you want to read.

I know that I’ve half covered this in the first part of this series, Similar Posts, and a little bit in the last one, but this has bothered me for awhile. I don’t know if people only read popular books because that’s what’s in or not, but never feel as though you’re restricted just to what’s new, in, and loved by 152 other book bloggers (unless you really do just want to read it).

Don’t limit your bookshelf to please someone else. If you’re going to limit it, limit it for you.

What kinds of books do you love reviewing? Feel free to share in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “The So-Called Rules of Book Blogging: Limit Your Bookshelf

  1. With the exception of book tours where bloggers actively set out to all review the same book, do you think this is a conscious decision? I want to read and review this book because other people are doing it? Or do you think it stems from great books coming out that everyone is interested in? I think it is a bit of a circle. My bloggy friends read a book and recommend it so I read it and enjoy it and want to recommend it. I don’t deny that we do it, but I think it a natural thing when you are in this sort of community.
    Personally I choose to review something I have I read if I think I have something to say on the book. Some books have been reviewed to death and I don’t think I have a new take to share so I will just star them on Goodreads and be done with it. But these days I do not get the opportunity to read many lesser known books because I am so busy trying to catch up on all the ones that everyone is talking about. I don’t see this as a bad thing because that pool of books still contains hundreds and hundreds of books, more books than I will ever get around to, so I still feel like I am constantly seeing new things despite sometimes feeling like you see the same ones pop up again and again.
    Great discussion post! Really made my brain work this Monday morning : )

  2. Great thoughts! I definitely concur. Reading and then reviewing the same old stuff just to “keep up” is boring. And anyway, there’s been a lot of chatter over the last few months that many of us don’t even read the majority of reviews anymore. If it’s an upcoming book, I don’t want to read reviews, and then when I’ve read it, I might seek a review out. Like you, I enjoy the reviews for books I haven’t heard of, that the blogger liked and that I might like. That’s what this whole blogging thing is about for me: discovering new books and friends.

    Honestly, there are tons of hyped books that I don’t even read a single review for unless it’s a favorite blogger. This month, I’ve skipped about 20 reviews EACH for the Shatter Me series (don’t care), Into the Still Blue (already read it), and other super-hyped up books. Did I review them? Some. Do I want to read more reviews? Nope. It makes me feel almost hypocritical!

    I like to throw in reviews for old favorites, new high-fantasy stuff that’s not strictly YA, and whatever I stumble across at the library. If I feel like reviewing it, I do. If I don’t (even if I liked the book!), I don’t.

  3. To be honest, too many reviews of the same book over and over again gets tiring. But hey, everyone’s review will always be different from the other (at least by some small detail) and I think that’s a positive spin of having a limited book selection, as you say it. There are a lot of varying opinions on one book and that can help other readers decide whether or not they want to join the bandwagon and read it too.

    Still, like you say, it’d be nice to see readers reading different books from time to time. Personally though, I like reading books that someone else (someone I trust) has already read. It’s not that I’m not reading the book for me, it’s just that I can’t ever read a book without being at least 50% sure I could like it. And I half base that on other’s opinions/reviews. Even then, I don’t feel like I’ve ever restricted myself or my bookshelf to please other people. If I read and review popular books, same as with any other kind of book in general, it’s because I want to please myself.

    Awesome post, Kelsey! Very thought-provoking!

  4. I’m definitely a read what I want to read kind of girl. Although I do find myself swept in my hype occasionally. I read a lot of popular books, but because I want to read them, not because I feel forced to. I definitely agree though that if you’re forcing yourself to read something you don’t want to you will burn out.

  5. Oh there is so much win in this post Kelsey! I literally have started ignoring reviews I’ve seen over five reviews of now because I’ve read it, I know what it’s like, I’ve formed my opinion and that’s that. I will always vary my shelf; I’m starting to post my way through the Skulduggery series now on the blog which has been about since 2006-ish, definitely not new, but I also read ARC’s and post them, like today’s post. I like to think people come to my blog for something new and something old, to find out about the older gems and the new ones to come and just for a variety, because the same thing can get very tiring very quickly! 😀

  6. I actually really like reading what everyone else is reading! I feel like I can contribute to the discussion. I DO read whatever I want, buuuut, I like requesting the same stuff as my friends so we can compare thoughts. But it does get overwhelming when my bloglovin’ feed is like 10 of the same review.

  7. If I see another review for “The One” or “The Art of Lainey”, I’m going to scream!! I’m not interested in reading either of those books, and it’s disappointing to see my feed saturated with them. Is anybody reading anything else? I think some people (not all) review those books strictly to draw views to their blogs. More views tend to mean more free books.

    I jumped on the “hype” bandwagon a couple of times, and ended up tossing the books in DNF because I didn’t like them. I learned quickly to just read what I like, or catches my interest, and give honest reviews for them. If people read them, great. If not, oh well, at least I got my thoughts out.

    1. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype. I’ve done it a few times. I tend to find that I enjoy blogging more if I review books that I actually know I’m going to like.

      And I just tend to feel smothered and a bit pressured when I see EVERYONE reviewing the same book. A.) I feel like I’m supposed to read it now. B.) I’m sorry, at this point I’m just sick of seeing the cover and title everywhere.

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