Thursday, June 1, 2017

Armchair Book Expo - Stop, Collaborate & Listen

Image created by Boquilla's Window of Big Bend Productions
It's day two of the Armchair Book Expo!

I had a wonderful time getting to know many of you yesterday and I am looking forward to reading everyone's discussion posts today.

Without further delay, let's dive in!

What Do Readers Want? 
What makes or breaks a book? How do we rate the books, or determine if it is good literature or a good story? What do we want from an author event? How does diversity representation fit into all of this? 

I'm not super picky when it comes to the books I read. As long as I can pick up a book and enjoy reading it, I will say that it was "good literature." Of course there are a few things that will make me put a book on my DNF list (poor grammar, typos, tropes I am tired of, lack of world building, et cetera), but I am usually pretty good at staying open minded and giving a book a fair chance.

I know a lot of people that don't use a rating system because they are weary about how others interpret the ratings. I still use a star rating, but more for a personal record than anything else.

My personal rating system is as follows:

  • 5 Stars- Books I absolutely loved and would read again (books rarely get this rating).
  • 4 Stars- Books that I enjoyed but just didn't have the oomph of a 5-star book.
  • 3 Stars- Books that I just liked. I didn't think they were great books, but I don't regret taking the time to read them. I would still recommend these books.
  • 2 Stars- Books that I didn't care for but may still recommend.
  • 1 Star- Books that I wish I hadn't finished and would absolutely not recommend.
  • DNF- I do not give star ratings to my DNF books. 

When I read a book that I personally didn't care for, but can totally understand why others would love it, I make sure to urge readers of my review not to let my negativity turn them away from the book. This happens a lot with books that I have given two stars to.

I haven't been to an author event since I was living in NYC. However, when I attended a few there, there were a few things that I really appreciated:

  • The opportunity (but not a requirement) to purchase the authors latest book
  • Adequate time allotted for both the speaking and signing sessions
  • A quiet environment where you can easily hear the speaker
  • The opportunity to pose for photos with the author
  • Plenty of seating 
  • Free bottles of water
Diversity representation in the book world is so incredibly important. I have been happy to see the improvements that have occurred in just these first five months of in 2017 alone! Of course there is still a long way to go, and I cannot believe that it is taking so long... but I am excited to see more changes taking place.

Let's Collaborate & Listen
The online book community has changed so much over the years. How do we keep up within our own book-sphere as well as within the community as a whole (i.e., libraries, bookstores, authors, publishers, etc.)? 

I have always been an avid reader, but I'm still relatively new to the online bookish community. Since starting this blog, I have made more of an effort to get involved.

To do so, I have followed a number of blogs on various hosting and social media platforms, subscribed to many podcasts and YouTube channels, joined online groups and discussion boards, and many other such things. Through all this, I am able to stay on top of the latest news in the bookish world, learn about upcoming releases, and form some wonderful connections with fellow readers. I am so thankful that I have all of this available to me with just the click of a button!

Though at times, keeping up with all of this can get overwhelming.

A short while back, I was doing so much and spreading myself so thin that I wasn't enjoying the book world; it felt like a chore to get all of my blog posts ready and stay on top of commenting, watching and listening to all of my bookish feeds. I got so stressed out that I ended up going into a major life slump for a couple of months.

So now, I always remind myself that I am here to have fun, plain and simple! If I am putting too much pressure on myself and I am not enjoying what I'm doing, I will force myself to take a break.

However, when it comes to the "outside" bookish community, I still have some work to do!

I would love to attend more book discussions and author signings, but I haven't yet found anything that interests me that was also under a two hour drive. I do follow my local library to see what events they have going on, but again, there hasn't been much that seemed interesting to me. I would also like to visit more small bookshops in the surrounding area. So far I have only been to three in the state of New Hampshire. It is certainly time to change that!

Thanks for reading!
I hope to see you during today's Twitter Party at 12 PM EST! The topic is "Diversity Rocks."


  1. I hate it when they MAKE you buy the book just to say hello in the signing line. Oftentimes I already have the book -- which means I already gave $$! Sooner, in fact, than the people there!. Once it was done in a very conspicuous way which made it seems like two classes of people. I have to imagine it made the author uncomfortable.

    1. Right?! I mean, from an author or bookstore's perspective, I totally get it. But if you show up already owing that specific book that they are forcing you to buy, I wish there was another option... like paying a flat fee to meet them, or the option to just buy another book.

  2. Oh I haven't ever really been to any author events and didnt realize that some MADE you buy the book - arent most people there bc they already have it/ like the author :/ strange to me but oh well.

    1. Right?! It's strange to me, but I get it from a sales perspective. I just wish if that were the case, they would offer a secondary required purchase so people don't end up with unnecessary copies.

  3. I'm not super picky either and tend to be the wait and see kind of reader. There aren't to many books that I DNF, but maybe it's because I read alot of MG. I don't usually rate books on my blog, but use Goodreads to keep track of those. My Day#2 Armchair BEA

  4. Funny how I never considered myself a picky reader until I realized that yes, yes I am! I think the longer I read books for review, the higher my expectations rose. And I agree with you about urging others to try a book even if you didn't care for it because everyone has different tastes.

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such

    1. Agreed! I am very picky about honest review books. If I don't love them right from the start, I will bail.

  5. Podcasts and YouTube are two big pieces of the book blogosphere I don't follow. I'm usually listening to music and don't want the audio disrupting. Armchair Book Expo day 2: What do readers want? and Collaboration

  6. Remembering to keep it fun is important!

  7. I feel the same way about star ratings - I use them mostly for my personal record. (But I still don't like it when someone judges my opinion of a book just based on my rating, haha.) I also agree that trying to keep up with the online book world can be very overwhelming! I have been trying to get a better handle on this myself. I use a lot of lists on Twitter and collections on Feedly to 'prioritize' my reading. Hope you get to visit some more bookshops soon :)

    1. Yeah, oye! I really wish people would be less judgmental!

      Thanks so much for commenting! :)

  8. A wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
    Gabriella M Reads
    My Armchair BEA post.

  9. I use the 5-star rating system too because it's often convenient for me, both as a reviewer and reader. For me, three stars and up means I'll recommend the book to someone, but anything less and I probably struggled to get through the book. I don't rate DNF books either. Do you ever write reviews for them? I don't personally, but I know many bloggers do.

    1. When I DNF a book, whether or not I write much about it depends. I usually don't write a full blown review, but I will write why I DNFed it. Sometimes my reasoning takes up a lot of space, but sometimes I'll simply write "this was just not for me." :)